Author Dan Pink conducted a survey of 7,000 full-time adult workers in America. On average, Pink found that 41 percent of people’s work is spent persuading or convincing people to give up something they value (attention, effort, money, time) for something that worker can offer. “Like it or not, we’re all in sales now,” Pink said to a room full of RIAs at Schwab’s annual IMPACT conference in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Even if you’re under a fiduciary standard, you’re selling something at some level, although not in the traditional sense, said Pink, author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.
But selling isn’t what it used to be, as consumers have access to more information and we’ve moved from a “buyer beware” environment to a “seller beware” environment. During his presentation, Pink provided five straight-forward, actionable takeaways for the audience on how to become a more efficient seller.
“I like things that are cheap and actionable,” he said. “So I tried to configure these so that it’s stuff you can do tomorrow without a budget.”
1. There’s an inverse relationship between feelings of power and perspective-taking skills. Many believe that the more power you have, the more likely you are to take your own perspective. So advisors can be more effective by briefly reducing their feelings of power, Pink said.
2. Focus on what the other side is thinking. Out of three groups of negotiators—one neutral, one focused on what the other side was thinking, and one focused on what the other side was feeling—the thinkers had better luck in getting a better deal. Use your head as much as your heart, Pink said. That’s the nature of attunement.
3. Ambiverts are the best sellers. Extreme extroverts and extreme introverts have the worst sales performance, Pink said, while those in the middle do the best. Don’t be a glad hander; instead, be a better version of yourself. Because the vast majority of people are ambiverts—those in the middle.
4. When the facts are on your side, questions (often) beat answers. Take Ronald Reagan’s campaign against President Carter, when he asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Questions elicit an active response, and people often come up with their own autonomous reasons to agree with you.
5. Give people an off-ramp, an easy way for people to act. We often overestimate the impact of people’s personality, and underestimate the impact of context. Giving people an off-ramp is easier than trying to change their minds.