Logic and data often play into the business-to-business selling process, but most business decisions are based on emotions. Based on a survey of Financial Times readers, the most powerful feeling in today’s business climate is “confident optimism.”

According to the researchers, when a company feels confident optimism with respect to a business partner, it suggests that it is “assured of [that] company’s expertise” and also feels “a strong sense of optimism about what this partner can do for their business.”

The study’s authors identified five “builders” of confident optimism and three “killers” of it.

The builders are: 1) Content – 70% of respondents said thought leadership is the most important element they look for when researching prospective business partners. 2) Culture – chosen by 83% of respondents. 3) Crisis management – 86% said the first moment of friction in a relationship is where partners reveal their true nature. 4) Communication – chosen by more than three-quarters of respondents. 5) Concluding strongly – 65% said they want to walk away from relationships feeling accomplished.

The killers are: 1) Uncertainty – 77% of respondents said the feeling of uncertainty has the most negative impact on their business relationships. 2) Overpromising – 69% of respondents cited overpromising as a driver of uncertainty. 3) Arrogance – 69% of respondents said they are turned off by arrogance in potential partners. 

Tom Schuman is the senior vice president of communications & operations for the Indiana Chamber. He is also the editor of the Chamber’s award-winning BizVoice magazine and has been with the organization for 20 years.