To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others Info

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Look out for Daniel Pink’s new book, When: The
Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

#1 New York
Times
Business Bestseller

#1 Wall Street
Journal Business Bestseller

#1 Washington Post
bestseller

From the bestselling author of Drive and
A Whole New Mind comes a surprising--and surprisingly useful--new
book that explores the power of selling in our lives.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans
works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their
keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase.
But dig
deeper and a startling truth emerges:
Yes, one in nine Americans
works in sales. But so do the other eight.

Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea,
entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers
cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others.
Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.
To Sell Is
Human
offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he
did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink
draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive
insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it's no longer
"Always Be Closing"), explains why extraverts don't make the best
salespeople, and shows how giving people an "off-ramp" for their actions
can matter more than actually changing their minds.
Along the
way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three
rules for understanding another's perspective, the five frames that can
make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result
is a perceptive and practical book--one that will change how you see
the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at
home.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others:

5

Dec 22, 2012

Lamentably, we live in era in which many best-selling authors mail it in. I won't name names, but some of the most renowned authors out there can publishing anything and sell a slew copies, even though their books at sub-par at best.

Not this one.

Pink's research and writing style make this an incredibly informative, dare I say groundbreaking, text. I'm not big on sales books, but this one is just remarkable.

Get it. Read it. And read it again.

3

Feb 09, 2013

I almost gave up on this because I disagreed with one of Pink's main ideas in the first part of the book: the idea that most people now spend most of their time in what he calls non-sales selling. I don't buy the idea that sales and persuasion and influence are the same thing. Sales are quantifiable; either you make your number or you don't. Persuasion is often tougher to measure. And influence is subtlest of all and can persist for decades.

Also, Pink's attempt to coin the term Ed-Med to I almost gave up on this because I disagreed with one of Pink's main ideas in the first part of the book: the idea that most people now spend most of their time in what he calls non-sales selling. I don't buy the idea that sales and persuasion and influence are the same thing. Sales are quantifiable; either you make your number or you don't. Persuasion is often tougher to measure. And influence is subtlest of all and can persist for decades.

Also, Pink's attempt to coin the term Ed-Med to describe the fields of education and medicine: Who cares? Is there really that much overlap between the two fields economically or psychologically?

I was more interested in Pink's "seller beware" idea. It used to be that salespeople were a main source of source of information as well as sales pitches. Now consumers can mine the Internet for a huge amount of data on almost any product, and they can potentially complain to the world if they feel the salesperson has acted unfairly. So that has altered the balance of power and changed how salespeople work.

I liked the second and third parts of the book because they focused on how to become more persuasive (attune yourself to your audience; improvise; focus on serving more instead of selling more). Pink traveled all over the world to interview motivation experts and watch them do their thing. I think my favorite expert was Norman Hall, who works in San Francisco and who is the last Fuller Brush salesman on the face of the earth. You can read more about him here: http://www.sfgate.com/performance/art... ...more
4

May 06, 2017

This was fascinating. Forget the out of date image of a sales person being a slick man in a polyester plaid suit trying to sell a lemon on a used car lot. This book is about human behavior, motivation, and about how EVERYONE "sells" (if you're a parent trying to convince a child to do their homework, that's selling. If your job function has nothing to do with sales, but you're trying to convince others in your company to take a certain action, then that's selling).

I listened to the audio This was fascinating. Forget the out of date image of a sales person being a slick man in a polyester plaid suit trying to sell a lemon on a used car lot. This book is about human behavior, motivation, and about how EVERYONE "sells" (if you're a parent trying to convince a child to do their homework, that's selling. If your job function has nothing to do with sales, but you're trying to convince others in your company to take a certain action, then that's selling).

I listened to the audio version of this book, but intend to buy a hard copy as I want to highlight and take notes. ...more
3

Apr 09, 2015

To Sell is Human was one of the books I had heard about for months, recommended by my fellow entrepreneurial peeps left and right. Finally grabbed the audio version - narrated by the author - and listened to the book, and overall, it was a let down from what I had expected to find.

The author uses the approach of getting his point across in a style similar to Malcolm Gladwell - whose first two books, Tipping Point and Blink, were brilliant! - but in the case of this book, do you really want to To Sell is Human was one of the books I had heard about for months, recommended by my fellow entrepreneurial peeps left and right. Finally grabbed the audio version - narrated by the author - and listened to the book, and overall, it was a let down from what I had expected to find.

The author uses the approach of getting his point across in a style similar to Malcolm Gladwell - whose first two books, Tipping Point and Blink, were brilliant! - but in the case of this book, do you really want to hear story after story about statistical success rates of this car salesman vs. that car salesman (the first few sections) followed by other study after study of what % of participants in this case study did XYZ. Way too much of that and way too little actual context or content on anything that would help you become a better, more authentic and more natural salesperson (man or woman!).

To listen to this book was no fun, and I am fascinated by the selling process but the overwhelm of case studies and regurgitation of the strategies of others made this another common book among the thousands. Getting to Yes is a great book on negotiation and Steven Covey's 7 Habits are great stuff but what does the author have to offer here?

If you are looking for practical tips on how to become a better sales person, you will hear some of them spread out in the book but there is no step by step process outlined, there is no help with the sales conversation. He does point out that sometimes asking questions is better than telling. Yes, I agree. And that being positive is good but not too much, some negativity is also good. Argh. Really?

