The Impact of Trust, Relationship and Human OS on B2B Sales

The Impact of Trust, Relationship and Human OS on B2B SalesIn The Ironic Truth About Sincerity, Seth Godin juxtaposes sincerity and performance, and he comments on how they influence trust. It’s a nice riff that gets one thinking, so here I’ll do a deeper dive into how these two elements of trust work together to facilitate or sabotage B2B relationships and sales.

I’ll also link to an even deeper treatment for those who want to open yet more doors.

“Sincerity” and Intention

Seth’s point about sincerity is that people like to do business with people who “appear to care,” which at first seems to have tongue somewhat in cheek: “If the work expresses caring, if you consistently and professionally deliver on that expression, we’re sold.” There’s a good reason for this. Because we can reason, and we struggle to achieve outcomes, we know that intention counts a lot. From personal experience, we know that events, forces, gods or whatever conspire against us sometimes, so we assign significant weight to intentionĀ because it’s often a reliable indicator of future outcomes, assuming the person is reasonably competent.

Performance and Results

Seth finishes the post with a remark about performance, although he doesn’t call it that: “If you care but your work doesn’t show it, you’ve failed. If you care so much that you’re unable to bring quality, efficiency and discernment to your work, we’ll walk away..” In other words, you need to understand your competence, seek work within it and perform the work efficiently to get the promised results.

Human OS

I use the term “Human OS” to describe understanding fundamental human behavior as it relates to business. Due to humans’ ability to imagine and reason, we perceive many risks, so we are all risk management junkies. That’s why trust is so important, especially in key agreements (i.e. large contracts). Depending on the circumstances, prospects and clients value sincerity and performance differently to manage risk and achieve their goals most effectively. For example, when the proposed agreement involves numerous unknowns that cannot be reasonably diligenced (as in social business or another pioneering initiative), sincerity usually counts more because the proposition is too new to have many data points. When the situation involves a mature technology or activity, prospects will value performance more.

If you are developing relationships with prospects, it will be very helpful to be aware of the relative importance of sincerity and performance to your prospects, so you can appreciate their motivations and relate to them better.

A Deeper Dive

Robin Dunbar (“Dunbar’s Number”) wrote an enthralling book I called “one of the most relevant and fascinating books I have read this decade” in my review. It explains and decodes human behavior, “revealing ‘Human OS’ (human operating system) in an insightful, engaging way that Dunbar backs with extensive research. I have a very practical interest in Human OS: if digital social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Orkut and YouTube diminish the transaction costs of certain human interactions, logic holds that tremendous insight into motivations and likely uses of the networks would be gleaned by understanding Human OS.” Check outĀ Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language.

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