We have always believed that every team member has a sales aspect to their job, be it internal or external. Unfortunately, when we say “sales,” it often conjures up negative thoughts and feelings. In his latest book, To Sell Is Human, Daniel Pink (author of Drive) — once again sighting some pretty compelling research — makes several surprising statements about those people who are most successful in sales. The following are a few of his findings:
- Thirty-five separate studies involving more than 3,800 salespeople found that the correlation between extroversion and sales was essentially nonexistent. In fact, the most successful salespeople are ambiverts — which is someone who, on the extroversion/introversion scale, falls in the middle.
- The most common thread in the people who are really good at selling is humility. Consider reading our March 29, 2012, Food for Thought article, which talks about the importance of humility for leaders and references a Patrick Lencioni article you may want to read.
- Asking good questions and problem-finding is more important than problem-solving. Use the “Five Whys” — ask why five times, and you’ll be surprised what you will uncover. However, do not interrogate!
- Listen, listen, listen. When others speak, we typically divide our attention between what they’re saying now and what we’re going to say next, and we end up doing a mediocre job of both.
- Make it personal. In this high-tech, global economy, we often neglect the human element and adopt a stance that’s abstract and distant. In the long run, relationships still matter.
Hopefully you’ve picked up a tip or two and, at a minimum, you have a different attitude about selling. If you want more, we would recommend reading Daniel Pink’s book.