Sale or No Sale? Understanding Your Customer’s Decision-Making Process In Order To Make More Sales

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Understanding your customer is a cheap phrase that is used too often in marketing. Businesses already understand their customersin terms of the general market desirability of their product or service, but why doesnt this always relate to sales, and why do many businesses struggle to grow their customer base despite the validity of their offering?

Click Here To Book A Call With UsThis is because whether or not you make a sale often rests on a specific understanding of your customers decision-making process. What goes through a typical customers head when contemplating a purchase? Its not necessary for business owners to be psychologists to make sales, but an understanding of the general processes all people go through when making a sales decision will help businesses capitalise on opportunities, and communicate in the most appropriate way for each customer.

In marketing, this decision-making process is broadly categorised as stages of a buyer journey, or sales funnel; a process in which a customer learns about a business and is guided through objections and responses to the point where they are comfortable making a purchase. Some versions of this model extend the journey into the motivations behind repeat business and referrals, too.

Depending on your industry, customer decisions may be completed in minutes, or may take several months. Its a journey of education, relationship building, two-way communication, persuasion, and honesty.

1) Awareness

All business purchase decisions start with the awareness of a problem, whether its a lack of transparency in some part of the process, high production costs, low productivity, insufficient accountability, or a host of other issues. This prompts questions in the mind of decision-makers about how to resolve the problem, so when searching on Google theyll probably be looking for information.

Action: Publish informational blog content and videos to answer popular search queries (keywords) relating to your business. Dont promote yourself directly at this stage, just provide useful educational material for free. You may get some early stage leads from your awareness content, so be sure to include a clear contact form and links to your social media accounts with each blog post.

2) Consideration

After researching the issue, the prospect will become aware that solutions exist, and will begin considering the best approach for their business, taking into consideration their budget, timescale etc. At this stage, the prospect may be actively visiting the websites and blogs of several providers to find out more about the different strategies available.

Action: Publish technical information about how your process works and the ways in which it addresses your customers pain points, focusing on the value of the service, and the positive outcomes that result from implementing your process. Dont get bogged down in detailed specs or prices at this stage.

Prospects may make a lead enquiry during this stage, with questions about how your product resolves such and such. Encourage this by making gated guides/e-books available for download in return for an email address, after which you can enter these prospects into your email marketing system. Be aware, however, that these people may not be ready to purchase from you yet – you still need to establish trust and credibility as a service provider.

3) Decision

The prospect has researched all the solutions on the market, has decided on the best strategy for their business, and is ready to make a practical decision between two or more service providers. This is your opportunity to fly your colours and distinguish yourself from your competitors. The prospect is already sold on your products and services in general, so now is the time to discuss prices, specific features and benefits of your offering, warranties, service philosophy, accreditations, and all those other important factors that help clinch a sale.

Action: Provide side-by-side comparisons of your product vis-à-vis your main competitors. Be concise and informative, and play to your strengths, but avoid being negative or dishonest about competitors. If they outshine you in some way, simply focus on other aspects where you perform more strongly – this could be the next challenge for your R&D team! As well as free blog content, downloadable product brochures (in exchange for an email) are useful in helping prospects decide.

Lead nurturing services from JDR

Every lead that gets in touch brings to your business a set of unique challenges and opportunities. They may have already carried out significant research, or this could be their first Google search on the topic. In each case, your content marketing strategy should provide a multi-layered approach to information and service promotion that meets your prospect where they are, and encourages them along the journey to a positive decision. To find out more about how automated email marketing, social media, and blogging can help you nurture leads and close more deals, please get in touch with one of our digital marketing specialists today.

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