Daniel Pink: To Sell is Human

Daniel Pink and I spoke earlier this month about his newest book that came out 12/31/12

(please scroll down to watch our full 42 minute video below)

You are in sales. Yes. YOU.

So how do you feel about this – Stoked? Shameful? Skeptical?

Are you even still here with me?

Wow, Daniel Pink obviously worked his magic again.

It’s funny how many emotions this little word “sales” invokes in people, isn’t it? I must admit that my enthusiasm for New York Times bestselling author Dan Pink’s new book came to a screeching halt when I first read the title To Sell is Human. I had hoped for something inspiring, mindboggling, maybe even elating! Instead I got: Sales. Hmmm.

Then I got over it. I really wanted to interview Dan (I loved his previous books “A Whole New Mind” and “Drive”) so I figured I better read a book on selling if that’s what it takes to speak to this man. I am glad I did. Glad reading the book, I mean (interviewing Dan wasn’t bad either).

If you believe Daniel Pink’s premise – and you should, the author polled 7,000 people in the workforce on the topic of sales, followed the last Fuller Brush sales man on his door-to-door route, unearthed scientific studies to bust many sales myths, and stared into the eyes of a hot woman other than his wife (all in the name of research, of course) – then eight out of nine people here in the US are in non-traditional sales today.

To Sell is Human2

If you lead a business, a family, a community, a circus, or heck, if you simply lead your own life, you are in sales.

It might not be money that changes hands in your daily transactions, but in “non-sales selling” we are persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something (their time, effort, attention, for example) in exchange for something we have.

In the first part of the book Dan lays out the arguments for this broad rethinking of sales as we know it. Bottom line is that the art of sales has changed more within the last decade than it did in the previous century. In Parts Two and Three it gets really juicy: the author describes How to Be in this new world of sales, and What to Do to be a successful salesperson in the 21st century.

I truly enjoyed “To Sell is Human” because it is so relevant to my life as a journalist, entrepreneur, wife, woman and trainer. I became more aware of my natural sales strengths and which of my skills still have room for improvement. “To Sell is Human” is surprisingly universal. But you already knew that. You just had a tough time admitting it.

Oh, and Dan, please pencil me into your interview schedule for the next book, will ya?!



Here are the highlights of this interview in bullet points and the minutes, where you find certain topics it in the video:

  • Min. 2:30 – How to define sales. Dan uses two definitions of sales: The traditional sales force tries to convince someone to make a purchase. In non-sales selling we try to convince others to make an exchange of some sort, like with time, attention or effort.
  • Min. 4:20 – The Icky feeling of sales. (5:20 – why working from home and owning a dog is not ideal for an audio interview ;-)) Why “buyer beware” is obsolete by now.
  • Min. 7:15 Are women really less equipped to sell than men?
  • Min. 9:40 – The new ABC of sales. Dan redefined Always Be Closing to Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. What does attunement stand for and why is lowering your own power beneficial to selling? Who are the best sales people: extroverts or introverts? Busting the myth that extroverts are best equipped to sell.
  • Min. 16 – Clarity. Why it is not enough to solve a problem (we don’t need a sales person for that) but rather to find a problem. How do you identify a problem people don’t know they have?
  • Min. 19:10 – If you have good social skills, you have the right skills to be a good sales person. Are you a good listener?
  • Min. 22 – Why the “Elevator Pitch” is outdated. What’s the much better approach to pitching? Bringing the other person in as a collaborator, for example. Or using the question pitch. Pitches that rhyme are deemed more persuasive and truthful.  In email pitches, should you appeal to utility or curiosity?
  • Min. 29:30 – What’s the best way to set yourself apart from competitors on the internet with your business? Hint: if you want to start a business, your chances for success are smaller if you just come up with an idea of what you want to sell rather than if you discovered a solution to a problem and now go into business because you want to share your solution with the world.
  • Min. 31:15 – Why we should take clues from improvisational theater. Forget the “Yes, but..” and change to “Yes, and…” to be more persuasive. Make the other person look good.
  • Min. 34:45 – Serve. As yourself: “Will the person be better off when purchasing my product/service?” If not, what’s the point? Having a purpose and making your business personal is key.
  • Min 40 – So what drives Dan Pink to do what he does?
  • How to stay close to Dan: All you people in all countries in the world (I know, that’s a very small target group), sign-up for Dan’s newsletter at www.DanPink.com!!


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Category: Awesome Biz & Life Interviews, Featured

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Explorer. Journalist. Trainer. Happy Camper (a trained skill). I LOVE hearing from my readers/viewers, so make my day and leave a comment or drop me a note at bettina (@ ) bettinagordon.com!!

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