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Book Review: 'To Sell Is Human' by Daniel H. Pink

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Daniel Pink has written a couple of bestsellers, Drive and A Whole New Mind. He’s a gifted writer who applies the power of social science in dealing with everyday scenarios. To Sell Is Human is Pink’s take on the art and science of selling. It’s a formidable guide in a world that more or less deals with selling. Apparently, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans work in sales. And some 15 million find their earnings by persuading others to make a purchase. Well, it makes sense because everything in life is a sell. Whether you’re pitching a new presentation to your client, convincing your partner, cajoling your children to study or seeking funding from investors or parents, whether you like it or not, you’re practicing the exercise of selling. To Sell Is Human gives readers a refreshing take on the art and science of selling, drawing from a wealth of social science wisdom and unusual insights from the world of human behaviour. Pink reveals a number of interesting perspectives that go against the conventional norms such as, extroverts not being the best sales people, letting people sometimes beat you to change their minds and so on. Pink presents a variety of strategic techniques and principles such as the six successors to the elevator pitch, three rules of learning about someone, five frames to simplify a message, all culminating in a rich book full of insights that bring out and sharpen the sales person in you. This book will inspire you to be a better persuader in all sorts of scenarios, from work to life, rewiring you to see the world with fresh lens.

Daniel H. Pink's To Sell Is Human really gets into the fundamental nature of selling, which underpins all modern life. For all sorts of reasons, between a buyer and a seller to a presenter and a receiver, we’re all selling something or being sold something. In which case, the ability to recognize that and develop skills to manage that is critical in both our personal and professional lives. He dismantles the conventional stereotypes associated with salespeople, presenting at least three frameworks: moving people to care beyond just buying, going against the status quo, thinking creatively and critically to propose solutions to needs. This is a necessary book in the age of automation because creativity, empathy and critical thinking are areas machines can’t fully overpower.

Selling without selling, or rather non-sales selling is one of the phenomena Pink presents in To Sell Is Human. It permeates all we do. Because a lot of our selling or the act of being sold goes unnoticed, and we partake in selling without even realizing that we’re selling something. Another phenomena is tuning oneself to adapt to the receiver, described as ‘attunement’, which is another way to think about empathic listening and being curious, from the other person’s lens. By learning how to see things from the other person’s point of view, one can become more persuasive because it lets them connect with those around them in a deeper way. Another concept that’s presented is the idea of ‘buoyancy’, marked by one’s capacity to remain positive and optimistic in the face of rejection. Selling by nature is met with rejection, and to be a good sales person, the ability to take and diffuse rejection is a key factor that Pink highlights. Being confident and persevering in achieving one’s goals is another essential concept worthy of note. 

Daniel H. Pink's To Sell Is Human reveals that a lot of selling is challenged by the lack of clarity in what’s being sold and the way one’s trying to sell something. So the ability to articulate messages in a way that’s clear, succinct and compelling requires a great degree of skill. To Sell Is Human explores the power of clarity in detail, and the art of achieving that in a way that resonates with people. These learnings can be applied to all sorts of scenarios, from high-stake client presentations to everyday emails. Clarity is so important it can be a definitive influence in sales successes.

Daniel H. Pink's To Sell Is Human champions the art of selling in a way that makes it almost desirable, and some may find this difficult to swallow. However, persuasion and selling aren’t bad words, they have been the bedrock for a free society, and in many cases is a fair transaction — in that no one is obliged to buy anything against their wishes. Pink supports the case for selling by highlighting the democratic nature of salesmanship, essential for the functioning of a society. Sales, he puts, isn’t about manipulation of coercion but about creating value and serving others. This book offers a solid take on the art of selling, drawing from real-world case studies to negotiation tactics to stories we can all relate to. Pink provides readers with insights, techniques and actionable strategies applicable for the average joe to a sales novice to a seasoned sales professional. These learnings will help you create and convert opportunities that transform your personal and professional growth. So much so that your perception about sales can be refreshed and you will be empowered to find purpose, morality and fulfilment in your sales role beyond just closing the sale. Get your copy here:



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