What’s the last thing you read or watched today? It may impact your sales success and the success you create with your clients more than you think.

Carmine Gallo writes about a bias we all need to be aware of, the availability bias. He defines availability bias as using the information most readily available to us to inform our views of the world and of the future. That video you just watched, the article you read, or the last person you were around (virtually of course), makes a difference.

What tangible impact does this bias have on our sales success and that of our clients?

If we’re taking in information that’s only curated to our preferences and beliefs, versus seeking out diverse (and trusted) sources of information and opinions, we’re at risk of not seeing different perspectives. We risk not being able to create and share fresh ideas with our prospects and clients.

If we’re on a steady diet of negativity through others or through our social media feeds, we risk coming into a sales conversation with a negative outlook. The outlook we have and the energy we exude matters when we’re with our clients. A positive outlook and energy attracts; a negative outlook and energy detracts. This can either accelerate or slow your progress.

What are some ways we can manage the downside of this bias, and instead harness it for success?

  • Schedule time with your top 3 clients for an innovation whiteboarding session. Putting this on the calendar with a top client will fuel you to push yourself and sharpen your skills. This might be sharpening your facilitation skills, your research skills, or your skills in identifying opportunities that come out of the session. This doesn’t need to be time consuming – it can be a short session on a pre-defined topic. You’ll stand out in the eyes of that client, and they will see you as a trusted advisor. This article on Better Brainstorming can help you to accelerate your sessions.
  • Practice a new selling skill. Selling virtually is a hot topic at the moment, and I believe it’s here to stay. I envision a hybrid future where we return to in-person meetings in some form, and we will blend that with a greater mix of virtual meetings. This is the time to review your sales process and master the skills you need to excel in virtual environments.
  • Seek out broad experiences. What’s something completely different from your usual routine that you can try? A new experience, or a conversation with someone of a different culture or background, it broadens our perspective. I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya earlier this year, before the pandemic hit. It was a life-changing to experience a culture and build relationships on another continent. Broad experiences will help you to better connect the dots with your clients’ businesses and will make you a better seller.
  • Find accountability by working with an advisor or coach. We can’t always see what we need to change; we all have blind spots. Even the most disciplined of us usually needs outside accountability. As an example from my life, a coach was the difference between getting my book published and having it still be a dream. Seek out an advisor or coach to help you find and correct those blind spots. My preference is to hire an advisor or coach, so there’s more structure and accountability.

Stay aware that the availability of information, ideas, and people right in front of us can unintentionally influence us. Seeking out ways to broaden our perspective, ideas, and comfort zones will not only help us to eliminate this bias, but to make us better sellers and advisors to our clients.

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