Daniel Pink’s latest book, To Sell is Human, is about persuasion. Sales typically has a bad rap – with people envisioning a slimy used car salesman looking to sell them a faulty vehicle. But that’s not true at all. Nearly 1 in every 9 people in the US are in jobs that involve selling.
Plus, sales is an integral part of everyone’s lives. In a study of 7000 professionals, Pink and data analytics company Qualtrics, found that people spend up to 40% of their working time persuading others in some way. That’s nearly 3 ½ hours in a typical 8-hour workday!
And persuasion is going to be more and more important in the future. By 2020, the number of freelancers, contactors and consultants worldwide is projected to grow to 1.5 billion people. In the US, entrepreneurs are projected to become a majority of the workforce in the next decade.
Just in case you can’t make the excellent Front End of Innovation conference next week, here are 3 essential lessons you need to know about persuasion from Daniel Pink.
- To sell well is to convince someone to part with resources – time or money – in a way that leaves them better off in the end. Selling is about getting someone to give you their time, money or energy in order to do something you want them to do. But good sellers know that they need to make a case that their buyer will gain a lot from the purchase and be happy with their decision.
- It’s essential to get into the head of your potential buyer to understand what they really need. It’s easy to focus on what you believe are the benefits of what you’re selling. But what matters is what your buyer believes to be the most important benefit. So when you’re trying to figure out how to persuade someone to do something, take some time to really get inside their head and take their perspective. Figure out what’s going on in their life and what’s important to them. Then you’ll have better insight about how to persuade that person.
- If you’re trying to sell in a crowded marketplace, you have an uphill battle in front of you. Create a new marketplace where your solution is the only one that makes sense. Many people try to persuade others by comparing what they’re offering to the status quo. But when you help people see the situation they’re facing in new and different ways, you have an opportunity to define what the ideal solution to their challenge will be.
All of us have the need to persuade others in our lives, and that’s why Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human is such an interesting resource. I’m greatly looking forward to hearing him speak about this at the Front End of Innovation Conference on May 13th – 15th. I hope you can join me!
If not, go pick up a copy of To Sell is Human. You definitely won’t regret it!