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To Sell is Human by Dan Pink

To Sell is Human was a pretty good book, I enjoyed it. I will say right off of the bat I don’t think Daniel Pink has had a career in sales, to think otherwise after reading this book would be folly. He brings up some very interesting stories and good points about sales, most of which I believe to be true. The book brings up a number of different sales strategies, and shows you how you can use them to be more effective. One of the main messages in the book is one out of every nine people have a career in sales. However, the other eight people essentially use sales in every part of their life. I very much agree with this in every aspect, let’s pick a random profession such as a baker in a french cafe. This baker you would not exactly have a career in sales right? Wrong, he has to continually put out tasty cakes, pies, and pastries every day for the cafe’s customers. If he does a poor job with his cakes and the customers don’t like them they won’t buy them and the opposite is true as well. Therefore, every day he comes in to bake he is selling himself to his employer. If he owns the cafe, it’s basically the same thing except he is selling himself to his customers with his product. Therefore, if he does a poor job he won’t have a job. Everyone sells in some shape or form.

To Sell is Human

Intoverts vs. Ambiverts vs. Extroverts

What type of individuals are the best at sales? My first thought when reading this book is extroverts will be the best at sales. However, Pink does a very good job at convincing us that Ambiverts are the best at sales and I tend to agree with him. I’m an extrovert, but I don’t think I’m an extrovert at a high level. Extroverts are outgoing, overtly expressive people. Ambiverts are people whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features. Introverts are shy, reticent, and typically self-centered people. Pink has an assessment test you can do here which will tell you if you’re an introvert, ambivert, or extrovert. Pink mentioned a study was done on the most successful sales professionals from one to eight. One’s would be highly introverted and eights would be highly extroverted. The most successful sales professionals came in right around four to four and a half. This was done with a series of questions and a large sample of sales professionals.


Pink also argues you don’t need to be an extrovert in order to be good at sales. This is where I disagree with him a bit. I agree that you don’t need to be an extrovert in order to be good at sales but individuals who are higher on the extravert scale will be more successful in sales than those who are introverts that are low on the scale. Sure a balance is the best and Pink proves that with his study. However, those who are the most successful show up with scores in between four and four and a half. I simply think those with scores of four to six on the scale will be more successful than those with scores of two to four.

Always Be Closing

Pink talks about the movie Glengarry Glen Ross and the part of the movie he gathers up all of the sales professionals, tells them what is first, second, and third prize, and motivates them with his “always be closing” speech. While I liked this movie and thought it was great I don’t think this is an effective sales motivator. Pink tends to agree with me saying the new ABC’s of the 21st century are Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. I could go on and on forever about these concepts so I encourage you to buy the book or do some research on your own.

To Sell is Human

Using Twitter to draw an Audience

Pink talks in detail about Twitter and how effective it can be used effectively in making pitches and drawing an audience. He talks about how he got twitter users to rate 43,000 rate tweets. The lowest rated tweets fell into three categories:

  1. Complaints (“My plane is late”)
  2. Me Now (“I just ordered a taco pizza”)
  3. Presence Maintenance (“I’m tired and going to sleep now”)

The twitter users praised tweets that provided links on fresh, new, and useful information. Also, they liked tweets which were self promoting with valuable information on a product or service you could find more information about.

To Sell is Human

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