RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Perception Versus Reality... Perception IS Reality

How can two people read the same article — this one, perhaps — and come to two dramatically different conclusions? Or two people looking at the exact same data, but one interprets the data one way, and the other person comes to a different conclusion? Two sellers call the same client. Both do a customer needs analysis. One comes away hearing something completely different than the other. How does this happen? Shouldn't the data be interpreted the same no matter who looks at it? Isn't the old cliché "liars can figure, but figures don't lie" true? It turns out it's not the data or the conversation with the client that makes the difference; it's the person reading or hearing it.

In his book, Buddhist Boot Camp, author Timber Hawkeye suggests that:

"The opposite of what you believe is also true."

In the textbook Principles of Social Psychology - First International H5P Edition, they write:

Our perceptions of people and things are shaped by our prior experiences, our interests and how carefully we process information. This can cause one person to perceive the exact same person or situation differently than someone else.

It appears we all perceive the world through our own lens, which may or may not have anything to do with "reality" or what we hear or see. It sounds frustrating and dangerous. And for those of us in sales or leadership, how do we change or help people "modify" their perceptions?

It should come as no surprise that listening and paying attention are critical to understanding our clients' perceptions, prospects, colleagues and friends. We must know what they are thinking and why before we can endeavor to change their thinking. To actively listen in this sense, we need three components:

Clarify — Ask questions to clarify what you're hearing. For example, "What do you mean by that?" "Can you tell me how you've come to that conclusion?" "Can you tell me more about that?"

Confirm — "What I hear you say is, XX, do I understand correctly?"

Consider — Ask them if they are open to considering another point of view.

The last thing you want to engage in is contentious debate. Asking questions and clarifying can keep us from being defensive and help our clients, prospects and team members continue to share their perceptions. In RAB's Sales Essentials class (final class of the year on December 5), we teach, "Clients buy from us because we understand them, not because we make them understand us."

At RAB, we have developed infographics to help you with prospects and clients who may have difficulty knowing where radio fits into the evolving media landscape. The "Misperceptions of Radio" series of infographics can be found here on RAB.com. You can use these to clarify their misperception, confirm that you understand their concerns and help them to consider the data to support the value of radio.

Happy Monday!

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@rab.com. You can all so connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development