Plenty of Pink–Dan Pink: To Sell is Human Book Launch

15 Feb Plenty of Pink–Dan Pink: To Sell is Human Book Launch

When I was in college, I spent one of my summers selling books door-to-door with The Southwestern Company, and set out to make enough money to support my next year in college. I moved to a city outside of Boston with 20 some other crazy kids, learned a script by heart to spout out to the families I met, read Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World and rode a borrowed bicycle from door-to-door. I was in sales, the best kind there is, where I received a full 40% commission from every book I sold! I ended up miserable, but I made it through. After that summer, I swore to never be in sales again.

So I was intrigued to have the opportunity this week to listen to Dan Pink, bestselling author of five books, includingDrive and A Whole New Mind, at the Entrepreneur Organizations’┬ámonthly learning program. He has released a new book on the ironic topic of how at its heart, everyone is in sales, and I know that even though I don’t have “sales” in my title, I sell every single day, to almost everyone I meet.

Pink has seen positive reviews on all of his books from the likes of Forbes, the LA Times, the Huffington Post, NPR, and numerous other notable outlets. He even sat with Oprah and contributed an article for the Harvard Business Review.

He is currently promoting his new book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, and we are fortunate enough to have him in our back yard (he’s a local)! The room was packed. I wasn’t sure what the expect from his talk, but the gist of the speech was about how in today’s world, everyone is selling, each and every day, and understanding what makes people good at it can be very empowering. In fact, if part of your job is to separate someone from “time, resources or money,” you are selling!

To share some of the big takeaways I had:

– He began with asking what words or assocations did the audience have with the term “salesperson…” and not surprisingly, most were not positive terms! Sleazy, pushy were at the top of the list, and yet 1 in 9 people in this country hold a position where they are responsible for sales. Chances are, they aren’t all bad!

– We live in a world where it’s no longer a “buyer beware” mentality, where the seller holds all the cards because he or she is the keeper of information. Now, it’s “seller beware” with the buyer often times being armed with more information than ever. So pushy salespeople often times don’t get very far…

– The most fascinating part of his talk was the research he provides in his book, about the social science of humans and how some facts are counterintuitive to what we believe about the art of selling. For example, how being introverted isn’t a recipe for disaster in sales, but rather a blend of introversion and extroversion is very powerful…folks who scored in the middle were proven again and again to be the most successful selling. And two, how it has been studied that in multiple cases, when a company eliminates commission, revenues go up. Huh! No wonder my 40% commission really wasn’t a motivator in the end…

– There were some interesting and useful tips he gave on how to get people’s attention when sending an email or other communication, such as using rhymes in a clever way, or alliteration. There have been tests done on the higher memory recall of statements or subject lines in emails that will pull better, just because they rhyme!

– Where we used to live by the sales mantra of “Always Be Closing” (the ABC’s of selling!) we now should live by “Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.” Attunement: being able to empathize, listen, and understand where a person is coming from. Buoyancy: the art of positive self-talk; and Clarity: being able to see a realistic portrait of the situation.

So while I can still recite much of the script I learned in college, and still remember the “bookman song” we sang every morning to get us motivated, I’m glad those days are gone.

–Elizabeth Shea, @eliz2shea

Elizabeth Shea
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