Business buying decisions involve emotion even though as business people we don't often like to admit this.
When in sales mode in a business to business situation we strive to provide a rationale and well documented proposal and sales presentation. You know the idea. If I can show you how my "whatever" will have a direct positive impact on your business operations you will then be more disposed to buy. We often talk about ROI, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), productivity benefits or efficiencies. All very rational and logical. We have charts and backup material to deliver our case.
Why, therefore, do so many business decisions not actually follow the same logical approach? What do I mean? An example is a recent situation with one of my clients...where I lost the business and I am convinced the decision was largely emotional not rational.
One of my clients recently decided to replace his colour printer with a new colour multifunction printer from another vendor. The interesting part of this situation was that I talked to this client about four weeks before he made this decision and there was no discussion about making a change. We both knew his lease would expire in a few months and it would be time to discuss options but at no point in our most recent meeting did he express any concerns, problems or even frustrations.
This client in my estimation is a pretty astute business person. We have a good relationship and can talk candidly if needed. We know our service was good and we had dealt with him for several years. This would not be our first renewal.
So why did he buy from another supplier? His answer when we asked. "I guess I didn't think I was valued enough and when someone came along and pushed for my attention I responded."
Now I don't want to make excuses, he's right I guess because that was his impression of how I had dealt with him. What strikes me is I know that the vendor he bought from usually is much more costly to deal with. In the long run they will not show him the personal attention he wants and he may find that his decision will not be as good as he thought it was. All of that said. He made a decision that for him was right at the time...a decision he will think was made on a rational and logical basis, but one I submit was based more on emotion than business analysis.
In business to business dealings people generally strive to be factual and logical. After all we are business people. Its what we do. I think the reality is that more often than not the emotional component of any deal is a bigger factor than we will admit. I know I am going to watch more carefully from now on....and work to make sure the emotional connection is there as often as I can.
What do you think? Emotion or logic that dominates business decisions?
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