How to move others – "To sell is human", by Dan Pink

to sell is human bookcover


Dan Pink’s book “To sell is human” describes a new approach to sales as a way of moving others. By this definition “we’re all in sales now”.

The world of sales has changed during recent years. Technology narrowed down the gap between vendors and customers. You can buy almost anything through your mobile phone without ever talking to any sales person. You can get all the needed information about products, prices, and related opinions yourself. For entrepreneurs it means a big change in the way they approach customers and sell products. And being an entrepreneur “could become the norm rather than the exception”. This requires new skills to effectively sell your ideas or products.

The book describes three main qualities of effectively influencing others: attunement, buoyancy, and clarity. Attunement is a capability of “bringing oneself into harmony with individuals, groups, and contexts”. Buoyancy is a quality of “how to stay afloat amid that ocean of rejection”. Clarity is “the capacity to make sense of murky situations”.

The above mentioned qualities are necessary for a person or an organization to be able to start influencing others. But they are not sufficient. One needs to undertake actions to move others. Dan Pink focuses on three of them: pitch, improvisation, and service.

According to the author pitching ideas “has changed more in the last ten years than it did over the previous hundred” and gives 6 techniques of pitches: one-word-, question-, rhyming-, subject-line-, Twitter-, and Pixar-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.” The book gives three essential rules of improvisation theater: 1) hear offers, 2) say “yes and”, 3) make your partner look good. Finally, service is defined as “improving others’ lives and, in turn, improving the world”. In order to achieve it, one should make service personal and purposeful.

Dan Pink’s book is a great source of ideas on modern ways of influencing others and a pool of both printed and online resources that can be helpful for anyone to further explore the topic. One of the best books I’ve read lately.

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