Anyone involved in the sales and marketing of a company has heard about sales funnels and their importance. What may not be quite as familiar is AIDA. AIDA is a simple acronym that was devised a long time ago as a reminder of four stages of the sales process (Strong, 1925). AIDA stands for:

  • Attention – first get their attention: surprise them.
  • Interest – second hold their attention: listen to their challenges; you ask the questions and let them do the talking!
  • Desire – third show them how your product is uniquely suited to solving their challenges.
  • Action – fourth ask them to take the next step. Be careful here! Don’t push something they aren’t ready for. Maybe the next stage is another meeting, or more information, or a product demo. The key is to keep the ball rolling in the direction they want it to go.

This is a fairly simplistic model but that does not mean that it is no longer of value. In fact, its relevance in today’s flat economy is more important than ever. The key is knowing how to put each of these into strategic actions.

Just 10 years ago most sales presentations were made face-to-face but that has dramatically changed with today’s digital marketplace. Most of the time a virtual meeting of one kind or another will occur before a sales representative shakes a prospect’s hand and looks them in the eye. Getting your prospect though the various AIDA stages leading to that personal visit is the strategic key to getting that appointment. There are three important questions you need to be able to answer in the affirmative with great persuasion.

1. Do you have what I want?

2. Why should I get it from you?

3. Are you the kind of person and company I enjoy working with?

Assuming you can persuasively convince your prospect on each of these prerequisites, here is a key strategy that will lead to a purchase decision: The added value you can provide.

Adding Added Value

Having a lot of knowledge about your product and/or service is great, but if it does not connect back to a direct benefit to your prospect, you may share a lot of information but if it doesn’t lead to a sale it’s not worth much. The main mission of a sales representative is to find out what will best meet the needs of the prospect and deliver it with the appropriate specifics they want.

Your added value solution should include the following factors:

  • Correct pricing
  • All inclusive product/service/support in one package
  • Disclosure of any 3rd party relationships
  • Guarantees and policies for returns and exchanges
  • Tracking tool that will keep your prospect informed of your progress
  • Customer service plans available at the time of purchase
  • Locations and representatives supporting your products/services
  • Policies governing the use of your products/services including what can be used in multi-locations

Throughout all of these discussions the most important dimension to achieve is to build trust with your prospect. This is because at the end of the day when the prospect is making the decision to go with your product he/she will heavily factor in their experience with you on the phone, through email, and the various ways you communicated with them. Was it enjoyable? Informative? Did you provide them with the information they were looking for in the dosage they could absorb? Chances are, if you can answer yes to all of these questions you are well on your way to making a sale.