Customer Experience News & Trends

Blind spots that can hurt customers and sales performance

A blind spot is an unrecognized weakness that has the potential to undermine business. Blind spots stem from overconfidence, too much information, emotional thinking or poor communication. The most dangerous blind spots affect those who are unaware of their impact on customers.

Spotting blind spots

You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know it exists. Methods for diagnosing and dealing with blind spots include:

  1. Review your mistakes for reoccurring weaknesses. Make a list of mistakes you have made in the past year.
  2. Investigate the causes of each mistake.
  3. Determine if there patterns or common elements across those mistakes.
  4. As yourself if the patterns suggest reoccurring blind spots.
  5. Determine what actions are needed to prevent those mistakes from occurring again in the future.

Crucial areas to investigate

The main causes of sales blind spots are:

  • Overconfidence. Some salespeople get complacent and skip the basics. In selling, the problem is that salespeople can never stand still. They’re either going forward or backward. This common blind spot may result in bad decisions that salespeople believe to be totally correct.
  • Information overload. To compensate for being overwhelmed, some salespeople oversimplify the elements of a complex problem by relying only on the information right in front of them. They may be unaware of problems they haven’t even considered.
  • Emotional bias. Salespeople who are emotionally invested in a specific result may slant the facts in an attempt to make the outcome they want more likely. They focus on describing their great product or service, and fail to learn what their customers need.
  • Experience gaps. The salesperson lacks the experience to deal with a changing marketplace and fails to take steps to stay up-to-date. They fail to understand that customers want salespeople who not only know products thoroughly but also have the skills to offer technical support.

Controlling your blind spots

Here are three tips to increase awareness of your blind spots:

  • Think like your customers. Don’t assume you know everything about them and their needs. Pay particular attention to your long-term, satisfied customers. Studies show that many customers considered the most loyal will switch to a competitor if a better-sounding deal comes along.
  • Use a 360-degree assessment to learn how your customers see you as a supplier. Ask them for specifics on what you’re not doing that could make their jobs easier or more productive. Take nothing for granted, especially when customers say there are no problems. This is a typical response from a customer who is getting ready to switch.
  • Develop peripheral vision with customers. Learn to read the subtle signals that indicate what they really think. Nonverbal behavior can be as informative as what people say. Ask probing questions to learn all you can. Focus on comprehension, not problem solving.

Adapted from: Leadership Blindspots, by Robert Shaw, a management consultant who specializes in leadership performance.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.