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Book Review: Sales is part of our everyday life

(This article is part of The Better Andhra’s ‘Read & Grow’ initiative that will be published every Saturday)
 
• We’re All in Sales Now
The obituaries declaring the death of the salesman in today’s digital world are woefully mistaken. In the United States alone, some 1 in 9 workers still earns a living trying to get others to make a purchase. They may have traded sample cases for smartphones and are offering experiences instead of encyclopedias, but they still work in traditional sales.
 
More startling, though, is what’s happened to the other 8 in 9. They’re in sales, too. They’re not stalking customers in a furniture showroom, but they – make the we – are engaged in what Daniel calls “non-sales selling.” We’re persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something they’ve got in exchange for what we’ve got. 
 
As you’ll see in the findings of a first-of-its-kind analysis of people’s activities at work, we’re devoting upward of 40 percent of our time on the job to moving others. And we consider it critical to our professional success.
 
  • Entrepreneurship, Elasticity, and Ed-Med
 
How so many of us ended up in the moving business? The keys to understanding this workplace transformation: Entrepreneurship, Elasticity, and Ed-Med. First, Entrepreneurship. The very technologies that were supposed to obliterate salespeople have lowered the barriers to entry for small entrepreneurs and turned more of us into sellers. 
 
Second, Elasticity. Whether we work for ourselves or for a large organization, instead of doing only one thing, most of us are finding that our skills on the job must now stretch across boundaries. And as they stretch, they almost always encompass some traditional sales and a lot of non-sales selling. Finally, Ed-Med. The fastest-growing industries around the world are educational services and health care – a sector Daniel calls “Ed-Med.” Jobs in these areas are all about moving people.
 
• From Caveat Emptor to Caveat Venditor
 
Daniel shows how the balance of power has shifted – and how we’ve moved from a world of caveat emptor, buyer beware, to one of caveat venditor, seller beware – where honesty, fairness, and transparency are often the only viable path.
 
That leads to Part Two, where Daniel culls research from the frontiers of social science to reveal the three qualities that are now most valuable in moving others. One adage of the sales trade has long been ABC – “Always Be Closing.” The three chapters of Part Two introduce the new ABCs – Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity.
 
How to Be: 
 
• Attunement
This chapter is about “attunement” – bringing oneself into harmony with individuals, groups, and contexts. Daniel draws on a rich reservoir of research to show you the three rules of attunement – and why extraverts rarely make the best salespeople.
 
• Buoyancy
This chapter covers “buoyancy” – a quality that combines grittiness of spirit and sunniness of outlook. In any effort to move others, we confront what one veteran salesman calls an “ocean of rejection.” You’ll learn from a band of life insurance salespeople and some of the world’s premier social scientists what to do before, during, and after your sales encounters to remain afloat. And you’ll see why actually believing in what you’re selling has become essential on sales’ new terrain.
 
• Clarity
In this chapter, Daniel discusses “clarity” – the capacity to make sense of murky situations. It’s long been held that top salespeople – whether in traditional sales or non-sales selling – are deft at problem solving. Here Daniel will show that what matters more today is problem finding. One of the most effective ways of moving others is to uncover challenges they may not know they have. Here you’ll also learn about the craft of curation – along with some shrewd ways to frame your curatorial choices.
Once the ABCs of Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity have taught you how to be, we move to Part Three, which describes what to do – the abilities that matter most.
 
What to Do: 
 
• Pitch
For as long as buildings have had elevators, enterprising individuals have crafted elevator pitches. But today, when attention spans have dwindled (and all the people in the elevator are looking at their phones), that technique has become outdated. In this chapter, you’ll discover the six successors of the elevator pitch and how and when to deploy them.
• Improvise
Improvise covers what to do when your perfectly attuned, appropriately buoyant, ultra-clear pitches inevitably going the rules of improvisational theater can deepen your persuasive powers.
• Serve
Here you’ll learn the two principles that are essential if sales or non-sales selling are to have any meaning: Make it personal and make it purposeful.
 
To help you put these ideas into action, at the end of each chapter in Parts Two and Three you’ll find dozens of smart techniques assembled from fresh research and best practices around the world. 
 
Daniel calls these collections of tools and tips, assessments and exercises, checklists and reading recommendations “Sample Cases,” in homage to the traveling salesmen who once toted bags bulging with their wares from town to town. By the end of this book, you will become more effective at moving others.
 
(Source: To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink) 
 

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