I'm trying to put together a new one about the risk averse - hence the title of this post. It comes from experience selling on ebay. There's another aphorism regarding the 80/20 rule - the idea is that 20% of your customers create 80% of your work. That can be good if you're talking about focussing on the 20% who are most profitable. It can also be a bad thing if you're looking at customer service, where often a whinging 20% waste 80% of your time. These are not accurate statistics, but more a warning about what may happen.
So, whenever I'm selling an item on ebay I'm wary of the folks who ask loads of awkward questions about the item. Generally you worry that if they win the auction they'll probably be that 20% of customers who create 80% of the grief. I say you worry - I mean I worry. More specifically, I mean I would be worried about it if I hadn't made the following discovery.
In my experience, it turns out that the people who ask the most careful questions regarding ebay items almost never win the auction. There could be a few reasons for this:
- they may be asking questions to put themselves off
- they may just like asking questions and have no intention of buying
- they may be so careful that they dare not risk bidding more than the current next bid price
- they may be so slow to respond at the end of the auction that they're easily outbid
I take it as this. I reckon that being risk averse is pretty much a recipe for never succeeding. If all you're trying to do is prevent bad things happening, then such a defensive play cannot lend itself to scoring points.
In some ways it's good. The people who are open to risk are better at handling failure and are less likely to be arses with you if they find a flaw in the thing they've bought. I feel sorry for the risk averse - they don't know what they're missing.