The 5 steps model of buyer behavior was first introduced by John Dewey in 1910, in his book “How We Think”. However, the model was further developed and popularized by Engel, Blackwell, and Kollat in their 1968 book “Consumer Behavior: Theory and Practice”.
This model, also known as the EBK model, outlines the five stages that consumers go through when making a purchasing decision: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation. The EBK model has since become one of the most widely used models for understanding consumer behavior in marketing and business.
The 5 steps in buyer behavior are a framework that describes the typical process that a consumer goes through when making a purchase decision. These steps are:
1. Problem Recognition:
The first step in the buyer behavior process is problem recognition. This is the stage where the consumer becomes aware of a need or a problem that they want to solve. This could be triggered by internal stimuli, such as a desire for a new product, or external stimuli, such as an advertisement or a recommendation from a friend.
2. Information Search:
Once the consumer has recognized a problem or need, they will typically engage in an information search to gather more information about the product or service that they are considering. This could involve gathering information from various sources such as personal experiences, family and friends, online reviews, and other sources.
3. Evaluation of Alternatives:
After gathering information, the consumer will then evaluate the various alternatives available to them. This could involve comparing the features and benefits of different products, considering their price and quality, and assessing how they meet the consumer’s needs and preferences.
4. Purchase Decision:
Once the consumer has evaluated the alternatives, they will then make a purchase decision. This could involve selecting a specific product or service, choosing a particular brand or store, and determining the quantity and timing of the purchase.
5. Post-Purchase Evaluation:
The final step in the buyer behavior process is post-purchase evaluation. This involves evaluating the product or service after it has been purchased and used. This could involve assessing whether the product met the consumer’s needs and expectations, whether it was a good value for money, and whether they would buy it again in the future. This stage is important because it can influence the consumer’s future purchase decisions and brand loyalty.
Overall, understanding the five steps of buyer behavior is important for marketers and businesses as it provides insights into consumer behavior and helps them develop effective marketing strategies that align with the consumer’s needs and preferences.
The 5 types of empathy.
You will hear people like Gary Vee say you need to use empathy in business to be successful. Everywhere for getting sales from customers, to giving “kind candor” to your team to develop their skills, and better manage performance expectations from business owners.
You will also hear leadership coaches talk about using kindness and empathy as a skill that great leaders possess.
But what I rarely hear is people talking about using different types of empathy in different situations. So, it depends on a person’s understanding of empathy as to what type of empathy they use.
Empathy is one of the 5 “Personal Skills” that are essential in a modern work environment to build trust in your team. Trust can easily be broken if there is a mismatch between the type of empathy you use, and the type of empathy others are looking for.
This breakdown in trust is more obvious in buyer behaviour as you lose contact with customers at different stages of your sales funnel.
With all the talk about AI taking over, personal skills are in no danger of being replaced anytime soon. So to put humanity back into business, let’s talk about the 5 types of Empathy Human Beings generally look for at different stages of your sales process. Mapping it to Dr. Dan Siegel’s five types of empathy as a model you can use:
1. Cognitive Empathy:
Cognitive empathy involves understanding the thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives of others. This type of empathy is more focused on understanding the other person’s point of view and is less about sharing their emotions. This type of empathy is important for resolving conflicts, negotiating, and building stronger relationships. This requires a person to use thinking skills, particularly critical thinking, to identify problems that your customers are looking for solutions for (without creating the problem).
2. Compassionate Empathy (Sympathy):
Compassionate empathy involves feeling the emotions of others and having a desire to alleviate their suffering. This type of empathy is often described as having sympathy for others and wanting to help them in some way. Compassionate empathy is important for building relationships and fostering a sense of community. The trick at this stage is to show you understand your ideal customer’s situation by giving them 3 options to investigate to solve their problem without looking like you are telling them what is best for them. If they see the options are viable for them, they will continue to the next step. So obviously your solution will be one of the 3 options. This is known as soft-selling in old-school marketing days to identify red-hot leads for the sales team to convert.
3. Perspective Taking (or Mentalizing):
Perspective-taking involves imagining oneself in another person’s situation and understanding their emotions from their point of view. This type of empathy helps us understand the reasons for another person’s behaviour and can help us avoid negative judgments or misinterpretations. This is when you get the opportunity to explain to potential customers why your option will solve their problem. But you are not there yet, and you may lose them at this stage by “overselling”. Which is generally giving too much information that the customer doesn’t need about other ways they “could” use your product. It breaks trust if they don’t see themselves using it in that way. The question is if you actually have bothered to get to know them at all, so this is the stage where you ask the most questions.
