How many years until customer decides?

Warren Buffet

There is a saying that making the first million is the hardest. One explanation for this is that customer decisions can take a long time, months or years, and a companies simply have to wait for decisions to mature. In this case, sales are working well but simply take a year or more to realize.

Some products are purchased instantly, but many products require a lot of time until the customer makes the purchase decision. Most B2B sales can take months and years, and require constant sales interactions and investment. Many B2C products also require the right moment, such as specific clothing, car, house, travel. Majority of global money might be spent on decisions which are not impulsive and have big periods between initial awareness and the main purchase. Also customers can make many smaller purchases before they decide to make the main big purchase.

This is important to accept when starting a new business or entering a territory or category. Entering a category is even harder than growing a startup because startups have a do or die attitude, while established companies resources are constantly spent on satisfying current customers and have little resources which can wait for years for results. Also established companies will underestimate small results that slowly come from a new category because they are already selling a lot and quickly in their established categories.

If you are starting a business or trying to enter a new category, allow sales to mature and continue investing at equal or higher pace. Lack of initial sales simply means that customers require time to mature their decisions. While some products can sell very quickly and established customers buy quickly, new products can take years to get going. Stay calm and keep selling.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 15 Aug 2019