Daniel Pink

“Even as advanced economies have been transformed – from hard goods and heavy lifting to skilled services and conceptual thinking – the need for salespeople has not abated.” – Daniel Pink, To Sell is Human

As evolved as we become, one of the most basic and fundamental qualities we always come back to is our selling capacity – our ability to persuade.

In To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink provides fascinating insights into the power of selling. In this post I touch upon three tips he shares that can make a huge difference in improving your sales.   

1) Too much choice is a bad thing

The law of diminishing returns applies to choice. While choice is a good thing, too much of it, is bad for your business. According to the study cited by Pink, a booth that displayed 24 variety of wares received many visitors, but didn’t make so many sales. When the same booth put out its wares a week later, it only displayed 6 varieties of products and received less visitors, but it made more sales. Here’s why. More choice attracts more attention. But more choice also attracts more unqualified attention which doesn’t generate as many sales. Less variety, though it attracts far less attention, attracts more qualified buyers and generated more sales.

The takeaway:

Don’t offer a prospective client all your products. Asking questions and finding out more about your prospect and their interests can help you make a more targeted and relevant offer and reduce the paralysis often caused by overwhelming prospects with too many options.

2) Focus on experience, not features

The difference between features and benefits is like the difference between milk and chocolate. You may be surprised, but your customers don’t give a toss about the dimensions and specifications when they first learn about your product. The first thing they want to know about your product is how it can benefit them. Dimensions and specifications should be available to them, but hopefully, by the time they get around to looking at them, they’ve already made the emotional decision to buy your product.

The takeaway:

Connect with your prospects on an emotional level. Show them how your product will help them achieve their goal. Appeal to their most powerful emotions.  

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3) The blemish brings out the beauty

A dose of mildly negative information works almost the same way for your product as vaccination does for humans. By including a minor flaw in your product or service you can in fact enhance the attractive elements of your offer. What’s known as “the blemishing effect” among researchers works to fortify your product in a potential customer’s mind, making it more attractive in their mind than it otherwise would be. But the research Pink cites qualifies “the blemishing effect” in two ways:

  1. Prospects must be in a “low effort” state, meaning your prospects are busy or distracted while making their purchasing decision.
  2. The “blemish” follows the positive description, not the other way around.

Pink goes onto explain that the negative information comes in contrast to the positive information and as a result provides more clarity, making the positive attributes even stronger.

The takeaway:

Next time you tell tired prospects about your product, slip in a minor detraction to embellish the great qualities of your product.    

What tip resonates with you the most and which will you apply in your next pitch?