How to Strategically Drive Customers Through Your Sales System

Anyone involved in the sales and marketing of a company has heard about sales funnels and their importance. What may not be quite as familiar is AIDA. AIDA is a simple acronym that was devised a long time ago as a reminder of four stages of the sales process (“Psychology of Selling” by E.K. Strong—1925). It stands for:

  • Attention—first, get their attention: surprise them.
  • Interest—second, hold their attention: listen to their challenges; you ask the questions and let them do the talking!
  • Desire—third, show them how your product is uniquely suited to solving their challenges.
  • Action—fourth, ask them to take the next step. Be careful here! Don’t push something they aren’t ready for. Maybe the next stage is another meeting, or more information, or a product demo. The key is to keep the ball rolling in the direction they want it to go.


This is a fairly simplistic model, but that does not mean it is no longer of value. In fact, its relevance in today’s flat economy is more important than ever. The key is knowing how to make each of these items into strategic actions.

Just 10 years ago, most sales presentations were made face-to-face. That has dramatically changed in today’s digital marketplace. Most of the time a virtual meeting of one kind or another will occur before a sales representative shakes a prospect’s hand and looks them in the eye.

Getting your prospect though the various AIDA stages leading up to a personal visit is the strategic key to getting an appointment. There are three important customer questions you need to be able to answer in the affirmative with great persuasion.

  1. Do you have what I want?
  2. Why should I get it from you?
  3. Are you the kind of person and company I’d enjoy working with?

Assuming you can convince your prospect on each of these prerequisites, the following is a key strategy that will lead to a purchase decision:

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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