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Friday, February 22, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #9--Serving

Serve: Taking a serve-don’t-demand approach to leadership changes the game. So, Ask-don’t-Tell sets up the right chemistry to influence people. The author advises us to make it personal and purposeful. 
a.    Make it personal. When radiologists were given photos of patients, they had more empathy for the patients, were more thorough, and were more likely to uncover important underlying health issues. So, give people your cell phone and home phone numbers, and have your photo on Facebook to “make it personal.”
b.    Make it purposeful: People respond better to health and safety messages that are focused on others who more vulnerable than themselves. We do things not for self but for pro-social reasons. Purpose-focused volunteer fundraisers who read stories about how scholarships had helped students more than doubled the donations they raised. Big Message: prime people before having them raise money. Make it purposeful.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #8--Improvising

Improvise: Taking his cues from comedy improv, Pink instructs us to pay attention to how comics do it. The basic structure of improv is 1) to hear “offers”;  2) Say “Yes, and”; and 3) Make your partner look GOOD.
a.    Hearing offers is about tuning in to the other person. In a conversation, most people politely wait to speak, rather than really listen. Considering anything a person says as an “offer” means you’re on the right track to hearing. “Sorry we can’t do business now” might mean that we CAN do business later when the economy comes back.
b.    Say “Yes, and” is based on positive buoyancy and is a lot different from “Yes, but.”  So, “Yes, and” builds on your partner’s investment, and “yes, but” negates it—threatens your partner. “Yes, and” finds a way to figure it out.
c.    Make your partner look good: Think win-win (not win-lose). We should always take the other’s perspective and figure out how to make them win. One good response is “That’s an interesting idea…,” which can give you think time and time to learn…not argue. Take 5 seconds—to pause and think.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #7--Pitching

Pitch: Two researchers at the U. of California studied “pitching” (selling screen plays) in Hollywood. Their central finding: It’s as much about the “catcher” (the studio exec) as the pitcher (the writer/agent).  Execs see passion and wit as positive and creative but slickness and hard selling as negative and uncreative. With so many distractions today, we need more types of pitches available, and Pink supplies six such pitches. For example: 1) The one-word pitch: just pick a word you want to be known for and then “own it.” When anyone thinks of you, what’s the word you want them to associate with you or your product?  2) The subject line pitch: The subject line in an email IS your pitch…choose those words carefully. People respond based on utility, curiosity, and specificity. 3) The Pixar Pitch follows the rules for every Pixar film narrative: Once upon a time... Every day… One Day…Because of that…Until finally…. Finally, after your pitch, ask yourself, what do you want people to know, feel, and do?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #6--Clarity

Clarity: Clarity is the ability to help other people and ourselves see things in a new and fresh way, thus seeing issues previously unseen.
a.    Problem Finding vs. Problem Solving: Helping others focusing less on problem solving and more on problem finding is vital. In a surprising experiment with artists, researchers found that artists who focused less on what to paint (problem solving) vs those who thought about how to produce a good drawing (problem finders) had dramatically different results. The problem finders produced better art in both the short term and long term—and far more stayed with art for years to come.  The get-in-done artists did not do as well. In fact, successful sales people today ask better questions “…uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems.” They advise less and listen more.
b.    Finding Your Frames: Social scientist Robert Cialdini has discovered the concept of contrast in his prodigious research on influence. Pink discusses several different frames. The less frame…if people have fewer choices, they tend to buy more; otherwise, it’s a sort of choice fatigue. The experience frame…people get more pleasure from buying experiences than things. We can savor the experiences much longer. So, selling the experience (i.e., just think of the places and friends you can visit with your new car) as opposed to the object itself boosts sales.

Monday, February 18, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #5--Buoyancy

Buoyancy: Staying afloat amid a lot of rejection defines buoyancy. Here’s what to do before, during and after you try to “move” people to help your confidence.
a.    Before: Interrogative self-talk. While sales courses teach us, “You can do it,” social science tells another story. Pink’s research says we should take a lesson from children’s book protagonist Bob the Builder’s advice and ask ourselves that pivotal question, “Can we fix it?” Interrogative self-talk shifts us from statements to questions—which get to both answers and then subtle strategies to solve problems. Stepping up to a self-posed question leads to far better results than making a statement. Moreover, interrogative self-talk also can inspire thoughts around intrinsic motivation, always a powerful path to goal attainment.
b.    During: Positivity. Certain ratios of positivity help keep sellers and buyers in a more open and accepting mode. The ratio of 3:1 positive to negative interactions (by researcher Marcial Losada) makes people flourish. But there are limits. Too low a ratio (1:1) takes your relationship to the buyer to despair. Too high a ratio of positive to negative (11:1) makes you seem flighty and unbelievable.
c.    After Explanatory Style. Psychologist Martin Seligman (U of Penn.) discovered that helplessness came from people who give up easily and explain their bad luck as permanent, pervasive, and personal. Such “pessimists” see the negativity as inevitable and not really within their control. Optimists see rejection (in sales, for this discussion) as temporary, specific, and external to them (things happen) but “I can make a difference myself.”In essence, they have control and are not helpless. Seligman calls it ”flexible optimism—optimism with eyes open.” The result: they sell more—like 37% more in one study of insurance agents.