My business coach teaches me more in an hour of coaching on sales language and addressing objections of the customer than this entire book did.

Here are some good takeaways which are again not original to the book but the book mentions:

- The 6-part Pixar story pitch:
Once upon a time there was _____

Every day _______

One day _______

Because of that _______

Because of that _______

Until finally ________

- He tells us to use the "Yes and" phrase to follow on the trail of what the other person had said. I had heard this before. Again, not original but very useful.

- A quote from another famous person: "Never argue. To win an argument is to lose a sale." (Can't argue with that ;))!

- This may have been original and I love the twist on upsell:
Abolish Up-sell
Instead Up-serve

- I also love this idea the author talks about:
Designate a slow day so you can listen more. A great way to pace yourself.

Overall, I am rounding up a 2.5 star to a 3 star. I hope this is helpful. ...more
1

Jan 10, 2014

I like pop psychology books that provide a serious and accurate review of research while applying it to some phenomena, like, for example, interpersonal persuasion. I love Cialdini's classic book "Influence" and was hoping for a spin on the same topic from "To Sell Is Human." I was disappointed to realize that Pink's book was written for the lowest common denominator of consumer, someone with little interest in the background research who seeks only quick uncomplicated sound bites.

My first clue I like pop psychology books that provide a serious and accurate review of research while applying it to some phenomena, like, for example, interpersonal persuasion. I love Cialdini's classic book "Influence" and was hoping for a spin on the same topic from "To Sell Is Human." I was disappointed to realize that Pink's book was written for the lowest common denominator of consumer, someone with little interest in the background research who seeks only quick uncomplicated sound bites.

My first clue that this book wasn't for me was the slim size of the paperback volume, coupled with the large text size. Between the number of pages and the number of words per page, it was unlikely there'd be a lot of meat in this book. I found the content extremely heavy on the anecdote and light on the supporting research. I didn't finish the book, although I did skim to the end, and even so I felt my time had been wasted by interacting with it.

I'll caveat that I work in the psychology field and so will be more critical than a reader without this background, but still. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. If you want to learn how to strengthen your persuasion skills, pick up "Influence" instead. ...more
4

Nov 22, 2016

This is an easy to read bool about selling and influencing people. While not as entertaining and fun to read as Guy Kawasaki, its them is similar and it does contain some good examples and rules to follow. It is not condescending and is highly readable. I would recommend reading Kawasaki's books first and then this one if you are trying to understand modern sales techniques and communication.
5

Dec 31, 2012

To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink is interesting, thoughtful, analytical, well-written, and, most importantly, helpful.

Dan Pink is an alembic. A what? An alembic. Think mad scientist (or maybe alchemist). An alembic is that funky looking glass thingie, round on the bottom, crooked neck, sitting over a flame with liquid happily bubbling away. The liquid is vaporized, travels through the neck into a curlicue glass dealybob and comes out the other end condensed and distilled. That’s what Dan does; To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink is interesting, thoughtful, analytical, well-written, and, most importantly, helpful.

Dan Pink is an alembic. A what? An alembic. Think mad scientist (or maybe alchemist). An alembic is that funky looking glass thingie, round on the bottom, crooked neck, sitting over a flame with liquid happily bubbling away. The liquid is vaporized, travels through the neck into a curlicue glass dealybob and comes out the other end condensed and distilled. That’s what Dan does; takes in a ton of information from our ever-changing world, percolates it, condenses and distills it, then jots down the results in a fun, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand style.

This time, it’s about sales. From To Sell Is Human - “… we’re all in sales now.”

“WHAT?” you exclaim. Yep. And that’s all I’m gonna tell ya. You’ll just have to get your own copy of To Sell Is Human to find out more. Learn about the new ABC’s of selling (Attunement, Bouyancy, & Clarity), and the three key abilities; pitching, improvising, and serving, that will help you be the best non-sales salesperson you can be.


Disclaimer: I received a galley copy of this book from the publisher; however, the opinions expressed in this review are my own and haven't been edited or approved by anyone.
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5

Jun 20, 2014

This is another great book by Dan Pink. I recommend everyone read for an improvement in their everyday interactions.


My notes:

"One of the most effective ways of moving others is to uncover challenges they may not know they have." (p.5)

People are now spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling--persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don't involve anyone making a purchase.

With all of the information available to consume, "the new guiding This is another great book by Dan Pink. I recommend everyone read for an improvement in their everyday interactions.


My notes:

"One of the most effective ways of moving others is to uncover challenges they may not know they have." (p.5)

People are now spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling--persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don't involve anyone making a purchase.

With all of the information available to consume, "the new guiding principle is caveat venditor--seller beware." (p.50)

The new ABC's (Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity)

Attunement
1. Increase your power by reducing it (Start your encounters with the assumption that you're in a position of lower power. This will help you see the other side's perspective more accurately.) p.72
2. Use you head as much as your heart. (Don't just empathize, take their perspective.)
3. Mimic strategically (Match their mannerisms. Light appropriate touching also increases odds in your favor.)

First conversation starter, "where are you from?"

