To Sell is Human
To Sell is Human summary

To Sell is Human

Rating: 8/10

Author: Daniel Pink Read The Original

High-Level Thoughts

A great short read into why everyone is in the business of sales and the methods and tricks to stand out from the crowd. If you look at companies like Facebook, Evernote, Dollar Shave Club, etc they do not have a dedicated sales team. The reason being that the line between sales and other departments are blurring very rapidly. When we think of sales people we think of a sleazy person trying to take our money, in reality however sales is simply the art of getting others to see your perspective and taking action, and in the end both parties should come out on top. With technology everyone can do their own research, so the job of the salesmen in the 21st century is to find problems consumers are facing not create the solutions..

To Sell is Human Summary

  • All of us are in the sales business and ambiverts are the best salespeople.
  • Salesmen are moving from problem solvers to problem finders, because of the abundance of information in the 21st century.
  • Pitches are an art form of their own, so you, too, should act like an artist.

Part One: Rebirth of a Salesman

  • Microenterprises account for the majority of businesses in the United States ut a fraction of America's GDP.
  • 30% of American workers work for themselves
  • In the United States alone, some 1 in 9 workers still earn a living trying to get others to make a purchase.
  • In sixteen Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries—including France, Mexico, and Sweden—more than 90 percent of businesses now have fewer than ten employees.
  • Ed-Med has generated significantly more new jobs in the last decade than all other sectors combined. And over the next decade, forecasters project, health care jobs alone will grow at double the rate of any other sector.
  • Irritation, he says, is “challenging people to do something that we want them to do.” By contrast, “agitation is challenging them to do something that they want to do.”
  • “Dishonest dealings tend to drive honest dealings out of the market,” Akerlof wrote.
  • Atlassian-> have 0 salespeople, they give customers free trial and walk them through how to use their software without badgering them to buy, or with discounts.

Part Two: How to Be

  • Learn helplessness can turn setbacks into disasters.
  • Salesmen are moving from problem solvers to problem finders, because of the abundance of information in the 21st century.
  • Attunement is the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in.
  • As the researchers conclude, “power leads individuals to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point, insufficiently adjusting to others’ perspective.”
  • Start your encounters with the assumption that you’re in a position of lower power. That will help you see the other side’s perspective more accurately, which, in turn, will help you move them.
  • Perspective-taking is a cognitive capacity; it’s mostly about thinking.
  • when it comes to moving others, perspective-taking is the more effective of these fraternal twins.
  • “It would stink to spend a year trying to sell Mary only to learn that Dave was the decision maker.”
  • “negotiators who mimicked their opponents’ mannerisms were more likely to create a deal that benefited both parties.” The researchers titled their paper, “Chameleons Bake Bigger Pies and Take Bigger Pieces.”
  • Dutch study found that waitresses who repeated diners’ orders word for word earned 70 percent more tips than those who paraphrased orders.
  • introverts are “geared to inspect,” while extraverts are “geared to respond.”
  • Jim Colins says his favorite opening question is: Where are you from? when meeting new people
  • If he leans back, count to fifteen, then consider leaning back, too. If he makes an important point, repeat back the main idea verbatim—but a bit later in the conversation.
  • The empty chair has become legendary in Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Seeing it encourages meeting attendees to take the perspective of that invisible but essential person.
  • Exercise: Each pair selects an item. One person plays the role of someone from the early 1700s. The other has to explain the item.
  • But the most effective self-talk of all doesn’t merely shift emotions. It shifts linguistic categories. It moves from making statements to asking questions.
  • Three researchers—Ibrahim Senay and Dolores Albarracín of the University of Illinois, along with Kenji Noguchi of the University of Southern Mississippi—confirmed the efficacy of “interrogative self-talk” in a series of experiments they conducted in 2010.
  • The researchers instructed the first group to ask themselves whether they would solve the puzzles—and the second group to tell themselves that they would solve the puzzles. On average, the self-questioning group solved nearly 50 percent more puzzles than the self-affirming group.
  • The reasons are twofold. First, the interrogative, by its very form, elicits answers—and within those answers are strategies for actually carrying out the task.
  • As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.
  • As some positive psychologists have put it, the key is to “dispute” and “de-catastrophize” negative explanations. To dispute, confront each explanation the way a sharp lawyer would cross-examine a witness.
  • the third quality necessary in moving others today: clarity—the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had.
  • “It is in fact the discovery and creation of problems rather than any superior knowledge, technical skill, or craftsmanship that often sets the creative person apart from others in his field.”
  • It isn’t necessarily the “closers,” those who can offer an immediate solution and secure the signature on the contract, he says. It’s those “who can brainstorm with the retailers, who uncover new opportunities for them."
  • Chauvin says, his best salespeople think of their jobs not so much as selling candy but as selling insights about the confectionery business.
  • University of California, Berkeley, now offers a course called “Problem Finding, Problem Solving” because, as its instructor says, “part of being an innovative leader is being able to frame a problem in interesting ways and . . . to see what the problem really is before you jump in to solve it.”
  • “the contrast principle.”11 We often understand something better when we see it in comparison with something else than when we see it in isolation.
  • an inexpensive item to a product offering can lead to a decline in consumers’ willingness to pay,” the researchers concluded.
  • Several researchers have shown that people derive much greater satisfaction from purchasing experiences than they do from purchasing goods.
  • framing a sale in experiential terms is more likely to lead to satisfied customers and repeat business.
  • the “blemishing effect”—where “adding a minor negative detail in an otherwise positive description of a target can give that description a more positive impact.”
  • First, the people processing the information must be in what the researchers call a “low effort” state. That is, instead of focusing resolutely on the decision, they’re proceeding with a little less effort—perhaps because they’re busy or distracted. Second, the negative information must follow the positive information, not the reverse.
  • “The core logic is that when individuals encounter weak negative information after already having received positive information, the weak negative information ironically highlights or increases the salience of the positive information.”18 So if you’re making your case to someone who’s not intently weighing every single word, list all the positives—but do add a mild negative.
  • Half the ads said the comedian, Kevin Shea, “could be the next big thing.” The other half said, “He is the next big thing.” The first ad generated far more click-throughs and likes than the second.
  • “the potential to be good at something can be preferred over actually being good at that very same thing.”
  • Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved.
  • I’ve found that irrational questions actually motivate people better,” he has written.
  • Question 1. “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning ‘not the least bit ready’ and 10 meaning ‘totally ready,’ how ready are you to study?” After she offers her answer, move to: Question 2. “Why didn’t you pick a lower number?” “This is the question that catches everybody off guard,” Pantalon writes in his book Instant Influence. Asking why the number isn’t lower is the catalyst. Most people who resist doing or believing something don’t have a binary, off-on,
  • Even more important, as your daughter explains her reasons for being a 4 rather than a 3, she begins announcing her own reasons for studying.
  • Sam Sommers says, “it takes the jolt of the unfamiliar to remind you just how blind you are to your regular surroundings.”
  • Don’t get lost in the crabgrass of details, he urged us. Instead, think about the essence of what you’re exploring—the one percent that gives life to the other

