Is selling a skill, or an innate human characteristic?
In his latest book, To Sell is Human, bestselling author Daniel H. Pink introduces his hypothesis on this question with a story of his cataloguing how he spent the last two weeks of his professional life. His conclusion? “I am a salesman.”
He cites examples such as trying to get an editor to abandon a story idea and requesting a seat change from a flight attendant as evidence of his sales cred. He extends that notion to his audience, saying they’re all “pitching colleagues, persuading funders, cajoling kids. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.”
Now? I thought to myself. Was there a time when people didn’t pitch or when parents didn’t convince their children to do what they’re told? Isn’t this just the art of How to Win Friends and Influence People redux?
Now, Pink’s motive is overall a good one. He’s trying to convince people who aren’t “in sales” to abandon their preconceived notions of sales as something bad or slippery or a necessary evil:
“The capacity to sell isn’t some unnatural adaptation to the merciless world of commerce. It is part of who we are… selling is fundamentally human.”
I appreciated the sentiment, so I read on. While his first chapter begins with a fascinating profile of the last Fuller Brush door-to-door salesman, he then delves into a study he undertook to illuminate his hypothesis by asking people what they do at work. While a majority of his respondents said they spent more time “processing information” than they did “selling a product or service,” he noted that they all admitted to these “three activities at the heart of non-sales selling”:
- teaching, coaching, or instructing others
- serving clients or customers
- persuading or convincing others
For their new book—Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies From The World’s Sales Leaders—Thomas Baumgartner, Jon Vander Ark, and Homayoun Hatami observed the inner workings of successful companies. Based on interviews of more than 120 of today’s most successful global sales leaders, this book offers real-life examples of how they overcame difficulties and found growth in a challenging market.
Part of finding growth is developing a sales team. While mentoring is a learning process, it shouldn’t feel like going back to a high school lecture hall. In this excerpt from the book, the three partners in McKinsey & Company talk about trainers and coaches who apply the tenets of successful adult education to their programs. Adults retain the most new information by doing—not hearing—and companies that integrate hands-on learning into their mentoring programs can benefit from that built-in bias. The authors also address how to reinforce successes while also giving special attention to those who need it. The excerpt closes with an innovative method of coaching the coach, an investment that for one company yielded an impressive return in close rates.
Coach Rookies Into Rainmakers
Unlocking people’s potential to maximize their performance is about helping them to learn rather than teaching them. This form of coaching is critical in sales because adults learn best through “experiential” learning—that is, by doing. Studies have shown that adults retain 65 percent of experiential learning compared to just 10 percent of material they receive in a lecture setting or in demonstrations. Continue reading »
Breaking News: Jack Cotton, real estate agent and author who was featured on the Book Scan last year, made it to the top of Amazon.com’s bestsellers list this month. On Oct. 6, his book Selling Luxury Homes hit number one in the real estate book category. His other two books, 12 Secrets Luxury Home Sellers Know That You Can Use Today and 12 Secrets Luxury Home Buyers Know That You Can Use Today, climbed to numbers two and three, respectively, in the category of bestsellers in the buying and selling homes book category.
“It was phenomenal to have three books hit the best seller list on the same day,” said Cotton. “In this challenging real estate market, the books are a resource not just for agents, but for buyers and sellers who need a competitive edge.”
Since the release of the three books, Cotton continues to work as an agent at Sotheby’s International Realty in Osterville, as well as speaking and signing books at events throughout the country. For the past two years, he has been a featured speaker at the National Association of REALTORS® Conference and Expo. For more information on the books, visit www.jackcotton.com, follow him on Facebook or Twitter @jackcotton, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
How did they do it? How did they achieve and maintain such an inspiring level of success? There are many lessons these bands can teach real estate professionals and other entrepreneurs.
In the same vein and a great piggy-back to our video interview with “Come Together” author Richard Courtney, this short documentary features David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan at the Gathering of the Vibes Festival last year. It offers a captivating (and musically delicious) inside look at their recent book “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.”
The Dead knew how to get in front of people, as is pointed out in the book and this short film. They toured nonstop throughout their career, reaching out to their fans, creating personal connections and lasting relationships. Plus, they had a recognizable brand that they stuck with. Sounds like key elements real estate practitioners can implement in their careers.
Check out the book, check out this video, and share your thoughts: How can you be more like the Grateful Dead of real estate?
The most popular marketing-related books this week from Amazon.com.
1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Kindle Edition (MacMay, Apr 25, 2009) Originally published by The Ralston Society, 1937.
“Think and Grow Rich is a motivational book written by Napoleon Hill and inspired by a suggestion by Scottish-American billionaire Andrew Carnegie. It was published in 1937 during the Great Depression. At Andrew Carnegie’s bidding, Hill studied the characteristics of the high achievers from past and of his day and developed 15 “laws” of success intended to be applied by anybody to achieve success. Think and Grow Rich! condenses these laws further and provides the reader with 13 principles in the form of a philosophy of personal achievement.”
2. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, Paperback (Back Bay Books, Jan 7, 2002)
“The premise of this facile piece of pop sociology has built-in appeal: little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world. Gladwell’s thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors “spread just like viruses do” remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of “word-of-mouth epidemics” triggered with the help of three pivotal types. These are Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened. (Paul Revere, for example, was a Maven and a Connector). ” –Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information Inc. Continue reading »