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'To Sell Is Human' addresses getting what you want

10:44 AM, Jan 24, 2013   |    comments
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In the book, Pink argues that whether we're entrepreneurs persuading funders, employees pitching colleagues, or parents and teachers cajoling kids, we spend our days trying to move others. "Across a range of professions, we are devoting roughly 24 minutes of every hour to moving others," Pink writes.

In "To Sell is Human," he offers a roadmap to help the rest of us guide our own pitches to a desirable conclusion.

"Selling in all its dimensions - whether pushing Buicks on a car lot or pitching ideas in a meeting - has changed more in the last 10 years than it did over the previous hundred," he contends. "Most of what we understand about selling is constructed atop a foundation of assumptions that has crumbled."

In its place, Pink offers a new foundation drawn from social science, workplace data and consumer-habit research. Here are five things we gleaned.

• ABC no longer stands for Always Be Closing.

A young Alec Baldwin canonized the original sales truism in his famous scene from 1992's "Glengarry Glen Ross." Pink calls Always Be Closing "a cornerstone of the sales cathedral" and explains it thusly: "Every utterance and each maneuver must serve a single goal: pushing the transaction to a conclusion - your conclusion - and getting the person across the table to sign on the line which is dotted."

He also calls it "as dated as the electric typewriters and Rolodex cards that dot Mitch and Murray's office." (Mitch and Murray being the fictional real estate office in "Glengarry Glen Ross.")

The new ABCs, Pink contends, are skills required to move a 21st century audience: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

"Attunement is the ability to bring one's actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you're in," he writes. "Think of it as operating the dial on a radio. It's the capacity to move up and down the band as circumstances demand, locking in on what's being transmitted, even if those signals aren't immediately clear or obvious."


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