In To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, Daniel Pink presents a convincing argument for his thesis. Selling isn’t an isolated activity undertaken by business development departments, but an essential skill to help all of us move others in our professional and daily lives.
Pink’s book lays out a clear understanding of modern business practices, introducing individuals from all professional walks of life and demonstrating how their daily lives incorporate selling. The US Census Bureau estimates that the American economy has more than twenty-one million “non-employer” businesses—operations without any employees. Some analysts (according to Pink) project there will be sixty-five million independent entrepreneurs by 2020, dominating the American workforce. All this newfound independence in work means that we take on much more of the sales responsibility for our businesses.
And even within businesses, traditional division of skills is breaking down. With sales ‘departments’ on the decline and elastic skill sets in demand, more and more of us are called to represent our companies to new and current clients. In effect, selling our services on a daily basis.
This rise of ‘non-sales selling’ is challenging our long-held stereotypes of salespeople. Pink explores these (mostly negative) associations and shows how the vast amount of information available today has made customers and clients much more educated in the sales process. Not that dishonest sales practices have disappeared, but that transparency is continually being rewarded by long-term customer relationships.
Fostering the ‘selling instinct’ in all of us is about understanding sales differently. This is about moving people, whether you’re in education, healthcare, or traditional sales. How do we move people toward processes that will benefit them?
Applications for Your Business
Pink redefines the ABC’s of sales as Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. These practices of empathy, properly framing a potential client’s questions, and embracing the unique and powerful information the other party brings to the conversation creates an environment where people feel heard. This environment is what can help individuals move past their thinking to yours, effectively ‘selling’ them on your expertise.
To Sell is Human can help you create action steps within your business to empower yourself and your employees to represent your products and services. Individuals who don’t think of themselves as ‘salespeople’ can suddenly see how their listening skills and compassion for clients is a huge asset to their ability to move others. They become ambassadors of your business, opening doors you didn’t even know existed.
Additionally, thinking of sales in the wider aspect of moving others enables you to take sales practices like pitching and closing into other aspects of your business. Training staff, developing a positive working culture, and customer engagement can all benefit from these techniques. And all of our businesses can benefit from happier employees and customers!
This book review is part of a longer series highlighting recently released business books. To review the entire list and read along with FNG, LLC, click here.