In sales, you learn a customer’s decision making is based on a perception of a solution to address their “Goals, Problem, and Needs”. Perception plays such a huge role in sales; consequently, I went to Wikipedia to do some research on the topic of perception and found two interesting references.
Perception and Reality: When people view something with a preconceived concept about it, they tend to take that concept and see it whether or not it is there. This problem stems from the fact that humans are unable to understand new information without the inherent bias of their previous knowledge. A person’s knowledge creates his or her reality, because the human mind can only contemplate that to which it has been exposed. When objects are viewed without understanding, the mind will try to reach for something that it already recognizes in order to process what it is viewing. Usually it is that which most closely relates to the unfamiliar from our past experiences that makes up what we see when we look at things that we don’t comprehend.
Perception-in-action: The notion that perception is a requisite property of animate action; without perception, action would not be guided and without action, perception would be pointless. Animate actions require perceiving and moving together. In a sense, “perception and movement are two sides of the same coin, the coin is action.
Solution selling is built around goals, problems, and needs and to be successful in this type of sales a rep must establish the customer perception during the sales cycle. Customers often have a preconceived concept on the value of the goal they set; often the definition of the problem is based on existing information and the action plan built on the customer familiarity of the value of the solution. It is very important that a sales rep or marketing team takes the time to understand the customer perception as it ultimately impacts the customer reality and action.