Buoyancy (stay afloat amid the ocean of rejection)
1. Before - Interrogative Self-talk (questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within.) p. 103 [Can I fix this? is better than I will fix this.]
2. During - Positivity ratios (aim for between three to ten positive emotions to every one negative) *belief in your product/service is critical to moving others
3. After - Explanatory style - (the habit of explaining negative events to yourself) [Optimism...is a catalyst that can stir persistence, steady us during challenges, and stoke the confidence that we can influence our surroundings. p.111]

Put it into practice:
1) Can I do this? (list five specific reasons why the answer is yes)
2) Explain bad events as temporary, specific, and external (p.119)
3) Negativity helps us grow and improve; feedback mechanism

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 p.127)
+problem finding is much more important than problem solving, you need to make sure you are solving the right problem.

The most essential question you can ask is this: Compared to what? (p.134)

Five frames:
1) Less - restrict choices and it improves clarity
2) Experience - point out what the product/service will allow the buyer to do, don't highlight the features
3) Label - assign a positive label to help with comparison
4) Blemished - being honest about the existence of a small blemish can enhance your offering's true beauty. (p.140)
5) Potential - people often find potential more interesting than accomplishment because it is more uncertain. (don't fixate only on what you achieved yesterday, also emphasize the promise of what you could accomplish tomorrow. p.141)

+Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved. (p.142)

+Irrational questions motivate people better.

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.....?

Question 2) Why didn't you pick a lower number? (this process leads them to articulate why they want to behave differently)

+Identify the 1% that gives life to the other 99% to move others.

The Pitch (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. p. 158)

Six successors to the elevator pitch:
1) One-word pitch
2) Question pitch (use when the facts are strongly on your side)
3) Rhyming pitch
4) Subject line pitch (utility, curiosity, specificity) [3 simple but proven ways to get your email opened]
5) Twitter pitch (engages and encourages them to take the conversation further p.169)
6) Pixar pitch

http://www.danpink.com/pitch/

+After someone hears your pitch.... What do you want them to know, feel, and do??

+Add a visual

Improvise

Three rules:
1) Hear offers (you must LISTEN)
2) Say "Yes and.."
3) Make your partner look good (win-win) (win an argument, lose a sale) (make others look good or bad and they tell the world) (p.198)

Serve (improving another's life and, in turn, improving the world. p.219)

+Make it personal (recognize the person you are trying to serve, put yourself personally behind what you are selling.)

+Make it purposeful (humans are motivated by more than self-interest)

+Our species is motivated by our desire to improve the world and to provide that world with something it didn't know it was missing. (p.221)

+Treat everybody as you would your grandmother

+Always ask these two questions:
1) If the person you're selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve?
2) When your interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began? (p.233)
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3

Jun 11, 2019

I give this book 3.5 stars. I have noticed that books with "surprising truth" or "secrets to" in the title don't provide anything new. This book contains familiar concepts and research, just with the author's spin on it. For example, he uses the phrase "non-sales selling" activities. That's just influence and persuasion. The author jumps from topic to topic, all loosely tied to the theme of "To Sell is Human." He recites research and tips for selling, negotiating, influencing, persuading, and I give this book 3.5 stars. I have noticed that books with "surprising truth" or "secrets to" in the title don't provide anything new. This book contains familiar concepts and research, just with the author's spin on it. For example, he uses the phrase "non-sales selling" activities. That's just influence and persuasion. The author jumps from topic to topic, all loosely tied to the theme of "To Sell is Human." He recites research and tips for selling, negotiating, influencing, persuading, and communicating. If you know nothing about these topics, then it be worth reading this book. ...more
5

Jul 14, 2013

This is the best sales book I’ve read yet. Pink dismisses the slimy salesperson of the past and presents an enlightened view of sales. By “sales,” Pink means traditional salespeople (1 in 9 Americans) and those involved in “non-sales selling”: persuading, convincing, and influencing (everyone). Each chapter ends with several specific examples applying the chapter’s lessons. Pink includes entertaining anecdotes to illustrate his points, and backs them with primary and secondary research from This is the best sales book I’ve read yet. Pink dismisses the slimy salesperson of the past and presents an enlightened view of sales. By “sales,” Pink means traditional salespeople (1 in 9 Americans) and those involved in “non-sales selling”: persuading, convincing, and influencing (everyone). Each chapter ends with several specific examples applying the chapter’s lessons. Pink includes entertaining anecdotes to illustrate his points, and backs them with primary and secondary research from academia and the business world.

There are many insightful points about human psychology and sales techniques that I intend to use in my web design business, OptimWise.

I really liked the final chapter on “servant-selling”, which Pink defines as “improving another’s life and, in turn, the world.” He says, “...those who move others aren’t manipulators but servants. They serve first and sell later...If the person you're selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve?...will the world be a better place...?” Early in the book, he says, “To sell well is convince someone else to part with resources - not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”

I also liked the research showing that it's not extraverts nor introverts who make the best salespeople, but ambiverts (those in the middle of the extraversion scale).

I decided to read this after hearing Pink on the BizCraft podcast and several other podcasts. I also recommend Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Rebirth of a Salesman
• Irritation is challenging people to do what we want them to do. Agitation is challenging them to do what they want to do.
• “...honesty, directness, and transparency - has become the better, more pragmatic, long-term route”.

