5 Different Stages of Buyer’s Decision Every Business Owner Must Know

Owning a business is a very good thing. In the last article I wrote about businesses, I highlighted some of the things you have to have at the back of your mind before launching your business. For the sake of those reading for the first time, I will reiterate what I wrote last time in brief here. We discussed owning a business, and what it takes to open a business. We went further to discuss the best businesses you can start with 100k or less. One of the first things we discussed was market research. This is simply the art of asking the right questions, narrowing your questions to the right audience. You ask yourself, where is my audience? Who are they? Where do they gather? How can I meet them? Asking this question will help you create a prototype of the type of audience you need for your business. I went on to write on why businesses fail in their infancy, the reason is that assumptions are not tested, we just believe in our hearts that our products are the best, and we believe that since people are using different other products, they will surely use ours, we forgot that people are loyal to their brands, you cannot expect someone to leave their brand just because you feel yours is better, you have to present them a reason why they should leave their brands, and mind you, you’re just a new business, you don’t have the millions to pump into ads, you don’t have the loyalty of customers. For you to win in such a competitive market as there is today, you have to present something different or you have to create your audience.

I went on to write that if you intend to sell food just because everyone eats food and you believe since everyone eats the food you will sell out yours in a large quantity, you are a joker, it doesn’t work that way, you will be disappointed double time. I wrote that the only way to do well in the food business is to present that food to a starving audience, present the food to an already created audience and watch your sales skyrocket. This is the importance of market research as we discussed. Feel free to check on that article, you will love it.

In this article we will be discussing the various stages buyers undergo before and after making a purchase, and the different types of buying curves. These buying decisions are what happens in the mind of every buyer, irrespective of what they want to buy or how bulky it is. If you are a business owner,  if you hope to start a business tomorrow, if you have one you intend to scale up, both online and offline, you will find this article indispensable.

Certain decisions go on in the mind of your buyers before they buy anything no matter what it is, it can be as small as a pizza or as big as a car, we call this “the different buyer’s decision”. They are 5 in number, and each represents a stage in the mind of the buyer, from the problem recognition stage, where the buyer recognizes that he has a problem or an issue that needs sorting out, this is where the buyer becomes aware he needs this particular product for this, but at this point, he hasn’t started taking it seriously, he’s still lax but he’s aware he needs help. The second stage goes to the information search, this is where the buyer becomes uncomfortable with his or her needs and seeks to find the solution, he searches the internet, asks friends, trying as much as possible to gather as much information as he can on that particular need, to know which one to choose from. The next is the evaluation of alternatives; this is where the buyer compares different alternatives and which he has to choose. 

At this point, the buyer has seen many different types of products, and he’s thinking in his mind about which one to go for. The next is the purchase. After much deliberation in his mind, he finally goes for the one he feels is ok for him and can solve his problem. This is where the purchase is made, but it’s not the end of the thoughts in the buyer’s mind. Finally, we get to the post-purchase evaluation, at this point the buyer after making the purchase is still lost in thoughts, thinking if he bought the right product at the right price, even after making the purchase the buyer is still skeptical and lost in thoughts as to the fact if he hasn’t been duped or paid too high for a product that doesn’t worth up to that. In this article, I will pick each of these and explain them in a layman’s understanding and how you as a seller can influence the buyer’s decision and get them to buy from you and promote market goodwill. Sit tight, sip your juice, and let’s ride

1. Problem recognition stage

Before any of us buys anything, no matter how small it is or how big it is, we first go through this problem recognition stage or awareness stage. This is the stage where we become aware that yes we have a problem that needs to be solved, this is where we become aware of our condition before we start seeking help for it. In buyers percentage, this percentage of people represents the highest number of percent in the consumer product circle, this is where your highest number of customers are, over 60% of them are just aware of their problem, most of them don’t even know they need help. This buyer’s decision curve will allow you to write the type of ad copy that suits your buyers, the copy that appeals to them, and a copy they can respond to. These set of people are like sleepwalkers, they have problems but they are not yet out I’m in search of a solution some of them don’t even know they have a problem, it’s the work of your ad copy to jack them up from their feet and like an electric and move them faster down the buying curves. This buying decision is the first every customer or client makes before buying or hiring anyone or product.

