When it come to making investments in our relationships, there are two main points to take away about how people make decisions. These common-sense principles are as follows:

  1. People tend to reject risky propositions (unless they’re seduced by the possibility of great gains with little investment with a rationale for coming out ahead, minimizing the sense of risk) and,
  2. Those who are less fearful might turn out to be better decision makers

The ramifications of the first point are many. For one, sales efforts may become more successful if the purchaser perceives less risk involved. That means taking some mystery out of the process and, instead, connecting as many dots as possible for the customer or client – taking them from status-based fear to awareness-based (understanding you have their best interest at heart) openness. Questions such as, “What is the useful life of this product?” “How does the product/service work?” “Whom do I call if I have questions?” all need to be answered to remove the element of risk.

Another ramification: the trust built up in awareness-type selling is crucial to resolving some of the anxiety that comes up in dealing with new services or products. In other words, awareness-based selling is validated. Both of these points can be consolidated by selling that connects the dots for the customer in the context of an awareness-based, trust building relationship.

The second point highlights the fact that those who are less fearful make better decisions because they can look more objectively at risk-laden opportunities. It’s better to have leaders (as well as salespeople) who create a context of trust and confidence. Leaders who take the approach of connecting to others, building trust and openness will have top-level executives making better decisions, and so on down the line of mid-level executives and managers – all making better decisions because there is less fear in the organization’s culture.

To learn more, read the revised and updated Relationship Economics paperback edition with 40 percent new content, including an all-new chapter 10 on social media and business relationships (Wiley, Feb. 2011).

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