8 February, 2017
Increase Sales and Service By Overcoming Your Negativity Bias
If your intention is to improve sales performance or service delivery, you need to overcome your negativity bias. Everyone has one – it’s as a result of evolution making us pay more attention to problems or dangers rather than good things, in order to keep us alive.
The negativity bias has two effects.
Firstly, it means as managers we are more likely to notice the problems and gaps rather than the things our people are doing well. So you pay far too little attention to the actions you want to encourage your people to do more often which would help them become more successful.
Secondly, from the point of view of our people, even when of equal intensity, things of a negative nature (like critical feedback) have a greater effect on their psychological state than do positive things (like positive feedback).
Two things to consider then. It is clear that if you intend to drive higher sales performance or service delivery you need to provide a lot more positive feedback. However, while a little negative feedback goes a long way, it is an essential part of the mix. Why is that? Well party because of its ability to grab someone’s attention, but it also helps people to overcome their weaknesses.
But those benefits come with serious costs if too much negative feedback is provided. Even criticism with good intentions can undermine self-confidence and initiative. This undermines motivation and leads to people failing to put forth their best efforts.
Only positive feedback can motivate people to continue doing more of what they’re doing well and enable you to capture their discretionary effort.
So, what is the right ratio of positivity to negativity? Well, the evidence strongly suggests that across your sales team or service team you will get the best results by aiming for a ratio of at least 5 times the amount of positive feedback to negative feedback.
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