I am currently reading through Dan Pink's To Sell is Human as I grow my 'sales muscle'.
I however do not have in mind the sleazy, overzealous, slick, less than honest 'salesperson' who is out to relieve you of a sizeable portion of your money for something you don’t really need. I mean this version (from “The Art of Sales” ):
“What is selling anyway? Selling is helping people solve their problems. It's creating a strong, long-term relationship with people, based on great work together. Think of it this way, all relationships start like this, face to face. Almost confrontational or transactional. What selling is, is this. As I ask you questions, as I listen, and as I build trust, I move around your side of the desk, and I get on your side and guess what? Now we are looking at this problem together. And we can solve it together. This is selling, and this is why it's the best profession in the world.”
One thing I have heard all the time about sales is the ABC of selling - Always Be Closing. But is this the 'old' way of thinking when there was an information asymmetry between buyer and seller?
The old ABC - Always Be Closing.
The new ABCs of moving others: Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity.
According to Dan Pink, attunement is "the ability to bring one’s action and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in". How?
- Increase your power by reducing it -
"The ability to move people now depends on power’s inverse: understanding the other person’s perspective, getting inside his head, and seeing the world through his eyes. Those with lower status are keener perspective takers. Start your encounters with the assumption that you’re in a position of lower power. However, the capacity to move others doesn’t call for being a pushover or exhibiting saintly levels of selflessness."
2. Use your head as much as your heart -
Perspective taking over empathy over being pushy. Use social cartography which is "the capacity to size up a situation and in one’s mind, draw a map of how people are related." Quoting Dan Shimmerman:
It’s important to not just have a good understanding of the key players involved in making a decision, but to understand what each of their biases and preferences are. The mental picture gives a complete picture, and allows you to properly allocate time, energy and effort to the right relationships.
3. Employ 'Strategic Mimicry' -
Waitresses who repeated diners’ orders word for word earned 70% more tips than those who paraphrased orders - and customers with servers who mimicked were more satisfied with their dining experience.
Be strategic and human - by being human. (Mimicry is part of being human). Be a chameleon (reminds me of The Pretender)
The Ambivert Advantage
Extroverted people make the best sales people right?
Social, assertive, lively, and sensation seeking: it’s the ideal profile for moving others.
Or is it?
The notion that extroverts are the finest salespeople is so obvious that we’ve overlooked one teensy flaw. There’s almost no evidence that it’s actually true. Several researchers have found that extraversion has ‘no statistically significant relationship… with sales performance’ and that ‘extraversion is not related to sales volume’ . Across 35 studies, the correlation between extraversion and sales performance was a miniscule 0.07
Ambiverts - neither overly extraverted nor wildly introverted.
Being too extroverted (or introverted) can hamper sales performance.
Extroverts often stumble over themselves. They can talk too much and listen to little, which dulls their understanding of other’s perspective (attunement). They can fail to strike the proper balance between asserting and holding back, which can be read as being pushy and drive people away. Introverts have their own, often reverse challenges. They can be too shy to initiate and too timid to close.
Introverts are ‘geared to inspect’ while extraverts are ‘geared to respond’. Selling of any sort - whether traditional sales or non-sales selling - requires a delicate balance of inspecting and responding. Ambiverts can find that balance - knowing when to speak up and when to shut up.
Most of us are ambiverts! (Think normal distribution)
Means that most of us can get good at sales! There is hope:
Find out where you are on the introvert-extrovert scale - Assessment
Read through this research report[PDF] by Adam Grant that Dan Pink references: (Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage)