The 3 Stages of the Buying Process
Preparations — Do customers need to make any external preparations before buying from you? For instance, if you’re in the market for an electric guitar, you’ll need an amp first.
This is the stage where customers identify their issue and decide if it is a priority or not. They will describe their goals and challenges, and try to figure out what they need to fix the problem.
What are the four steps to awareness stage?
1. Education — Who do they turn to in order to get help with their challenges?
2. Consequences — What will happen if they don’t act upon their issue?
3. Misconceptions — What are the misconceptions people have about your product or industry? If customers are misinformed, educate them via smart marketing.
4. Prioritise — What makes a buyer prioritise another product over yours?
Think about these steps that your potential customers would go through to see how you might increase your chances of them choosing your business.
Now the customer has identified their issue and wants to solve it. How do they go about fixing their problem? First, they need to categorise the solutions that are available to them.
Imagine you needed to go to court. You’d need legal representation, right? You could either represent yourself, let the court appoint a lawyer for you or pay to hire someone privately. In this scenario, there are three solution categories.
To figure out the customer consideration stage, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Categories — Can different solutions to the problem be divided into categories? Categories include aspects such as: price, quality and convenience.
2. Education — How can a customer educate themselves on the different categories available to them? If they don’t know, they will view every option in your industry as the same thing.
3. Perceptions — Do buyers know the pros and cons of each category? You really want to emphasise the pros of your company while fixing any cons your customers might perceive.
4. Decision — What dictates a buyer’s decision as to which category is best for them?
At this stage, the buyer has decided on a category. Now, they need to choose a company that aligns with it. For this stage, there are five questions which need to be asked:
Criteria — What are the criteria employed by the customer when choosing the right product? This could include price, quality, availability or support.
Likes and dislikes — What are the pros and cons regarding what you have to offer, compared to your competitors?
Stakeholders — What parties are involved in the decision-making process? How does everyone’s perspective differ? For example, if your target market is married couples, then it’s possible that the two individuals involved have contrasting opinions.
Expectation — Are there standard norms in your industry that buyers expect, such as a free trial period or a product demonstration, like getting to test drive a car?