Models of Management: AIDA
AIDA is one of the oldest management models still in current use. It is principally used in marketing as a way of describing the 4 stages that people go through when accepting a new idea or buying a new product. It is thought to have been widely used by E St Elmo Lewis, an American advertising agent, in 1898 who created the model for the life insurance sales industry. It was championed by Edward Strong in "The Psychology of Selling and Advertising" in 1925 to describe what happens in a sales funnel. As well as being used as a model of the sales process, AIDA is also an excellent model for describing the steps in persuasive presentations, and influencing others to take a desired path. The 4 steps in AIDA stand for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Below, we'll show you how AIDA works for a team leader asking his team for some extra overtime.
AIDA: Step 1, Attention
The first few seconds of trying to persuade others are crucial as this is when people are most interested and ready to decide whether they want to give you any more of their time. Don't waste these precious moments on niceties or formalities. Leave aside anything that others might object to or find boring and say something that you know they'll be interested in. You can get attention in lots of ways. Humour is one. Announcing something new is another. So is a pleasant surprise. Always think in terms of your audience or listener and what he or she will respond to. Our team leader might say, "There's good news and bad. The bad news is, that I've missed out on lunch coming here to talk to you..." With these words, you'll almost certainly have everyone's attention, first wondering what the bad news is and second wondering what the good news is.
AIDA: Step 2, Interest
Interest is always related to what matters to your audience. If you want to get someone interested in what you have to say, forget what you want and work out what they want. That means working out two things. First, what their current problems or needs are. You can only do this by listening to them and trying to understand them. The second thing you have to do is find a way to meet their problems and needs in a way that they believe costs them less than having the problem continue. So our team leader might follow up his or her attention-grabbing opener with the following, "The good news is, we have some last-minute overtime tomorrow and it's being paid at double time. I know that some of you were worried about when you'd get the money so I've arranged for anyone who works tomorrow to get their money in their pre-Christmas pay packet." One other useful device that gets people interested is to get them involved rather than just talking to them. In our case, the team leader might hand out an overtime sheet with attractive Christmas pictures on for people to sign up to. He or she could add, "I'll give you a couple of minutes to see the schedule."
AIDA: Step 3, Desire
Once your audience are interested in you and what you have to say, the next step in AIDA is to create a desire in them for what you want them to do. This is an important stage. People can have a need but no desire to act. What you have to do is make it a pressing imperative that now's the time to do it. There are a number of ways you can stoke this desire. Here are 3:
Use the Scarcity principle by showing them how what's on offer will not be available for long. Our team leader might say, "I need to know who is interested now as we have a tight deadline and nobody will be able to sign up after it."
Use the Approval principle by showing them how others accepted what they're being offered and approved it. Our team leader might say, "We're also getting some people from Stores in and they've already jumped at the chance to come in."
Use the Solution principle to deal with any problems that people might have. Our team leader might say, "I've arranged for pick-ups as I know that some people won't be able to get buses on a Saturday morning."
AIDA: Step 4, Action
Action is the last step in the AIDA model and is the magic stage when your audience move from thinking about the offer and take action on what you are proposing. In some variants on the AIDA model, there is a step before this called "C for Conviction" where you get people to rationally agree to the value of what you are proposing that matches their emotional state of desire. Our team leader might do this by running through the main points in the proposal and getting everyone to agree that the offer is a good one and raises no major issues. Some closing techniques can also help to round things off. These include:
- the Alternatives closing technique where, rather than ask people if they agree or not, you ask which option in the proposal they prefer. For example, our team leader might ask, "Who wants to work 6 to 2 and who wants 9 to 5?"
- the Pre-supposition closing tecnique which pre-supposes that people have accepted the offer. Our team leader might say, "Just add your name to the list of pick-ups and times."
Other Web Resources on AIDA
Here's a 45-page pdf on "The Magic of Selling with AIDA" containing lots of valuable examples.
From online reference , here are 100 ways to grab all 4 features of AIDA with your headlines.
From unionstreet media , using AIDA on a website.