You’re probably reading this post to learn how to sell, but it’s more beneficial for you to understand how and why customers buy. In this article we will help you understand how the consumer’s decision-making process (and buying criteria) differs between B2C and B2B customers.
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Understanding The Consumer’s Decision-Making Process In Sales
Are you selling to businesses or individual consumers? If you don’t think it makes a difference, think again. There are naturally more consumers than businesses, but they purchase in lesser volume than organizations.
Businesses tend to be more logical than consumers, who tend to be more emotional and impulsive. It can also take a considerable amount of time to find the decision-maker (or decision-makers) in an organization and even longer for decisions to be reached. Some also perform a comprehensive vendor analysis to determine your ability to offer reliable fulfilment in the appropriate quality and quantity.
The 5 Levels of Needs | Consumer’s Decision-Making Process In Sales
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that basic human needs are a hierarchy according to their strength (physiological needs, security needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs).
So, where does your product fit on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? There could be more potential customers but more competition at the lower levels and fewer potential customers but less competition at the higher levels.
According to Abraham Maslow, people pass through five levels of needs: physiological, security, social, esteem and self-actualization. For example, when consumers purchase food, they satisfy their physiological needs. Also, computer back-ups satisfy security needs. Likewise, networking events satisfy social needs. Awards satisfy esteem needs, and learning a new language satisfies self-actualization needs.
The 5 Stages of the Consumer Decision Making Process
Understanding your customer’s decision-making process in addition to their buying criteria can help you move them to the next step in the buying process and, thereby, shortening the sales cycle.
1. Awareness (Need recognition)
Awareness is the first stage in your consumers’ decision-making process because every sale begins when a customer becomes aware that they require a product or service. Therefore, buyers recognise that something is imperfect or incomplete and needs a solution.
2. Research (Search for information)
Now consumers are aware, they are going to start researching for options and answers to their problem.
3. Consideration (Evaluation of alternatives)
In the third stage of the consumer decision-making process, buyers have now found solutions but are looking to make the best choice.
4. Conversion (Purchasing decision)
Contemplation turns into action in the fourth stage of the consumer decision-making process.
5. Re-purchase (Post-purchase evaluation)
Last but not least -after making a purchase, consumers will be reviewing and considering if the product or service they chose was valuable – in other words, was it worth it? Consequently, would they recommend your product, service or business to others and buy again?
Identify decision-makers and position your business as the ideal solution
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