To Sell is Human

to sell is human

By Dick Stark

I finished Daniel Pink’s new book, To Sell is Hunan, right before our annual sales kick-off, as I was eager to report on any new information and to help jump start our sales team for 2013.  I’ve been a Daniel Pink fan since his book Drive, and applied his motivation principals of Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose at RightStar.  We celebrate all of these things in our Weekly Star employee newsletter, and company all-hands meetings. So, I was very excited about the release of this new book.

The premise of To Sell is Human, of course is that everyone is in sales. Pink re-writes the Glengarry Glen Ross, Always Be Closing scene, into Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity as follows.

Attunement. Pink points out that thanks to the Internet, we moved from a Buyer Beware (Caveat Emptor) to a Seller Beware (Caveat Venditor) sales environment. According to Pink, “We’re all in sales now. Old-style salesmanship is dead or dying,” he says, “because the widespread knowledge to assess their purchase has made it hard for sellers to exploit a knowledge gap.” Pink takes the concepts of introversion and extraversion and shows that neither extreme is good for sales success.   Instead, he points out that Ambiverts, (what happens when extraverts are crossed with introverts), make the most successful sales people. The majority of people fall into this category, another reason why “to sell is human.”

Attunement means being “in tune” with customers or prospects.  Good sales people understand this and are able to size up the situation to their advantage. Humility is a better weapon.

Buoyancy.  I had an ex-sales manager that said he, “walked on a cushion of good news,” meaning only good news, i.e., new sales orders were welcome.  Pink states that good sales people are able to “stay afloat in a sea of rejection.” Positive autosuggestion, “Tell yourself you can do it,” is not the best way to overcome blows to self-esteem. Instead, the research suggests, it is better to prepare for the sale by asking yourself a question, the answer to which should help explain how to meet the challenge ahead.

Clarity. When I ask potential sales hires, what they like most about selling, the answer I hear back surprisingly is not the money, but the ability to solve clients’ problems. Pink discusses finding the right problems to solve and at RightStar, what matters most is not just solving problems, but proving value. For example:

  • At Memphis City Public Schools, thanks to AssetCore, we achieved a rapid ROI based on power savings alone.
  • Selling Remedyforce yielded a $60K first year savings when compared to a similar on-premise solution.
  • At an Air Force customer, a 60 to 85% increase in asset management effectiveness has stopped the “leakage” of assets and resulted in big savings.

What Daniel Pink does not address is lead generation as his book assumes that activity has already occurred.  In other words, we already have the good “Glengarry” leads. Regardless, To Sell is Human is worth the read and a good way to start the new selling year.

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About dick1stark

I am the President, CEO, and founder of RightStar Systems, a leading IT consultancy and BMC Software Solution Provider and Atlassian Expert Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. Finally, in 2016, BMC selected RightStar as its 2015 Supplier of the Year for its consulting partnership and excellence in service delivery. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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