Changing Minds

When was the last time you made a major purchase? As a marketer, did you analyze the steps that you went through in order to come to a decision and make that purchase? Think about the first time that the possibility of that product or service even hit your radar screen. Were you looking to solve a problem and in the middle of some research about this? Or did you first have some awareness of the product or service and then eventually learn why you absolutely needed it?

decision process 1The purchase process is an interesting thing to study, especially in the case of purchases where the decision seems to typically take a long time. Are you in that kind of market?

This chart illustrates the steps of the purchase process. It’s important to keep in mind that emotions play a role here for most people. You can sell on “gut feel”, but you have to figure out how to make that emotional connection.

People tend to make purchases on the advice of trusted peers or experts.

In the marketing process, we create all of these materials to bring awareness about our product. We might build brochures, a web site, a direct mail campaign or other advertising, and then send out the sales force. Time passes. Eventually there’s action taken, like a trial, a purchase or a recommendation. The illusion is that you can’t really do much while that time passes. But you can. And what you can do will shrink that time that typically goes into investigation, consideration and decision.

If we are engaging the influencer, we can impact and shorten the decision process. It’s a complete myth that you can’t harness and leverage the power of influencers.

Let’s think about how those trusted peers impact the decision process above. You’re already thinking that you want to do something different, look into a new product, or make a change. You’ve heard about this new product or service or management concept. Maybe you think it’s for people who have a different kind of operation than you do, bigger farmers or those with more working capital.

Let’s investigate without a trusted peer. We could read up on the product or service or management idea. We could wear out Google trying to learn from afar. We could ask around, talk to other farmers, and possibly find one with some experience with this. And maybe we just have to blindly try it.

In scenario two, the company has set up an opportunity for you to learn about this from someone who has been through the paces. It’s not a commercial, but you get access to this person, and they share honestly with you when you ask questions. You can essentially trial the new product by understanding how it worked for this farmer. You can live the product experience vicariously through this other farmer or neutral industry expert.

decision process 2This takes that “investigation, consideration, decision” timeline from above and compresses it. Using Word of Mouth allows you to try the product without trying the product.

Now you know. And you haven’t spent a dime.

This article gives you some additional information on the Word of Mouth process and how it’s helpful in changing minds.

You may have heard about Beck Ag and wondered what it is we do. We help our clients change minds; change behaviors. Once the prospects hear the answers from experienced customers, they buying cycle goes faster.

If you’d like to learn more about changing minds and changing behaviors through Word of Mouth strategies, please drop me a note at info@beckag.com.

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