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To Sell Is Human shows you that selling is part of your life, no matter what you do, and what a successful salesperson looks like in the 21st century, with practical ideas to help you convince others in a more honest, natural and sustainable way.

To Sell Is Human

To Sell Is Human

by Daniel H. Pink


16.5K reads

Selling In the 21st Century: The Three Lessons

  • Almost half of your time at work is spent in non-sales selling, which is really just trying to move others.
  • Honesty and service are taking over sales, because the internet has closed the information gap.
  • Use “Yes, and…” when talking to customers to make sure they stay posi...

40% of your time at work is spent in non-sales selling, which simply means moving others somehow. For example, this could mean persuading them to help you with a project, convincing them of your idea, or influencing them to get on board with a particular strategy.

No matter what you...

In 2016 and beyond, the only way to sell is to be honest and transparent.

To sell is no longer to guard information and hand out little pieces – it’s a service, helping people to navigate the wealth of information, explain it to them, and getting them to make the best decision, the one that...

In improv theatre it’s really important to keep the audience in a good mood, they have to stay optimistic at all times and not feel discouraged. Customers during a sales pitch are the same way. If they feel affronted or like you’re talking down to them, they surely won’t buy from you.

But e...

  • The ability to move others to exchange what they have for what we have is crucial to our survival and our happiness.
  • The most effective salespeople are ambiverts, those who fall somewhere in the middle of the introversion-extraversion scale.
  • The most effectiv...

  • Watch. Observe what the other person is doing.
  • Wait. Once you’ve observed, don’t spring immediately into action. Don’t do this too many times, though.
  • Wane. After you’ve mimicked a little, try to be less conscious of what you’re doing.
  • Attuning yourself to others—exit...

The most effective self-talk doesn’t merely shift emotions. It shifts linguistic categories. It moves from making statements to asking questions”.

On average, the self-questioning group solved nearly 50 percent more puzzles than the self-affirming group.

Interrogative self-talk, by it...

Agents who scored in the optimistic half of explanatory style sold 37% more insurance than agents scoring in the pessimistic half. Agents in the top decile sold 88% more insurance than those in the bottom decile.

The salespeople with an optimistic explanatory style—who saw rejections as tem...

When something bad occurs, ask yourself three questions—and come up with an intelligent way to answer each one “no”:

  • Is this permanent?
  • Is this pervasive?
  • Is this personal?

The more you explain bad events as temporary, specific, and external, the more likely...

Enumerate. Try actually counting the numbers you get during a week. By the end of the week, you might be surprised by just how many nos the world has delivered to your doorstep. However, you might be more surprised by something else: You’re still around. Even in that weeklong oce...

Present yourself with a series of ‘What ifs?’ What if everything goes wrong? What if the unthinkable happens? What if this is the worst decision of my life? These questions could prompt answers you didn’t expect, which might calm you down and even lift you up.

One way to reduce their sting ...

Our biases point us toward the present. So when given a choice between an immediate reward (say, $1,000 right now) and a reward we have to wait for ($1,150 in two years), we’ll often take the former even when it’s in our own interest to choose the latter.

Envisioning ourselves far into the future is extremely difficult—so difficult, in fact, that we often think of that future self as an entirely different person.

This conceptual shift demonstrates the third quality necessary in moving others today: clarity—the capacity to help others see the...

Of the consumers who visited the supermarket booth with twenty-four varieties of jam, only 3 percent bought any. At the booth with a more limited selection, 30 percent made a purchase”.

Adding an inexpensive item to a product offering can lead to a decline in consumers’ willingness to pay.

  • Several researchers have shown that people derive much greater satisfaction from purchasing experiences than they do from purchasing goods.
  • Even when people ponder their future purchases, they expect that experiences will leave them more satisfied than physical goods.
  • Framing...

Adding a minor negative detail in an otherwise positive description of a target can give that description a more positive impact.

The blemishing effect seems to operate only under two circumstances.

First, the people processing the information must be in wha...

People often find potential more interesting than accomplishment because it’s more uncertain.

When you’re selling yourself, don’t fixate only on what you achieved yesterday. Also, emphasize the promise of what you could accomplish tomorrow.

Once you’ve found the problem and the proper frame, you have one more step. You need to give people an off-ramp push, a specific request accompanied by a clear way to get it done.

Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved.

Seek. Once you’ve defined the area in which you’d like to curate, put together a list of the best sources of information. Then set aside time to scan those sources regularly.

Sense. Creating meaning out of the material you’ve assembled. Make an annotated li...

The One-Word Pitch

The ultimate pitch for an era of short attention spans begins with a single word—and doesn’t go any further.

The Question

By making people work just a little harder, question pitches prompt people to come up with their own rea...

If you’re one of a series of freelancers invited to make a presentation before a big potential client, including a rhyme can enhance the processing fluency of your listeners, allowing your message to stick in their minds when they compare you and your competitors.

  • The researchers discovered that participants based their decisions on two factors: utility and curiosity.
  • People were quite likely to “read emails that directly affected their work”. But they were also likely “to open messages when they had moderate levels of uncertainty about the co...

After someone hears your pitch, ask yourself:

  • What do you want them to know?
  • What do you want them to feel?
  • What do you want them to do?

Hear Offers

Once we listen in this new, more intimate way, we begin hearing things we might have missed. And if we listen this way during our efforts to move others, we quickly realize that what seem outwardly like objections are often offers in disguise.

Say ...

  • This is what it means to serve: improving another’s life and, in turn, improving the world.
  • Do your customers, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?
  • If the person you’re selling to agrees to bu...

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