Legal Law

Selling is Human by Daniel H Pink – Selling Servers – Make it Personal and with a Purpose

Daniel H. Pink is the author of the new book, “Selling Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.” Pink wrote the best sellers, “Drive” and “A Whole New Mind.”

Pink declares it’s time to forget the old ABC’s of sales (“Always be closing”) and embrace the new ABC’s: tune, buoyancy, and clarity. The new ABCs tell you how to be. Perfecting your tone, learning to improvise, and serving will show you what to do.

Servant leadership is a popular concept and now Pink is introducing Servant Selling to help you move others.

Selling and not selling are ultimately about service that surpasses perfunctory customer greetings in stores or thirty-minute pizza delivery, although both are important.

It is a broader, deeper and more transcendent definition of service that improves the lives of others and the world. Many people can achieve something bigger and lasting than simply exchanging resources; And it is likely to happen if we apply two key concepts: make it personal and make it useful.

1. Make it personal. Radiologists lead lonely professional lives, often sitting alone in dimly lit rooms or hunched over computers reading x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Isolation can dampen your interest in work and ultimately lower your performance when you feel impersonal and mechanical.

Three hundred patients consented to a study that allowed their photo to accompany their CT scan. Radiologists who viewed CT scans with an image of the face reported feeling more empathy toward these patients and being more meticulous when examining the CT scan.

Outstanding radiologists can identify “incidental findings”; Abnormalities on a scan that the doctor was not looking for and that are not related to the condition being treated.

Three months later, the researchers resubmitted eighty-one CT scans to the radiologists who had discovered incidental findings; this time, however, without photos of patients’ faces (the radiologists didn’t realize they had already seen the same scan due to the volume of scans they read daily).

The results showed that 80 percent of the incidental findings were not reported when the photos were removed from the archives.

The study demonstrated that, for healthcare professionals, a resolute trust in processes and algorithms that obscure the human on the other side of a transaction is akin to clinical error.

Every time we try to move others, it involves another human being; however, often, in the name of professionalism, we neglect the human element and adopt an abstract and detached stance.

The value of making it personal when serving others is two-sided. First, you recognize the person as a human being. Second, you personally get behind whatever it is you’re trying to sell.

Pink describes her experience eating at a well-known Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C. While waiting in the lobby, she noticed a photo of the store owner along with his cell phone number; inviting customers to call you directly with feedback about the service. She communicated with a person behind the restaurant who cares about the happiness of her customers.

“A lot of us like to say, ‘I’m responsible,’ or ‘I care,'” Pink says. “Few of us are so deeply committed to serving others that we’re willing to say, ‘Call my cell.'”

2. Do it on purpose. Hospitals are conducive to infection and the best way for healthcare professionals to reduce its occurrence is to wash their hands. Surprisingly, handwashing among US hospital staff is surprisingly low.

The researchers experimented with staff at a hospital and provided three different approaches to the non-sales handwashing challenge.

They received permission to post signs next to the hospital’s soap and hand sanitizer dispensers for two weeks. A third of the signs appealed to the self-interest of health professionals: “Hand hygiene protects you from contracting diseases.”

A third of the signage emphasized the consequences for the patient: “Hand hygiene prevents patients from contracting diseases.”

The final third used a catchy catchphrase and served as a check: “Gel In, Gel Out.”

The results showed that the most effective sign was the second, which appealed to the purpose (protecting patients).

Pink says emphasizing purpose is powerful, but often overlooked when we’re trying to move others. We often assume that human beings are primarily motivated by self-interest. However, research shows that we also do things for prosocial or self-transcending reasons.

We should not only be serving, but also harnessing the innate desire to serve in others. Making it personal works best when we also make it useful.

Servant leadership is a popular practice based on the premise that leaders are subservient to followers. Many companies adopt the practice, including Starbucks and Southwest Airlines.

Pink says it’s time to sell servants; based on serve first, then sell. To touch others today, it’s important to ask if the person you’re selling to agrees to buy; Will it improve your life? When your interaction ends, will the world be a better place than when it started?

On New Year’s Day, author Dan Pink hosted an exclusive webinar for first responders on “Selling is Human.” He endorsed the next book, “Give and Take,” by Adam Grant. The book highlights givers, takers, and matchers. Donors are by far the most successful. Grant is the youngest tenured professor and the highest ranked faculty at the Wharton School of Business. “Give and Take” will be released on April 9, 2013. For more information, please visit:

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