Not all buyers are impulsive, even though research suggests 64% of people make impulse purchases at least once a month.1 When it comes to complex products and services with a bigger price tag or promise — here’s a glimpse of a non-impulsive buyer’s journey.
What is a Buyer’s Journey?
Think of all the products and services you’ve purchased.
The roof over your head. The clothes on your back. Even the food you put on the table.
Each of these decisions to buy was influenced by a variety of factors and forces.
Let’s say you’re a student looking for a place to live close to your university. You want the cheapest place possible so that you have more money to spend on booze and bad decisions.
A student’s buyer’s journey might look something like this:
- I need a cheap place to live (aware of a need to buy something)
- I search on Facebook Marketplace and ask my friends (searching for options to buy)
- I find a run down crappy room crammed with 17 other students who share the same toilet for $305 a month on a 1-year lease plus first, last, and a damage deposit (making a decision to buy)
And voila! You’ve just mastered the art of understanding the buyer’s journey.
Click here to download your certificate, feel free to send a donation for this cutting-edge information, and don’t forget to leave a 5-star review on Google.
But seriously, when it comes to big and important buying decisions, the journey is much more complex.
The Buyer’s Journey is a topic you’ll want to learn and master quickly, especially if you want to:
- Start and grow a profitable business
- Become a successful 6-figure freelancer
- Sell lots of stuff from your website
Unaware > Aware > Consideration > Evaluation > Decision
Most people have no idea that you or your business exists. And, in some cases, they may be completely unaware that they have a problem that needs to be solved.
Sooner or later, these unaware people experience a triggering event that makes them aware of their situation or a pain point that needs to be solved.
- Mr. XYZ is a business owner that lost +50% of its customers due to COVID-19 and doesn’t have the digital infrastructure to find new leads and customers online.
Prior to this triggering event, Customer XYZ didn’t bother to invest in a website. Your customers are likely in a similar situation. They do not know they have a problem which makes whatever you are trying to sell completely irrelevant and uninteresting to them.
While you can be the annoying salesperson that forcibly triggers experiences and events that lead people to believe they need your product or service — a more ethical approach would be to share helpful information.
“Don’t sell to anyone in this stage — all you should be doing is informing people of the best ways to tackle any major [challenges].”Belal Batraway
In the marketing world, you need to know who are your customers — this is called your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Within your ICP, you should have details on your customers’:
- Pain points
- And so on
It’s slightly hypothetical but rooted in real-world data. And if you do it right, your ICP can help you to not waste time selling to everyone, but instead, concentrate time, energy, effort, and money on selling to the right people.
With your ICP, you can start producing content and resources to address your buyer’s journey. More specifically, you can relate to their problems and provide tips, strategies, and stories of how to overcome them.
So, your ideal customer just had an armageddon-like experience. They’re aware of a problem but they still don’t know what kinds of solutions are available to them.
Like most people with advanced, modern technology in their pocket, they turn to Google to look for answers. Suddenly they are bombarded by 1,000s of solutions and offers to make the pain go away.
But, before any product or service is considered — you need to be able to relate to people where they’re at.
In other words:
- Do you really undestand what that person is experiencing?
- What long-standing problems will happen if they continue as they are?
- How do other companies solve their problem are what’s so different from the way you do it?
In the case of Mr. XYZ, he’s become aware that he needs a website, and if he continues without one, his business may not survive.
“Still don’t sell — now you’re attacking the status quo and letting them know doing things the old way will become dangerous.”Belal Batraway
While he’s still not convinced to buy anyway, Mr. XYZ may be asking himself:
- What happened to other businesses in my situation?
- What solutions did they consider?
- What was the outcome for them?
If you can put yourself into your customer’s shoes, you can produce better content and messages that not only kickstart a new relationship but also position yourself in a buyer’s journey as an opportunity to solve their problem.
Great! You’ve got their attention and you’ve earned their eyes as they begin to consider your product or service.
Instinctively, you’re hoping they start clicking on “add to cart” or “buy now” but you gotta slow down, tiger!
“Yep, still don’t sell. You’ve shown them the world is changing, now you need to understand what those changes mean to them. It’s all about impact.“Belal Batraway
BUT — NOBODY LIKES OR WANTS TO CHANGE.
People are “set in their ways” and it takes a lot of effort and energy to change things. But remember, every “triggering event” is a catalyst that not only encourages change — there’s no other option but to do it.
That’s why it’s so important to be able to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You need to know what’s happening to them and the changes necessary to make the world better.
Do that and they’ll begin to evaluate your offer to determine whether yours is the right one for them.
You’ve done it! Congratulations.
You’ve captured attention and eyeballs are looking at your offer.
That’s right, Mr. XYV is looking to you for a new website. Actually, he took a few seconds to evaluate your offer along with 17+ other top Google search results, and 3 recommendations from his LinkedIn network.
Oh, and let’s not forget that one spammy email from Nigeria that normally goes to spam, but in this urgent state to change, it’s now being considered as a smart solution.
“Okay, okay, now you can sell. Deliver the new world view. Tell them the promise land is real and show them how your customers got there and how they can too.”Belal Batraway
When people are evaluating your solution, you need to show them what the world looks like with your product or service in it.
This is where the benefits of your solution matter most and words like:
- Reduced your costs
- Fixes things faster
- Increase your ROI
- And so on
Become the persuasion you need to trigger a buyer’s journey toward the decision to buy. You also need to do so in a way that positions you like the better, best, or ideal solution when compared to your competitors.
You may want to consider what makes you different, how are you better, and why should someone choose you over something else that may be cheaper or of higher quality.
While impulse buying is a decision we tend to regret but Amazon will give a refund anyway — a typical buyer’s journey is more complex. This is especially true for bigger buying decisions and they are made in a two-step process.
First, our decision to buy is emotional. Second, the reason we stick with our buying decision is rational.
“We make emotional decisions first using the “old, limbic brain” and then rationalize using the “new, neocortex brain”. This is where you justify their purchase with ROI and fancy spreadsheets.”Belal Batraway
For Mr. XYZ, he’s drawn to the idea of finding more customers with a new website. He may not know how to make a website himself, but the web designer he considered and evaluated did a damn good job of:
- Understanding his situation
- Explaining how to fix it
- Offering a cost-effective solution to do it
- And so on
Let’s say Mr. XYZ is motivated by greed. Words like “get more” or “10X your profit” will appeal to his emotional side while case studies and past client work will help satisfy his rational side.
Defining your buyer’s journey
There are many models to help you understand a buyer’s journey. This 5-step journey is just one of the many frameworks to help you understand the experience people go through from never knowing about your product or service all the way to making the decision to buy it.
Whatever steps come in between, your ability to sell to people will be directly proportional to your ability to make a connection on an emotional AND rational level.
This could be:
- Knowing the right talking points while on a discovery call
- Posting blog content that shows your expertise in solving a specific problem
- Turning your product features into highly relatable (and desirable) benefits
- And so on
If you want an outsider’s perspective on your business, I highly recommend a 1-hour consultation with me.
During this hour we can theorize your buyer’s journey, review your website performance, brainstorm ways to convert features into benefits, and much more.
Otherwise, I’d love to hear about your ideas on Buyer’s Journey in the comments.