Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Do You Know The Work of Daniel Pink? Review of His New Book "To Sell Is Human"

Do you already know the work of Daniel Pink?  If you do, then his latest book will help add to your appreciation of this thought leader and the ways in which he re-frames old ideas and presents new ideas for the reader's consideration and implementation.  Pink will make you think!  Sales!

In "To Sell Is Human - The Surprising Truth about Moving Others," Pink posits the idea that we are now all in the business of selling - products, ideas, ourselves, obedience.  As he has done so beautifully in his prior works, Pink collects data and anecdotes and weaves them together into a narrative that is both enjoyable and instructive.  He gives many examples of how the days of the door-to-door Fuller Brush salesman and the used car parking lot huckster have transmogrified into a era in which we all need to move beyond traditional stereotypes of sales.

The book is neatly divided into three section:

  • Rebirth of a Salesman
  • How to Be
  • What to Do

In each chapter, after sharing concepts and examples of those concepts being put into action, he summarizes the contents of the chapter in a pithy way - employing the concept in his own writing and "selling," and then wrapping up with a sample case.  Here is a wonderful example from his chapter on how to "pitch" an idea.  He has been discussing a community's need to raise funds to rebuild a decaying bridge that links towns on both sides of a river.

"Your Twitter pitch could include an online link to an artist's rendering of the bridge along with a list of its benefits and entice people to click it with: See what tomorrow's Beeston and Arborville can look like & why we need to create that future.

If you're sending information to your fellow Beeston citizens, your subject line pitch could be: 3 reasons why Beeston families support a new bridge.

Your rhyming pitch?  Opportunities are wide on the other side.

Your question pitch could help people think through their own experiences: Should it be such a pain to get to Arborville?

And your one word pitch could explain the reason for your efforts (not to mention an indispensable lesson of this chapter): Connect

(Page 174)

One of my favorite parts of the book includes Pink's telling about shadowing entrepreneurial figures - San Francisco's last surviving Fuller Brush salesman, and Shamus Jones, Founder of Brooklyn Brine, an artisanal pickle company.  I was so intrigued by the story of Brooklyn Brine that I put down the book and Googled Brooklyn Brine and spent some time enjoying the videos that tell the story of this start-up success.  I guess Pink knows how to move a reader!

Brooklyn Brine Company

I cannot resist a good pun - or a bad one, for that matter - so I will close with one.  In a world in which we all need to know how to sell ourselves, you need to read this book, or you will be in a pickle!



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