Stage One: Need or Want Identification
The buying process begins when an individual recognizes a need or want. This may be triggered by sales promotions of a seller, advertiser, a sales professional’s persuasion, a close friend, or any other influence within the buyer’s environment. After the buyer recognizes a need or want, the buyer begins to move towards purchasing a product or service that will satisfy this need or want.
A sales professional can play an important role in the need identification stage by suggesting and arousing awareness of the need or want that the prospect was unaware of and encourage the buyer to take action. People seem to have difficulty in discerning between their needs and wants. Our wants outnumber the needs we have in life. A need is that which is necessary for survival or to keep on living. The only basic needs we really have in life are for food, shelter, and clothing, which are items that help us sustain life. A want is a drive, wish, or demand for something not necessary for survival. As we obtain extra income or a surplus of money, we begin to desire things that are beyond the realm of our needs. Our minds tend to play games on us as we begin to believe certain things are necessary to survive in life. For example, we feel like a new car is needed as the present one begins to get old. Even though the old car still gives us the needed transportation to get from one place to another, we are no longer satisfied with it and believe that we must have a new one. This want, when driven by strong emotions, tends to take on the appearance of a need which must be satisfied to obtain any inner peace. By rationalizing wants into needs, we buy things that make life more comfortable. It is not enough just to get by with the essentials; we want to live in more comfort than we did the year before. This is one reason why many people buy products they can’t afford.
Stage Two: Information Search
Some needs and wants can be satisfied immediately by a purchase, and the buyer will obtain the product with little thought. This is common with inexpensive items like a hamburger to satisfy hunger, or a candy bar for a snack. When the need or want involves something that the buyer has had little experience with and is higher in price, the buyer may embark upon a lengthy