Book Review: "To Sell Is Human" By Daniel H. Pink

It's interesting how many different ways we are all selling at some point or another:
  • If you're an entrepreneur, especially running a small startup, you're constantly selling your business to investors, potential customers and potential partners or employees
  • If you're working in a large business, you are selling an idea or a plan for a project
  • If you're an employee, you're selling your boss on the idea to give you a promotion or a raise
  • If you're looking for a job, you're selling your potential boss on why you are a good fit for the organization.
This list can go on forever, but you get the idea.

Cover shot of the book "To Sell Is Human" by Daniel H. Pink
In To Sell Is Human, the author takes us from this premise, and then shows us the different ways we all can be better at selling. No matter what it is from actual products to ideas, if you have to sell it you can always do it better. Pink goes through many different specific ways to help us sell better, including getting some improv theater techniques.

It was all very interesting and I learned quite a bit. I never considered myself much of a salesperson, which is why I never tried to get a true sales job. But it's really not all that hard either - especially when you realize you've been doing it all along.

The bottom line, though, is that the most successful sales technique is to be a "servant" seller. The idea behind this is to help the person to whom you are trying to sell something solve a problem. The best sellers take the time to understand what the customer needs, what their pain points are and then introduce them to the product or service that will help them best. Sometimes the customer doesn't realize that several problems are related. When you help piece the puzzle together and help make their jobs or lives better, you have not only won the sale, but you've won the relationship. Each relationship you build can multiply into others as you get a reputation for being a problem solver rather than "just a salesperson."

This was a very good book. It's well-written, interesting and even humorous at times. The stories are very illustrative of what Mr. Pink is trying to get across. For example: Did you know there are still Fuller Brush people out there selling? I didn't. I still have a lint brush that my mom acquired from the last Fuller Brush person I can remember from the early 80s. As of the writing of this book, one man was still active in San Francisco. Some of the things he's learned over the years are invaluable.
I recommend this book to anyone involved in business - and this goes doubly for those who are like me and don't think they are very good at sales.

To Sell Is Human - The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink (Amazon Affiliate link).
DISCLAIMER: I won this book from a drawing I entered when Mr. Pink was interviewed on the EntreLeadership Podcast. This is, however, my true opinion of the work.

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