The Third Stage of the Buyer’s Journey: DECISION
An understanding of the Buyer’s Journey is a must for any business owner or professional involved in the marketing efforts of an organization, as it offers valuable insight into the mindset of those in your target audience at several key junctures during the active research process leading up to a purchase. Over the past few months we’ve been examining what’s widely considered to be the conventional Buyer’s Journey model, having covered the two of the three stages thus far.
Beginning in the AWARENESS stage, a problem or opportunity requiring action/resolution at some point down the line has presented itself, prompting a person to seek out any relevant information that’s readily available in order to educate themselves accordingly. Having found a wealth of general data that has led to precisely identifying a need exists, those in the CONSIDERATION stage are still gathering information but in a much more concise, targeted manner and it’s predominantly solution-oriented.
After exploring solutions, researching vendors, and determining strategy, a potential buyer is ready to move forward into the final stage, DECISION. However, this doesn’t simply mean he or she is in the act of officially pulling the trigger on the transaction quite yet. Instead, there is yet another wave of evaluation taking place. The potential buyer has now qualified a limited number of resources and is analyzing the solution method presented by each prior to ultimately selecting the one that he/she will commit to purchasing.
As far as opportunity for interaction goes, the time spent in this stage will vary quite a bit compared to the first two. For reference, think about the decisions you’ve made in the past collectively. Some were more important than others, there was varying degrees of logic and emotion involved, not all required lengthy thought while others were pored over, and the analysis of investment vs. return yielded a different set of outcomes for each scenario, which had a direct impact on the ease of arriving at a final decision and your readiness to commit at that point. Both consciously and subconsciously, there was a lot more going on than you probably gave credit to during the decision process. From a marketing perspective, this is exactly what needs to be examined in detail in order to determine what needs to be done to close the deal. You’ll want to hone in on 1. The criteria buyers use to evaluate the available offerings; 2. What the potential buyer likes about your offerings compared to the alternatives; 3. Any concerns and expectations they have; and finally, 4. Disclosure of any future investment from the buyer that’s required as a result of the initial purchase.
While those in the Consideration stage may or may not have made contact with the actual solution provider yet, you can count on anyone in the Decision stage going right to the source. For the select businesses remaining in the solution category at this point, it is mission critical to demonstrate that what you can provide aligns with the best course of action moving forward in a way that’s compelling and sets you apart from the competition.
For optimal engagement, as this stage is all about comparison and presentation, you’ll want to highlight pros and cons, provide reviews and/or testimonials, and offer live demonstrations or in-person consultations (combined with a free, no-obligation trial if applicable/possible). Moreover, you’ll need to have all of this readily available to present when a person walks through the doors or sits down at the table for a meeting, because in doing so they’ve identified themselves as being in the midst of or close enough to the Decision stage. They want to be convinced (reinforcing the choice they’ve already made), and since you already have a fantastic product or service that you stand behind 100% and confidently provide for the benefit to those you do business with, you’re in a position to win them over if you have all of your ducks in a row.
Finally, of great importance to note, you’ll be evaluated not only on the solution you provide but on your company culture, core values, and your track record as to how you do business. As any purchase decision is both logical and emotional, people will ultimately, and without fail, gravitate towards doing business with those they know and like. So, you must not only have the best solution, but be the company that the potential buyer can personally identify with and find value in the partnership too.
When it’s decision time, a potential buyer will be looking for a solution provider that has proven expertise and comes in at the right price point, but also one that has solved a similar problem with optimal results, and more specifically, knows and understands the associated challenges even better than the client. Combined with a strong company culture and presence in the community, all of which will need to be communicated through your marketing efforts, you’re the choice they’ll ultimately be satisfied with making, now and in the future.
To learn more about how Strictly Business can help you, contact me directly at (402) 466-3330 or visitwww.strictly-business.com/connect.
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