Recognize the Stages of Customers’ Decision-Making to Sell More Effectively

If your complaint is that it takes customers forever to make up their minds, maybe you don’t fully understand the decision-making process. Recognizing which stage a customer is in will help your sales strategy. 

Deciding to decide. Before customers select a product to purchase, they have to make up their minds to buy in the first place. At this stage, you need to arouse their interest: “Many companies in your industry are using X because _______.” 

Choosing options. Once a prospect is intrigued enough to think about buying, the potential buyer starts weighing options. You can help sort through the choices by offering hard information about your product: “There are many different types on the market, but ours uses 60 percent less energy than the standard model.” 

Testing. Most customers need to try out a product before really buying into it. You may think you’ve got a sale, but if the customer is still in the trial stage, you may never hear from him or her again. Keep the relationship going by offering training and encouragement and following up to make sure everything is working smoothly. 

Long-term use. By now, the customer has finalized the decision. Do everything you can to make the transition and implementation effortless: free installation, additional training, assistance in getting rid of obsolete products, and so forth.  

Recommendation. You know your customers are happy with your product and committed to using it when they recommend it to others. If they don’t, something is wrong with your product or support that you need to diagnose and fix. Stay in contact with customers long after the sale to cement the relationship and ask for referrals. 

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