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Even if a buying center or individual members do not go through the calculations described here, the multiattribute model is a good representation of their product evaluations and can be used to predict product choices. Purchase deci- sions are often made as though a formal multiattribute model were used. thinking it through If you were selling the Bell computer to the national sales manager and CIO depicted in the text and in Exhibits 3.9 and 3.10, how would you try to get them to believe that your computer provides more value than Apex or Deltos does? What numbers would you try to change? IMPLICATIONS FOR SALESPEOPLE How can salespeople use the multiattribute model to influence their customers' purchase decisions? First, the model describes the information customers use in making their evaluations and purchase decisions. Thus, salespeople need to know the following information to develop a sales strategy: With this knowledge salespeople can use several strategies to influence purchase decisions. First, salespeople must be sure their product is among the brands being considered. Then they can try to change the customer's perception of their product's value. Some approaches for changing perceived value follow: Assume you are selling the Bell computer and you want to influence the sales manager so he believes your computer provides more value than the Apex computer. Approach 1 involves altering the sales manager's belief about your prod- uct's performance. To raise his evaluation, you would try to have the sales manager perceive your computer as small and lightweight. You might show him how easy it is to carry—how well it satisfies his need for portability. The objective of this demonstration is to increase your rating on weight from 5 to 7 and your rating on size from 6 to 8. You should focus on these two characteristics because they are the most important to the sales manager. A small change in a performance evaluation on these characteristics will have a large impact on the overall evaluation. You would not want to spend much time influencing his performance evaluations of speed or memory because these characteristics are not important to him. Of course your objectives when selling to the CIO would be different because she places more importance on speed and memory. This example illustrates a key principle in selling. In general, salespeople should focus primarily on product characteris- tics that are important to the customer—characteristics that satisfy the customer's needs. Salespeople should not focus on the areas of superior performance (such as speed in this example) that are not important to the customer. 1. The suppliers or brands the customer is considering. 2. The product characteristics being used in the evaluation. 3. The customer's rating of each product's performance on each dimension. 4. The weights the customer attaches to each dimension. 1. Increase the performance rating for your product. 2. Decrease the rating for a competitive product. 3. Increase or decrease an importance weight. 4. Add a new dimension. 5. Decrease the price of your product. 84 CHAPTER 3: Buying Behavior and the Buying Process

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