Everyone is doing it every day, even if we don’t know it. We’re all selling, just about all the time, at least according to the latest studies.
In his new book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Motivating Others, Daniel Pink makes the case that few of us go for long without trying to sell an idea, a project, a point-of-view, or even ourselves to someone.
In a survey of how people spend their time, Pink confirms that no less than 40% of our waking hours are devoted to “non sales selling,” regardless of our profession.
It may not be sales in the traditional sense, but if we’re talking, emailing, texting or posting with intent to persuade, motivate, influence or position, than — by definition– we’re selling.
But in this era of information, selling isn’t what it was once considered to be.
Once upon a time, the typical way to sell was to try to push something on someone. But that was before everyone had easy access to information and could learn for themselves the validity and worthiness of whatever product or skill was being hawked.
To make the case, consider the coffee companies which historically would insist their coffee was “the world’s best.” That’s a claim that’s hard to push today when a two-second Google search shows the best coffee is considered to be the rare Indonesian Kopi Luwak , (at about $100 per 100 grams!).
The Bagg Group divisions were raised on the mantra: “Don’t sell, share.” We’ve always believed –and specialized in candidates who share our belief– that success happens when we focus on how to share our strengths to help solve problems for people.
We live by the motto that job satisfaction, loyalty and hiring comes from genuine collaboration –and not from talking at people! Even if you have the gift of the gab.
Now our motto seems to be the rallying cry for how to sell in 2014.
So in the spirit of partnership, we’re sharing the secrets to the success of Bagg Professional, Bagg Managed Resources and Bagg @ Your Service.
- Seller beware: Remember buyer beware? Well, in an age where everyone has mobile devices, people have access to info day and night –so seller beware. Whatever you say, expect that it can and will be verified. Be transparent, be honest … or prepare to be humiliated.
- Coercion backfires: Researchers in the science of persuasion say that when people are pumped on their sense of power, they typically fail to hear other people’s perspectives. Instead, they aim for coercion – but bullies don’t get buy-in, or loyalty.
- Less is more: Studies on effective selling confirm that when you assume less power, you are more open to another’s perspective. When you focus on someone else’s point-of-view, you’re far more likely to be able to solve their needs and get them onside.
- Relax, no fanfare or cheerleading is required—or wanted: There’s an old misconception that whether you’re selling yourself as a candidate, or selling anything, you should “take the room” — as if the best salespeople are gregarious hand-pumpers. They’re not! Volumes of studies confirm that if you come off as overly eager you can turn people off. People also recoil if you are too quiet and reserved.
- Aim to be an “ambivert”: Daniel Pink coined the term “ambivert” to mean the middle ground between being extroverted and introverted. Basically, if you talk too much, it’s advisable to hold back, listen more—and don’t hog the spotlight. And if you don’t talk enough, ask questions and show curiosity.
In an interview with Profit magazine, Daniel Pink noted, “The research shows pretty clearly that the most effective pitches don’t try to convert people; they try to bring them into a conversation as a co-creator.”
We couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing more engaging than two-way conversations that delve into the needs, perspectives, and contributions of everyone in the room for solving problems and growing potential.
Call it selling –or call it caring. Whatever word you use, it works. At best, you’ll get buy-in. At worst, you’ll have had an interesting exchange and learned a thing or two. Sold?