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To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others Paperback – December 3, 2013
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—strategy + business
“A fresh look at the art and science of sales using a mix of social science, survey research and stories.”
—Dan Schawbel, Forbes.com
"Artfully blend(s) anecdotes, insights, and studies from the social sciences into a frothy blend of utility and entertainment."
"Excellent…radical, surprising, and undeniably true."
—Harvard Business Review Blog
“Pink has penned a modern day How to Win Friends and Influence People... To Sell Is Human is chock full of stories, social science, and surprises…All leaders—at least those who want to ‘move’ people—should own this book.”
—Training and Development magazine
"Vastly entertaining and informative."
—Phil Johnson, Forbes.com
"Pink is one of our smartest thinkers about the interaction of work, psychology and society."
"A roadmap to help the rest of us guide our own pitches."
“Like discovering your favorite professor in a box…packed with information, reasons to care about his message, how and why to execute his suggestions, and it's all accentuated with meaningful examples… this book deserves a good, long look.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"An engaging blend of interviews, research and observations by [this] incisive author"
—The Globe and Mail
About the Author
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I have actually taken people’s hard earned money for 25 years so please let me explain why the author is way off base.
My dad tried to convince me the benefits of working for one company for 30 years. My wife ties to convince me daily about sex and many other things. The author would have you believe my mom and wife are salespeople. They are not.
My dad and wife are regular people that are insecure at times, filled with fear, frozen to inaction and afraid to make hard decisions. When my dad, my wife, my neighbor have to buy a car, they are under stress. When they claim that a car salesperson is bad they are really saying how much they hate buying a car, not how much they loathe salespeople. Like anything else, people are egocentric, they are not spending five seconds thinking about the salesperson. They are simply recasting and rationalizing their fear away from themselves.
A salesperson knows this. An author that thinks he knows how to sell does not.
I stopped reading when the author tried to convince me that Ed-Med is the new dominant new sales category. That is like saying your Uber driver made the sale. Wrong, the Professor, the Doctor, the Uber driver are making good on a transaction already done. They are not selling.
I consider the author’s claim to be especially ridiculous given how had I compete every day for dollars that the govt throws at Ed-Med. Missouri’s State Budget is $27B. 50% of that goes to Health Services. 25% of that goes to Education. The taxes that people and corporations pay to bolster that advance spending on Ed / Med is money they can’t spend on services/products that I have sold for 25 years. I wish I could wake up tomorrow “selling” as the author suggest to people that have $20B in their pockets. I wish my service were so easy to sell that somebody could just Uber it my way.
Selling is number one profession that non-salespeople think they can do well. Salesforce.com created the open season on salespeople and so many of the misinformed are filling the air with nonsense. I look forward to the coming Saleforce.com bubble.
The author makes many good points throughout the book that can be useful to “move others”, or sell. But with each good point he compromises his knowledge of selling by trying to obliterate tried and true practices.
Good sales people solve problems. And as mentioned in the book, great sales people can find problems people didn’t know they had. If he could have stuck to that idea, and built on it, tying in ethically sound, traditional sales, it would have come across better. At this point I’m glad the book is finished so we can move on to something that has a greater impact.
The first several chapters could be summarized in a page or two. Repetition at its worst. It takes so long to get to the useful meat of the book that you've probably already fallen asleep by the time you get to the idea of pitching.
Awesome sales book. I especially liked how he spent the first third of the book talking about how pretty much everyone in the world today is in some form of selling. You might not see yourself as a "traditional salesman," but whatever you're line of work is, your survival/success will depend on how well you can "move people" (i.e. get them to part with their resources, such as time/money/energy, in exchange for some value you can provide to them).
I'm following this book up with "Instant Influence" by Pantalon, which Pink references and recommends as additional reading in this book.
Disclosure: I've read most of the classic books like Influence by Cialdini, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Bettger, Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, etc. and still found this one to be extremely helpful.
The measure of any book is the value you can get out of it - i.e. what can you apply to your life/goal from the author's work/recommendations. I definitely found quite a few ideas that I could apply to a venture I'll be undertaking in the very near future (fundraising for a new hedge fund).
This we do at home with our children to convince them to do their homework, to convince your boss to give you a raise, pitching your startup to investors, pushing your team to grow our business and many more. We are almost all the time selling.
Why as entrepreneur you should read this book? Do you feel that the traditional way of "always closing" is hard work, feeling bad, you post phone sales? Forgetting the follow-up call?
