|Author Daniel H. Pink at the Free Library of Philadelphia last night.|
Daniel H. Pink has made a huge discovery.
Here's what it is: The ability to sell is not some magical, mysterious talent. It's simpler than that and for most of us it's actually right here all the time, sorta in out DNA.
Pink has found that To Sell Is Human. And that's the title of his new book which he discussed last night at the Free Library of Philadelphia as part of their extraordinary author lecture series.
Now, maybe you're thinking "So what, what's the big deal here? Selling is all around us, at every turn."
And you're right. But there's a lot more to this than you might surmise.
According to Pink, the secret of successful selling is not huckstering (the classic in-your-face "hard sell") nor is it some sort of laid-back, touchy-feely subtleness, either (the velvet-glove "soft sell").
No, the sweet spot for sales is somewhere in between. And that's good news because that means that this ability is pretty much accessible to all of us.
Since most of us are neither extremely extroverted nor introverted, we can be attuned to the potential buyer and make the sale. And Pink says attunement (along with buoyancy and clarity) makes up one of the three most important qualities in selling.
Attunement though should not be confused with empathy. Because in the end, as Pink explains thinking the way your potential customer thinks is more important than feeling the way he or she feels.
And when he talks about "selling," Pink is speaking in very broad terms.
For him (as it should be for us) selling simply means persuading and influencing others. And Pink has found that this is something that we all do. In fact, regardless of their job titles nearly all workers spend a huge portion of their time influencing and persuading.
If you're a supervisor, attunement means abandoning the power trip and putting yourself in the place of those you supervise. To do that, you've got to begin by listening to those you wish to lead or persuade. Really listening. Pink says this can be particularly difficult for men as "men think the opposite of speaking is waiting." Since women are generally better listeners, they're often better at attunement.
Here are some of Pink's other conclusions:
--Since we all have access to a huge amount of information in our technology-driven world, for the seller problem finding has become more important than problem solving. Successful sales people (and leaders) listen first and then help the customer identify problems (or needs) they might not have even known they had.
--Motivation is not something that you do to somebody else. A good persuader lets people find their own reasons to embrace the persuader's message and act on it.
--Service to others builds trust. The best salespeople serve first and sell later. When you serve others and help make their lives better, they're more inclined not only to buy what you are selling but to keep on buying.
And one final tip from Pink that helped make the evening a grand-slam home run: During a job interview, the best question you can ask a potential employee is this: "What do you know about this company?" Then, wait -- and listen.
Mull that one over.
Photo copyright 2013 by Dan Cirucci.