My team and I just concluded a book study. The book: To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink. Why? Regardless of your position at work – front line sales, accounting, human resources, or even CEO – we’re all in sales or non-sales selling.
Bottom line, we are all trying to move others.
Packed with examples and case studies, this book offers relevant details for those seeking to improve their non-sales selling techniques to move those around them. Here are six teasers to get you interested:
- Attunement: Do you have the ability to effectively attune yourself with others? You have probably heard “perception is reality.” Understanding the other person’s perception will help you deliver an individualized message that resonates with that person. We all use the same old conversation starters of “what do you do,” “what’s your role,” or “do you have kids?” Pink recommends that we shake things up by using a new question. “Where are you from?” This question gives people the freedom to respond naturally. They may talk about their work or where they live.
- Buoyancy: Can you keep yourself afloat even during negative situations? My favorite part of this chapter is positivity ratio. There is such a thing as being too positive. Believe it or not, we need negativity in our life. It’s how we handle that negativity that can have a profound impact on our success.
- Clarity: Are you talented at problem-finding rather than problem-solving? Small children are extremely gifted at finding clarity because they use one of Pink’s techniques very well. They ask why… a lot! Pink suggests that we ask “why” five times when talking to others. Tap into your inner child and start asking “why” to gain more clarity.
- Pitch: How do you spend your time in the elevator these days? If you are like me, you have your face in your phone checking email and text. Long gone is the elevator pitch. Why? People just aren’t talking anymore on elevators. Pink shares examples and strategies on how to master the digital age pitch. My favorite…the one-word pitch. Can you sum up your service or offering in one word?
- Improvise: Have you ever visited Walt Disney World? The characters here are the perfect example of improvising. In sales this means anticipating your guests, clients or customers’ needs and responding proactively. One of the basic principles of this chapter is listening. I challenge you to “take 5” during your conversations. When speaking with someone, pause five seconds before you respond to their comment or question. It can be awkward at first, but you will notice a tremendous change in your interactions with others.
- Serve: The final chapter of the book was probably by far the favorite of our team. Serve. We work with parents, students, teachers, teacher’s aides and so many more. The first case study discussed in this chapter is “move from ‘upselling’ to ‘upserving’.”
I’ll leave you with a question that we ask our team members weekly: “How will you upserve your clients today?”
FINAL TIP: Social Tool for Book Study
Considering a book study with your team? Go social. We used Edmodo, a social media platform for teachers and educators. But, you could easily use Facebook or another social media site to conduct a virtual book study. Use it in professional development offerings, as well.
Don’t just end a book study with the back cover. Incorporate what you have read into your management style, customer service or sales process.
Glenn Clayton, a local entrepreneur, believes it’s his calling to challenge the status quo of education and be a disruptive force in learning. Clayton is the Founder and President of Appleton Learning, an education company he started out of his dorm room at UAHuntsville in 2004.