Understanding the Consumer Decision Making Process

Consumers don’t make a purchasing decision based on one simple question. The consumer decision making process is a five step process. As a business you should understand and know about it in order to identify methods to influence your consumers.

By identifying your action plan to entice your consumers, you can secure a better sales success rate.So what are the five stages of the Consumer Decision Making Process and how can you change your practices to assert some authority over the process?

Stage One: Problem Recognition

At the very start, the consumer needs to recognise the need for a solution to a problem they are experiencing. They also need to have a desire to invest time and / or money into the solution. The recognition of the problem can come internally to them, for instance they realise they have an ineffective system.

Alternatively you can enforce that need. This can be done either through effective sales calls or good marketing (i.e. social media, blogging, e-mail marketing).

You want to initiate a conversation with an individual and speak to them about their current status and gently remind them of where they should be

Stage Two: Information Search

The second stage is where the consumer will look for the options available to fix their problem. In some cases, where you are directly communicating with them, you have very direct control to present to them several options to solve their issues.

In some cases the consumer will look online for the answer, which is why good websites with effective SEO and sales pages are an asset. Either way you should be able to easily present options for your potential customers.

Stage Three: Evaluation of Alternatives

During the third stage of the process, the consumer will evaluate the alternative solutions to their problem. These options may be made up entirely of your services or they may be a mix of yours and competitors.

The alternatives may also include fixing the solution themselves or doing nothing about it.

You need to ensure you have provided the key benefits to the customers of using your services. Good communication is an excellent method of persuading the consumer you are the right fit to solve their problem. By ensuring your benefits and costs are clear and you have utilised a good sales process, you can excel at demonstrating you are the better option.

Stage Four: Purchase Decision

This is when the decision to commit to a purchase is made by the consumer. You can make this decision easier and reduce ‘transactional abandonment’. Make the purchasing process smoother for the consumer and ensure there are limited blocking features.

The Fifth Stage: Post Purchasing Evaluation

The post purchasing evaluation occurs after the purchase has been made. The consumer will review their purchasing decision, to determine whether or not it was the right one. By having good customer service with effective customer communication you can ensure you receive a positive review.

If their experience is positive enough, the consumer will be more likely to return to you, should they require complementary services again.


The five stage Consumer Decision Making process is a simple one to understand and getting to grips with its principles can be centric to defining your sales process. Try to develop a method in which yoursales process can integrate and address each of the stages of the Consumer Decision Process to increase your service’s sales.

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