The thing that could possibly cost your bridal store hundreds of sales each year is very common to us and known as confirmation bias.

Confirmation Bias is the tendency that influences all of us to put more faith in information that agrees with what we already believe, and discount opinions and data that disagree with our beliefs. (source)

Francis Bacon put it this way: “It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives.” —Francis Bacon

A more scientific explanation would be:

Numerous studies have demonstrated that people generally give an excessive amount of value to confirmatory information, that is, to positive or supportive data. The “most likely reason for the excessive influence of confirmatory information is that it is easier to deal with cognitively” (Gilovich 1993). It is much easier to see how a piece of data supports a position than it is to see how it might count against the position. (source)

So, You are entering a sales situation with pre-conceived ideas of what is going to happen and you are looking for signs to confirm these ideas. Human beings have strong minds and once we think something is a certain way, we tend to prioritize this way of thinking over new ones.

In bridal sales I see a lot of pre-conceived believes about how brides buy dresses. Let’s picture this scenario:

A very common Pre-conceived belief in bridal: Brides never buys a dress on her first appointment.

Confirmation bias trigger (THE BRIDE): “I love the dress but this is my first store and I really have to visit more stores before I can make a decision”.

The consultant (YOU): “I knew it, a bride never buys a dress at her first appointment”. NO SALE

It is always difficult to sell to brides on their first appointments or when their mothers are not present but, if you start-off thinking that it is not going to happen, than it will probably not happen. Your pre-conceived ideas will be confirmed and your convictions will grow even stronger.

The four most common confirmation biases in bridal are:

  1. Brides never buy a dress on their first visit
  2. Brides nowadays don’t spend more than €1500 euros on a wedding dress
  3. A bride will not buy a dress without her mother present
  4. It is impossible to sell a bride with a large entourage

It is in our human nature – call it a flaw – to put more faith in the information that agrees with what we already knew. If you want to become better in sales, then you have to beat the confirmation bias. Begin by realizing it is all in your head! You have put it there in the first place, so you can take it out and change it!

Again, it is harder to sell a bride on her first appointment, but it still happens all the time! Brides don’t always bring mom; some value the opinion of a good friend over the opinion of their mothers. Big groups can help your sales tremendously, especially when they all agree that a certain dress looks amazing on the bride. Getting conformation from ten people is a lot louder than from two or three.

Stop holding on to your pre-conceived ideas. They are used as excuses why you are not selling and most importantly these ideas become stronger when you keep re-enforcing them. Keep an open mind and prove yourself wrong!