If you are a tennis fan yesterday afternoon’s final in the Wimbledon Championships was a thriller. Whether you wanted Nadal to win again or were cheering on the underdog Djokovic you had decided on your favourite long before the match. Indeed, you may never be able to put your finger on the moment when you became a fan of one or the other of these two brilliant players. It “just happened”. True, you can go back and analyse why you like one player more than the other, but most people don’t do the analysis in advance – they just “plump” for a decision.

Deciding to buyAnd so it is with your buying decisions. That watch you are wearing – did you make a thorough analysis of all its options and capabilities? Did you produce a spreadsheet comparing it to all the alternatives? Or did you just look in the jeweller’s shop window and go “that’s the one”…?

Ask an estate agent why they send you details of supposedly unsuitable properties. People go in, say “we are looking for a three-bed semi” and end up buying a four bedroom bungalow. Why? Because the property “feels right”. Estate agents know that whilst we walk into their offices with seemingly rational choices all laid out and analysed, people often buy something completely different. If they only send us the “rational” properties, they miss out on us buying something due to “gut feeling”.

When you trace back that “instinct” you often find that years ago you dreamed of living in a bungalow instead of a house. You appear to have made the “decision” long before you were even looking to move.

Online, you come across all sorts of products and services – sometimes almost subliminally – but it appears you make a decision to purchase that item, often unknowingly. Google have now called this the “Zero Moment of Truth“. They have been able to show that purchasing decisions are made a long time in advance of someone buying something online.

What it really means is that often people only visit your website to confirm their pre-made decision – to do that analytical bit – or to simply make the final purchase. In other words, your products and services are “sold” by all the other web activities you undertake – blogging, Tweeting, Facebook-ing, commenting and so on. What it suggests is that you need a “web footprint” which allows people to engage with your products and services in a variety of places. They then get a “gut feel” that your particular offer is the right one – then when it is time to buy, hey presto, they “plump” for yours.

Often, people are unable to say EXACTLY why they bought something; they just “knew” it was the right product or the best brand. Online, your potential customers “get to know” that your products are the rights ones, not via your website, but through your entire web presence. Putting all your effort into your website could work against you.

In the same way you “knew” that Djokovic or Nadal was the one to follow, people already “know” your products and services are the ones to buy – even before they have apparently made such a “logical” decision.

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