You are not alone, many startups I talk to have no idea on sales (They hope it all come automatically)
How to see sales differently and successfully? The book explains ideas and techniques to understand the sales process in a fresh way.
- Upselling vs Serve-selling?
- What is a sales pitch To close the deal or to sart a conversation?
- How to add clarity to your sales pitch to ending up closing more deals?
- Who are better in sales, extraverts or introvert? Interesting to know when you hire new staff
- Asking the right questions vs giving the right answers?
- and much more.
Enjoy the reading and grow your business today
Top international reviews
Pink has studied communication extensively and he has lots of interesting things to say on how to write catchy e-mail titles (p. 167), tweets (p. 170) and why using visuals is so important (p. 180). But he also gives us the results of a number of studies on such fascinating topics as...
...Labelling (p. 138): In a Prisoner’s Dilemma type of game, 33% of the participants cooperated when they were told it was called ‘The Wall-Street Game’ but the number doubled when others were told they would be playing ‘The Community Game’. The same effect was found when some students were labelled ‘tidy’ as opposed to a controlled group (Moral: Label you students positively and they will live up to the label!)
...Facilitation (p. 142): In another study, students who had been singled out for their pro-sociality by their peers, were asked to contribute to a food drive for charity. The same was done with others classified as ‘selfish’. The results: 8% of the former but 25% of the latter donated food! Why? The ‘selfish’ students had been given clearer instructions about what to donate and when! (Moral: motivation aside, direct behavioural instructions [‘Do this!’] can go a long way towards ensuring compliance).
...Persuasion Techniques: Here is one: instead of asking students whether they have studied for a test which might trigger ‘Psychological Reactance’ we could ask them ‘How ready are you for the test? Say on a scale from 1 to 10?’ When they answer, we can then follow up with the fantastic ‘Why not a lower number?!?’ This forces them to focus on the positive (what they have done) and shows them what they still need to work on! Excellent!! (p. 213)
What makes the book so readable is that Pink also gives readers many real life examples. Here is my favourite one: On page 213 of the book there is a picture which hangs on the wall of an Italian restaurant. The picture is that of the owner and it reads: ‘If you had anything less than a great experience at ‘il Canale’, please call my cell: 703-624-2111’!! Now think: how many DOSs would be prepared to do such a thing? :-)
And now I'm wondering what I have to un-learn from Drive.
I work as a speechwriter, and that's where Daniel Pink began, working for Al Gore. All this stuff is relevant to speechwriting - and as speechwriting embraces blog posts, Twitter and other outputs these days, the techniques he passes on about improv theatre, rhyme and one word pitches are fun and worth putting into practice every day.
I'd read about Joe Girard, the famous car salesman, and Dan Pink puts his theories into context. The world has moved on a long way since the mantras like 'Always be closing'. The internet gives us most of what we need to know about products and services. The sales people have to work with that grain.
He tells a nice story about one of the last door-to-door salesmen and gives us some good buzzwords for sharpening our technique for the C21st - his ABC is 'Attunement, buoyancy and clarity'.
His Pixar story structure technique is also just the kind of thing you want as a takeaway from a business book. I was really glad I picked up this book, I'll be working with it for at least the next six months.
Don't be discouraged if you find the start slow. It does get better.
Skim through and pick out the relevant paragraphs. For me it was all in the last 40 pages.
This applies to all, a mum who's trying to get kids to do house chores, an employee who's struggling with the boss, or a owner of a company whose staffs won't stick.
Perhaps Pink could have sold the book better! It isn't about selling- it's about getting your way, every time, by being appreciated by people, which is rather nice and good to realise there's a nice battle no one fights in.
It's pretty run of the mill, if you know marketing and sales, there is nothing new or revolutionary here. But there are a couple if sparks, techniques and ideas I'd like to incorporate more into my work.
It's a good top up book, a refresh on your thinking about marketing and also on being creative. It's idealistic and I like that.
I do wish I took more notes but alas, the notes I did take are good enough for me. I've learned something from this book which gets a thumbs up from me. Plus, the author is called Mr.Pink...that's his Halloween costume sorted....incase you didn't know it's a character from 'Reservoir Dogs'..
The author spends a third of the book justifying his proposition.
My reposte: i’m on board, just get on with it.
And therein lies the problem. He has little to say, of interest or, ultimately, insight.
There is a lot of scientific read as well which can make it a bit tiring if you are not into that.