Business English word of the day: AIDA

AIDA is an acronym, a word made of the first letters of a group of words or a phrase in order to shorten them.

AIDA is used to describe the steps a salesman should take in order to achieve a sale.
The letters of AIDA stand for these words:

Attention
Interest
Desire
Action

A good salesman always follows these steps, and the customer feels happy that he has made the right choice.

Another acronym related to sales is WIIFM, which is an abbreviation of the question, ‘what’s in it for me?’.
This is the question that the customer wants to know, and the salesman should incorporate the answer into the interest and desire phases of the AIDA process. In practice, if the salesman wants to talk about the technical features of a product, he must be able to make the customer understand how they will benefit him. This is called ‘features and benefits’. For example, a phone salesman may say to a customer:

‘this phone has the latest GSM technology’.

That’s a feature. But if the customer doesn’t get the answer to ‘WIIFM’ he probably won’t buy. The salesman should continue with the benefit:

‘…which means you can retrieve your emails and surf the internet from your phone’

That’s the benefit to the customer. A good salesman should have asked a few questions about the customers needs before presenting the product. An 80-year-old grandmother probably wouldn’t be interested in a GSM phone, but a businessman on the move would. It’s all part of the AIDA selling process.