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Success and Leadership

Why Your Intentions Impact Customer Buying Decisions

David Penglase

You know when you first meet someone and get that feeling, almost immediately, that you know you’re going to get along with them just fine. You feel like they’re someone you can trust … you’re not quite sure why, but feel it in your gut.

And then, on other occasions, you meet someone and this time you get a different feeling – a feeling that there’s just something about this person you don’t trust … again, you’re not quite sure what it is, but there’s just something about them.

That feeling you get about a person’s trustworthiness comes down to what the scientific community refers to as unconscious intelligence, or what most of us just call intuition.

In the psychology of buying, every customer experiences moments where they make decisions about the real intentions of sales and customer service people. Based on their perceptions and decisions, customers decide whether to trust the sales or service person … or not.

We are Hard-Wired to Judge Others’ Intentions

Historically, from cave dwellers to modern time, we have been gathering data from our experiences, and through generation after generation our brains have been storing and passing on this data that forms our intuition or unconscious intelligence.

One of the key judgments our unconscious intelligence is trying to assess about others is their intention – the real motive behind their words and actions. And this intuition about people’s intentions happens very quickly.

How quickly? Research suggests we can make appraisals about the intentions of others, on average, in less than 30 seconds.

Your Intentions Can Fast-Track Trust (or Distrust) 

In the business world, the idea of ‘altruism’ isn’t high on leadership, sales, or customer service conference or learning and development agendas … however, you might want to reconsider this.

What I’m suggesting here is sales and service providers reframe the meaning of altruism to intentionally seek ways to make life better for their customers.

Here’s why … when sales and service people have a core intention to discover if and how their products and services can make life better for their customers, it’s not only good for customers, it’s also good for the sales and service person, and good for business.

It might sound too simplistic; however, science validates when customers believe the real intention of a sales or service person is to make the customer’s life better in some way, it fast-tracks trust … which increases their likelihood of buying.

For business leaders, this is an evidence-based strategy to fast-track new, repeat and referral business. 

How to Unlock the Power of Intention to Fast-Track Customer Trust 

Here is even more good news … the process of unlocking the power of intention to fast-track trust (and more new, repeat and referral business) is easy.

It starts with developing an Applied Positive Intention statement. 

An Applied Positive Intention Statement starts with: “My intention for my customer is …” You then complete the statement by writing what it is you want FOR your customers … and not focusing on what you want from them. In completing the statement, challenge yourself to think about what you want your customers to have, to know, to feel or to experience.

Your Intentions Impact Trustworthiness Across Your Life

Not only do your intentions impact customer perceptions of your trustworthiness, your intentions impact how your work colleagues interpret your trustworthiness as well. In fact, your intentions impact your trustworthiness across all areas of your personal and business life.

If you’re about to make a phone call, send an email, go into a client meeting, share an idea in a team meeting, meet a friend to catch up over coffee, or sit down to dinner with your family, it will only take a few seconds to stop and ask yourself, “What is my intention here?” (Remember to focus on what you want FOR them, and not just focus on what you want from them).

Watch how magic happens when you do. Notice the impact this simple but powerful process has, not only on you, but watch what happens for those around you.

And even if it feels a bit strange at first to do this, know that because this is your genuine intention to do your best for the people you impact, having that ‘higher purpose’ – a focus to genuinely make a positive difference to others – influences how your actions are delivered and perceived.

People will get your trust! Over time, your intentions, promises, actions and results will either promote you as trustworthy, or expose you as not.


Written by David Penglase.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Success and Leadership - Why Your Intentions Impact Customer Buying Decisions
David Penglase
David Penglase, author of Living In The Light Of Day: How To Avoid The ‘Success Trap’, Strive To Be At Your Best And Live A More Meaningful, Flourishing, And Prosperous Life, is a behavioral scientist, author and award-winning professional conference keynote speaker. He has degrees in business and the psychology of adult learning, an MBA, a Master’s degree in Professional Ethics and a Master of Science Degree in Applied Positive Psychology. Penglase lives in Sydney, Austrailia, and travels globally working with top-tier organisational leaders and their teams to boost trust and sales success.


David Penglase is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn, for more information, visit the author’s website CLICK HERE.