Dear Friends & Colleagues:

This week I’m adding a twist to my weekly excerpt from my new book, How To Win Client Business. In addition to the text excerpt, I’m providing a short 5 minute audio version as well – narrated by me. So, if you’d rather listen to a sample from Chapter 9 in lieu of the text excerpt, here you go. (Note: If your preferred format is audio, the audiobook is now available on Amazon and is beautifully narrated by Barry Abrams – one of the best in the industry.)

This week’s peek is from Chapter 9: How Clients Tell Who the Real Experts Are. In this chapter I discuss the many challenges clients face in choosing which professional to hire – and how we can be helpful navigators in their buying decision journey. It’s not that it’s a long sales cycle in professional services, it’s a long ‘buy cycle’.

Without further delay, here’s this week’s excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!



Chapter 9: How Clients Tell Who the Real Experts Are

Clients Need Clues That We Are Really Good at What We Do


Clients Seek to Avoid Regret


Most of us have never heard of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman; if we

have, we probably learned of them through Michael Lewis’s fascinating book

The Undoing Project. Lewis is famous for taking wonky, esoteric topics and making

them accessible to broader audiences. He is well-known for his best-selling

books Moneyball, The Big Short, and Liar’s Poker. The Undoing Project is an interesting

story of the complex relationship between Tversky and Kahneman, and a

look at how their important research shaped our understanding of how humans

make decisions.


Tversky and Kahneman first met as young PhD psychologists in the 1960s

at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Their work together over the coming three

decades led to many breakthrough discoveries in the workings of the human mind,

particularly as it relates to understanding the biases we hold when faced with



Tversky ultimately ended up at Stanford and Kahneman at Princeton. Kahneman

was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, and Tversky surely would

have as well had he not died of cancer in 1996 – Nobel prizes are not awarded



One of the hallmarks of their research called into question the idea that

humans are rational decision makers, as the field of economics had claimed for

over 200 years. Their research proved that as humans we are often misguided by

biases that cause us to make decisions that are not altogether rational, at least not

in the way economists once thought. As humans, we are much more complicated

than traditional economic theory would have us believe.


Tversky and Kahneman contributed heavily to the creation of a new field

called behavioral economics, which studies the effects of psychological, emotional,

and cultural factors on the decisions of individuals and institutions, and how those

decisions vary from those implied by classical economic theory.


One of the early topics that fascinated Tversky and Kahneman was the concept

of regret as it related to its influence on decision-making. In a memo to Tversky

in the 1970s, Kahneman wrote:


It is the anticipation of regret that affects decisions, along with the anticipation of

other consequences. When people make decisions, they do not seek to maximize

utility. They seek to minimize regret.


Each of us has felt regret many times before, ranging from regret about little

decisions (I wish I had purchased the other pair of shoes) to bigger decisions like

choosing a college major.


When making buying decisions about products, say a house or car, it’s easier

for humans to minimize the likelihood of future regret because our satisfaction

is easier to gauge. Conversely, it’s harder for us to assess the likelihood of future

regret when deciding on an expert to assist us in solving an important problem.

As regret-avoiding creatures, humans seek out information to help minimize this

uncomfortable feeling.


Because human decision-making is influenced by regret avoidance, any steps

we can take as professionals to reduce this anticipated feeling will increase our

chances of success. In much the same way that channel markers guide a ship’s captain

safely to harbor, this rainmaker skill leads clients to a good decision while minimizing

anticipated regret.



Click here to order your copy of my new book, How To Win Client Business, today!