There’s no way to get around it: improving your sales is tough. But it doesn’t have to be! Find out how you can create a streamlined sales process below.
All businesses want more customers. It’s the whole point! It’s most likely why you’re reading this blog. The problem is: sales processes are rarely optimised, having been built in line with running the rest of the business. For many small or medium-sized enterprises, this becomes an even bigger problem, as the person in charge is trying to run everything while selling at the same time.
So what can we do about it? How can we make things work smoothly, without having to stretch our already thin budgets further? How can we go about improving our sales, both in quantity and quality?
We use the AIDA model.
The AIDA model
The AIDA model is a sales process that will help almost any business find more customers and improve sales. The AIDA model looks at a variety of different aspects of the sales process and breaks it down into easily manageable chunks:
A – Awareness
I – Interest
D – Desire
A – Action
A – Awareness
Direct selling is effectively coaching people and prospective customers to buy products or services from you. So as a coach, you need to take the customer on a journey.
This journey starts with making them aware that your product exists. This is very obvious in this context, but the reality is that many businesses forget this vital part of the selling process. Without enough interest in your product to begin with, you’re wasting time and money on closing sales or generating desire before anybody knows you or your products exist. Customers can’t buy something they don’t know exists.
Customers often don’t wait for us to tell them the product exists either. In sales, we have to tell our customers arguably at least seven times to get the message to sink in. While generating awareness isn’t necessarily difficult, it can be time-consuming. That’s why many businesses skip this stage, as it seems unprofitable.
You can advertise. You can tell people, you can make calls or visit them, you can host shows; there’s a whole host of ways to make people aware that your product exists.
This stage is purely about collecting leads, finding potential customers and identifying opportunities. Don’t expect your sales to come from this stage (although obviously it would be great if they do!); this stage is purely about setting our sights on the target. If we do this properly, we’re more likely to get a bullseye! You’ll be improving your sales numbers and the quality of those sales with a bit of hard work at this stage.
I – Interest
Your audience knows you exist, so now you need to generate interest. While similar to growing awareness, interest is capturing your customer’s imagination, making them question whether the product is worth their time or money.
For salespeople, this is the fun bit, since it requires us to be creative and unique. A good way to approach this is to avoid just listing the features of the product (“This is the product. The product does this”).
That’s obvious to the customer. Unless you’re selling something entirely unique, why would they choose your product over your competitors?
The trick is to tap into their emotions. Will that new product make them feel happy? Will it make life simpler? Will it resolve that issue they’re having? Will it remind them of great times?
People remember how something makes them feel.
To hook onto this, look at the product or service’s features and focus on what benefits they give our customers.
Let’s use a smartphone as an example. Sure, a smartphone can make calls, they can connect with friends and family, network at work and all, but are those calls cheaper? Is the phone microphone and high-quality speaker resulting in better audio? What other features does it have?
Maybe it has a calendar to help those who like to plan. Can you play games on it during a commute, taking away the boredom of sitting on a train or bus with nothing to do every morning and evening?
The benefits are easy to see with smartphones, hence their popularity, but what about your product? How can you get a top-down perspective of what you’re selling and how can you list the features and the benefits of those features?
For this, we use the “so’s”.
- So what?
- So why?
- So how?
The way to determine whether you’re just reiterating a feature is to say “so what?” when mentioning what your product or service does:
“My smartphone does this.”
“Well, it streamlines your life by providing a calendar that you can share with others to make get-togethers and business meetings much easier. It also plays games so you don’t have to stare at the back of a chair during your commute. It also looks fantastic so you can feel awesome having a brand new smartphone that has the latest and fastest processor on the market.”
To sum up, generating interest is about finding ways to show the customer the benefits that they’ll have with your product.
- So what will the customer do with your product?
- So why would they use it?
- So how would it benefit them?
- So what else does it do?
Now that we are well known and we have explained what the customer gets, it’s time to make them desire your product.
D – Desire
Desire is one of the more complicated things to understand in the AIDA model. Desire sounds very much like interest, but it’s a little bit like product positioning and product marketing. Positioning is how the customer sees the product, while marketing is how the company wants the customer to see the product. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s important to get right.
With desire, we want the prospective customer to actually want to buy or desire the product.
For example, if you look at fashion, designer, or branded items, the advertising used is based on creating a desire for the buyer.
When someone buys a Rolex product, are they just buying a watch to tell the time? They’re actually buying into a lifestyle choice. Rolex watches are seen as valuable and extremely desirable.
When somebody buys a designer handbag, are they doing it so they can carry items? Or are they paying more because they want something that looks fantastic, tells people they have arrived and holds their items?
Use the benefits of interest to help create this desire in your customers and start improving your sales. This desire comes from the purchaser, but it’s up to you to facilitate that desire. One of the best ways to do this is to actually discuss the benefits and features with your customer and say: “What sort of thing are you looking for, and why?” You’ll facilitate the conversation, coaching them to think about what it would do for them. Then, you have set the scene for this desire to happen. It only requires a little push to get them to see how this product will tap into that emotional desire.
Of course, you’re not going to convert someone into buying something they don’t want, but if you’ve got the right target customer and the right product, you can use this methodology to differentiate yourself from the crowd and make more sales.
Also, when it comes to the price of these items, if you’ve managed to create the feeling of desire, customers tend not to be put off by higher prices. You’ll be able to charge a lot more for your product as a result. If done right, this higher price will then feed into desire more. Think about iPhones, for example. While their specs are in line with other phone manufacturers, they’re seen as more desirable, which increases their price, which in turn increases the idea of value.
A – Action
Action is the final nudge. This is the bit when your potential lead turns into a customer and hands you a stack of cash! At this stage, you’ve made your customer aware of your product, you’ve captured their interest and they desire the product so much that they want to close the deal.
Action is also the stage where the final barrier to the sale is addressed:
- Is the customer concerned about the price?
- Are they not quite sure about a certain feature?
- Is there an aspect of the purchase they’re not keen on?
Obviously, you can have a conversation with the customer to discuss these final issues. Perhaps you can mention that you’ll throw in a free product, or maybe you can offer a 5% off deal. How about free delivery? Perhaps it’s a limited stock?
Of course, if the customer is struggling with the budget, that’s not something either of you can help. Instead, you could say something along the lines of: “If I was to give you a better price, would you be able to get the budget?”. This proactive approach gives you a variety of benefits. Not only does it make your customer feel comfortable with saying they can’t afford that price; it also means that you’re willing to negotiate (always useful when selling). If they still can’t afford it, you’ll stick in their mind for when they can.
Look at what the customer’s need is and how you can profitably make the deal work for both of you.
Improving your sales with Joy of Sales software
The AIDA model is a very simple buyer behaviour model that can be used to take the customer on a journey from awareness to the final purchase. We’ve used it in our business and we’ve used it when we were developing our CRM software, JoS.
Our software not only transforms the way you work, but it also handles the difficult jobs involved with selling, so you don’t have to. All you have to do is close the sales. Find out more and get started!
Want to find out more about Joy of Sales and how it can transform your business sales process? Sign up for your free 30-day trial today.