Tuesday Morning Book Review || To Sell is Human

bookEvery Tuesday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others (kindle version) by Daniel Pink.

Let me be honest, I love the work of Daniel Pink. This book is not exception.

Pink starts out by telling us how his book is for more than just salesman. The reality though, is that everyone is in sales. You may not make cold calls or get people to buy things, but you are seeking to motivate people everyday. Whether that is a boss, a child, a spouse or a friend.

For leaders, this concept is enormous, but it is even more important for pastors. Every week, when a pastor preaches, they are seeking to move people. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they seek to help people move from where they are to their next step with God. This takes motivation. According to Pink, this takes sales. While pastors will bristle at this idea, it is also true. Call it motivation or sales, it is the same thing. According to Pink, “The average person spends 40% of their life trying to move others. We’re persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something they’ve got in exchange for what we’ve got.”

One of the problems Pink points out that we have when it comes to communicating is that we don’t help people identify the correct problem. This is huge for preaching, helping people see what they could fix. Pastors often answer questions people aren’t asking, and therefore don’t move the people they are preaching to.

Another takeaway for me as a preacher is helping people to see what a truth could look like in their life 5 years from now. I’ve started to say in sermons, “Imagine what your life would be like if you believed ____________.” People are often unmoved, not because they don’t understand something, but because they can’t see the benefit or goodness of something.

Here are a few things that jumped out:

  • One of the most effective ways of moving others is to uncover challenges they may not know they have.
  • To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.
  • The correlation between extraversion and sales was essentially nonexistent.
  • You have to believe in the product you’re selling—and that has to show.
  • Once positive emotions outnumbered negative emotions by 3 to 1—that is, for every three instances of feeling gratitude, interest, or contentment, they experienced only one instance of anger, guilt, or embarrassment—people generally flourished.
  • Next time you’re getting ready to persuade others, reconsider how you prepare. Instead of pumping yourself up with declarations and affirmations, take a page from Bob the Builder and pose a question instead. Ask yourself: “Can I move these people?” As social scientists have discovered, interrogative self-talk is often more valuable than the declarative kind. But don’t simply leave the question hanging in the air like a lost balloon. Answer it—directly and in writing. List five specific reasons why the answer to your question is yes.
  • The problem we have saving for retirement, these studies showed, isn’t only our meager ability to weigh present rewards against future ones. It is also the connection—or rather, the disconnection—between our present and future selves.
  • The third quality necessary in moving others today: clarity—the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had.
  • We often understand something better when we see it in comparison with something else than when we see it in isolation.
  • So if you’re selling a car, go easy on emphasizing the rich Corinthian leather on the seats. Instead, point out what the car will allow the buyer to do—see new places, visit old friends, and add to a book of memories.
  • Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved.
  • The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.
  • Questions can outperform statements in persuading others.

Overall, a worthwhile book for leaders or preachers.