Implicit Bias in Sales
Conversations about diversity and bias can be uncomfortable, but it is important to understand the role that our own backgrounds, beliefs, and lifestyles can contribute to implicit bias. According to the National Institute of Health, updated January 2022, implicit bias occurs automatically and unintentionally, meaning it’s something we have very little control over. However, these biases can contribute to decisions and behaviors affecting our relationships with coworkers, clients, and communities.
Thankfully, there are strategies we can use to help alleviate the negative consequences of implicit bias. Even something as simple as being aware you have implicit biases is a step toward changing our behaviors and judgments. Think about some of these situations before you go on your next sales calls. You may be surprised.
Who is your audience? Do they all look/think/act like you? Have your implicit biases contributed to your selection process when approaching new clients or establishing their audience? Again, we often don’t even realize that our biases influence our decisions until we step back to take a bigger look. Even something as simple as getting a little further out of your normal comfort zone geographically can make a huge difference.
Are your sales strategies diversified? We’re taught to listen to clients and build products based on their needs, but that conversation starts before you even pick up the phone or walk through the door. Research potential clients and their target audiences before contact to have an idea of their businesses and what might work best for their audience. If you’re not sure how to start that research process, check out this video from the Ten-Minute Trainer Network about “Prospecting”.
Are you aware of any bias a potential client may have toward your business? Good or bad, your company has a reputation. Part of being aware of implicit bias is being aware of the biases others have toward you. Does your company have a reputation for being aggressive in sales? Maybe you’ve been seen contributing to the betterment of the community. What is the word on the street about your advertising company? Whatever your individual and business reputation, knowing how you’re perceived in your market is important.
Implicit bias isn’t always a bad thing. We’ve developed implicit biases as a survival tactic to help recognize danger and act quickly. But sometimes, these unconscious biases can get in our way of working or communicating well with those whom our brain sees as different. The more awareness you have of your own unconscious bias, the more you can re-train your brain to accept all people and create positive, lucrative relationships.
To learn more about diversity, inclusion, and equity, check out these videos from Ryan Dearbone on the Ten-Minute Trainer Network.