What is the AIDAS selling theory and what are its benefits?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

AIDAS (attention, interest, desire, action and satisfaction) is an acronym that describes a well-known sales theory that many companies use to inform training material. It breaks the customer journey into five segments that marketers can enhance to improve the likelihood of a customer responding with satisfaction to a product. Understanding how to apply this theory can help you give structure to your marketing campaigns and boost their effectiveness. In this article, we explore what AIDAS is, take a closer look at each stage of the theory and discuss the benefits of using it.

What is the AIDAS selling theory?

The AIDAS selling theory is a strategy that businesses use to facilitate and increase sales and provide a framework for converting a prospect into a paying customer. The acronym represents the five stages arranged in hierarchical and chronological order. Fully address each stage before you move on to the next. Experts also call AIDAS an advertising effect model because it describes the customer's journey and interaction with a brand, beginning with the first encounter and ending with a purchase. Here's a closer look at each of the five stages of AIDAS:

1. Attention

Whether you're employing direct selling techniques as a door-to-door salesperson or indirect selling techniques as a digital advertiser, gaining your prospects' attention is your priority. It's essential to make a positive first impression and approach your customers correctly. Many people are naturally on guard when speaking to strangers, especially salespeople, so putting them at ease is the first objective in gaining their attention and initiating a dialogue. If you're talking one-on-one to a prospect, asking questions can be an effective way to grab their attention and guide the conversation.

For example, if you're selling a de-icer for car windscreens, you might ask your prospect: ‘Have you ever been late to work because you were waiting for your car to defrost?'. This accomplishes a few things for the salesperson. It gets the prospect's attention, directs the topic of conversation and creates a problem in the prospect's mind that you can later solve. You can get highly creative at this stage, as your prospect may have many brands competing for their attention. Some companies choose to give away free sample products, hoping to form relationships and encourage repeat business.

Related: How to become an advertising sales agent (plus salary info)

2. Interest

Salespeople often say this is one of the most challenging parts of the process because many prospects may engage with you out of politeness. But maintaining their attention and creating interest requires skill. Consider the unique selling points of your product at this stage. Some salespeople go into too much detail about the features and specifications of products, which can quickly cause prospects to lose interest. A core tenet of sales is to sell benefits and not features. That's because factors such as measurements and ingredients matter little to consumers compared to tangible benefits.

Using our de-icer salesperson as an example, instead of saying to customers ‘Our product contains 50% more isopropranolol, which melts ice twice as quickly!', you might say ‘Using our product helps get you on your way to work twice as quickly with less time spent waiting in your frozen car!'. How you create interest depends on the situation, so it's crucial to gather information about your prospect so that you can discover ways to get them excited. Sales and marketing strategies typically come with information about customer profiles, which you can use to address them personally and persuasively.

Related: Q&A: What is the average salary of a sales director?

3. Desire

Desire is often the real motivator behind decisions to purchase. Being able to provoke this desire in people is a skill that salespeople continually try to develop. You can create desire through various techniques. 'Opening the wound' is one such technique that uses principles of consumer psychology. It involves causing your prospect to think about a problem. You can do this by using highly visual and emotive language when describing a situation from the other person's perspective.

For example, you might say: ‘It's five in the morning, and it's cold outside. You can see your frozen car through the window, but you've got to get to work. You leave the house, get into the car and start shivering. You can see your breath. You turn on the engine, waiting for the ice to melt. You look at your watch and realise you're going to be late. What do you do?'. By placing them in the situation by saying ‘you' and using visual and descriptive language, you can persuade them to imagine the problem and desire a solution.

Related: What is technology sales? (With duties, salary and skills)

4. Action

Driving action is the essential part of the AIDAS selling theory that leads you towards securing a sale. Many people may want to purchase a product but hold themselves back. In this case, the salesperson may attempt to induce action by using specialist sales techniques. It's necessary to know your customer and accurately read the situation as different techniques work with varying degrees of success on specific individuals. You can persuade some people on price points as they may want the product, but their logic tells them they can't afford it. Offering discounts can persuade them.

Here are some techniques you can use to compel action from your prospect:

  • Scarcity: You can create a sense of scarcity by creating the impression that what you're offering won't last long or that there are only a few items available. If products are rare or only available in limited amounts, their perceived value increases, potentially causing the prospect to have a greater desire to purchase.

  • Social proof: Behavioural psychologists have firmly established the idea that a human tendency exists to follow other people's actions to increase the likelihood that a particular action is correct. You can leverage this for sales by telling your prospect that other people like them have also bought the product.

  • Testimonials: Testimonials are another form of social proof that can be compelling, telling the prospect what other people think about the product. Reviews are an effective way to show that a product is good and that the purchase decisions of others have satisfied them.

  • Reciprocity: This is the idea that people are more likely to give something if they first receive something. For example, someone is more likely to purchase the full product if you offer them a free sample.

  • Choice limitations: While choices are often a good thing, they can hinder the decision-making process if too many choices are available. You can increase the frequency of customer buying actions by removing choices and placing your main product at the forefront.

  • Time pressure: If you tell your prospect that the offer you're presenting is only in place for the next 24 hours, you can create a sense of time pressure. This makes the prospect think they may miss an opportunity if they don't act right away, which is a good way to generate sales.

5. Satisfaction

Some versions of AIDAS don't include this stage, using only the acronym AIDA. This stage is important for many reasons, especially if you want to create repeat business and generate excellent reviews. You can increase post-purchase satisfaction by reassuring the customer they've made the right decision, causing them to look forward to using the product instead of questioning their choice. You can also increase satisfaction by providing customer support following the purchase, which helps the customer extract the most value from your product. They may also recommend the product to a friend if it has satisfied them.

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Benefits of using AIDAS

Using the AIDAS selling theory helps businesses improve their marketing and sales campaigns and helps individual sales reps improve their success rate. This is because it covers all aspects of the sales process, such as gaining attention, driving action and offering post-sale support. Using this framework, salespeople can measure their strategies against each stage of AIDAS and ensure they're giving enough attention to each stage. Introducing new sales recruits to AIDAS can also be an effective way to train them and teach them about key concepts.

It's also a model that's both simple and effective. You can use the AIDAS theory in both a digital marketing and in-person context because the sales process is largely the same other than the different communication channels.

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