Attunement
• “...the ability to move people depends on...understanding another person’s perspective...[A]ssume that you’re not the one with power.”
• Imagining what the other side is thinking is more effective than imagining what they’re feeling.
• Subtly mimic the other person’s mannerisms.
• Ambiverts (those in the middle of the extraversion scale) outperform introverts and extraverts.
• The most destructive sales behavior is over-assertiveness leading to contacting customers too frequently.
• Extraverts “talk too much and listen to little”; they’re too pushy.
• Introverts are “too shy to initiate and too timid to close”.
• Don’t dismiss small talk; use it to find commonalities. They increase the likelihood of moving forward together.

Buoyancy
• Asking yourself, “Can I do this?” and answering specifically is more effective than telling yourself, “I can do this”.
• Aim for a positivity ratio (positive to negative emotions) of 3:1.

Clarity
• Problem-finding can be more important than problem-solving.
• People find potential more interesting than accomplishments, so emphasize it when selling yourself.
• Give a clear, detailed path to action.

Pitch
• “Pitches that rhyme are more sublime”.

Serve
• Be personal (about the prospect and yourself) and purposeful (appeal to prosocial/self-transcending reasons).

Book recommendations
• Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini
• Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
• Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
• Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein ...more
5

Jan 25, 2013

Once upon a time only some people were in sales. Every day, they sold stuff, we did stuff, and everyone was happy. One day, everything changed: All of us ended up in sales - and sales changed from a world of caveat emptor to caveat venditor. Because of that, we had to learn the new ABC's - attunement, buoyancy, and clarity. Because of that, we had to learn some new skills - to pitch, to improvise and to serve. Until finally we realized that selling isn't some grim accommodation to a merciless Once upon a time only some people were in sales. Every day, they sold stuff, we did stuff, and everyone was happy. One day, everything changed: All of us ended up in sales - and sales changed from a world of caveat emptor to caveat venditor. Because of that, we had to learn the new ABC's - attunement, buoyancy, and clarity. Because of that, we had to learn some new skills - to pitch, to improvise and to serve. Until finally we realized that selling isn't some grim accommodation to a merciless world of commerce. It's part of who we are - and therefore something we can do better by being more human. - To Sell is Human

This quote or the Pixar Pitch from this book sums up what this book is all about.

I have never read any of his previous books, but I really enjoyed this one. It was not a really hard read, 236 pages. This book basically talks about how to persuade others in this new age of technology. So it is not essentially book only about selling, its a book about how people can persuade others without manipulating them but rather trying to achieve win-win situation in the end.

I would recommend this book not only to sales people, I would recommend this book anyone who interacts with people on daily basis (basically everyone.)
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5

January 18, 2015

As with all Dan Pink's books, a worthy read (and re-read)
3

August 13, 2013

Not anything really groundbreaking here, but definitely an entertaining book. Author seems to be well informed and does his research.
3

Dec 31, 2012

Years ago, Daniel Pink, got my full attention with his book, A Whole New Mind, that argues for the embracing of the creative in our workplaces, in our education system and in our culture. As I recall, I read that book in two days.

Then came Pink’s highly successful book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Using some of the latest social science research, Pink made the highly complex and heavily researched concept of motivation accessible to the reader by breaking down some Years ago, Daniel Pink, got my full attention with his book, A Whole New Mind, that argues for the embracing of the creative in our workplaces, in our education system and in our culture. As I recall, I read that book in two days.

Then came Pink’s highly successful book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Using some of the latest social science research, Pink made the highly complex and heavily researched concept of motivation accessible to the reader by breaking down some commonly held assumptions around motivation and then offering ideas on how to utilize the research findings in our daily lives. As a trained educator and ardent observer of human behavior, I was already aware of much of what he discussed in this book but found the information useful both professionally and personally. Both of these books were on my recommended reading lists for my students.

Daniel Pink’s writing style is engaging and highly accessible. At times, he seemingly reads the mind of the reader and offers simple metaphors and typical human activities to illustrate a particular finding or concept. He presents occasional glimpses into his personal experiences and incorporates just enough humor to make you smile as you read. His writing is informed by a clear mission and is well-organized, so a reader finishes his books with some textbook-like information written in a pseudo-self help style.

When Pink announced the publication of his latest book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, I was eager to see where he would take us on his latest journey through the world of social science research. His basic premise is simple: he argues that humans spend considerable energy each day trying to get others to do what we request: purchase, buy in, comply, agree to and even obey. One professional he interviewed stated it succinctly: “Almost everything I do involves persuasion.” Whether you directly sell products, participate in teamwork efforts, attempt to direct the behavior of others or run your own business, you are, in effect, selling or more specifically, moving others to do something.

Pink details the repulsion most of us experience with the typical professional sales approach (think used car salesman) and labels it “the white-collar equivalent of cleaning toilets – necessary perhaps but unpleasant and even a bit unclean.” He reviews the historical protocol for selling and determines that it is officially dead. The immediate access to information via the Internet has completely altered the balance of power in direct sales exchanges. Consumers know far more and will, in the middle of your sales presentation, look up what you just said on their smart phones. Pink’s book offers strategic advice on how to adapt to the world of the “caveat venditor.”

