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As part of my own business development, I attended a webinar today:

To Sell Is Human: The ABCs of Moving Others.
Sponsored by The Harvard Business Review
Presenter: Daniel H. Pink and author of a book by the same name

I thought you might be interested in just a few of the key points of the presentation.


Point 1: The selling situation has changed more in the past 10 years than in the previous 100 years.

Buyers have FAR more information than they used to. The “advantage” of knowing more than your buyer is gone. Buyer Beware have changed to Seller Beware as people have more information, are less likely to be snowed, and have lots of ways of speaking up and fighting back against unscrupulous sellers.

The selling environment has gone from “Seller Powerful” to “Seller/Buyer Parity.”

Point #2. The New ABCs of Selling

Old school sales: ABC = Always Be Closing (push, push, push. Run the numbers)
New school sales, (according to Pink): ABC = Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity

Attunement: Being able to see things from the Buyers point of view (I harp on this endlessly with my own clients and felt very validated on this point.) What are the buyers reasons for buying and how do you sell to those points? In what ways can you attune yourself to your potential client during conversations?

Buoyancy: I thought this one was the MOST  interesting. Pink quoted one of his sales friends who said “Every day I face an ocean of rejection.” (Yikes!) Pink talked about ways in which people can “bounce back, reframe a failure to make a sale, don’t take things personally” in short, become more Buoyant in their sales process.  (more about this below.)


Old school sellers were “problem solvers.”  These days people have so many options for finding solutions on their own.  They don’t really need for a sales person to solve their problem.

New School sellers are “problem finders.”  This means that if your potential clients are not thinking of what will happen if they don’t buy your service or product, you need to be good at presenting that in a way that is not pushy.  I, Dhyan, help my business clients with this by teaching them to ask:  What will happen if you do xyz?  What will haven’t if you don’t xyz? (Where xyz had to do with the value and importance of your service to YOUR target clients.)

More about how to become Buoyant:

One of the parts of the webinar I enjoyed the most was his description of what I call “self-talk” and how it affects sales skills. He said, as sales people we need to be able to see a situation realistically instead of emotionally and negatively?

Is a particular failure personal? Yes it is all my fault. vs. No, this was one situation. I have done well in the past and I will do well again.
Is this pervasive? Yes, this ALWAYS happens to me. vs. No, sometimes I close sales, sometimes I don’t. This is normal.
Is this permanent? Yes, I’m toast! I better go find another job. vs. No, I can learn how to get better at sales. I’m already learning how to get better at sales!

A few more key concepts shared

Sell a comparison: “I’m blind” (hold out the cup – few donations.) “It’s spring and I am blind” (build empathy- more donations happened)
Small Negatives enhance positives: VERY, VERY INTERESTING!  A long list of positives sells less well than the same long list of positives with one “small, insignificant” negative at the bottom. Huh! I, Dhyan, didn’t know that!
Don’t just sell your product, provide service information: Example: someone selling candy to small mom and pop shops. Sold more if they shared a study showing which kinds of candy sold best for this kind of shop even if it included candy from a competitor
Servant leadership: Not just focusing on selling your product but including a focus on how your product makes the individual better, their community better, the world better!

Point 3: Introvert vs Extrovert: Who is the better sales person?

Interestingly, Pink quoted research where a team went into a company, gave an assessment to all the sales people, divided them into introverts and extroverts and then sent them out selling. The results were interesting. I was betting on the introverts, actually, because they can be better listeners and communicators than extroverts but it turned out that

The introverts sold $120K

The extroverts sold $125K

BUT the Ambiverts (people who are a little of both) sold $155K.

Ah Ha! How interesting is that! This means that those of us who are not “pure” introverts or “pure” extroverts but are a bit of both have a huge advantage in the current selling environment.

I am not sure if the webinar was recorded or it that recording is available post webinar but you can look for it, if you are interested, with the information I listed at the top.

Best regards!  Dhyan

3 Responses to “Webinar notes: To Sell is Human: the new ABCs of moving others”

  1. Francie King says:

    VERY generous of you to share this, Dhyan. It was fascinating!

  2. Stephanie Nichols says:

    I agree with Francie, Dhyan. So much food for thought here! Thank you.

  3. Pat McNees says:

    Thanks, Dhyan. This is a lot more helpful than most pieces offering tips on marketing, particularly for a business persuading people to do something as personal as personal histories. — Pat

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