Selling has always been a risk-reward business.
Since the recession hit in 2008, salespeople have become increasingly risk-averse. Endless PowerPoint word slides offer middle-of-the-road recommendations, CRM systems provide regular, faceless contact with customers who pay little to no attention, and RFPs dumb-down solution-based and strategic selling to the point where everyone involved – both customer and sales team – often wonder if the best ideas are chosenand ultimately implemented.
But is it fair to blame our risk-aversion on a recent economic downturn? Or are salespeople – and people in general – more afraid of risk than they need to be? The science of behavioural economics tells us that YES – when it comes to economic decisions, losses loom larger than gains. This makes us less likely to take chances, even when the analytical side of our brains tells us that the odds are in our favor.
If you are involved in the sales process – and who isn't these days – this concept has some exciting implications. The fear of taking risks could very well be holding you back from reaching your maximum potential and achieving ongoing success. The more we learn about what drives our actions from behavioural economists, the more we are able to apply those insights on a daily basis.
So let's take a look at some behavioural economics theories and then suggest the types of risks that are worth taking.