Overall, the book presents succinct insights and strategies for those who are in the profession of sales. My initial response to his findings was a tad snarky: the old adage of “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” appeared to sum up the notions that if people like you, don’t feel threatened, believe that you are listening (rather than waiting to speak) and respond by acknowledging needs and desires…well, it all seems obvious, doesn’t it? But that is what Dan Pink does best: redirects our attention to what seems obvious, supports it with research-based evidence (apparently necessary because in our culture trusting our human instinct and experiences is not enough) and then completes his pitch with storytelling, offering human examples to seal the deal.

My disappointment with the book is that he tried too hard to combine the art of selling with the art of persuading. His attempt to include the areas of education and healthcare were short-changed in this 236 page book. Some of the concepts he presents could prove effective with surface-level issues in these two complex areas but the influencing of behavior change and human buy-in is worthy of far more examination. Maybe even a new book by the consummate “explainer” of cultural changes.

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3

Jul 23, 2013

THE MAIN IDEA

Everybody is a salesman! This is the main theme of Daniel Pink’s new book. Based on the understanding that sales is about convincing others – Pink goes on to explain how three key concepts – attunement, buoyancy, and clarity – are at the base of successful sales. He then describes the three key skills needed to put these concepts to work – pitch, improvisation and service.

INTERESTING TIDBIT

While a law student at Yale, Daniel H. Pink was the editor-in-chief of The Yale Law & THE MAIN IDEA

Everybody is a salesman! This is the main theme of Daniel Pink’s new book. Based on the understanding that sales is about convincing others – Pink goes on to explain how three key concepts – attunement, buoyancy, and clarity – are at the base of successful sales. He then describes the three key skills needed to put these concepts to work – pitch, improvisation and service.

INTERESTING TIDBIT

While a law student at Yale, Daniel H. Pink was the editor-in-chief of The Yale Law & Policy Review.

WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW

There is a new ABC for sales. It’s no longer Always Be Closing. Instead, it’s Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. You need to be:

Attuned to the needs, feelings and actions of those you sell to
Buoyant in the face of a repeated ocean of ‘no’
You need Clarity on what you offer and how you frame that offer

Combined these three aspects provide a well-rounded understanding of the conceptual background required to sell successfully. When you combine these with three key skills – Pitch, Improvise and Serve – you’re ready to sell. These skills help you:

Know how to Pitch your ideas
Be able to Improvise to deal with a changing situation
Serve your clients providing wide-ranging value

Combined these six aspects help provide a broad-based understanding of successful sales.

THE GENERAL OVERVIEW

This is a book about sales. The catch is what does Pink mean by ‘sales’? Rather than just selling a product Pink expands the definition of sales to encompass anybody involved in persuading others to do things – buy a watch, vote a certain way, make a certain type of decision. For Pink, this is all sales!

In making this claim Pink enables a broad reader base to understand how sales – and sales techniques – might help them achieve their goals. In some ways, there’s not actually too much new in this book. Much of what he writes about, helping clients understand where their needs are, ensuring that you provide long-term value to your clients (not just the immediate sale) are basic aspects of business nowadays. The strength of Pink’s work is in the social science research and carefully curated stories he uses to back up his claims.

After discussing the three concepts which he argues underpin successful sales – attunement, buoyancy, and clarity – Pink then goes on to explain how you can put those concepts into practice through your pitch, the use of improvisation techniques and truly serving your clients.

It’s an interesting book – and some of the ways that he describes pitching your product are intriguing (the rhyming pitch, the Pixar pitch), though not necessarily novel. That said, Pink’s books are always an enjoyable read and he does have a knack of bringing concepts together in a useful and clearly understandable way. This is a solid and interesting read.
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4

Mar 17, 2015

I checked this book out based on the premise: that everyone is in sales in some way. We’re all trying to move others to listen to us, buy from us, or do things for us. I hoped I would get some ideas how to manage that a bit better.

The first half of the book was incredibly slow. I almost didn’t finish it. Pink spends most of the time hammering on the idea of everyone being in sales. The best part of it, though, was a focus on how the information age has shifted roles.

Ten or fifteen years ago, I checked this book out based on the premise: that everyone is in sales in some way. We’re all trying to move others to listen to us, buy from us, or do things for us. I hoped I would get some ideas how to manage that a bit better.

The first half of the book was incredibly slow. I almost didn’t finish it. Pink spends most of the time hammering on the idea of everyone being in sales. The best part of it, though, was a focus on how the information age has shifted roles.

Ten or fifteen years ago, there were people who had knowledge about things, and the only way to get that knowledge was to ask the experts. In person. Learn from them. Buy from them. Teachers, doctors, even used car salesmen had their areas of expertise that no one else could have without their training.

Enter the internet. Now, everyone has information at their fingertips. People can look you up and know in a heartbeat whether your product is good or whether they want to do business with you. The paradigm has shifted. You can’t use those slick marketing tricks to get people to buy anymore. You have to offer things in a different way.

When Pink gets to the actual ways of offering products, I started taking notes. I filled 3 pages in my notebook. This is where the good stuff is. This is where all the tips and ideas are that will help you become a better marketer and probably a better person. It has already changed how I plan to proceed with my next books.

He spends a lot of time talking about asking the right question. This is going to require a lot of practice on my part, because I’m so used to telling. This technique is all about listening.

