“It’s not personal, it’s just business.” This is an expression one person says to another right before they beat their brains out in a business deal. Emotions are involved in every aspect of life. They are involved in every decision you make. This means - to some extent - everything is personal.
As an example, let’s look at something as mundane as purchasing a copy machine for the office. One would think that no emotions would be involved in this decision. The office manager simply weighs the features and benefits (all rational) of all the machines. She looks at the costs and makes the best decision for the office. It seems pretty cut and dried.
Then, as she weighs the functional attributes of each copier and decides which provides the best value, something happens. She starts asking herself some questions. She begins to wonder about this decision and how it may affect her. She begins thinking:
- What will happen if the copier (which is a capital expenditure) breaks frequently?
- How will people view my decision? How will they view me?
- Will this effect my performance evaluation?
- Will this affect the amount of my next pay increase?
- How will these consequences affect the way I feel about work or about myself?
- Which company can I trust to make the best product?
- Which company will stand behind the product if things don’t go as planned?
All of a sudden, this decision has emotional and personal implications for our friend the office manager. This transaction is no longer just about functional attributes. It is about something emotional – trust.
This is where the salespeople from the copier companies will make all the difference. The salesperson that made the best connection with the office manager – the one she trusts the most - will probably get this deal.
The product can be great, but the people make the difference. After all, it’s all personal.