Close More Sales By Understanding Your Buyers If you want to close more sales, you need to understand the three phases of the customer buying cycle.

By Pieter Scholtz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Bigstock

A common misconception is that business transactions are simple affairs: Customers express interest in something, they buy, and then they leave. This is a vast oversimplification of what is at work.

Business majors and entrepreneurs have spent decades plotting out and exploiting every step of a customer's buying process to better attract and retain clients. There are three sequential steps that customers take when they show an interest in purchasing something.

Each phase reflects a different stage of their mentality, meaning that the ideal strategy to exploit each phase will differ. These three phases are awareness, interest, and purchase.

Awareness is the phase where they first become aware of the product or service that you are offering. Interest reflects the period where they show that they might want to buy your product — a customer that enquires about specific details relating to what you sell would be a good example.

Targeted sales pitches are usually made in this phase. Lastly, purchase is the period where they make their final evaluation and the decision to purchase from you. Understanding how to address the needs of each phase will go a long way towards boosting your sales and securing long-term business from your customers.

1.Awareness

This is the incipient phase of a customer's awareness of who you are and what you are all about. This phase of the customer buying cycle is where customers make their first assessment of you.

This phase is important because it's where you can craft your message to appeal to the desired market segment. Another important tool that is commonly used during this phase is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

This refers to the practice of tailoring your website to the demographic that you wish to target. Businesses will commonly insert relevant keywords into their indexed pages with the intention of leading searching customers to their website.

2.Interest

This phase of the customer buying cycle is when customers express interest in buying from you. The awareness phase is where you grab their attention, and this phase is where you have a chance to build upon it.

Customers are typically non-committal during this phase; they are usually conducting additional research and/or shopping around. Targeting buyers during this phase means that you need to give your potential customer a compelling reason to purchase from you instead of your competitors.

The responsibility here is two-fold: First, you need to market yourself as the solution to the customer's unique problem. Second, you need to address the customer's needs and perspectives.

Businesses will frequently offer positive reviews and testimonials of their products to convince these potential customers that they offer the solution to their needs. Offering a persuasive sales pitch is only half of the solution: Make sure that the customer feels that you are concerned with what they want.

3.Purchase

This phase of the customer buying cycle includes not only the actual purchase of the product or service itself, but also the final evaluation. During this phase they might still be reviewing their options, however, the difference is that they have shown a distinct desire to purchase the product or service in question.

This gives you an opportunity to give the customer a more comprehensive overview of what it is that they wish to purchase, and it is also the appropriate time to upsell additional products or features. Car dealerships are especially fond of this point in the cycle.

Once the customer sits down and begins negotiating the price of their future vehicle, the sales team moves in and does everything they can to get that person to buy the car. Whether they slash the price, throw in extra bonuses or offer them rebates, they will do whatever it takes to turn that expressed interest into an actual sale.

This is where you want the sales team to take over: The amount of persuasiveness and personal magnetism they exhibit is every bit as important as their receptiveness and concern for the customer's needs.

Pieter Scholtz

Master Licensee

Pieter Scholtz is the Master Licensee for ActionCOACH South Africa. ActionCOACH is the world’s largest executive and business coaching company with operations in 41 countries. It is also on the list of the top 100 franchises globally. As a highly successful Business and Executive coach, Pieter is a master of teaching business owners how to turn their businesses around and accelerate their growth. Email him at pieterscholtz@actioncoach.com or phone 082 8813729.

Related Topics

Side Hustle

Getting Laid Off Allowed Him to Focus on His Sentimental Side Hustle. Now He's on Track to Earn Over $700,000 in 2024.

Alaa El Ghatit wasn't fulfilled at his day job. So he started LifeOnRecord to help people record memories and well wishes.

Entrepreneurs

26 Of The Richest People in South Africa

Here are 26 of South Africa's richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Growing a Business

Your Lowest Moments Can Pave the Way for a Creative Rebirth. Here's How to Master Setbacks.

On this episode of "Beyond Unstoppable," we unpack the secret art of embracing setbacks with Amy Shoenthal, journalist, marketing executive, and author of "The Setback Cycle."

Starting a Business

Establishing Your Home Workspace

Determine your needs and create a space that's right for you

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.