Pink also offers six different types of pitches that you can use, and recommends preparing them several times until you get it nailed down the way you like it. I thought I’d heard all of it before, but I still liked the way he presented them. The six types are:

1. The one-word pitch. (I’m not joking. One Single Word.)
2. The question. This one is great for social media.
3. The rhyming pitch.
4. Subject Lines. (as in email or blog titles)
5. Twitter. (140 characters or less, buddy)
6. The Pixar Pitch. (tell a story)

You’ll also get a quick overview of how learning about Improv can help you with marketing.

This isn’t my favorite book by Pink, but my brain has been buzzing since I finished reading it. There are some new ideas here, and I’m glad to have them. ...more
2

Jan 06, 2013

I was drawn in by the promo line "Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight." A true fact. Even if you don't have to persuade people to do your job, you certainly have to sell yourself when you are looking for a job.
I'm a video game designer, so one important part of my job is selling concepts to my coworkers, my superiors, and sometimes outside partners. That's why I picked this up. In a conference room, the charisma of a speaker can often have more influence than the I was drawn in by the promo line "Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight." A true fact. Even if you don't have to persuade people to do your job, you certainly have to sell yourself when you are looking for a job.
I'm a video game designer, so one important part of my job is selling concepts to my coworkers, my superiors, and sometimes outside partners. That's why I picked this up. In a conference room, the charisma of a speaker can often have more influence than the merit of an idea itself, and this frustrates me.
There are some helpful points in the book, but at least half of it is about how the sales profession has changed since the Internet went mainstream. He talks a lot about a Fuller brush salesman (the last one on earth!) and used car salesmen. Those stories are entertaining, but I don't see how they help me.
If my job were to convince someone they should make a game, I think this book would be relevant. But my job is to convince someone that's going to make a game that they should make MY game. So this isn't the book for me.
There were other good gems in the book, about improvisation, and writing concise emails with relevant, very specific subject headers... but I've read about these things elsewhere, and had years of practicing them at work and on Twitter. Not super original.
The best part of the book was about ambiverts, people who are a blend of extrovert and introvert. That's not a word I'd heard before, and was eye-opening and reassuring to think about. There is more about ambiverts on the author's website: http://www.danpink.com/2013/01/why-it... ...more
5

January 19, 2013

In To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink teaches that all of us are in sales, and his refreshing modernized view on sales will change your life; whether you sell timeshares or computers or even if you just want to learn what makes humans tick, no one covers it more clearly than Pink.
3

May 31, 2013

In part 3, section 7, Daniel talks about "lessons from Tinseltown" in his section on The Pitch. He writes, "In the most successful pitches, the pitcher didn't push her idea on the catcher until she extracted a yes. Instead, she invited in her counterpart as a collaborator. The more the executives - often derided by their supposedly more artistic counterpart as "suits" - were able to contribute, the better the idea often became, and the more likely it was to be green-lighted. The most valuable In part 3, section 7, Daniel talks about "lessons from Tinseltown" in his section on The Pitch. He writes, "In the most successful pitches, the pitcher didn't push her idea on the catcher until she extracted a yes. Instead, she invited in her counterpart as a collaborator. The more the executives - often derided by their supposedly more artistic counterpart as "suits" - were able to contribute, the better the idea often became, and the more likely it was to be green-lighted. The most valuable sessions were those in which the catcher "becomes so fully engaged by a pitcher that the process resembles a mutual collaboration. Once the catcher feels like a creative collaborator, the odds of rejection diminish."

He concludes with, "The lesson here is critical: 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."

I appreciated the ample examples presented, so points were not left up to reader to figure out an application. Definitely a good read to glean some unique selling perspectives. ...more
4

Sep 15, 2015

This summer I spent four months doing an internship in sales. I discovered that I love spending my days on the phone, talking to people interested in a product I passionately believe in. Seriously, it doesn't get better than being payed to talk endlessly about something you love. Upon arriving home from the internship, I googled "Top 10 Books About Sales." Now that I know I enjoy the field, might as well learn more about it. To Sell Is Human delivered what I was looking for.

As I read this book, This summer I spent four months doing an internship in sales. I discovered that I love spending my days on the phone, talking to people interested in a product I passionately believe in. Seriously, it doesn't get better than being payed to talk endlessly about something you love. Upon arriving home from the internship, I googled "Top 10 Books About Sales." Now that I know I enjoy the field, might as well learn more about it. To Sell Is Human delivered what I was looking for.

As I read this book, I got a thrill when I read about sales techniques that I learned in action. Author Daniel H. Pink touched on a lot of elements I was familiar with and elaborated on them in a way that deepened my understanding and equipped me with tools to practice and become effective with in the future. I appreciated his emphasis on being ethical in sales.

Overall, I found this book to be relatively easy to read and a great way to learn more about sales. ...more
5

Mar 08, 2013

To Sell is Human is a fantastic look at the new way of selling; one relationship at a time. The book is an easy to read, understand and apply guidebook for people that sell anything (and we are all selling something).

Pink's ABC method, with examples, provides the framework for anyone to be more effective at persuading others. It's all so simple, and yet so amazingly effective. It's a wonder this book wasn't written years ago, and yet, this book came at the perfect time.

