Hierarchy of Decision Making

Posted on September 16, 2020

Ryan Stewman



No one wants to be sold, but everyone wants to buy.

If you’ve been in sales for more than 10 minutes, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard that line before. However, the buying process is a little more intricate.

Regardless of the number of touches, contacts, follow up calls, exposure, etc, as individuals, there are phases of thinking we go thru before making the final purchase decision.

As salespeople, the better we understand that process, the quicker we can get our prospects to make the decision we know will solve their problem.

Known as the transtheoretical model of change, there are 5 clearly defined stages we go through that ultimately determine our decisions in buying and anything else in life. I’m sure you’ll see some examples in your own life and can pinpoint where certain prospects may be in the spectrum of doing business with you.

Let’s explore these 5 stages.

This is where there is absolutely no awareness or desire to change. These are the 95% of people who have zero interest in what you offer because at this moment, your products and services are irrelevant to them, regardless of how important you think you are😉

This is where awareness begins. People recognize and accept the need for change, but have not yet decided what type of action they will take, or when they will take it. These are the “I’m just looking” people. But they ARE looking, and if you are positioned appropriately, they could be enticed in your direction.

This is what we play for!! This is the stage when people have decided to act upon their desire for change, and do something about it. As a salesperson, this is the time to shine. However, for the purchaser, they may still come off as the “just-looking” type. This is our opportunity to ask the right questions, find out what the prospect’s true intentions are, and assure them doing business with us is the right step to solving their “problem.”

At the end of the day, we all just want to have confidence in the decisions we make.


When conversing with our prospects, we must keep that in mind and not brush people off as tire kickers. Instead, lead them down a path that makes them comfortable in taking action with YOU.

For those of us with the ability to do business with a client on an ongoing basis, this stage is where a person desires to maintain the change they took action upon. For those of us in the coaching realm, we must continue to serve and foster the relationship, or we risk losing the business. But even for big, one-off purchases like homes, there is still an opportunity to maintain communication and make sure your customers are happy with their decision, and stay top of mind for anyone else they may know in a similar situation.

There you have it, the 5 Stages of Change. Think back to the process you’ve gone through with many of your clients, and I know you’ll be able to see where these stages come into play. Knowing them, and using them to your advantage, can help save time from dealing with people who are not ready to buy yet, and keep your energy focused on those who are ready to take action.

Aaannnddd GO!

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