Friday, February 15, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #4--Attunement

Attunement: It’s important to be on the same wavelength with the person you are trying to influence. When it comes to attunement, pay attention to three approaches 1) Power; 2) Heart and Head; 3) Mimicking.
a.    Power—be careful to purposefully reduce your power status if you want to “move” someone. People with more power are less likely to be in sync with others—about three times less. Research at Berkeley shows that low-status people are better at perspective taking—understanding the other person. So, engage in every encounter with less power and you’ll observe better. Think humility. Humility makes a huge difference in success, because it sets up a low barrier and also forces us into more of taking the other’s perspective.
b.    Heart and Head: Use your head as much as your heart. Says Pink, “Perspective–taking is a cognitive capacity; it’s mostly about thinking. Empathy is an emotional response; mostly about feeling.” Both are crucial. Together, they’re a powerful combination. In a controlled experiment, “empathizers” closed many more deals than the control group (who did nothing special), but perspective takers who used their heads—tried to think like their clients—did MUCH better…76% of them closed deals.
c.    Mimicking others greatly increases your ability to move people. Syncing vocal patterns and mannerisms helps in negotiating with and moving people. A Dutch study showed that waitresses who repeated orders word for word got 70% more tips. If touched lightly on the arm or shoulders, diners leave larger tips. Lightly touching a woman’s forearms when requesting to dance increases a man’s chance to dance with her! Why do we always learn things too late?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #3--The Scales

The Scales have Tipped: The old warning used to be caveat emptor. Why? Because of “asymmetrical information.”  The seller used to hold all the cards…all the information. Before the Internet, if you wanted information on buying a new car or learning about your medical condition, the research wasn’t available to laypeople. The pros were the only ones with special access. But now the tables have turned and people walk into a car place or a doctor’s office with the latest in research from the AMA or Consumer Reports. Now the negotiation isn’t just one way—in fact with the power of social media, the new mantra, according to Pink, is caveat venditor! In a favorite movie of mine, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin stars as Blake, the ruthless sales trainer who teaches the deer-in-the-headlights salesmen the ABC’s of sales—Always Be Closing. In light of the shift in the current parity of information of both buyer and seller, Pink redefines the ABC’s as Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

To Sell is Human: Post #2--Shift in Sales

The Shift in Sales: 1 person in 9 in the US works in sales, but most of us spend around 40% of our time in non-sales selling (influence, persuasion, convincing). Consider that a teacher sells her students the idea of paying attention because what they’ll learn is worth it. Doctors sell remedies, and lawyers sell innocence or guilt to juries. Everyone sells—or what Pink calls “moves”—people every day in many ways. What’s more, the rise of the entrepreneur has kicked “moving” into high gear. Estimates are that entrepreneurs will be the majority of the workforce in 2020, and according to the Kaufman Foundation, 54% of the 18-34 years olds have started their own businesses or want to. Most small companies are about “moving” people to join the cause—they are selling their vision. Whether a customer, employee or investor, entrepreneurs are constantly in the “moving” mode—influencing and selling.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

To Sell is Human - Post#1--Overview

Overview: Written with his signature wit and a bushel of social science research, Dan Pink has written another bestseller—about selling. Most of us spend around 40% of our time trying to influence—or, as Pink says, “move”—others. As more than 54% of 18-34 year olds opt for entrepreneurship, the time spent “moving” others will grow. Because of the Internet, the information tipping point shifted toward the consumer, who now walks onto a used car lot with reams of research to start the negotiation.  Instead of caveat emptor, it’s caveat venditor. And to sell, we all have to focus on our A-B-C’s: Attunement (take the other’s perspective, use empathy, and mimic the buyer); Buoyancy (before the event use an interrogative self-talk, during the event use positivity, and afterward use an optimistic explanatory style); and Clarity (focus on problem finding, not problem solving, and find new frames/lenses to look through). Pink also offers three new skills we will need: Pitch (using one of a number of structured ways to present our ideas—think Hollywood); Improvise (hearing “offers,” saying “yes, and,” and making the other person look good—think Second City); Serve (make it personal and purposeful). Best line of all in the book: “Treat everybody as you would your grandmother.”   
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (Riverhead Books, 2012)  by Dan Pink, reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D. (January 2013).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Your Brain@Work: Post #12--Final Words

