--COMPILED BY NABIN SHRESTHA
It’s something that courses through our veins. We do it for a purpose; we do it involuntarily. Every day each of us sells all kinds of stuff (thoughts, things, ideas) to others. Daniel Pink explains how in To Sell is Human A behavioural expert with a background in politics and economics, Daniel H. Pink was a chief speech writer for then Vice President Al Gore. The book holds a list of accolades being a number one New York Times,Wall Street Journal and Washington Post business best-seller.
We’re all in sales now. Sales has changed in the past 10 years: older door-to-door sales companies have gone out of business, and their practices seem outdated in a world where we can buy and research any product online. But still, 1 in 9 workers are in sales, and the rest of us are also selling – not just objects, but ideas and techniques. We are persuading, negotiating, and pitching, like lawyers selling juries on their verdict or public figures selling their personal brand on Twitter. In fact, a study Pink commissioned showed that people spend 40 percent of their work time selling something. Pink writes, “To the smart set, sales is an endeavor that requires little intellectual throw weight – a task for slick glad-handers who skate through life on a shoeshine and a smile” – and deception, of course. But deception was only possible because buyers lacked information or expertise. Now, since buyers have reviews, ratings, and comparison shopping at their fingertips, sellers have more incentives to be fair and honest. It’s “seller beware.”
In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Here are six traits of successful sellers from the book:
ATTUNEMENT: The first trait of successful sellers is understanding the perspective of the buyer, and studies have shown us how to do this: assume that the buyer is the one with the power; focus on understanding the buyer’s thoughts rather than their feelings; and mimic the buyer’s gestures.
BUOYANCY: The second trait of successful sellers is “buoyancy,” the combination of “a gritty spirit and a sunny outlook.”
CLARITY: The third trait of successful sellers is the ability to clarify what you’re offering, and why the buyer doesn’t want to buy.
PITCH: The six new ways to pitch are, the one-word pitch, the question pitch, the rhyming pitch, the 140-character Twitter pitch, the subject line pitch (which promises useful content or elicits curiosity), or the Pixar pitch (a six-sentence narrative structure supposedly used in all Pixar movies).
IMPROVISE: If none of the above works, practice improvisation techniques.
SERVICE: Finally, the best sellers adopt an attitude of service. They believe in the value of the product and how it will impact the life of the buyer.