2. Information search

This is the second stage in the buyer’s decision curve, at this stage, the buyers are aware they have a problem, your ad copy has electrified them off their feet, and now they’re out looking for as much information as they can find. This is where your buyers consult the internet, Google, encyclopedia, or any media at all to get as much information as possible on the solution to their needs. If you’re an advertiser, of course, if you’re a business owner, you’re automatically an advertiser, you have to present your ad copy to them, written in the language that suits them completely. This is where you provide information to them, when your ad has done its job of capturing the audience’s attention, the next is to take them down to your landing pages, this is where you give them as much information as possible, this is where the sale is made beforehand. 

How you tackle their fears and inner questions they don’t ask anyone determines if you will make the sale or not. At this stage, your customers are full of fear and skepticism about doing business with you and they’re asking themselves questions about your credibility. If you want to capture as many customers as you can, you have to let them understand that you know their fears, you feel their pains and you have a solution for them. How do you do this? It’s by providing value, massive helpful information that will make your prospects or customer say in their mind “if he’s giving this much away for free, how much more will he give out for a pay” at this point they’re sold to you psychologically, you are leading them down to the next buying curve which is

3. Evaluation of alternatives

Understand this, no matter how good you think your product is, there are many competitors out there, and chances are that your prospect has tried lots of them in the past, most of which disappointed him or her. Now he’s in the stage of comparison, he or she doesn’t want to make a mistake and regret buying from you. He wants to be sure he’s making the best decisions by comparing your product to another. Don’t be scared that they may not buy or find out that other people offer the same thing at a cheaper rate, if you did your homework well in the information search stage, you will be confident of your product or services. At this evaluation stage all you have to do is tell them why yours is better, why yours is costlier and why yours is unique, don’t feel bad when they compare yours with another. For instance, they say yours is costlier than their own, you tell them it’s because you offer superior after-purchase services, you tell him or her it’s costly because the service is unique and customized for him alone. Everyone likes feeling important, when you say this and handle it well, you will make the sale. The best buying decision on the list is

4. Purchase decision

This is where the customer makes his final decision which is making a purchase. At this point, you have won the customer’s trust and loyalty, at this point the customer is completely sold out on you, how you handle stages two and three determine if you will make or lose the sale. Sage 2 is the most important, this is where you will make the buyer love you by creating what we call KLT, which stands for Know Like and Trust, it’s called building goodwill through the information you give out for free, at this stage, you don’t have to hoard your information, give them the why and retain the how to give after purchase or during the main purchase. If you’re selling a weight-loss product for instance, in your information stage using your landing page, you tell them why they’re fat, which food causes fatness, now they’re fascinated at the amount of information you are giving out for free, they are sold out on you, they can’t wait to get the full list. Remember you haven’t told them yet what to do, or how to do it, you are just telling them why. The how and what are the real things you will give to them when they make a purchase. Bear it in the back of your mind that these buying stages are what goes on in the mind of your customers, just that most of them are not aware. Finally, it’s the post-purchase evaluation stage

5. Post-purchase evaluation

This is the final stage in a buyer’s decision-making curve. At this point the purchase has been made, this is the point where you have to build goodwill in the marketplace. Sadly many business owners get it wrong, after a sale is made they forget the customer, and what they promised they will give after the sale. What you do at this point determines if the customer will return or if the customer will be lost forever, what you do after purchase will determine if the customer will refer you to someone else. Take this part very seriously, after the main sale is made, make sure you deliver everything as you have promised, good words put across to your customers by a person who has used your products, converts better than thousands spent on ads, so take this part very seriously.

Conclusion

We have come to the end of this article, by now you must have seen how important the buyer’s decision is in every market. You as a business owner should have known that this is an indispensable knowledge that when applied will boost your business to a whole new level. I started by highlighting a few points you should have at the back of your mind if you want to start your own business. I went on to define what a buyer’s decision is and how important this is to you as a business owner. Finally, I explained each of them very well. Please take the information search and evaluation stages seriously, if you get these two right, you will have an influx of more customers than you can handle. If you feel this article has been of help to you, feel free to comment your thoughts in the comment section, don’t forget to share with your friends too.