I highly recommend this To Sell is Human is a fantastic look at the new way of selling; one relationship at a time. The book is an easy to read, understand and apply guidebook for people that sell anything (and we are all selling something).

Pink's ABC method, with examples, provides the framework for anyone to be more effective at persuading others. It's all so simple, and yet so amazingly effective. It's a wonder this book wasn't written years ago, and yet, this book came at the perfect time.

I highly recommend this book to entrepreneurs who need to sell their ideas to the marketplace, to corporate citizens who need to sell their ideas to their co-workers and to anyone who struggles to move others to their point of view. ...more
3

Jul 29, 2013

Three sections, each with three chapters, each with three points, illustrated with about three stories. Less inspiring than his previous work, therefore three stars.
4

September 4, 2017

Slow at first but picks up later. Lots of interesting pointers.
2

Jun 19, 2016

At every stage in our lives and practically almost every day, we are constantly selling to others – it may be idea, beliefs, but most of the time, stories. Dan has taken this simple fact and tried to convert into a wholesome handbook on how to improve selling capabilities. I had read his earlier book – “A Whole New Mind” – and was highly impressed. So, I went into this book also with some great expectations.

The world of selling has changed with the asymmetry in information being removed. As Dan At every stage in our lives and practically almost every day, we are constantly selling to others – it may be idea, beliefs, but most of the time, stories. Dan has taken this simple fact and tried to convert into a wholesome handbook on how to improve selling capabilities. I had read his earlier book – “A Whole New Mind” – and was highly impressed. So, I went into this book also with some great expectations.

The world of selling has changed with the asymmetry in information being removed. As Dan summarises , it has changed from ‘caveat emptor’ [buyers beware] to ‘caveat venditor’ [seller beware] . Well, that we knew very well from our daily experience both as consumers and marketers. Today, the biggest challenge for major electronic retail outlets (in India ) is the consumer looking at the price tag and immediately going online (while standing in the store) to check the prices online !! But, Dan does make an extra point with the example of CarMax that if maybe as an eager provider of information, you may do sell more.

With that backgrounder, Dan moves on to the new ABC’s of moving others – Attunement, Bouyancy, Clarity. Very creative – but the problem is that these are not self explanatory by a long shot. So, you have to read the book to understand these. And in each of them , he goes ahead to challenge some of the practices or approaches which is sworn to be effective by many practitioners. I will list out a few which did rattle me

Attunement – simply put together, it is about perspective taking. That is quite natural and the basic of most marketing. But, then Dan goes about with some contra ideas on doing this like
Increase you power by reducing it – There is an inverse relationship between power and perspective taking. So, if you start the interactions with the assumption that you are in a position of lower power, you may see the other side’s perspective more accurately
Use your head as much as you use your heart – a very interesting take on having empathy for customers. Dan submits that while pushing too hard is counterproductive (given the current ‘caveat venditor’ environment), but feeling too deeply isn’t necessarily the answer either – because you might submerge your own interest. He quotes research to state that it is more beneficial to get inside their heads than have them inside own heart. Well, to a large extent, that is what exactly insighting is all about and one may read more about it in the recent book “Small Data” by Martin Lindstrom.
Mimic strategically – Well, this is where I had some difficulty in going along with Dan. Personal feelings apart, Dan makes a point ( based on behavioural studies) that mimicking the mannerisms of your negotiating partner can help to get a better deal. The trick is to keep it so subtle that the other person does not notice it or worse takes offence. Yes, this is trick which is used very commonly for ice breaking, but I personally find it difficult to take it beyond a point. And am not sure whether one will end up losing an identity in doing so. Well, as I said, these are my personal thoughts.
Thereafter, Dan goes ahead to challenge a notion that Extraverts are the best salesmen and brings out the fact that Ambiverts are actually the best. But, this topic has been dealt in depth by Susan Cain in her book “Quiet”, so I did not find anything new to write about.

Buoyancy – It is about staying afloat amids the ocean of rejection one might face in the course of selling. Some of the concepts which Dan proposes here :
Self questioning instead of self affirming – Affirmation has been an acknowledged technique to boost confidence and to maintain a positive frame of mind. However, Dan refers to some behavioural studies (do read about it in the book) to point out that self questioning group are more successful that self affirming groups, as the former put themselves through various interrogations on how they would fail and in the process get better prepared. But, I would still see a danger in a creeping negativity from too much self questioning.
Maintain positivity ratio – So, as if taking a clue from my closing thoughts on the earlier section, Dan brings in the need to maintain positivity as a component for buoyancy. But as against a highly sweetened talk on positivity, he comes with some social research outcomes (well detailed in the book and very interesting) to support that while it is ok to have both positive and negative emotions, people generally flourish when the positive emotions outnumbered the negative emotions by 3:1. Now, what is more interesting is that once the ration hits 11:1, it starts doing more harm than good – it becomes kind of a delusional life (a perpetual high ?)
Explanatory style for negative outcomes – This is all about how you explain the negative outcomes to yourselves. The worst would be to give up and believe that bad events are permanent, pervasive and personal – a pessimistic explanatory style. Bahioural research supports that such a response does not sustain a person for long and they quit faster than other. So, Dan admits that optimism isn’t a hollow sentiment after all. It leads to persistence and also gives confidence.
By now, I am quite much in knots as to what is exactly Dan trying to say if we read all the above. So, he quotes Seligman to forward something called “flexible optimism – optimism with its eyes open”. Doesn’t help me at all .

