AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. I had stated in a certain article that a new born baby commences life with a practical demonstration of what sales professionals term the most critical part of a sale process. She draws the attention of the nurses or the mother and sustains their interest with a prolonged cry mandating them to desire to patronize him/her by taking action. Such way, a win-win situation is created. This is simply done through feeding, covering, comforting, assurances, etc. With this, a part of the sale process has been initiated and concluded. Other aspects of atypical sale process are prospecting, pre-approach, approach; needs assessment/presentation, handling objections, closing a sale and follow up. Focus today is on AIDA.
To further illustrate; a hungry one year old baby cries for food just to compel attention. Interest in her is compulsorily drawn by each delay as the shrill increases. A desire to placate is created and an action is usually taken through breastfeeding, giving her a toy or granting a desire.
Generally in life, it is a sequence of logical actions and steps that should be taken by a professional or lay communicator, be it a preacher or a politician soliciting for repentance or votes respectively; a teacher or a salesman pitching for a sale or even a written proposal to a prospect. A success of this process often times guarantees an action or commitment while the reverse is the case.
Probably without your observing this, I have broken down an often regarded technical aspect of a sale process with a simplistic analogy. I have also endeavored to decouple an otherwise complicated life scenarios that play out daily in every profession we are engaged in or activity we indulge in. It commences with drawing our attention, sustaining an interest, creating a desire which elicits an action of purchase, buy in, agreement, commitment or concurrence. In sales and marketing parlance, this model is called, A.I.D.A.
This is simply an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. It has actually been termed a sub mix in the communications or promotional mix (advertising, PR, sales promotions and personal selling) of the marketing mix (product, price, promotions and place or distribution channels which if well blended form a marketing strategy that produces want-satisfying goods and services) and actually plays out during presentations; whether practical or pre-recorded. It represents a model recommended to a salesperson or a communicator as it, to a large extent facilitates a purchase or a buy-in if well and successfully executed.
AIDA was first introduced by the top American advertising guru in 1898 called E. St Elmo Lewis. This model was used as a study for personal selling in insurance business. This model has long been proven as a veritable guide or checklist while making a presentation. The point here is that so long as the motivation for that discussion, proposal, meeting and the presentation is to elicit a desired line of action from your target, the natural sequence of action traverses the AIDA route except on extremely rare occasions. The essence of this discourse is therefore to drive home these steps through detailed analysis as a successful appreciation and application would most likely lead to close of a sale (purchase/sale of an item) or targeted impact. During the presentation stage of a sale process a communicator must endeavor to arrest the;
Attention to Attract
It is often stated that you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. The first few seconds of opening statements are the most critical as it will determine if you are worth further attention or if your proposal is worth further reading. Without grabbing attention, a consideration would never be made for a purchase or a buy in. Simply, the proposal is dead on arrival. Attention-grabbing could come through a statistic, a screaming headline, a seeming contradictory statement, a surprising statement, a joke, an enthusiastic spirit or anything that can pull a prospect towards you.
Advertisers and Editors exploit this strategy the most. In fact, an advertiser's basic principle behind every copy remains that it must attract attention and eventually persuade someone to take action. An experienced insurance salesman may start with an attention grabbing statement like; did you realize that 70% of children drop out from school on the demise of their sponsors? The most likely response form a prospect is Why? The attention is drawn. Because an insurance policy was not taken on the children? The salesman has an opening for a sale.
From an Engineer salesman; I have before you a product that can cut your diesel expenses by 50% monthly
Having grabbed the prospect's attention, next is to sustain it by asking what is commonly referred to as open-ended questions usually starting with how, what, why, etc. The essence of this is never to get the prospect to respond with a conclusive yes or no answer which is extremely risky. Listening is a skill usually missed out by most salesmen. An interest is usually sustained by getting the prospect to talk so long as you ask the right questions directly related to their problems or desire. Knowledge of your product stressing its benefits and articulating its suitability as a solution will facilitate your scaling this hurdle easily. Skillfully identify the prospects emotions from facial expressions. Some analysts have identified up to ten different emotions with a thin line dividing some of them ranging from angry to sheepish, happy, puzzled, upset to surprised; fearful, sly, tired to bored.
Ability to decipher the emotion and swap strategies is key here.
This has been described as a motivation to act. Give them this. This can be achieved through a practical demonstration of the product, working out the benefits in figures, referrals to where the product has successfully impacted the operations of another organization or benefited a user. Play around emotions. You can also create urgency. Another strategy is what analysts refer to as the scarcity principle which establishes to the prospect the impossibility of immediate supply due to scarcity. I personally have my reservations for this particular strategy as not a few would wonder why propose an unavailable product to them.
If the other steps have been successfully executed, the natural next line is to ask for the order. Many salesmen are carried away at this stage that they lose the opportunity. The right statements must be made here. Buying signals monitored. This is where an action is taken by the commitment to buy, buying, booking the product or an appointment for final decision. Closing techniques vary a lot. Some propose the alternatives technique (which product would you prefer, a term deposit or a current account?) or the presumption technique (how do you want the delivery?) Presently all over the world, consultative selling is the norm where a salesman is supposed to strike a convergence between his product and the prospect's need or solution to his identified problem.
Modern sales professionals have therefore recently added C which stands for Cognitive state of understanding the value of the product being proposed. This means that a prospect will have established the need for the product as matter of fact than emotionally once attention and interest have been established. However there is yet to be an agreement where to place this either as AICDA or AIDCA.
Next is S which stands for satisfaction. As previously stated, modern selling advocates consultative selling and also relationship selling to facilitate repeat and sustained purchase. It is assumed that only a satisfied customer can purchase a product again and possibly translate to an advocate which is the ultimate desire of any company for its customers.