Overcome These Common Biases All Sellers Face

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “Overcome These Common Biases All Sellers Face”

Biases exist, whether we like it or not. It’s up to salespeople to overcome buyers’ internal biases to make the sale. “Sales will always be a persuasion game, but the biggest obstacles to success are actually cognitive biases rooted deep in the human brain,” writes Collin Cadmus in a blog post for Sales Hacker. He points out that while biases can be a challenge, they aren’t insurmountable. Cadmus notes that salespeople can encounter 13 different kinds of biases, and he shares what each one is and how each can be overcome. Below are just a few examples of common biases: 

Attentional Bias

This bias is the tendency to have actions and perceptions affected by recurring ones they’ve had in similar situations. So, you may have a prospect who is very wary of you, the seller, due to previous bad experiences with salespeople. Therefore, he or she now has bias toward you. 

Confirmation Bias

This bias is when one embraces and amplifies information that supports his or her current beliefs over new ones. It can be hard for a buyer to hear that he or she has made mistakes or spent money inefficiently. “Many prospects will choose to defend their past decisions, insisting that the improvements you describe aren’t possible or have been exaggerated,” Cadmus explains. 


Reactance is the urge to do the opposite of what’s suggested in order to maintain independence. Typically, this results in an instant brush-​off by a buyer, especially if the buyer feels the salesperson is “pushy.”

Functional Fixedness

This bias is the inability to see something as useful other than in the most obvious way. This bias is often present during product demos, and it hinders the buyer’s ability to see additional benefits or long-​term advantages.

Want to know how to overcome these, and the other nine, biases? Check out Cadmus’ full post. He details how to recognize all 13 biases and lays out a plan for tackling them. As he points out, “To break the biases, sales professionals can use multiple tools and tactics. [These] persuasion techniques can be used to ease worries and show how the path forward will be beneficial and seamless.”