Every buyer moves through four simplified stages in order to reach a buying decision. If you can move the buyer along through each phase, your odds of success will skyrocket. If you miss one of the phases your sales process will come to a grinding halt.
So, who (or what) is AIDA, and how come it is so important?
I recently saw a very meaningful blog post:
“CEOs hankering for sales results are constantly on the move for the marketing silver bullet. This has, and always will, put pressure on the marketing department and why the “quick hit” is so appealing. But gone are the days when you could buy a list, send out a direct mail piece and watch the sales pour in. And although today’s tactics have changed, a couple of tweets on Twitter won’t help you hit your sales targets either. For today’s marketer, it all about consistently delivered value-added content and ideas that help potential customers engage and educate themselves on your product or services. Whether you like it or not, the long haul is the only thing that will deliver ROI”.
Absolutely true! The “Quick Fix” sale assumes that people will buy on impulse. While it is true that there are some products or situations where this is true, in the vast majority of sales situations, it is absolutely false, and trying to buck the rules of the game will just not fly. In just about all cases, that money spent will be as good as flushing it down the “you know what”.
So, understanding consumer behaviour will help you make better sales (and marketing decisions), and knowing AIDA will help. No, AIDA is not your new, magical, wand carrying Sales Director – it is in fact a really simple acronym for the four stages that all buyers need to be moved through in order to make a buying decision. It also explains why the “Quick Fix” approach will never work consistently and provide ongoing sustainable leads and sales.
The important thing with AIDA is that no phase can be missed, and the buyer has to move through all phases in the correct order before any decision to move on (and ultimately make the sale) can be made. So let’s understand AIDA:
Until a buyer is aware of you, your company or your products and services, there is absolutely nothing they can do. You must grab their attention and create the basic knowledge of who you are, what you stand for and why they should care – what makes you different or relevant to them. Provide them with the basic understanding or story behind why they need your product or service.
Once a buyer has basic knowledge, they are ready to move on to Interest, because something about your story, product or service resonates or truly catches their interest. At this stage they are now hungry for more information.
Your story, message or offering has piqued their interest to such a degree that they are now ready to find out more because they are in a position to buy. At this stage, they have still not made a final buying decision. They may be evaluating competitive offerings at the same time.
This is where the real sales “rubber hits the road”. Your sales pitch needs to close the deal and convince the buyer to choose you over the competition. Whether the sales pitch is direct, over the phone, over the internet or via some other means, it is critical to stand out from the crowd. If the previous 3 phases are done well, this stage is likely to be a little easier. This is where the buying decision is made and desire turns to action.
You’re probably asking: how long does this process take? While there is no definitive timeline, some processes may take seconds while others may take months. It’s critical to know your prospects so that you can plan the process out as best as possible. Most purchase decisions that are not “impulse buys” will probably demand specific approaches for each phase, since the buyer is in a different mode in each phase and requires a different message depending on their state of mind.
Hence the blog writer’s conclusion that sales and marketing for the long haul is the answer. Ensuring that your sales effort is a specifically crafted part of that process is critical. Sales and marketing are absolutely and irrevocably linked. If you break that link you will be doing yourself a disservice. Leveraging that link will ensure that AIDA becomes your soul mate (or should that be sale mate?) and that you are able to develop campaigns that become more meaningful to your prospects and provide you with better odds at ultimately making the sale.
Embrace AIDA – you’ll love what she can do for you!!!
About the Author
Neville Pokroy is a principal of Mastermind Solutions Inc. He runs the Marketing practice, which includes strategic marketing planning and execution, and now also includes the Digital Umbrella. Neville has over 25 years experience in corporate marketing and consulting in entrepreneurial businesses across an extensive range of industries. Neville’s special skills include the ability to translate his corporate marketing expertise into a disciplined set of marketing skills ideal for entrepreneurial businesses.
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