Dear Market: How Your Emotions Hurt Buying Decisions

Dear Market,

I hope you read this and know it is coming from a place of love. There is something you need to know about yourself.

Sometimes you let your emotions have too much influence in your buying decision, and, as such, cause yourself the very problems you’re trying to solve and/or avoid. 

When you are buying services you are probably experiencing some version of the following:

  • Fear of missing out and of making the wrong decision(s).
  • Anxiety over missed opportunity & wasted money.  (“Can I trust them?”)
  • Dread starting over and getting the same results (or worse).

It’s ok to have emotions when buying services.  But be honest with yourself as to what your particular emotions are and name them.  Don’t let them drive [all or some of] the buying process.

There are a few areas I’ve seen buyers let their emotions hurt buying decisions:

  1. Following the “Partner” (my term for the provider of professional services). The selling process does not give away your control of the buying process.  More times than not in professional services, you are paying to have someone do things you can’t – either because you lack the time margin, required expertise, the necessary tools, or some combination of the above.  Letting the seller drive the sales process will benefit you in two ways:
    • First, it gives some insight into how they work, serve, communicate, and problem solve. It lets you gauge their expertise.
    • Second, it provides the opportunity for you to have an additional perspective on your issue that can open doors to unexpected options.  I don’t know about you, but I value options pretty highly. 
  2. No Shenanigans. If you’re letting the seller execute their sales process, this shouldn’t be an issue.  Based on conversations with several peers, there is a trend to ask sellers to provide a “sample” of work during the buying process. Although you may have heard of this idea from a friend (or on Google), I advise you to ignore it. It is a lose-lose proposition by nature and a fool’s errand.  Professional services all begin with a proper and thorough onboarding process. This is key. So many chronic mistakes, big & small, can be traced back to a flaw in onboarding.  How could any work get done sans a proper onboard? How can the seller possibly deliver anything that would convince a buyer by doing little more than guessing? 
  3. The RFP. I laid out the shortfalls of the RFP approach in my last blog post here.  The RFP by nature is geared for buying commodities. The exercise is aimed at converting all proposals into an “apples to apples” format. The problem is services are rarely commodities and you are giving yourself a false sense of objectivity in this exercise.  Do you like the seller? Do you think they can and want to do the job? Do you think they will do the right thing when things go wrong? This is an instinctual consideration that no matrix can solve. 

This does not mean ignore your emotions, act like a robot, or worse, generate an RFP.  Your emotions & instincts are valuable and have a healthy place in all this – just don’t let them drive the process. That’s the best way to get what you really want most. 

Sincerely,

Jason

Jason Ogden

As the resident left-brainer, Jason uses his corporate and financial background to keep operations running smoothly. With a keen sense of people, process and sports analogies that always relate to business, he serves Syrup by managing the team, the numbers and sales. When we are lucky, Jason provides the team with a quick kung-fu lesson.