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, Interest, Desire, Action.
It is, in modern terms, a fairly simplistic model. This does not mean that it is no longer of value--it simply means that it is not the whole story. The bottom line is that it is useful to use it as a checklist and guideline, but not as the only checklist or guideline.
First get their attention. Without attention, you can hardly persuade them of anything. You can get attention in many ways--a good way is to surprisethem.
When you are talking to them, the first few seconds are essential as they will listen most then and rapidly decide whether you are worth giving further attention. Don't waste these precious moments on niceties, grab the other person's attention immediately.
It is generally better to open with something that pulls them towards you rather than something that scares them (as this may push them away).
Good openers address their problems and begin with such as:
- Have you ever...?
- Are you noticing...?
- Can you see...?
Bad openers give them something to object to, demonstrate your disrespect, or just bore them to tears, and may begin with such as:
- I've got just the thing you want...?
- I just dropped by so that I might...?
- I was only wondered whether you could...?
Once you have their attention, sustain that attention by getting the other person interested.
You can get interest by:
- Listening to them talk about their problems.
- Telling them things that affect their problems.
- Demonstrating things, rather than just telling.
- Getting them actively involved.
Watch out for the boredom factor. You may be able to get someone interested, but you cannot expect to keep their attention for ever. If you want to come back some day, you should leave them wanting more, at least of your company.
Once they are interested in you and what you have to say, then next step is to create a desire in them for what you want them to do.
They can recognize that they have a need, but this is not desire. Desire is a motivation to act and leads towards the next stage.
Desire is like a fire, and can be stoked by many methods, such as:
- Showing them how the item to be desired will not be available for long (Scarcity principle).
- Showing how other people approve of the item and have acquired it for themselves.
- Showing them how what you have to offer will solve some of their problems.
This is the magic stage when they take action on their desires and actually buy the product or agree to your proposals.
The scariest point is where you ask for the sale or ask them whether they actually do agree fully with you.
Listen to the signals they are sending. Are they asking you about when you can deliver or what after-sales support you give?
Summarize the problem you are solving for them and how what you are proposing solves that problem.
Use the appropriate closing technique, such as alternatives ('Do you want the red or the blue?) or presupposition ('What time shall we meet next week?').
A variant on AIDA add a 'C' for Conviction. The ideas is that before you get to a final purchase action, a cognitive state of understanding the value is needed that matches the emotional state of desire. This sometimes appears before Desire (AICDA) and sometimes after (AIDCA), perhaps showing two different approaches: one which starts with getting a logical agreement and then moving to emotional desire, as opposed to creating desire first and then reaching the state when the purchase also makes logical sense.
The letter 'S' for satisfaction also gets added, indicating the fact that happy customers will buy more (whilst unhappy customers will tell their friends!).
This is often true, but is not necessary in all cases, depending on the sales methods (which can be highly emotion-based) the person (who may prefer emotional assessment, and the context (for example selling clothes can be very emotionally based).