4. Empathic Resonance:
Empathic resonance involves feeling the emotions of others and resonating with them. This type of empathy is often described as “feeling someone else’s pain” and is important for building emotional connections and fostering a sense of compassion. If you don’t feel this when you get the sale, it may be a hollow victory. They will most likely be the 20% of customers that cause 80% of your problems, or worse leave a bad review if you don’t feel it at the point of sale. It is a gamble, but if you go over the last step again, you can confirm if you would be better off referring them to another option in the previous step. Reminding them of your refund policy at this stage may lower the risk of making the purchase, or suggesting payment plan options (such as Afterpay or Bpay pay in 4) could show you understand their situation even if they don’t mention it.
5. Empathic Joy:
Empathic joy involves feeling happy or joyful when others experience positive emotions or success. This type of empathy is important for building positive relationships and can foster a sense of connection and goodwill between individuals. You will feel this if the customer gets a solution to their problem that is best for them, whether they buy from you or not. These are the customers that you will feel comfortable asking for them to put a positive review online, and they will refer others to you. If you don’t feel this, think about the last step if you missed something. If there is any doubt, there is no doubt that you didn’t resonate with them. But it’s not too late, don’t dwell on it. Flag them for a follow call to see “if there is anything else I can do for you”. Asking “Were there any problems” may project that there normally are problems, so they would be less likely to give a referral and can undo all your hard work in the first 4 steps.
Overall, these five types of empathy provide a useful framework for understanding the different ways in which we can empathize with others. Each type of empathy is important in its own way and can be useful in different contexts and situations.
Putting it all together into a marketing strategy
The biggest challenge, particularly for micro-business owners, is finding metrics that indicate a return on your investment efforts for each type of empathy you are required to project to move people down your sales funnel to generate revenue.
Put simply, whatever definition of empathy above sound most like what you do will determine what content you would be best suited to develop to share on social media, as this is your strength.
You can outsource the rest. Even if you just use ChatGPT, trying to overcome your weaknesses is not good for business. What would you rather double, $10 or $50?
Using empathy take practice, so go with your strength and double $50. Then you have an extra $40 in your pocket while you spend the $10 on overcoming your weaknesses.
That all sounds good in theory, but in the real world you need to put budgets and track results of your marketing spend. Particularly when you outsource to a cheap overseas VA for $10 per hour who may not have a full understanding of the culture of your target market.
So using the above example, you could spend $40 an hour on a local assistant to help, which is well above the minimum wage, but you still need to put a dollar figure on this to ensure it is productive work.
Let me join the dots (points above) for you… Day 1 (points 1) in Monday on your social media post topic, and day 5 is your Friday post topic. I’m sure you can fill in the gaps for the rest of the week.
If not, let’s chat about that.
Another 5-step model to use for marketing metrics…
This model may be familiar to business owners who have been through startup training. Or if you have used a Business Model Canvas you may also have seen it.
It has many uses, but here’s how we suggest using for your marketing metrics, even if you are a solopreneur as you can use free apps to track results and divide up your sales results to create a marketing budget.
Dave McClure, a venture capitalist and startup advisor, introduced the “Pirate Metrics” model in 2007. This model, also known as AARRR, provides a framework for analyzing and optimizing the growth of a startup or business. The five metrics are:
Acquisition refers to the number of new customers or users that are acquired through marketing efforts or other means. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s marketing strategy and is the first step in the customer journey.
Activation refers to the percentage of acquired users or customers who take a desired action or engage with the product or service for the first time. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s onboarding process and the quality of its user experience.
Retention refers to the percentage of users or customers who continue to use the product or service over time. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s customer experience and its ability to keep users engaged and satisfied.
Revenue refers to the amount of money generated by the business through sales, subscriptions, or other means. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s monetization strategy and its ability to generate revenue from its user base.
Referral refers to the number of new users or customers acquired through word-of-mouth marketing or referrals from existing users. This metric measures the effectiveness of a company’s product or service and the satisfaction of its user base.
Overall, the Pirate Metrics model provides a useful framework for understanding the key drivers of growth for a business. By focusing on these five metrics, any business can identify areas for improvement and optimize its strategies to drive growth and success.