The customer buying process (also called a buying decision process) describes the journey your customer goes through before they buy your product. Understanding your customer’s buying process is not only very important for your salespeople, it will also enable you to align your sales strategy accordingly.

1. Problem/need recognition

This is often identified as the first and most important step in the customer’s decision process. A purchase cannot take place a state of felt deprivation. The need may have been triggered by internal stimuli (such as hunger or thirst) or external stimuli (such as advertising or word of mouth). For example if you are a Fashion Designer in the Nigeria, the need can be stared up when a potential client a dress you made for her friend or saw your advert on Linda Ikeji

2. Information Search

Now the customer will begin searching for information to help them find the best solution to their problem. Most people will immediately turn to friends, family members, and colleagues for recommendations. So you should always make sure your product or service is top notch

3. Evaluation of alternatives

As you might expect, individuals will evaluate different products or brands at this stage on the basis of alternative product attributes – those which have the ability to deliver the benefits the customer is seeking

So, the one thing you could do at this stage is to offer a lot more value than your competition & communicate that with your customers. This can be easier in some industries

4. Purchase decision

The penultimate stage is where the purchase takes place. Philip Kotler (2009) states that the final purchase decision may be ‘disrupted’ by two factors: negative feedback from other customers and the level of motivation to accept the feedback

5. Post-Purchase Evaluation

You may think you are in the clear now but your work doesn’t end after the customer makes their purchase! Customers will evaluate their purchase based on previous expectations and decide whether or not they are satisfied. If they’re not happy with your product, they’ll just never use it again – and everyone knows that recurring customers are much better than those buying just once.