Dan Pink, author of To Sell is Human, will make readers believe no matter what job function they have within an organization, sales are part of their everyday tasks. Much of your time is spent persuading someone else to give something up, in exchange for something they value. In market research, this can be as direct as a client giving up budget in exchange for data insights. Or it can be something as indirect as having your staff each give up an hour of their workday (time) to meet as a team to explore new marketing concepts (value). Regardless of your industry, Pink's notion tends to hold up.
Here are few takeaways I formulated from his book To Sell is Human which I read a few years ago:
- Everyone is a sales person. In reference to my point above, no matter what position you own in an organization, you provide something you value in exchange for something else of value.
- You've heard of extroverts and you've heard of introverts, but what is an ambivert? A large percentage of the population is ambiverted - not too talkative and not too shy. An ambivert is a mix of the two extremes. Pink details some statistics in his book that show that ambiverts are in fact, the best salespeople. Using a scale of 1 to 7 where "1" is introvert and "7" is extrovert, typically the best salespeople fall in the 4 to 5 range.
- Perception E. This is a fun exercise. Hold your hand out in front of you and use your pointer finger as a pencil. Now draw a capital E on your forehead. Pink states you can tell a lot about a person's perception from this simple exercise. If you draw the E so people reading your forehead view it correctly and you read it backwards, you are more likely to be conscious of other people's perception. If you draw the E so you can read it correctly and it would read backwards to others, you are more likely to be inwardly focused with your perception.
- Blemishing Effect. This concept involves dropping a small negative detail in your sales pitch or sales proposal to emphasize the positives aspects. Due to the blemishing effect, the entire exchange will be rated more positively than if no negative details were mentioned at all.
- The Contrast Principle. Pink tells a story of two advertising executives walking through a New York City park. They come across a blind homeless person asking for money on a sign that reads "I am blind" who is holding a money cup. One executive makes a bet that he can make the homeless person more profitable by adding four, and only four words to his sign. The other ad executive takes the bet. The sign is changed to read "It is springtime and I am blind." Adding this simple detail makes those walking by understand the contrast in what they are seeing during a routine spring day that may be taken for granted versus what the homeless person cannot see. Needless to say, the four simple words filled his cup much faster and he won the bet.