Most business leaders without a background in sales believe that consumers go from initial awareness straight to purchase because of great marketing or a terrific product. They don’t grasp how rarely this happens, nor do they understand that when it does, the odds of the customer being satisfied with their impulse purchase are typically low.
The more clearly you understand the when behind a customer’s purchase decision, the less likely you will skip over the stages of awareness, knowledge, and product affinity before a purchase is made. The best customers go through each product consideration stage through your marketing and sales process before their purchase decision is made.
Below is the “consumer to retained customer” progression model used by marketing and sales professionals to make smarter marketing and sales investments:
People won’t purchase with confidence until they know how your product will benefit them. They won’t purchase with enthusiasm until they develop an affinity for or an attraction to your product. You spend less on your marketing and sales process and people and sell more when you design your “get work” processes around helping potential customers build knowledge of and affinity for the products and services your business offers.
In the book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, SPIN stands for Situation – Problem – Implication – Need Payoff. He defines a need as: “any statement made by the buyer which expresses a want or concern that can be satisfied by the seller.” He says that the first sign of a need is a slight discontent or dissatisfaction—one that is likely to grow.
According to Rackham, spur-of-the-moment decisions are often irrational, and they’re much more common in small sales than in large. As the purchase price becomes more significant, the following factors come into play:
- Needs take longer to develop.
- Needs are likely to involve elements, influences, and inputs from several people and are not simply the wishes of a single individual.
- Needs are more likely to be expressed rationally; even if the customer’s underlying motivation is emotional or irrational, the need will usually require a rational justification.
- A purchasing decision that does not adequately meet the need is likely to have a more severe consequence for the decision-maker.
Think back on any major purchase you have made. As you became aware of the need or developed the want for a “high ticket” product, you began to identify where you could buy it. The more importance you placed on serving the need you had or satisfying the want, the more effort you made to find where to make the purchase.
The more expensive your products and services, the more critical the consumer to retained customer” progression model is to your business
The more expensive the item, the more effort you are asking the target customer to put forth in purchasing from you. You best help your target customers see the benefits of buying from you by helping them build knowledge about your product and affinity for its potential benefits. Do this to improve the likelihood of them buying from you. Fail, and they won’t buy from you.
If you develop an affinity for the product you are considering, you are more likely to purchase. If you fail to develop an affinity for the product, the only time you purchase is when you are being forced to by some outside influence.
In developing a need to be served or a want satisfied, the “problem to be solved” must be translated into first a desire than an intention to act. Both needs and usually wants start with minor imperfections that eventually evolve into clear problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions before finally becoming desires or intentions to act. It’s a progression—a progression best managed through the consumer to retained customer progression model if your goal is to generate higher sales.
Should I invest in new sales or customer retention help?
Click the link below to learn how important the consumer-to-retained-customer progression model is to your business by sending us your P&L Statement by year for the last four years. Within twenty-four hours of receipt of your P&L Statement for the last four years and your sales by customer by year, you will receive back by email your free assessment of how much your breakdown in how you manage marketing and sales is costing you.