Occasionally we discover TIMELESS wisdom that can be applied beyond the field for which it was entitled. This is case with the wisdom found in the classic text from Harry Dexter Kitson titled, The Mind of the Buyer: a Psychology of Selling. Intended for marketers, but useful when addressing ANY audience.

Kitson took the classic formula, “AIDA”, (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), a bit further. Much like “AIDA”, his formula outlines the mental flow, the stages, through which buyers’/audiences’ minds transition.



Though you may be comfortable with AIDA for marketing efforts, Kitson offers us AIDCDAS. Well…AIDCDAS doesn’t sound as nice, as succinct as AIDA, but it works much better. What makes me think the Kitson formula is superior to the traditional AIDA formula is the reminder to marketers and speakers to offer, nurture, and care for those additional elements: Confidence, Decision, and Satisfaction.

Note that Kitson’s use of the term Satisfaction, when he developed this in 1924, is now taught in conventional marketing and consumer behaviour courses as “overcoming Post-Purchase Dissonance”. [Politicians and public relations “experts” should take note.]

What takes place in the buyers’/audiences’ minds AFTER the sale/experience is as important as any other step in the buying process. Is your program/speech designed to meet or exceeded customer expectations in everything from the moment of engagement to long after the purchase or interaction.

[Personal experience: I purchased an extendable car washing brush. Everything about the process was delightful: easy to discover, easy to purchase, friendly staff at the bricks-and-mortar store, great features of the product…except for one design flaw discovered AFTER the purchase. The CHEAP PLASTIC connection to the water house snapped and I was drenched. Would I recommend the product? No. Would I warn others to avoid the product and the COMPANY’S OTHER PRODUCTS? Yes. Thus, my satisfaction was at an all-time low with this company, simply because their designers never used their own product!! Marketing idiots! ]

The other two elements, Confidence and Decision, are just as important as satisfaction. Both are very wide ranging concepts with multiple techniques to choose from.

How do you build confidence in you or your company’s products? This is not as esoteric a construct as you might think. The most useful way is to ask yourself what could you offer, say, or do, that would remove your own most typical fears. If YOU were the customer, what would it take to create peace of mind within yourself? Over time, some basics have evolved that customers assume are a given: stability, durability of company and product, trustworthiness, warranties, testimonials, free return shipping, etc. The list is almost endless. Just be sure what you are offering or saying fits with your customer/audience.

Next, let’s take a peak at “Decision”. In sales speak, this is called “closing the sale” or “asking for the order”. There is no right or wrong way to ask for the order. But this step has to be customized to your particular audience or customer. Sometimes customers will be ready to make a final decision after hearing your story. At other times, you may need to probe to uncover sticking points which prevent the customer decision from taking place.

The entire point of this Nugget is to encourage you as marketer or as a public speaker to design your efforts beyond the familiar AIDA principle. The AIDCDAS formula, is more comprehensive and, therefore, may help you to connect better with your customers and audiences.