How does a customer hear you? – Understanding Confirmation Bias
Before I continue posting about the value divers of top performing sales people, it’s worth understanding Confirmation Bias, which comes from psychology research into cognitive bias.
Neil Rackham’s team of organisational psyches came to the following conclusions during a massive study into the attributes of top performing sales people on behalf of Shell, Xerox and IBM.
The team observed 35,000 sales calls in many countries and industries – at various intervals after customer/seller meetings, they returned to ask the customer what they remembered.
In what Neil Rackham called the “Boundary Conditions of Communications”, Confirmation bias is a summary of that they remembered, i.e.
The Rackham team also identified that customers’ retention of conversations of Features, Advantages and Benefits (FAB) was:
|FAB||CUSTOMER RETENTION OF CONVERSATION|
|Advantage||Not Much Better|
|Benefit||Strong where connected to Explicit Need|
Top performers wait much longer than other salespeople and help clients see their situation for themselves and decide to act based on the additional value they perceive from the cost, risk or hassle involved in making a change.
Understanding Confirmation Bias is a critical step for sales and account management people to see issues through the eyes of the client and create value over and above the competition.