Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth (WOM). There are essentially 5 stages in the decision-making process.

They are:
1. Give the product a chance and transition from a “no” to a “maybe”;
2. Check out the options and investigate different products available;
3. Observe the product to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if it fulfills a need;
4. Become a customer and purchase the first item. Customers will be discriminating with their first product as they form their opinion of the business;
5. Purchase again and start spreading positive WOM as an advocate of the products.

Now let’s take a closer look at each one of these stages.

From “No” to “Maybe”
This stage is extremely important because if your potential customers don’t even take a second look at your products and/or services, you will have no chance of sealing a deal.
This is why you need to offer credible information and well thought out pricing, guarantees, and incentives.

Investigating Your Products
At this stage, potential customers are taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything there that could benefit their life. This is when you need to make sure your hard information is readily available for customers to view and compare.

Trial Period
Customers often feel more at ease and are more inclined to purchase an item when there is some sort of a trial period in place. Often they want to try vicariously through someone
else, so they there is absolutely no risk involved for them. A good way to offer this experience is through demo videos, product demonstrations, or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out too.”

Make a Purchase
At this stage, customers have assumed the risk of purchasing one of your products and/or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost effective, and satisfying your
product and/or service is. At this stage a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, you should get it!”

Advocates for Yours Products
At this final stage of decision making the customer is immensely pleased with your product and regularly uses it and/or comes back for more products and/or services. They
are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day, and have already returned, or will be returning soon, to your establishment for more.

Earlier, we touched on the different types of purchasers. Now we are going to take a closer look at their characteristics so you can determine which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.

The Innovator
• Wants to stand out from the crowd;
• Know what’s hot and on trend;
• Likes “strange” or “weird” new products;
• Wants to be the first to try and will discuss it enthusiastically.

Early Adopter
• Driven by excellence;
• More concerned with possibilities than realities;
• Always looking to be a leader;
• Always looking for a new vision.

Middle Majority
• Wants to be perceived as competent;
• Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons;
• Needs an easy way out if not satisfied;
• Wants products that meet the industry standard.

Late Majority
• Generally skeptical and wants to know the risks upfront;
• Needs to shop around for the best deal;
• Needs a support system;
• Wants what everyone else has.

• Needs it to be completely safe and traditional;
• Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong;
• Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort;
• Will search for loopholes and problems;
• Wants to use it in the standard industry way.

As you can see, each type of consumer wants something different depending on their personality type. The key to successful WOM is to target and cater to each type of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping and how to attract the types you are lacking, reach out to me for the resources and tools you need to get the job done.

Next time we’ll look at how WOM messages are delivered and what you can do to facilitate that.

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