Proven strategy for making sales
Engaging customers and persuading them to buy requires skill and technique.
Many sales experts have developed sales models over the years to describe the process of selling. The AIDA model is perhaps the most well-known.
The AIDA sales model
The AIDA model identifies 4 sales process steps:
- Attention — getting your customer's attention
- Interest — stimulating your customer's interest
- Desire — creating in your customer a desire for the product
- Action — leading your customer to take action and buy.
Some contemporary sales advocates have suggested variations to the original AIDA model to support today's online and highly competitive sales markets. Adding an 'S' for satisfaction, or a 'C' for conviction, these variations recognise the importance of ensuring customers are satisfied with their product choices, and increasing their belief in those products. The principles of the AIDA model, however, remain the same.
In today's multimedia sales environment, sellers need to grab customer attention fast. Make sure you:
- appeal to your customer's emotions
- pose a challenging question
- use humour
- use a message that relates to current events
- use powerful, action-orientated words
- personalise communication directly to your customer — use 'you' and 'your'.
Today's customers are well-informed and cynical, and their time is precious. Holding their attention is your greatest challenge. You should:
- pitch the features of your product that set it apart
- if you can, show your customers your product's features and benefits
- when speaking to your customers in person, make good eye contact, smile and focus solely on your customer
- start a conversation that helps you find ways to personalise your product and target it directly to your customer's needs.
Your customer needs to make a personal or emotional connection with your product in order to buy it. It is a good idea to:
- make statements that appeal to your customer's needs and wants
- use empathetic language that identifies with your customer and tells them you understand
- personalise your statements with direct language (e.g. 'You will find this invaluable', rather than 'This is invaluable')
- frame questions that appeal to your customer's emotion (e.g. 'Would your mum enjoy this?')
- pitch your proposition as an 'opportunity' that will not return
- talk about the benefits, benefits, benefits.
Turning your customer's desire for your product into action is your final step to closing the sale. Ensure you:
- offer an incentive to close the sale
- affirm your customer's decision to buy
- give your customer clear directions about what you want them to do such as visiting your website, filling in a form or making a phone call
- don't rush your customer once they've made their purchase - show them you're more interested in them than the sale
- give your customer a reason to return after you've closed the sale, such as wanting to buy another related product.
Consumers are becoming sceptical to marketing claims and are now seeking evidence to support your claims.
- Use hard data to support what you claim
- If you don’t have access to data, try to build some. This can be achieved by market led research (e.g. customer surveys) or through third party verification.
This extension means that the sale doesn’t just stop on purchase. But awareness if the purchase was liked or not is an important stage for monitoring success.