To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

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‘Whether you are an educator, an art director or a project manager, you are in sales,’ argues Daniel Pink in his book, To Sell Is Human: Surprising Truth about Moving Others. The book was number one in The Wall StreetJournal, New York Times, and The Washington Post business bestseller list in 2012.

According the concept of the book, selling is broader than just sales. There are non-sales selling, persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don't involve anyone making a purchase.  Selling is interpersonal persuasion, a basic human activity. Through a rich amount of examples the author gives practical advice, among others, how to be persuasive, understand the buyer’s thoughts, and why it is helpful to mimic the buyer’s gestures. The book brings together the humanities, psychology and business. Pink teaches the principles of selling, in a broad sense, through amusing stories. My favourite example is connected to the principle that Pink calls ‘clarity.’ The story evokes Rosser Reeves an American advertising executive.

On a sunny spring day walking in Central Park, New York after lunch, Reeves and his colleague saw a blind man begging for money. Unfortunately, the man’s paper cup next to the handwritten cardboard sign, ‘I am blind,’ hold only a few coins. Reeves introduced himself to the blind man and said that he knew something about advertising and if he allowed him to add four more words onto the cardboard, he could increase the donation. The man agreed and after changing the text on the cardboard, almost immediately people began to drop coins into the man’s cup. What was the new text? ‘It is springtime and I am blind.’ Clarity depends on contrast.