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Saturday, 23 November 2013

Influences in making buying decision

A buyer approach in making a decision is affected by four main influences, these being:
  1. Transactional Process Buyer - considered as a short-term sale. Buyer already knows what he/she needs. From a seller perspective little or no product knowledge is required.
  2. Consultative Process Buyer – considered as a long-term sale. Both the buyer and the seller collaborate where the seller has to develop a relationship (in terms of needs and wants) with the buyer. In this manner crafting a solution for the buyer to achieve the buyer’s objectives
  3. Strategic Alliance Buyer - An arrangement between the buyer and the seller that have decided to share resources to undertake a specific, mutually beneficial project. This is usually happens between companies. 
  4. Consumer Routine, Limited or Extended Problem Solving – Buyers will not always engage in the five-stage buying decision-making process. The amount of effort exerted in information gathering and problem solving may vary. In reality, they may skip or minimise one or more stages depending on the level of involvement.
In all of this remember to review the buyer's "understanding", "black box" and "perception".

Friday, 22 November 2013

Your Buyers Perception

For your business to gain success comes from understanding your buyer.

To do this you have to comprehend the perceptions of your buyer. Their perception impacts and influences their buying decisions and behaviour. A classic error that a business gets into is a price war with other similar businesses. But this leads to sabotaging your profit margins.

Instead understand your customers' perceptions and only then your bottom-line will show the results.

To realise the buyers’ perception you need to enter the “BLACK BOX” of a buyer.  This permits to see to see the world form the buyers’ perspective. 

A buyer’s perception can simply be explained as follows (thank you NLP):

It is vital to understand the perception of the buyer in three ways:
  1. Knowing Your Buyer Perceptions – in terms of what how they perceive the world around them
  2. Comparisons To Competitors – in terms of how they compare you to your competitors
  3. Understand Brand Perceptions – in terms of how the view your actual brand itself
According, to there are nine key dimensions to buyers perception these being:

1.     Perceived Risk
2.     Relative Advantage

Secondary Dimension

3.     Observability
4.     Immediacy
5.     Complexity
6.     Compatibility
7.     Trialability
8.     Divisibility
9.     Availability

Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the buyer types as this allows see what is happening in their “black box” thus adapt your style during the sales process.  

According to Merrill and Reid there are four personality types or social styles thus in simple terms there are four types of buyer (image from

In other words perception will allow you understand the process by which your buyer identifies, organises, and interprets information to create meaning of your product/service.

The BLACK BOX of a Buyer

An easy way to comprehend what influences the buyer is to see, feel and hear the buying scenario by reviewing the
work of the renowned marketer professor Philip Kotler. 

In psychology the “black box” is used to explain the unexplained. As humans are unable to fully comprehend the human brain but what we can do is observe the actions and choices taken. We can only observe what is happening on the outside but what is happening within the brain (the actual thought process) this is beyond our control. This so called what is happening within the brain is defined as the “black box”.

The "Black Box - The Stimulus-Response Model" by Philip Kotler is an easy way to realise what influences the buyer:

When we relate this to the buyer the Philip Kotler’s model gives us an insight on what influences the buyer, this being:

In this black box remember the buyers characteristic is crucial as this has a great impact when buying. A close look at this shows the buyer characteristics consist of:

In fact we could relate this to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when looking at what influences a buyer:

When the global financial crisis of 2008 happened the sales of new cars dropped significantly. One manufacturer did the unthinkable and their sales were not impacted by this global downturn. 

The company was Hyundai, they clearly understood that customers have a need and want to feel secure and safe. They simply introduced the idea of customers returning their cars back if they were unable to make the payments without sabotaging their credit rating.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Six Questions to Understanding Your Buyers Behaviour

A number of years ago I was asked to understand my buyers’ behaviour. My initial (internal) reaction was  “Why do I need to do that?”  This reaction is not just mine; it is a reaction of most individuals working in a sales environment.

The truth is no matter what your position is in the organisation it is a good idea to educate yourself about this topic. Without such an understanding, you and the businesses will find it extremely difficult to provide the client’s needs and wants.

In other words you have to develop the skill to find out what makes the client’s tick to buy your product/service. To understand the behaviour of your buyer you need to ask the following six crucial questions:

  1. What are the reasons for the buyer buying? A buyer will have both a rational and emotional reasons for purchasing a service/product. So, is it the emotional reason or the price (rational reason) of the purchase, which is most important? Any parent will tell you when buying something for their child (such as health care) the emotional reasoning tend to play a great part in the decision-making of the purchase.
  2. How often does the buyer buy? Providing your service/product at the right time allows you to strategically introduce your product/service to the buyer. For example consider a car manufacture they tend to launch a new car of the same model usually once a year. This allows them introduce certain new features to the new car that were not available in the earlier car.
  3. Is the buyer buying for someone else? In a number of cases the actual buyer is purchasing the product/service for someone else. A good example of this is when a man buys a ring for his would be wife. In such a scenario the seller needs to take into consideration the influence of both parties during the selling process.
  4. What does the buyer buy? Apart from having knowledge about your own product/services it is always a good idea to know what else your buyers buy. By doing so you will be able to identify common interests of your buyers. In this manner become target specific with your marketing and sales tactics.
  5. From where does the buyer buy? By recognising where your buyers buy it gives you the opportunity to focus to sell through those particular channels. For example are they buying from a website, online store, an outlet, distributor or referral source.
  6. Where is the buyer getting their information? Today’s buyer has far more access to information than ever.  The classic information source has been family, friends and publications. Nowadays with great advancement in technology your buyer can get instant access to information and reviews through online portals accessible via their smart phones. So, having a good online presence has become a crucial for the seller.

Understanding you buyers’ behaviour by asking these core six questions allows you to take a journey of achieving the following:

1.     Relating more to your clients by seeing their perception of the buying process
2.     Building and developing a relationship with clients happens at a faster pace

3.     Responding to clients needs and wants gives you an competitive advantage

Monday, 18 November 2013

Trust through Rapport

Your ability to relate to yourself and others is very important in whatever you do. Rapport is all about creating the essence of respect, understanding and cooperation. All of this involves the use of your senses:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthic
In public speaking/presentations for you to influence, persuade and convince someone requires for you to connect with your audience using positive rapport thus establishing trust with them. Sometimes, this is not easy.

I still recall during my third year in university when I did a presentation to my classmates and the lecturers. In my eyes it was a disaster although I passed the session. What dawned on me was that we were never guided on how to present. In fact when I rewind back into my university years this essential skill was not present in our lecturers and in most of their session the entire class would simply fall asleep.

For you or I to influence, persuade and convince the most crucial thing is to establish within ourself the IKO of a Great Speaker. Thereafter you need to  relay to the audience:
  • Who you are?
  • What you do?
  • What is the purpose of your talk?
  • How it impacts (benefits) the audience? 
You need realise every action you take, word or sentence you say is dictated by the VAK representational system. The patterns of your language reflect whether you are connecting through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic means.

This pattern you use gives an insight on how you think and how your brain is sorting information. So, it necessary to know your audience has a pattern too and you need ensure you consciously utilise all of the VAK representational system to connect with the audience. Not all of them will relate to your pattern so you need to adapt.

One of the tools you could use to build positive rapport with the audience is through mirroring and matching. This includes:

  • Verbal (words and sentences)
  • Non-verbal (body language, gestures, emotions etc)
  • Breathing
  • Voice

Knowing this will allow you to connect and stay connected with your audience. Thus permitting you to create and develop a very deep positive rapport which leads to influencing, persuading and convincing the audience at an unconscious level.