Part Three: What to Do

  • The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.
  • several scholars have found that questions can outperform statements in persuading others.
  • Rhymes boost what linguists and cognitive scientists call “processing fluency,” the ease with which our minds slice, dice, and make sense of stimuli.
  • Utility worked better when recipients had lots of e-mail, but “curiosity [drove] attention to email under conditions of low demand.”
  • Copyblogger copywriting website, recommends that subject lines should be “ultra-specific.”
  • readers assigned the highest ratings to tweets that asked questions of followers,
  • Once upon a time . Every day, ________. One day _______. Because of that, __________. Because of that, _______. Until finally _________.
  • 1. The One-Word Pitch Pro tip:
  • Write a fifty-word pitch. Reduce it to twenty-five words. Then to six words.
  • One of those remaining half-dozen is almost certainly your one-word pitch.
  • 2. The Question Pitch Pro tip: Use this if your arguments are strong. If they’re weak, make a statement. Or better yet, find some new arguments.
  • 3. The Rhyming Pitch Pro tip: Don’t rack your brain for rhymes. Go online and find a rhyming dictionary. I’m partial to RhymeZone (
  • 4. The Subject Line Pitch Pro tip: Review the subject lines of the last twenty e-mail messages you’ve sent. Note how many of them appeal to either utility or curiosity. If that number is less than ten, rewrite each one that fails the test.
  • 5. The Twitter Pitch Pro tip: Even though Twitter allows 140 characters, limit your pitch to 120 characters so that others can pass it on. Remember: The best pitches are short, sweet, and easy to retweet.
  • 6. The Pixar Pitch Pro tip: Read all twenty-two of former Pixar story artist Emma Coats’s story rules:
  • After someone hears your pitch . . . What do you want them to know? What do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do? If you’ve got strong answers to these three questions, the pitch will come together more easily.
  • Pitches are an art form of their own, so you, too, should act like an artist.
  • A pecha-kucha presentation contains twenty slides, each of which appears on the screen for twenty seconds.
  • In competitive sales presentations, where a series of sellers make their pitches one after another, the market leader is most likely to get selected if it presents first, according to Virginia Tech University researchers.
  • But for a challenger, the best spot, by far, is to present last
  • Granular numbers are more credible than coarse numbers.
  • Many people are surprised by the disconnect between what they think they’re conveying and what others are actually hearing.
  • three essential rules of improvisational theater: (1) Hear offers. (2) Say “Yes and.” (3) Make your partner look good.
  • “Good improvisers seem telepathic; everything looks prearranged. This is because they accept all offers made."
  • In developing countries, road accidents now kill the same number of people as does malaria.
  • In other words, adding a few stickers to the minibuses saved more money and spared more lives than just about any other effort the Kenyan government had tried.
  • As Turner’s study shows—and because of his work, photographs are now being added to Pap smear specimens, blood tests, and other diagnostics10—injecting the personal into the professional can boost performance and increase quality of care.
  • Grant’s research has shown that purpose is a performance enhancer not only in efforts like the promotion of handwashing and recycling but also in traditional sales.
  • The time is ripe for the sales version of Greenleaf’s philosophy. Call it servant selling. It begins with the idea that those who move others aren’t manipulators but servants. They serve first and sell later.
  • Anytime you’re tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you’re doing and upserve instead. Don’t try to increase what they can do for you. Elevate what you can do for them.
  • “Salespeople are no different from engineers, architects, or accountants. Really good salespeople want to solve problems and serve customers.
  • If the person you’re selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve? When your interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began? If the answer to either of these questions is no, you’re doing something wrong.

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