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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Book Review Dan Pink’s To sell is human


Pink asks a profound question about the basis of selling:

“Who is doing who a favour?”

Is the Salesperson doing the Customer a favour,
by bringing much needed goods and service to the table?

Or, is the Customer doing the Salesperson a favour, by buying their goods and services?

After reading the book, I do not think it matters,
as this is not the Basis of Selling, anyway.

His final advice is: “Treat everyone like your Grandmother!” This is a loaded concept.



I would have just stuck to the Golden Rule:

  • One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. Or.
  • One should NOT treat others in ways that one would NOT like to be treated

The Golden Rule contains the essence of Selling, Selling is reciprocal,
and Selling and Buying are done together.

Selling is NOT something we do TO Buyers,
Selling is something we do WITH Buyers!

The nonsense themes in the book are:
  • Everybody sells. No they don’t!
    What he means is everybody TRY’s to influence or ATTEMPTS to persuade,
    and mostly we don’t do a very good job of it!
  • The “Fuller Brush” story is a red herring, it is not relevant.
    Door to door is “hawking”, always was, always will be.
    I speak from experience, something which Pink’s lack of shows throughout the book.
  • ABC never worked, Pink’s ABC will NOT work either. Selling is not about simple rules.

The end theme is the Salesperson’s Burden: “Leave the world a better place”, to sell is human.
This may be countered by another cliché to err is human


Pink does deliver some good, if not common, sense

  •  Improvisation. Although in the Behavioural Approach to Selling
    we have called it “Interactive Competence” for 4 decades.
    The ability of the salesperson to align their behaviour to their objective.

BUT, in Sales it is NOT about ACTING (improv),
it IS about INTER-ACTING, Inter Active Competence.

Selling is about what you DO, not WHO you are.

  • His writing on Greenleaf’s “Servant Leadership” should be encouraged for Sales Managers!


Although the book lists extensive references
and refers to “research” his conclusions are fundamentally speculative.

Pink ‘sows’ together a Patchwork to offer his ‘view’ of selling [or moving people]
from Brush Salesmen to pay rises.

There is no method, or system, just ideas and thoughts.

I read the book twice, firstly as an Evidence Based Sales Consultant,
then secondly through the eyes of a Sales Novice.

As a Sales Consultant, I would have score it as a Red 3/10
i.e. slightly more DYSFUNCTIONAL than FUNCTIONAL,
an experienced Sales person would be worse off after reading it.

However, as an ‘empty vessel’ I would have scored it as AMBER 6/10
because of the section on IMPROV.

This could be a solid base from which to learn Interactive Competence.

Dan Pink’s ‘To sell is Human’, would not be in my Top Ten,
but it is in the Sales Section in my Library.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Challenging - The Challenger Sale


The recent RAIN Group Report,
purports to ‘Challenge’ The Challenger Sale.

It is based on a survey of “Buyers” talking about “Sellers”.



Paradoxically they ignore their own advice:

“Sales research methods often focus on asking sellers, sales managers, and leaders what the top performers do versus average performers. Unfortunately, people’s perceptions of what they do and what they actually do tend to be quite different.

Our research looks at sales from the buyers’ perspective. Our objective was to find the answer to the following question: What are the winners of actual sales opportunities doing differently than the sellers who come in second place?

Their “research” ignores the very flaw which THEY highlight earlier!

Unfortunately, people’s perceptions of what they do
and what they actually do tend to be quite different.

This applies equally to both Sellers AND Buyers. The perceptions of what Buyers ‘believe’ Sellers DO will actually tend to be quite different from what Sellers actually ‘DO’! We are helped in this by having a body of research of 35,000 sales calls, carried out in 23 Countries, over a period of 12 years!

The second Paradox is using a Comparison of ‘winners’ to ‘losers’.  
N. Rackham and (Dick) Ruff published this flaw in their book ‘Managing Major Sales’ in 1991.
However, the ‘flaw’ of using this approach was widely known since the early 1980’s.

Learn from Neil Rackham:
And to not waste any time comparing Exemplar Performers (what I call Master Performers) to
Poor Performers. To Moderately Successful Performers, yes.
To see what truly ‘differentiates’ the true Masters.

Written by Guy W. Wallace, CPT, performance-based Instructional Analyst Architect - Since 1979 and Consultant - Since 1982 [from]




RAIN Group highlight the Winner/Loser flaw by showing what they top rank in ‘winners’
Educate with new ideas and perspectives
compared with ‘losers’ who have this as their 42nd from the top, or bottom Rank!

With this combination of two fatal flaws in their basic research approach,

no credibility can be attached to their conclusions

which, paradoxically, they claim contradict The Challenger Sale Model.
This is a surprising claim as they state Salespeople
can’t inspire buyers unless they ‘educate them with new ideas and perspectives’”
which sounds like a rephrasing of “Teach with Insights” to me!

In other words, they appear to endorse The Challenger Sale approach.