To Sell Is Human by Daniel H Pink – 6 Pitch Enhancements That Compliment The New ABCs Of Selling
Daniel H. Pink’s new book is Selling Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Pink is the best-selling author of “Drive” and “A Whole New Mind.”
Pink says that today we are all in sales, regardless of our career or function. Parents cajole children and lawyers sell juries on a verdict as examples.
The old ABC of sales (“Always be closing”) is reinvented as Tune, Buoyancy and Clarity. They show you how to be, but you also need to know what to do. Perfecting your tone, learning to improvise (which is ultimately listening), and serving complements the new ABC of selling and helps you move others. The following are highlights of the power of tone.
The investigators spent five years in Hollywood, entrenched in the entertainment business; which thrives on launch. Writers introduce movie executives, agents introduce producers, etc. The results showed that successful pitches depended on both the catcher and the pitcher.
The receiver (ie executive) used physical and behavioral cues to quickly assess the creativity of the pitcher (ie writer). Passion, wit, and quirkiness all rated positively. Skill, trying too hard, and multiple negatively rated idea offers.
Receivers were quick to consider negative submissions “uncreative”; and covertly discarded any remaining meeting time. Positive pitchers attracted success by seeing receivers as collaborators, welcoming their ideas to refine the project. Once the receiver felt like a creative collaborator, the chances of rejection decreased.
Lesson: The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to get others to immediately adopt your idea. Instead, offer something compelling enough to start a conversation, include the other person’s perspective, and ultimately come to a consensus. Today, pitch is often the first word, but rarely the last.
Pink delivers the classic elevator pitch: meeting the big boss in an elevator and being able to explain your product or service in a matter of seconds; is outdated for two reasons.
First, organizations are generally more democratic than ever before, and many CEOs, even in large companies, sit among everyone else or in open spaces, promoting easy contact and collaboration.
Second, even though today’s CEOs are more accessible by email, text, and tweets, etc., they face information overload every day. These challenges require expanding our repertoire of shades in an age of limited attention.
Pink describes six promising successors to the elevator pitch:
1. The tone of a single word. “Digital natives” (anyone under the age of 30) rarely remember life without the Internet. The attention span is shrinking, almost disappearing. Brevity is key. Define the feature you most want to associate with your brand and then take advantage of it. That is fairness in a word. MasterCard is associated with the word “priceless”; and President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign incorporated a one-word strategy: “Go.”
two. The tone of the question. In 1980, Ronald Regan ran against then President Jimmy Carter. On the campaign trail, he asked “Are you better off now than four years ago?” Questions are powerful and can outperform statements; however, they are underused when it comes to moving others. They prompt people to deduce their own reasons for agreeing or disagreeing. When people produce their own reasons for believing something, their support is stronger and they are likely to act on it. Note: If the arguments behind a question are weak, don’t use the question tone. If President Carter had asked the same question Regan did, it would not have benefited his re-election campaign.
3. The tone of the rhyme. The lawyer, Johnny Cochran, used the rhyme “If you don’t fit, you must acquit”, in his closing arguments during the OJ Simpson trial in 1995. “Trouble unites enemies” and “Trouble unites enemies”, both they say the same thing, but research shows that people find rhymes more accurate. Rhymes increase processing fluency, the ease with which our minds make sense of stimuli. Summarizing your main point with a rhyme gives prospects a way to talk about your proposal as they deliberate; and helps your message sink into their minds when they compare you to your competitors.
Four. The tone of the subject line. Every email sent asks for someone’s attention and is an invitation to participate. The subject line of an email previews and promises the content of the message. Research shows that people open emails for reasons of utility or curiosity. They are likely to open emails that directly affect their work or create a moderate level of uncertainty (ie, curiosity) about its content. Today’s information overload favors usefulness in emails. A third principle is specificity. “4 tips to improve your golf swing this afternoon” trumps “Improve your golf swing” in the subject line of an email.
5. The tone of Twitter. Twitter operates with micromessages of 140 characters or less. Effective tweets engage recipients and move conversations forward by replying, clicking a link, or sharing the tweet with others. Research confirms that only a small number of tweets achieve these goals. The worst-performing tweets fall into three categories: Complaints: “My plane is late. Again”; Me now: “I’m in the cafeteria”; and presence maintenance: “Good morning everyone!” High-ranking tweets provide new and updated information and links, clearly presented. Self-promotional tweets (the ultimate selling point) rank high as long as useful information is part of the promotion.
6. The Pixar Tone. Pixar Animation Studios is one of the most successful studios in the history of cinema. Its success is based on a deep narrative structure that involves six sequential sentences: Once upon a time, ____________. Every day, ___________. One day, ________________. So, ___________. So, ____________. Until finally_____________. The six-sentence format is attractive and flexible; allowing pitchers to capitalize on the well-documented persuasive power of stories, but within a concise and disciplined format.
Author Daniel H. Pink recommends the rhyming dictionary, RhymeZone, to speed up your rhyming launches. Visit: http://www.rhymezone.com/