Marketing in business environments employs consumer psychology in order to assist the consumer to identify product and services with fulfillment of individual wants and needs. This is done by recognizing that there are 3 unique phases that are present in every decision made regardless of how trivial. If these phases are handled out of order, or with incorrect emphasis, the marketing results will be reflected in the acceptance of any presentations made.
The 3 phases of decision making are as follows:
Cognition, in respect to the marketing message, involves the consumer becoming aware of, or actively considering, particular wants and needs due to the stimulus of the message. Usually the marketing message will provoke a particular discomfort in the current situation, or accentuate a realistic opportunity for improvement or growth. The initial marketing process will highlight a need for change.
Divergence, in respect to the marketing message, involves the consumer considering numerous reasonable alternatives that will potentially address the identified, or accentuated, wants and needs. The divergence phase is a phase of inclusion. Efforts should not be made to exclude any reasonable option at this point. The idea is to take a sincere look at viable options, regardless of preference at this moment. A common mistake is made when a marketer attempts to skip, or minimize, this phase and proceed directly to biased product recommendations.
And finally convergence, in respect to the marketing message, involves the consumer weighing th pros and cons of each alternative, identified in the divergence phase, in order to logically converge upon a best solution (best versus and ideal). The convergence phase is a phase of exclusion. Efforts should be made, by a professional marketer, to facilitate the convergence upon a best fit solution that makes sense to the consumer. It will only make true sense to the consumer if they work through these 3 phases of the decision process personally and make the ultimate decision on their own with only guidance.
Any marketing efforts that attempt to circumvent the normal 3 phase decision making process will be interpreted as suspect as it involves manipulation and coercion. Successful marketing results will not be consistent and predictable. This is because the true value of a particular product or service is a matter of perspective. And in the end, the only perspective that really matters belongs to the consumer.
Even if a decision is coerced, or achieved through manipulation, the long term benefits will seldom result in consumer satisfaction, repeat business, long-term relationships, or strong referrals.
Therefore, develop a consistent system that allows for lead generation, prospect qualifying, rapport building, interviewing, verifying, and making intelligent presentations based upon the perspective of the consumer.