For those who are employed in professional selling, prejudging can be an occupational hazard that has the potential to be dangerous and harmful to one’s income earning potential and their reputation. Prejudging, is forming a mental impression of a customer regarding their ability and desire to purchase a product or service with little or no evidence to support our preconception.

Here’s an excellent true story to keep in mind when you find yourself drawing to conclusions before having all the information and facts out in the open. Some country folk dropped into a high end furniture store that had a wide selection of merchandise for every room in a home. To put it lightly this couple didn’t look very appealing. “Hicks from the sticks” if you will. A senior sales associate on the store floor passed the customer off to a junior sales rep thinking they weren’t worth his time and that he would rather sit back and wait for a better sales opportunity to come into the store. As the junior sales representative worked with the couple showing them all kinds of different pieces of furniture in the showroom the senior sales associate sat behind the scenes with the other sales staff snickering and poking fun at him behind his back.

Eventually, the Husband said to his wife, “What’d think Ma?” She replied, “I like all of it.” Then the Husband said to the sales rep, “We’ll take that one, and that one, and that one and so on.” As they were working on the list of pieces and the paperwork, the customer said to the junior sales rep, “You don’t know who we are, do you?” The sales rep said, “No I don’t.” The customer replied, “We are the latest winners of the Powerball Lottery” and he told them how much they had won. In this story the junior sales rep won big and certainly got the last laugh and the commissions to go along with it. This is an everyday occurrence in sales and business and it happens purely because people draw conclusions without any real facts or information to support their assumptions.

In varying degrees we all have a tendency to prejudge at one time or another. The secret is not to let it interfere with our income. It’s very instinctive for us to form instant impressions about people with in 30 seconds of seeing or meeting them. This will happen based on past experiences with individuals that we perceive to be similar to the people we are prejudging. Often this is based on appearance, age, sex, social style, ethnic background, etc. In doing so, we form an opinion about their ability to buy, or need for our product or service.

Typically we vary our level of enthusiasm, presentation style and recommendation not based on facts, but rather on our feelings. Even the best of us have been caught giving a half-hearted attempt at making a sale under these conditions. The potential cost of prejudging can be insulting the client by making them angry or frustrated. You will be providing them with a substandard level of service. This will result in loss of sales revenue and commission earnings.

In order to overcome our nature to prejudge we need to put our feelings aside and give every customer the same level of outstanding service. We must make our presentations special every time with consistent enthusiasm. It is essential that we control our thoughts and emotions. We need to consider every encounter an opportunity to practice and improve our skills. We should always ask quality questions and make the right recommendation based on facts. Treat every customer as an individual and be committed to always doing our best. Make a game of it, if we know that we are going to prejudge, then go ahead and do it. Then forget about it and do the best presentation that we can. When it’s all finished, see how close the actual result was to what we originally thought was going to happen. Sometimes we will be very surprised at how distant we were from being correct.

“We see what we choose to see.”

Author's Bio: 

Since founding Elite Training Systems in 2001, I have partnered with dozens of sales organizations in varying capacities to elevate individual and team performance and increase overall revenue generation and profitability. Through the delivery of public workshops and customized on-site training, I have educated thousands of consultative sales professionals using personally developed training programs. In addition, I have authored three books on the disciplines of professional selling which are available in retail stores across Canada. My company has been contracted by several organizations to develop and build customized sales training programs for internal client usage. I have worked in a one-on-one coaching capacity with hundreds of individuals to sharpen mindset, elevate sales skills, broaden business knowledge, enhance managerial abilities and implement proven strategies and processes for personal and professional success.