Posts Tagged ‘to sell is human’

What’s Your One Word Equity Sales Pitch?

According to Microsoft, human beings have an attention span of 8 seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. Possibly this is one of the reasons for the one word equity sales pitch as described by Dan Pink in his book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth in Moving Others.

sales-pitchThe one word equity sales pitch is the brain child of Maurice Saatchi who believes in this digital age brevity must be pushed to its breaking point. This one word is the word you want others to think about you and your company.  It can be a noun, an adjective or even a verb.

Saatchi provides the example of the word “search.” Who or what comes to mind.  For many that entity is Google. He contends today only brutally simple ideas get through because they “travel lighter and travel faster.”

Now the difficult part:

  • What is the one word you want others to think when thinking of you?
  • When anyone utters that word, he or she thinks of you

Recently when speaking at a conference for executive coaches, organizational and lean consultants I shared this one word equity sales pitch as an activity.  The activity was difficult. What the 30 plus participants in attendance said, it helped to bring clarity and focus to their marketing and sales messages.

One path to find this one word equity is to return to your purpose statement if you have one.  Possibly within that statement you may find that one word.  For me, the word “trailblazer” has been part of who I am and what I do.

Another path is to ask others to share with them that one word that comes to mind when thinking of you. This path may surprise you.  If the word is not to your liking, then it may make sense to re-frame your sales pitch within your marketing messages and sales conversations.

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Sales Leadership The Talent of Leading Others

What is interesting is how some really good to top sales performers fail to appreciate this talent sales leadership talent of leading others. Yesterday when debriefing a new executive coaching client, she indicated that leading others was a non-talent respective to her role as a salesperson. (She had completed a fieldwork exercise where she had ranked her top 3 talents, top 3 non-talents and top 3 weaknesses from an alphabetized list of 78 key attributes.)

sales-leadershipSo is leading others a non-talent for salespeople? I truly do not believe so.

Dan Pink in his book, To Sell Is Human, talks about sales as being movement.  In selling, do we not need to move and then to lead others to a final destination?

What does it mean to lead others? Innermetrix defines this performance talent as “The ability to organize and motivate people to get things accomplished where everyone feels a sense of order and direction.  Effective leadership depends on a fine mixture of capacities that must match the environment in which the manager (or salesperson) is asked to perform, but regardless of that mixture, every leader must be able to gain the trust of others and be able to solve problems among and for the group.”

When the sales coaching client read this definition, she realized that “Yes I do lead others” and it is a necessary sales leadership talent. She then went on to discuss how her solution requires multiple decision makers and input from other groups within the organization.

Then as she read  how her own high score translated respective to this sales leadership talent she received even greater clarity. Since she had high capacity, she agreed she was able to “effectively combine such capacities as empathetic ability, problem solving ability, self-esteem, role confidence and motivating others, into a cohesive approach to guiding others towards a mutual goal.” (Source: Innermetrix)

Finally in discussing some of her challenges with her sales manager, I shared what a low score of the leading others represents that being  lacking empathy and problem solving abilities. My client said that was part of her sales manager’s behavior and part of her challenge to increase sales.

By understanding our sales leadership talents, our non-talents and those attributes that are not as strong as others, we can gain much greater clarity. If you wish to know your talents, then consider learning more about this incredibly powerful sales leadership assessment, The Attribute Index, to provide you incredible clarity.


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Just Shut Your Teeth to Increase Sales

Thousands of years ago, Epictetus said “Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.”  Now one would think that listening, even better active listening, would be one of the primary sales skills sets taught within the plethora of sales training coaching programs if the goal was to increase sales. Yet active listening is still not a valued as a primary sales skill set. Just look at the content devoted to asking questions, overcoming sales objections to “closing the deal” versus active listening.


In Daniel Pink’s new book, To Sell Is Human, he shared an experience working in some  “improv acting”  lessons to improve his listening skills. One of the activities was to wait 15 seconds with direct eye contact before responding. Sales Training Coaching Tip: I recommend this book To Sell Is Human and for me it has become one of my top 10 sales books especially if you want to increase sales.

Depending upon the research, effective listening comprises anywhere from 40 to 50% of our daily time. Yet being social creatures we truly want to talk more than to listen. Even where we are not talking we are thinking about how to respond instead of actively listening to the other person. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  The human brain is not designed to multitask. By preparing to respond, the quality of your listening has significantly declined.

And that being prepared to respond is rub in the sales communication process. When we are focused on what we are going to say, we have already engaged our filters to hear what we want to hear based upon what we have heard in the past. This is where our belief we can “sell value” trips us up. Our “value response” potentially ignores what is actually being said because of our past conditioning.

To increase sales begins with silence reinforced with active listening. In one of my favorite movies,l The 13th Warrior, the central character is told to “shut your teeth.”  Maybe this should be the first, middle and last title of a mandated course for all sales people?

On Thursday April 4, 2013 from 12-12:30pm, this free webinar Only April Fool’s Sell on Value may provide some additional insight on how to increase sales.

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Friday’s Favoriates – To Sell Is Human A Critical Book Review

Believing that people buy from people and everyone sells something to someone else, I was anxious to read To Sell Is Human and then write a critical book review.  This book delivered a more qualitative perspective than a quantitative one such as in the Challenger Sale respective to sales and selling.


What Pink stated was the obvious. And how often is the obvious ignored?

Additionally he brings in some research from the social sciences such as reaction to words as well as:

  • Attitudes
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Positive self talk

Another perspective he offered was the middle ground between extrovert sales style and introvert that being the ambivert.  In the book, there is a link to an 18 questions survey to determine your preferential sales style.

Pink also introduced the concept of Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity to replace the Always Be Closing. Now doesn’t that sound better than the pushy ABC you may have heard in the past?

Actually within my practice I include Clarity as the second step.  For without clarity, sustainable execution cannot be achieved.

From my perspective he placed sales back where it should be on the human side, the people side and de-emphasized the technical side.  Yes there are some technical or sales skills to be learned. Yet being a great salesperson is far more about being a great person who has empathy, who can bounce back during adversity and chaos and who has clarity.  These attitudes or better yet behaviors of attunement, buoyancy and clarity work for all and not just those who make a living by selling solutions.

Overall, this book, To Sell Is Human, will probably make it to my top 10 books because it makes perfect, common sense.  As someone who works using a people approach first instead of a technical one, I find it to be far more in alignment with the business growth solutions I employ with my clients. Who knows maybe some of the sales training and leadership training firms might take some lessons from Pink’s book and start thinking differently about marketing, leadership and sales.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith by being a heurist looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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