How Buyers Make Decisions: A Multi-Step Process

buyer decidingAt this point, most companies understand that buyers generally research potential products and services online before they do anything else. But beyond that, what does the process of making a purchase decision look like? Let’s check out some of the most recent information on purchase decision theory, as well as some tips for using the process to a sales advantage.

Not All Buyers Decide the Same

An initial note: the purchase decision process is not the same for everyone, and people with different personality types tend to shop using slightly different methods. For example, some people tend to trust their guts and make snap decisions, while others might be more methodical and weigh each option over a period of time. Some people treat decision-making as an emotional process, while others are purely logical about it. Keep this in mind as you plan your strategy, and provide a little something that can appeal to different kinds of buyers.

Some General Stages of Buying

Your potential customers rarely buy anything the first time they see it. Instead, they go through multiple stages as they decide where to spend their hard-earned cash.

  1. First, the potential buyer begins their search. Around three-quarters of people will first turn to a search engine when they want to make a purchase, with about 15% first asking their friends for a recommendation.
  2. Next, a specific brand or item catches their attention.
  3. At this point, most people weigh that item against other similar ones. Most people will search with different keywords at least two or three times, coming back to the items that interest them repeatedly.
  4. Finally, the potential buyer becomes an actual buyer as they settle into a purchase choice.

Using These Stages to Your Advantage

With this knowledge in hand, you can craft your content to speak to each stage of the process. For example…

  • Start out with finely honed search terms to make sure that your brand comes up immediately upon the initial search.
  • Entice potential buyers with material designed to be short, to the point, and memorable.
  • Provide detailed information on your product or service so that buyers can easily compare it to some of their other options. Explain why yours is the best option.
  • Finally, use a strong call to action to help transform leads into conversions.

How does your business take potential customers through these stages of buying?

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Beans

Beans graduated from Smith College in 2011 with a BA in History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and has worked as a farmer, a cook on a food truck, and an archival assistant. Outside of writing and editing for CEM, Beans enjoys reading voraciously, watching space documentaries, and baking vegan treats. Currently, Beans lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

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