When I’m on a beach vacation, I have a tendency for light, entertaining summer reads. My choices in the past like Shopaholic and Something Borrowed show the kind of content I like to think about while lounging on the beautiful beaches of Turkey. But this summer, a different type of book categorized in the business section got my full attention and it turned out to be surprisingly fun and quick to read.
“To Sell is Human” by Daniel H. Pink is a book for anyone who wants to be a more effective persuader in work and in life. According to Pink, “we’re all in sales” regardless of our occupations. He offers a broad redefinition of selling which includes non-sales selling in addition to traditional sales, and explains non-sales selling as persuading, influencing and convincing others in ways that do not involve anyone making a purchase.
A survey conducted by Pink indicates that people are now spending about 40% of their time at work engaged in persuading, influencing and convincing others. Physicians sell patients on a remedy. Lawyers sell juries on a verdict. Teachers sell students on the value of paying attention in class. Public figures sell their personal brand on Twitter. Whatever our profession, we all make pitches to fellow employees, new clients and the boss in order to get what we want. And it’s considered crucial to our personal and professional success.
The book is packed with interesting research findings, real life observations, examples of people and companies, and practical exercises. Pink argues that we are all naturally salespeople and shows how we can use our selling instincts to master the skill of moving others. I’ve learned from every chapter and every section of the book. One of my biggest takeaways has been the “ambivert advantage”.
Pink defines ambiverts as people who are neither overly extraverted nor wildly introverted. He disputes the common notion that extraverts make the best salespeople and reveals several research findings to show that extraversion does not have much connection to sales success. While extraverts can be read pushy and drive people away, introverts can be too shy or too timid to move others.
According to Pink, selling of any sort – whether traditional sales or non-sales selling – requires a delicate balance between extraversion and introversion, and ambiverts can find that balance. Ambiverts know when to speak up and when to shut up, and they are the most effective salespeople.
You can find out if you are one of them by taking a short assessment at this link http://www.danpink.com/assessment. Wherever you stand on the introversion-extraversion scale, the most important thing, I believe, is to discover who you are and allow yourself to become who you want to be.