Clarity – This seems quite self explanatory to me, but given the shocks I received till now, I had a caution approach to this as well. Was quite relieved that here Dan sticks quite to the trodden path. The ability to move others hinges less on problem solving than on problem finding (does the various cases of Apple products sound familiar in this background).
Clarity depends on contrast – I found this to be simple yet brilliant. The case of Reeves and the begging man was an eye opener for sure. So how does one go about comparing and contrasting, especially if the mission is to find problems? Though Dan does propose a few methods, but most of them meander. I would agree that it would take much more of a personal knack (and am going back to Steve Jobs) to get this.
Nonetheless, Dan offers various frames through which one may compare their offerings, contrast with alternatives and clarify its virtues:
The less frame: Giving fewer choices helps in higher sales. This concept has been well detailed by Barry Schwartz in his book “The paradox of choice”
The experience frame: Move from explaining the product features to what the consumer will experience. Rarely does the consumer realise all the features (or even use them, check how many features are there on your TV)
The blemished frame: Do share some blemishes in the product or service (or maybe what the product will not do), once all positives things have been extolled. This may help in clarity
The potential frame: This is more about selling ourselves – emphasise on potential. Potential is more interesting than accomplishment
Dan also suggests to have an off ramp so that people also have the clarity to act, once they have been given the requisite clarity to think

For the end piece, Dan could not help but continue with a discourse on real selling. He outlines various methods of pitching, but I some of them I found it hard - like the one word pitch, rhyming pitch (more attuned for jingles maybe). The question pitch and subject line pitch is quite extensively used. Pecha-kucha is an interesting concept though.

Dan does marries a stage concept of Improv with sales pitch. This will definitely help to enhance the listening capacity while selling. He brings out a good point that for many of us, the opposite of talking isn’t listening, its waiting. When someone is talking, we typically divide our attention between what they are saying now and what we are going to say next. The rule of making eye contact and waiting for 15 seconds can help tremendously.

Another good concept that Dan forwards is “up serve” rather than “up sell”, give a totally different context and could give similar result.

On the whole, a few interesting concepts, but with some controversial takes and some confusion makes this book a not so easy read, as compared to Dan’s earlier book on Right brain dominance. Dan starts out making this as a book for every one, but towards the end tries to also make it a handbook for sales men. I found this book trying hard to pander to many and thus falling in between many stools.
...more
5

Jul 25, 2017

Once upon a time there was a reluctant sales manager. Every day she would wonder if she was doing the right thing. Then one day, she dusted off "to sell is human" and started reading. Immediately she was reaffirmed that some of the things she was doing was definitely right. That sales had come along way since the slick car sales guy from 70's. That everyone is doing now, in one way or the other. This removed the stigma from "sales" as a profession and the concrete tips in the book alleviated and Once upon a time there was a reluctant sales manager. Every day she would wonder if she was doing the right thing. Then one day, she dusted off "to sell is human" and started reading. Immediately she was reaffirmed that some of the things she was doing was definitely right. That sales had come along way since the slick car sales guy from 70's. That everyone is doing now, in one way or the other. This removed the stigma from "sales" as a profession and the concrete tips in the book alleviated and elevated the daily grind immediately. The sales manager lived happily ever after, even in the ocean of rejection, knowing she was on the right track and knowing how to stay there.

This is my attempt at a Pixar pitch, but do not judge the book solely upon this.

This is the best book on sales and management I have ever read. Before I had completed it, I had bought four more copies and sent a sales pitch for the book to my team to motivate them to read it.
You should to. If anything you do involves motivating people to move and give a up a precious resource - be it time or money - then you too will benefit from reading this book.

"To sell is human" is a forward thinking and practical, funny as well as serious. An example of the funny and astute:

"Powerpoint is like the weather or realityTV: everybody complains about it, but nobody does anything about it. No matter where we work or learn, we must endure the blatherings of people who anesthetize us with bullet points and then, in the dark of a conference room, steal our souls and bake them into 3-D pie charts."

Instead of the Always Be Closing ABC of traditional sales, Daniel introduces a new one: attenuated - buoyancy - clarity. The old adage worked better when the sales man had more information than the customer, but this is no longer the case. And the customer might be able to tell about the bad experience on social media, giving them a much stronger position than 40 years ago. Or even 20. These days it is better to concentrate on finding the customer's true problem, listen well, be humble. Then you need to be able to stay afloat admit rejection and a clear message.

After this the author moves onto pitch , improvision and service. These sections are perfectly practical. In the end I learned a new word - and a new motto - UPSERVE.

"Upserving means doing more for the other person than he expects or you initially intended, taking the extra steps that transform a mundane interaction into a memorable experience. This simple move - from upselling to upserving - has the obvious advantage of being the right thing to do. But it also carries the hidden advantage of being extraordinarly effective.

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."

So I wasn't as clueless about sales as I had feared. Most of the things I was doing were the right things, but can certainly be tweaked for improvement. Daniel H. Pink has shown me how and I have been utterly and completely convinced.
...more

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