The Choice You’re Really Making

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to make a decision and have done what research you can but realize that you really don’t know enough to make a knowledgeable choice?

Jumping off the cliff at Cape Greco

(Photo credit: Paul Skeie)

For example, you might get asked by the auto mechanic if you want some work done and your knowledge of cars is limited to filling the gas tank. A doctor might give you choices about treatment options and while you might understand the plusses and minuses of each, in the back of your mind is a lingering thought that there must be some medical differences you don’t quite get.

When we’re in those situations, my thinking is that we wind up making one simple choice that’s the same in each case: do I trust the person with whom I’m dealing?  Do I trust that the mechanic isn’t lying about the need to replace a valve spring since I can’t tell a good one from a bad one?  Do I believe this dentist when he says I need to replace an old filling before it become a problem?  In those cases we’re not buying the service – we’re buying the seller.  We’re choosing to believe both that they have understood a problem you’re having and that they have the specific knowledge to solve it in the manner they’re describing.  It’s a leap of faith.

That’s a critical business point that we often forget.  When someone show up late to a meeting I trust them less.  When their materials contain typos or hyperbole, I’m less willing to leap with them.  Being successful in earning trust is a significant factor in a businesses overall success.  That trust is what permits an occasional error (think of a restaurant you frequent that’s having a bad night due to missing servers, etc.).  When your potential customers or clients or partners feel as if you have your own interest at heart and not theirs, you’re toast.

People buy the seller as much as they do the product.  The more complex the decision, the more that holds true.  What we need to do is to ask ourselves if we’re earning that trust or if we’re just pushing a product.  What’s your answer?

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