Final Words: The brain functions to regulate and move us. At the core of our brains are emotions that need to be moderated by the PFC, which has limited capacity and needs to be conserved every day to ensure making good decisions. Using some of these techniques and considering the effects of SCARF will help you get the most out of your brain and your life.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Your Brain@Work: Post #11--Change

Making Change: Change is hard! Only 1 person in 9 changes their lifestyle after heart surgery. Further, the carrot-and-stick approach doesn’t work because we view people trying to change us as a threat, not a reward. A key concept neuroscience offers is that “attention itself changes the brain.” When we change our attention, we are rewiring our brains. Thus, Attention = Change. Unfortunately, when you sense someone is trying to change you, your threat response triggers. Real change, actually changing the brain (neuroplasticity), requires the following: 1) Create a safe place/environment to minimize any threat response; 2) Help others focus their attention on a new direction; 3) Get people to repeatedly pay attention to the new direction so the change gets hardwired.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Your Brain@Work: Post #10--SCARF

S-C-A-R-F: One of the BIG findings that David Rock offers is that we have five social domains that can feel to the brain either like basic survival threats or rewards. The five are Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness (SCARF). Status: When we threaten the status of another by putting them down, boasting about ourselves, or acting superior, we threaten others and their defenses go up. Certainty: When we come into a new company or club and our position threatens the certainty of others, their defenses go up. Autonomy: When we tell people what to do and make demands instead of asking questions, their autonomy gets threatened and they resist. Relatedness: When we appear to exclude people or distrust them, relatedness gets threatened. Fairness: When people feel unfairly treated, watch out, because people will want to right the wrong with a vengeance.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Your Brain@ Work: Post #9--Expectations

Expectations: Experiments prove the following: “Expect something good or bad, and it impacts the brain regions the same as the actual experience would when generated in reality.” The pleasure of dopamine release from the brain cells comes from anticipation of receiving a primary reward. What’s more, an unexpected reward releases even more dopamine. However, if you expect a reward and don’t get it, dopamine drops like a rock. Further, unmet expectations generate serious threat responses. In short, underpromise and overdeliver. Your brain requires dopamine to be open, curious, and interested in what you’re doing. Dopamine is essential for focusing and creates a toward-or-away state. A lack of it creates an away or avoidance state and reduces your ability to solve problems. Barbara Frederickson (UNC) has shown that happy people solve more problems, perceive more data, and are more open to options than unhappy folks.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Your Brain@Work: Post #8--Threats & Rewards

Threats and Rewards: Dr. Evian Gordon, founder of the Brain Resource Company (world’s largest brain database) says: “Minimize danger, maximize rewards is the organizing principle of the brain.” The limbic system constantly switches between these two—either toward or away from stimuli. This switching takes place in about a half a second or less. When we get overaroused, the limbic system sends out a flood of emotional warning flashes. Those flashes have the following effects: Our ability to use the PFC is reduced significantly; our ability to solve problems drops; we get more negative, defensive and less willing to agree; and, we become much less appealing or attractive to others. Labeling emotions helps you dampen down the effects of this emotional arousal. Repressing emotions takes a lot of cognitive bandwidth and is very hard to do. Interestingly, such suppression gives off a subconscious vibe felt by others and makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s like second-hand emotional smoke. When you feel emotions coming on, rather than trying to suppress them, give them a label to recognize what’s happening and reduce the threat response. When you feel anger creeping in, you might say to yourself, “I’m just knee-jerk reacting.”  The quicker you can intervene when you feel strong emotion coming on, the better. Reappraisal is a key tactic to suppress limbic reaction and ensure higher functioning PFC and better control.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Your Brain@Work: Post #7--Mindfulness

Neuroscience of Mindfulness: We construct mental maps—networks—of the outside world. We all have specific maps to help us get better at what we do. One such network is the narrative or default network. That network focuses on yourself, especially when not much else is happening. We tend to think of ourselves a lot. This default network keeps a narrative going—past, present, future—similar to a running play in our minds, like a narrative circuit. The narrative becomes a filter through which incoming info gets interpreted.  Narrative thinking is useful for planning, goal-setting and strategic thinking. The other set of mental maps is called direct experience which brings in raw sensory data in real time. However, the default narrative and direct map systems are inversely correlated; so, when one is turned up, the other is turned down. Thus, when you’re overwrought worrying about the future, it’s good to focus on your breathing or go for a walk to disrupt rumination and worry. People good at mindfulness meditation get good at switching between narrative and direct experience—and doing so increases our ability to harness control over the PFC. Mindfulness isn’t difficult to engage; it’s just stopping to notice what’s going on in the physical world.

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