You are hired, trained and rewarded to make sales and help your company grow. However, this works against you with prospects by creating bias. Your prospect knows you are emotionally invested in a “sales” outcome. They look for indicators in your words, body posture and actions. For your prospects, these are triggers by which they decide how much they can trust you. This trust assessment impacts the energy, vulnerability and commitment they will invest in conversations with you.
Remove Your Prospect’s Biases
Your biases have a direct correlation with your ability to help your prospect make an objective decision. Your prospect feels the emotional attachment of current relationships, past efforts, and ownership of the solution they have in place today. This weight makes it very hard for your prospect to be objective about something new.
As humans, we are inherently not objective. We get attached to our past experiences, the things we create and the relationships we build. These are triggers for creating our biased viewpoints, which prevent us from seeing things for what they really are.
Biased Versus Unbiased Outreach
If you’re in sales, you’re up against this bias most of the time. The prospect doesn’t struggle to see the benefits of what you offer or do – they struggle to separate themselves from these triggers. This struggle impacts their ability to be objective.
To avoid triggering your prospect’s biases – you need to remove your own and approach your conversations with objectivity. Here are a few examples.
- Biased: “Would like 15 minutes of your time.”
The 15 minutes you want from their day is really about you, and your prospect knows it. But what’s in it for them? What do they get in return for the 15 minutes they give you? A biased pitch on why they should consider doing business with you. Why do they owe you the favor of donating 15 minutes of their time to listen to you pitch, promise or plead?
- Unbiased: “Not sure of the timing of my outreach and, at the risk of sounding assumptive, a conversation might make sense.”
This statement shows objectivity by mentioning your uncertainty. You show your client awareness by stressing you’re not making assumptions by using the word “might.” Remember, you are trying to build credibility with your prospect.
- Biased: “Would love the opportunity to get together.”
How objective does this sound to your prospect? You know very little about them, their business, or situation, and you’ve already decided that you’d “love to get together.” How about labeling a conversation with them as an “opportunity?” Is it an opportunity for you to position a sale? What’s in it for them? An opportunity to listen to your pitch and feel the pressure of you wanting something from them?
- Unbiased: “We’ve never met or spoken, so I can understand if my intent to make an introduction could be misunderstood.”
This statement shows vulnerability by calling out the obvious – “never met or spoken.” You’re making the introduction more about them by acknowledging the possibility that they might have initially misunderstand the purpose of your efforts.
Communicate with Objectivity
There are common themes in both examples that will help you communicate with more objectivity in all of your outreach:
- Stripping away any assumptions that the prospect should spend time with you.
- Communicating with vulnerability by calling the situation out – being human.
- Engaging them as if you’re on their side of the desk.
Remember, the prospect is innately looking for reasons to trust or not trust you. If you bring your sales biases into your communication and conversation, you’ll simply create more sales barriers. However, if you can learn to become more objective in your intent and conversations, your prospect will become more objective in their assessment, and will evaluate how much time they want to spend with you.
- How do you respond when someone’s words and actions serve themselves, and not you?
- How much credence do you give to a biased opinion?
- How attached are you to your memories, experiences and creations?
In the end, objectivity is one of the most important ingredients missing in today’s sales environment. It’s the reason selling has become so difficult. It’s not about what you say – that’s simply being prescriptive. It’s about your conversation intent because your words always follow your thoughts. If your intent is to pursue a sale, your biases will flow into your conversation and impact your results.