From Prospect to Purchaser
Behind every purchase is the buyer’s story. What was it that got him to buy what he did? Was it an ad? A blog post? Or was the product in the right place at the right time?
Whatever the answer, the driving force behind every purchase is the Buyer’s Journey—the study of the process that turns a prospect into purchaser.
The Buyer’s Journey outlines the steps a prospect takes, from discovering a problem they have, researching that problem, and eventually purchasing a product to solve that problem.
How to Make an Understanding of the Buyer's Journey Work for You
When you know where your prospects are in their Buyer’s Journey, you can target them with appropriate content that will move them along to a purchase. This understanding will let you know when your prospects are ready to buy.
At every step in the journey, you can create content that nudges your prospect further along on the Buyer’s Journey.
If you ask someone to buy too soon, you risk losing them forever. Knowing when it’s time to transition from attracting leads and trust-building to sales is crucial and making an offer at the wrong moment can lose you customers.
The Buyer's Journey is a 4-Step Process
The four stages of the journey from prospect to purchaser are as follows:
- Unaware. Prospect has never heard of you or your business. He does not know he has a problem you can solve.
- Aware. Prospect realizes he has a problem.
- Consideration. Prospect defines his problem and researches options to solve it.
- Decision: Prospect chooses a solution and moves from Prospect to Purchaser
#1. Unaware Stage
Unaware buyers have no need or desire for your products and/services. If someone doesn’t need what you are selling, it is difficult to convince them that they do, in fact, need you. They are not even thinking about your product, or the problem that your product can solve.
They are probably satisfied with the products they’re using and have no desire or intention to change. Their mindset is: “This is the way I’ve always done things and I’m not changing.”
Is it impossible to sell to Unaware prospects? Of course not. But you do have your work cut out for you.
To try to reach Unawares, you can tell them about a problem that most everyone has. Talk about people “like” them. “[INSERT CATEGORY OF PEOPLE HERE] are taking advantage of low interest rates to remodel their kitchens."
When you talk about people as a group, you plant the seed in your prospect: “if everyone like me is doing this, maybe I should do it, too.”
And your prospect is now aware of a problem they didn’t know they had before reading your message. They can also re-finance or apply for a HELOC to take advantage of low interest rates and remodel their kitchen.
#2. Awareness Stage
In the Awareness stage, the potential buyer is aware of their frustration but doesn’t yet know precisely what’s causing it. This is when they search online for the symptoms of their problem, looking for any information they can find. They are entering search terms in Google to try to understand more about what it is they are looking for.
People in the Awareness stage are not ready to be sold to, but they will be highly receptive to any source that helps them name and define their problem. This is the time to introduce people to your company by providing information that helps them understand the issue they are facing.
Blog posts that describe a problem and provide a number of solutions are most likely to get noticed by people in the Awareness stage.
Emphasizing the pain of your prospect's problem is a form of empathy that everyone responds to. It’s also a persuasive way to nudge your prospect on to the next stage in their journey: Consideration. Emphasize how you can solve their problem, and how much better their life will be after hiring you to design their new kitchen.
This is where the content on your website can pay off: if you can answer questions your prospects are asking, your content is in a great position to help them at this Awareness stage.
What Happens if the Awareness Stage is Skipped?
When the Awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey is not developed, you’re essentially using cold calling tactics on your prospects. And if you’ve ever had experience dealing with a telemarketer, you know this approach has limited (if any) results.
Cold calling turns people off because it asks the prospect to consider your product with no context. This is like expecting to harvest a crop when you never planted the seeds.
When you work at building awareness with your prospects, you are nurturing potential sales. Working to address where they are in their journey will ensure a much smoother ride to the intended destination—the sale.
#3. Consideration Stage
Your prospect is now aware they have a problem and that solutions exist to help them solve this problem. They have moved out of the Awareness stage into the Consideration stage.
The Consideration phase is all about a prospect’s looking at and comparing different products. Content for the Consideration stage should explain and demonstrate how your product or service will effectively solve the specific problem the prospect identified in the Awareness stage. Because of your content, your company is on their radar as a solution to their problem.
Some examples of content suitable for the Consideration stage can include:
- Product comparison guides
- Expert guides – How to’s, etc.
- Podcasts or webinars
- Product demo videos
- General FAQs
- Product brochures
- Explainer videos
At this stage, you are still delivering informative, educational information to help your prospect make the best possible decision. You want to be recognized as a trusted resource, not as a pushy, hard-sell salesman.
#4. Decision Stage
By now, the prospect is aware
- that they have a problem
- that there are solutions available
- that your business is a good solution for their problem.
They have seen your products via the internet or referrals from others. But they are still comparing you against other products.
Now it’s time to help them make their decision. Tell them why you are the best.
It’s time to sell. Convince your prospect that you and your design talents are the best fit for their needs. The biggest mistake people make at this stage is saying too much, so keep it simple.
Make a great offer, include a guarantee to reduce risk and let people buy.
After the Sale
If everything goes according to plan, and your buyers are happy with where they’ve ended up at the end of their journey, they can become a valuable resource. Satisfied and happy customers, who can speak positively about your product and the experience they’ve had with your company, are a powerful resource — and one you should work to cultivate.
Testimonials from satisfied customers is one of the only types of marketing that comes from the customer, not the company. It's very persuasive. That’s why happy, satisfied, and informed customers are important to the continued success of your business.
Your content isn’t for prospects only. Start a drip nurturing program for your existing customers with info about other products and services you offer they might like.
How is this Useful?
How do these four stages of the Buyer's Journey help you grow your business?
#1. They help you sell better.
#2. They take the marketing you’re already doing and make it more effective by targeting your prospects at the various stages of their Buyer’s Journey.
When you hear about “tailoring your marketing to the buyer’s journey,” this is what that means. When you understand these principles, you know exactly what to say.
Resources for Further Reading
Bob Aungst Cabinet Sales is a full-service rep agency whose goal is to match kitchen and bath designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele. Owner Bob Aungst III represents Brighton Cabinetry, US Cabinet Depot, Jay Rambo Cabinetry, Great Northern Cabinetry, and StyleCraft.