Before the 1980s, selling was simple because the marketplace was a lot less crowded. There was less competition, fewer choices, and not much information available to a customer. If you wanted a Chevy, you’d simply go to the Chevy dealership and get one. There weren’t 6 dealerships to get a Chevy from, 5 magazines rating the different Chevys and 12 websites giving feedback and surveys on the various makes and models of Chevys.
Nope, there was just one dealership. So it was easier for customers to make a buying decision. “In the days of simple selling, the seller had the power because the buyer had very few choices.”
Now we’ve got a new situation, there’s now increased competition, information, choices and more buying resistance. Buyers have access to a tremendous amount of information about a product or service. Buying cycles are longer. There’s now price competition that didn’t exist before. “Now buyers have the power because they have more choices and access to more information.”
Adding to this is “The Carbon Copy Scenario”. This is the consumer’s inability to determine whether any of the companies they’re considering are any different, better or worse than any of the others. Since all of their marketing is underdeveloped, underleveraged and essentially says the same thing, the only difference the customer can determine is…the price!
As a result, many business owners are forced to compete on price, which is always a losing proposition. Compounding the situation, their marketing strategy doesn’t address “The Buyer’s Spectrum” (see our VIDEO) and “The 6 Stages Of The Customer Buying Cycle” (See our VIDEO). Since they lack effective follow up systems, the majority of potential new customers are lost to their competitors.
We’re going to discuss the 6 stages of the customer buying cycle and how it affects you.
When someone decides they are going to buy something, there are 6 stages that they go through before they make their purchase. These 6 stages are: Interest, Options, Research, Decision, Exclude & Purchase
Stage 1) Interest: Prospective client has an interest (need or want).
Stage 2) Options: Prospective client starts to consider various solution options & gathering information on an informal basis. They also ask friends & associates for referrals. Solution options consist of other options other than hiring a company that does what you do (ex. they can do it themselves, hire a new employee to do it, buy a product that claims similar results, etc.).
Stage 3) Research: Prospective client does heavy duty research.
Stage 4) Decision: Prospective client makes the decision to buy your solution yet not necessarily who to buy it from.
Stage 5) Exclude: Prospective client shops and compares different vendors (you and your competition). Then they wait for the timing to be just right.
Stage 6) Purchase: Prospective client chooses a vendor and buys! Money changes hands.
Understand that without realizing it, you’ve been losing out to your competition at stage 5 of the customer buying cycle. If you’re marketing doesn’t make you stand out from your competition, if it’s saying the exact same thing that their marketing is saying, then you too are FORCING your prospective customers to make their decision based on price.
To fix this, your marketing must demonstrate that you are clearly SUPERIOR to your competition. It should clearly articulate why you are better, how you are better and provide actual proof. When done correctly, you can even charge more than your competition…and actually get it! It will cause your prospective customers to conclude, “I’d have to be an absolute fool to do business with any else except you regardless of price.”
We'd love to hear your thoughts and comments!