by Randy Sabourin
“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
Every Salesperson’s objective is to establish trust within their relationship with their client. It’s a concept we take for granted but understanding why trust in a sales relationship is important is critical to understanding, and more importantly for us and our clients, teaching both fundamental and advanced sales concepts.
Tolstoy’s quote reflects the fact that fundamentally we don’t like strangers, they are considered a threat. It’s a deep psychological survival instinct called the approach-avoid response. According to Integrative Neuroscientist Evian Gordon, the ‘minimize danger and maximize reward’ principle is an overarching, organizing principle of the brain (Gordon, 2000). This survival instinct sets us in the ’avoid’ state when we’re facing something unknown. The ‘avoid’ state may have kept our ancestors alive but today it prevents us from thinking creatively and seeing subtle signals, it makes small problems seem large, and is the state before we launch into ‘fight or flight’. Most new people you meet, from the prospect on the other end of a handshake to the phone, the participants in a workshop, start in a closed and suspicious ‘avoid’ frame of mind subconsciously.