One morning in late 1963, Paul McCartney woke up in his girlfriend’s attic bedroom, with an entire melody echoing through his head. Trying to manifest it before it was lost, he penned the first words that came to his mind: “Scrambled eggs, Oh you’ve got such lovely legs, Scrambled eggs.”
Soon after, Paul went through an intense period of doubt about the originality of his creation. He asked everyone he new, the rest of the Beatles, even other musicians and composers, if they recognized the melody.
Around the same time he started to craft the verses, but it wasn’t until John Lennon, deeply immersed into the ancient wisdom of the east, came up with “Yesterday”.
While recording, the Beatles tried countless versions, including John playing the organ, before settling on a Paul solo and eventually backing him up with a string quartet–a First in pop record history.
By now every word and every note seem to be made for each other, as if cast from a single piece of divine inspiration. But to grow from the original into its final version, the song went through a process of more than two years before it was ready. And before one of your customers is finally ready to buy your product, she has gone through a whole process as well–the buying process.
What is the buying process?
We don’t just walk into a store and buy things. The actual purchase is just the 4th of 5 steps we all go through when making a buying decision. Before taking action, we need to be clear it’s the right decision. Often times, the process happens intuitively and without us being aware of it–for example when stocking up in breakfast cereals.
At other times, especially when the purchase is more expensive, the decision process becomes more visible. Remember how long it took you to buy your last car or even your house? But no matter the size of the purchase, we always go through the same phases.
What are the phases of the buying process?
The whole process is roughly divided in five phases:
1. Recognizing the need: This is the time when a lack of something becomes apparent. It can be as innocent as feeling of hungry. Or the practical necessity of commuting to work everyday. But it can also the subtle thought of “I want one too” when everybody around you plays around with their latest iPhones.
2. Gathering information: Once the need cannot be ignored any longer, the research phase starts. Nowadays the internet is a common first place to look, but bringing the topic up during a casual conversation with your friends is another source for valid information. Then there’s libraries, experts and field trips as well.
3. Comparing alternatives: Eventually all the facts are gathered and everyone’s head is brimming with information. It’s hard enough for our brains to decide, let alone facing the hundreds of possibilities of modern day. It’s time to whittle down the choice to three or four serious contenders and afterwards pick the best option.
4. Purchase: There might be a few details left to fix, but generally speaking the decision has been taken. The moment every business is eagerly anticipating has come–money and goods exchange owners.
5 celebrex dosage. Satisfaction: Or lack thereof. Customers asking themselves if they made the right decision. It all depends on how much the product meets the customer’s expectation. If all goes right, it’s during this phase that brand loyalty is built and one-time consumers turn into repeat customers.
While we always go through the process, we might fast-track or even skip the preliminary phases. This is common for small purchases like a pack of chewing gum (Who really thinks about that?) but also when we’re long-term customers (How often did you change your tax-consultant?).
Why do businesses fail who ignore the buying process?
Ideally a business caters to all five phases. Falling short in one of them will lose customers to the competition. For example not providing the necessary facts during the information gathering. A customer will look elsewhere and happily rely on someone else’s knowledge and expertise–and possibly cement the future relationship.
Ignoring phase three-the evaluation of alternatives– is another case when businesses fail acknowledging the buying process. Crafting a distinctive Unique Selling Proposition that addresses how your product is uniquely different can simplify the final decision every customer has to take before taking action.
The best way to avoid failing is to apply the buying process to your customers, learning all their questions and answering them throughout each stage.
Accompanying your prospects from beginning to end
To become one of the most recorded songs of all time, “Yesterday” had to go through a whole process. Each stage made the song better and stronger–the lyrics, the title, the string-quartet.
Your customers also go through several stages before being ready to take a good decision on purchasing your products:
Feeling a need, researching and deciding between options, purchasing and feeling satisfied.
Leading each customer by hand through each step will minimize losses and ensure a steady supply of confident customers ready to make the right purchase: your product.