top of page
To Sell is Human. By Daniel H. Pink.


    • Is this pervasive?

      • Bad response: Yes. Everyone in this industry is impossible to deal with

      • Better response: No. This particular guy was a jerk.



















    • Is this personal?

      • Bad response: Yes. The reason he didn’t buy is that I messed up my presentation.

      • Better response: No. My presentation could have been better, but the real reason he passed is that he wasn’t ready to buy right now.

  • The more you explain bad events as temporary, specific, and external, the more likely you are to persist even in the face of adversity.

  • The best salespeople think of their jobs not so much as selling widgets but as selling insights about the widget business.

  • The most important thing they do is find the right problems to solve.

  • Unique Selling Proposition: the idea that any product or service in the marketplace has to specify what differentiates it from its competitors.

  • Clarity depends on contrast. We often understand something better when we see it in comparison with something else than when we see it in isolation.

  • The most essential question you can ask is this: Compared to what?

  • Clarity on how to think without clarity on how to act can leave people unmoved.

  • A specific request accompanied by a clear way to get it done…a clear path of action.

  • As you prepare your pitch, clarify your purpose and strategy by making sure you can answer these three questions. After someone hears your pitch…

    • What do you want them to know?

    • What do you want them to feel?

    • What do you want them to do?

  • We don’t always realize it, but what we do and how we do it are themselves pitches. We’re conveying a message about ourselves, our work, or our organization—and other people are interpreting it. Recruit 10 people—a combination of coworkers, and friends and family. Then ask them which three words come to mind in response to one of these questions:

    • What is my company about?

    • What is my product about?

    • What am I about?

  • Servant Leadership: the most effective leaders weren’t heroic, take-charge commanders but instead were quieter, humbler types whose animated purpose was to serve those nominally beneath them.

    • Do those served grow as persons?

    • Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, feer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?


  • Clarity. The third trait of successful sellers is the ability to clarify what you’re actually offering, and why the buyer doesn’t want to buy. To the first point: don’t overwhelm buyers with options, emphasize the experiences they will gain (not just the material objects), pick labels and names carefully, list a small negative attribute after the positive ones, and (when selling yourself) focus on your potential rather than your past accomplishments. Then, give buyers a clear method of action to take.

  • Attunement: understanding the other person’s perspective

    • Increase your power by reducing it; start your encounters with the assumption that you’re in a position of lower power. Humility: take the attitude of I’m sitting in the small chair so you can sit in the big chair

    • Use your head as much as your heart; perspective taking is a cognitive capacity

    • Mimic strategy; the ability to chameleon

  • Ambiverts: people who are neither overly extraverted nor wildly introverted.

  • Data shows that top performing sales people are more often ambiverts

  • Introverts are “geared to inspect”, while extraverts are “geared to respond”, selling of any sort—whether traditional sales or non-sales selling—requires a delicate balance of inspecting and responding. Ambiverts can find that balance. They know when to speak up and when to shut up. Their wider repertoires allow them to achieve harmony with a broader range of people and more varied set of circumstances.

  • Ambiverts are the best movers (sellers) because they’re most skilled attuners.

  • The best question to start a conversation: where are you from?

  • Explanatory style: habit of explaining negative events to yourself (self-talk after an experience).

  • Pessimistic explanatory style vs. Optimistic explanatory style

  • Pessimistic: people who give up easily, who become helpless even in situations where they acutally can do something, explain bad events as permanent, pervasive and personal. They believe that negative conditions will endure a long time, that the cause are universal rather than specific to the circumstances, and that they’re the ones to blame.

  • Agents who scored in the optimistic half of explanatory style sold 37% more insurance than agents scoring in the pessimistic half. Agents in the top decile sold 88% more insurance than those in the bottom decile.

  • Optimism, it turns out, isn’t a hollow sentiment. It’s a catalyst that can stir persistence, steady us during challenges, and stoke the confidence that we can influence our surroundings.

  • When something bad occurs, ask yourself three questions and come up with an intelligent way to answer each one “no”:

  • Is this permanent?

    • Bad response: Yes. I’ve completely lost my skill for moving others

    • Better response: No. I was flat today because I haven’t been getting enough sleep

The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Author: Daniel Pink

260 pages


  • One out of every nine American workers works in sales.

  • Each day more than 15 million people earn their keep by trying to convince someone else to make a purchase.

  • Sales remains the 2nd largest occupational category (behind office and administration workers) in the American workforce.

  • 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 that we--are engaged in what I call “non-sales selling”. We’re persuading, convincing, and influencing others to give up something they’ve got in exchange for what we’ve got.

  • People are now spending about 40% of their time at work engage in non-sales selling—persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don’t involve anyone making a purchase.

  • The new ABC’s of selling; it’s no longer Always Be Closing. It’s Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

    • Attunement: understanding the other person’s point of view

    • Buoyancy: how to stay afloat amid that ocean of rejection

    • Clarity: the capacity to help others see their situation in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had.

  • Attunement. The first trait of successful sellers is understanding the perspective of the buyer, and studies have shown us how to do this: assume that the buyer is the one with the power; focus on understanding the buyer’s thoughts rather than their feelings; and mimic the buyer’s gestures. As it turns out, studies also show that extroverts aren’t the best sellers; that title goes to ambiverts, who score around 4-4.5 on the extroversion scale of 1-7.

  • Buoyancy. The second trait of successful sellers is “buoyancy,” the combination of “a gritty spirit and a sunny outlook.” To survive repeated rejections, follow three practices. 1) Ask yourself questions beforehand (“Can I succeed?”) rather than pumping yourself up (“I am the best”); they encourage your brain to come up with answers, reasons, and intrinsic motivation. 2) Be mostly positive: it can make the buyer more positive and open to different possibilities (although a little negativity keeps you grounded). 3) Be optimistic: believe that rejections are temporary, contained, and due to external factors.

Motivating Others 


We don’t always realize it, but what we do and how we do it are themselves pitches. We’re conveying a message about ourselves, our work, or our organization—and other people are interpreting it. 

bottom of page