I have blogged often about one of my favorite writers and speakers - Daniel Pink. I wrote a review of his book a Whole New Mind
. And I shared one of his videos
. And blogged
when I last hear him speak live.
I guess you could say I am a bit of a Daniel Pink groupie.
Today he spoke about sales - a topic near to my heart. The quotes below are what Pink said (although sometimes paraphrased because I can only type so fast.)
"Management consultants get paid by the syllable. So they coined the word "Disintermediation"".
In 2000, 1 in 9 people worked in sales. 13 years later - social media, smart phones, cloud computing, tablets etc. But 2013 we still have 1 in 9. So why would this be? Pink has the theory that in 2000, many of the people who were not "classified" as being in sales actually were.
"Like it or not - we are all in sales". So why are people embarrassed to say they are in sales? Pink did a 7,000 person survey asking. "What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of sales?" He took the top adjectives (since they denote an opinion and most nouns are just synonyms). "Pushy, hard, yuck, annoying, manipulative, sleazy, tough, challenging, uncomfortable etc 4:1 ratio of negative to positive." Hence people do not want to say they are in sales.
"This view is completely wrong". "Most of what we know about sales comes from a world where there is information asymmetry - the seller always knew more and the buyers had few choices and had little voice. The world of buyer beware. This asymmetry is being shifted though. Much more power is now in the hands of a buyer. We are close to information parity."
He cited the case of buying a new car. The buyers now know the costs. So now it is a world of seller beware. The world has changed. Social media also amplifies this since buyers have power to have a voice if a seller if the seller makes any perceived mistake.
"The old ABC of selling was Always Be Closing - now it is Attunement, Bouyancy, Clarity. Attunement is about being able to see the others point of view. Bouyancy is stay positive. And Clarity is identify problems."
"If a buyer knows precisely the problem, they can solve their own problem. So the new skill has shifted from problem solving to problem identifying. "
"In general people of high power take their own perspective (not empathizing) but people of low power see the others'view. Why? Low power people survive by pleasing and understanding others. So increase your effectiveness by reducing your power."
"Extroverts are more likely to go into sales but there is almost no correlation between sales success and extroversion. Ambiverts
actually are the best sales people. What is an ambivert? People who are some of both (Introvert and Extrovert) - near the middle. (Interestingly, I am near the middle of the scale when I do the Meyers Briggs test - just like most people are). So the message in sales is "be more like yourself".
Pink did give a marketing example. People were sent a personal letter to donate that has a specific and easy way to act. From those predisposed - huge response in his test (44%) compared to only 8% when the the letter was general "dear student".
Those who were not got a 0 response rate when they were not predisposed to a general letter (as expected). Those who were predisposed responded in 8% of the cases to the general letter.
But the results were 25% and 44% to specific letters. Clearly specific and personal asks work in marketing. (This is one reason Karma
works so well for fundraising)
We overstate the persons disposition but context predicts behavior. Personal and specific asks work.
When the facts are on your side - ask questions. When people have their own reasons they believe them more strongly. Best example of this is Regan "are you better off today than you were 4 years ago".
The caution - if the answer is not the answer you want then the question backfires in a bigger way.