Consumers don’t make purchases at random. In fact there’s actually a scientific 6-step process that almost all consumers go through.

These steps apply to pretty much any industry, but for this post we’ll look specifically at the real estate industry and use that as an example.

Your client has different concerns at each different step and your marketing needs to be different at each step as well.

The six steps of this process are:

  1. Problem or need recognition
  2. Information search
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives
  4. The Purchase decision
  5. The Purchase Itself
  6. Post-purchase behaviour


1) Problem or Need Recognition

The first step simply involves the consumer realizing they have a problem or a need.

This problem or need can be something they recognize themselves or something triggered by advertising.

Someone might find out they have to relocate for work and thus have the need to sell their home.

Someone else might see an advertisement for a home building company and realize they want to live in a bigger, nicer house.

In both cases the consumer has a problem they need to solve or a need they must fulfill.


2) Information Search

The next step in the buying process is the information search. Today this occurs mostly online.

Now that the consumer recognizes they have a problem or a need they set out to research a solution.

At this stage of the process you have many marketing options to capture the consumer’s attention.

You can use different forms of online advertising to bring people to your website.

Content marketing is an excellent way to provide information to consumers during this stage.

Buying a selling a home is a complex process that requires a lot of research for the average person.

The more information you can provide to help a consumer at this stage the better.

computer and notebook

3) Evaluation of Alternatives

Once the consumer has a pretty good understanding of what they need to do the next step is to compare the different alternatives.

There are many different real estate agents out there, why should they pick you?

At this stage you want to use lots of testimonials in your advertising to make yourself stand out.

Content marketing again works well here and can help establish yourself as an authority.

They’re also comparing different properties at this stage as well.

Make sure your listings stand out with excellent photography and video when compared to others.

Don’t hide the pricing either. Comparing pricing is a big part of this evaluation phase as well.


4) The Purchase Decision

Once the consumer has evaluated the alternatives it’s time for them to make a decision.

They’ve explored their options, evaluated the pricing and they’re ready to decide whether or not to take action.

They haven’t purchased anything yet and could still walk away at any time.

First you need to make sure that it’s very easy for a potential client to get in contact with you. If your contact information isn’t clear or easy to find there won’t be a purchase.

Then you need to focus on customer service. Provide the best service you can and help the client with anything they might need.

Sometimes they might walk away from the purchase which is fine.

You have options to bring them back such as:

  • Email reminders
  • Old fashioned phone calls
  • Text message reminders (if they don’t mind getting texts from you)
  • Retargeting

You can also use urgency at this stage to remind them that the property won’t be on the market for long and they need to act now.

store interior

5) The Purchase Itself

Now the consumer is ready to make the purchase.

Buying a home is quite the process so at this stage make things as easy as possible for your client.

Be sure to answer any questions they have and do whatever you can to help expedite the process.

Emphasize things to make the process easier for clients like getting pre-approval for mortgages.


6) Post-Purchase Evaluation

Once the purchase is over your work isn’t done. If your client is dissatisfied in any way that will cause problems for you down the line.

After-sale service is essential.

Small things like closing gifts or following up to see if there’s anything else you can help can make a big difference.

During this stage the consumer looks back to see if the whole process was a positive experience or not.

If it was then this the is point where you can push for testimonials and referrals.

There’s no timeframe on when this stage ends either.

It’s definitely a good idea to keep in touch with your clients over the years, especially if you want to get referrals.