We often think of cognitive biases as it relates to our personal lives, outside of the workplace. However, cognitive biases are alive and prevalent in the modern-day security buyer's journey.
A cognitive bias is a glitch in the thought process that happens when an individual is processing the information around them. They are created when our brain forms mental shortcuts to deal with all of this information.
Brian Koehn, ClientPoint’s Content Chief, has studied under some of the top neuroscience experts in the world and is now applying what he has learned to help security sales teams like Securitas become more powerful & effective.
Cognitive bias can be defined as "a system of thinking and decision-making shortcuts that are not based in logic". The system is used in sales & marketing to influence buyer decisions by identifying a prospects set of preferences & beliefs regardless of contrary information.
To most people, that sounds like something to avoid. But the reality is we all engage in cognitive bias every single day, and selling your services is no different. Understanding how your prospects make decisions can help overcome irrational thinking or overstepping boundaries during the sales process.
Take a look at their Cognitive Bias Video Series, and learn how to overcome cognitive biases when you are vying for a bid.
Cognitive Biases You Must Overcome
The reality is that sales reps deal with cognitive biases on a regular basis, oftentimes unaware they are competing with these internal glitches. Thankfully, through Koehn’s studies, the ClientPoint team has identified common cognitive biases that affect modern-day buyers and how to manage these biases.
Bias 1: Transference
- Transference - "The mental act of projecting or transferring expectations from past experiences to a current experience."
- Transference is seen most often in 2 key components of the sales cycle:
- Transference of past negative experiences with sales reps.
- Transference of past negative experiences with the product or company after purchase.
- Avoid transference through distinction, the concept of creating a distinction or contrast between the current experience and the past negative experience that triggers the transference.
- A sales rep should validate the past negative experiences to help create distinction.
- It creates more distinction when a rep carries a prospect through the sales cycle as if you are both on the journey for the first time, not acting like they “know-it-all.”
Bias 2: Substitution
- Substitution Bias - "A phenomenon that occurs when an individual gets overwhelmed and begins to substitute a more complex thought process with an overly simplified thought process."
- Example of Substitution Bias in Sales - As a sales rep takes a prospect through the sales cycle, the prospect starts to become overwhelmed. As they become more overwhelmed, instead of asking which service is best for my company (a more complex evaluation process), they ask what is the cheapest service or the easiest product (a more simple but limited evaluation process).
- To counteract substitution bias, a sales rep can acknowledge pain points that can lead a prospect to become overwhelmed in order to create comfort and trust in the current sales journey.
- Creating a Q&A sheet or evaluation checklist can assist a prospect in deferring their substitution biases.
Bias 3: Stress
- Cognitive Bias 3: Stress - Both positive and negative stress triggers an individual’s habit circuits, which can lead to less-informed decision making.
- Sales reps need to manage a prospect’s stress through the sales cycle journey.
- Over-excitement can lead to positive stress that triggers habit circuits, just as easily as negative stress can trigger habit circuits.
- The goal is to create a sober-excitement that allows the prospect to go through the sales cycle in a clear-headed, well-informed manner.