Friday, January 4, 2013

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others – Daniel Pink (Riverhead)

You gotta love selling related clichés: always be closing, you’ve got to ask for the sale, and my personal favorite “coffee is for closers.”

My friends at Miriam Webster offer this among the multitude of definitions for the word sell; “to persuade or influence a course of action.” For me that fits the premise of best selling author/famed speaker Daniel Pink’s new book, To Sell Is Human.

Pink makes the case that while millions of Americans, numbering 1 in 9 work in what would be considered “traditional” sales professions and that the other 8 out of 9 are actually in sales as well, in the form of non-sales selling. Any marketer worth his salt will tell you that every member of every organization plays a role in selling your organization, your service or your product.

It really boils down to the power of persuasion; we spend a large portion of our work day trying to move people, ideas, concepts or processes to co-workers, bosses, peers or the public. Pink posits that while some think salespeople are grown, selling is a natural, instinctual, process; an ability we are all born with. Like ducks to water we are all born with the basics to move people.

Pink tackles the ABCs of selling, which used to mean the aforementioned Always Be Closing that he changes to Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity. At close inspection, they make sense; Attunement addressing the ability to mold your actions and views to work cooperatively; Buoyancy dealing with your outlook, spirit and grittiness and Clarity your capacity to make sense to difficult situations and create a clear path to solutions.

Pink provides actionable steps that can be put to work today, but I don’t find this to be a groundbreaking, head slapping, “why didn’t I think of that” kind of book. The six-successors of the elevator pitch, does serve as a good reminder that story is the cornerstone of what we do.   


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