Chad Warner's Reviews > To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink
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's review
Jul 14, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: business, non-fiction, psychology, sales
Recommended to Chad by: BizCraft podcast
Recommended for: salespeople, entrepreneurs, businesspeople
Read in July, 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 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”.

• “...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.

• 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.

• 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.

• “Pitches that rhyme are more sublime”.

• 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
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