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Unconscious Bias Could be Tanking Your Sales Potential

Articles Aug 31, 2023

Imagine this: your company has put in a bid to remodel a home – a $50,00 project – and you're doing a site visit to seal the deal. So far, your team has communicated exclusively with the woman homeowner, and you are excited to run some of your ideas by her and her husband. You get to the home and immediately hit it off with the husband, diving into his wants for the renovated home. He keeps referring you back to his wife to answer questions, but you continue talking to the husband and even invite him out for a drink. Eventually, the wife, exasperated, tells you that she’s funding the project and is the ultimate decision-maker. You apologize and attempt to course correct, but it’s too late. You’ve offended her and hurt your chances of landing the deal. 

The example illustrates what can occur when sales professionals let their conscious or unconscious bias seep into the sales process. And while our scenario was fictional, bias and cultural insensitivity can have serious, real-life ramifications. 

Inclusive Sales is a Business Imperative

Sales professionals who adopt diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices are more successful and close more deals. Teams that practice inclusive sales gain — and retain — more customers. In fact, sales organizations with leading DEI practices report their customer satisfaction ratings have increased 24%, compared to just 17% for other organizations. Conversion rates improve too. Sales teams with leading diversity, equity, and inclusion practices have an average lead-to-opportunity conversion rate of 54%, compared to 26% for lagging organizations. And, the opportunity-to-customer conversion rate is 24% versus 19% for companies who are not prioritizing their DEI practices. The bottom line is, inclusive sales teams are more effective sales teams. 


Kaela Sosa

Kaela (she/her) is a Certified Diversity Executive and curriculum and programming manager at The Diversity Movement. She applies her writing, project management, and production skills to advance DEI.