I had to laugh at my 18 year old son the other day when he couldn’t connect with a friend because his cell phone was down and he wasn’t on Facebook. This friend might as well not exist, in my son’s world. I suggested he look up the family phone number in the phonebook which my son thought was absolute “genius,” (a rare complement as many of you with kids this age know). I went to grab the phonebook for him, because I knew he had no idea where this book lives, but alas he had already found it online.

Think about the last time you purchased a product or service. Just like my son with seeking a phone number, you naturally follow a buying pattern probably without realizing you are doing so. And, if you are like over 90% of the population, a lot of that buying pattern is done online.

Understand your prospects buying pattern and give them what they need at every stage and you will ALWAYS attract and convert more sales.

It starts with a Timing Trigger – something happens that makes buying this product or service a priority on your to-do list.  Maybe your car broke down, the doctor told you need to lose weight, you have a big event that requires a new outfit, or someone or something interrupted you and made this product or service a necessity right now (e.g. impulse buy at the cash register or price sensitive deadline).

How can you interrupt and cause a timing trigger?
Did you know timing triggers make excellent headlines?

Next – (for bigger purchases) we enter Research Mode – look up info on the computer, ask friends, buy a how-to book and through our research mode we determine that we need a certain provider of goods.

Do you create educational material and share this online?

The question is do we already KNOW of a company that can help us? If that company has been out there networking, advertising, promoting their business, getting some media attention, then maybe we do. This is why P.R. advertising and promotional activities are very important. But what happens if we don’t KNOW? Then we will do one of two things – ask (Referrals) or “Google.”

When you Google your product or service, do you come up on the first page?

Once we know a company exists, we want to check them out to see if they really can provide us with what we are looking for. While this could mean a trip to the store, a lot of times for small businesses it most likely means a trip to their website. Do we LIKE what we see, what they say, what they do?

And do we TRUST that they will deliver?

Here’s a check list of some key elements that should be on your site:

  • A killer headline on the front page that tells a prospect they are on a relevant site.
  • A professional image that says you are a solid, reputable company
  • Reasons to choose you over your competition
  • Results, testimonials, information about your product, your process
  • Benefits of your products or services
  • Your story
  • Ways to reduce the risk from buying from you (guarantees, trial product, etc)
  • Ways to get engaged today (free report, free trial, free online publication, forum).
  • YOUR Contact info (don’t laugh….it’s crazy how often this is missed).

It’s only when our questions have been answered and we like and trust enough that we are willing to take the next step and purchase a product or service.

What’s interesting is that a buying pattern can take seconds, or months depending on how much risk is involved in the purchase. Low risk, we fly through the steps. High risk we need way more information.


Photo via Flickr user YourDon

AvatarCidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success, a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.