Pink dismisses many of the selling stereotypes that rang true 50 years ago – but are no longer relevant. He also provides some great ways to build your confidence and to avoid that “traditional hype” that does not build enduring confidence.
Here are some of the topics that should be interesting for most sales entrepreneurs:
So when you go into an encounter, let’s say a sales call, or an important meeting where you’re pitching something, or even asking somebody out on a date– our instinct is that what we should do, our self talk, that is, the way we talk to ourselves, our self talk should be positive, affirmative, pump yourself up. You can do it– the affirmative, you’ve got this. Sometimes you have a hyper-masculinized version of it, like, you’re an animal, you’re a monster, you’re awesome– and that we should pump ourselves up.
And there’s research out the University of Illinois, Mississippi State, showing that that’s actually not the right approach. Instead, they recommend what’s called interrogative self talk. That instead of saying, you can do it, you’re better off saying, asking, can you do this? Now, this freaks people out a little bit because you’re allowing some doubt into your self talk.
But it turns out this is effective because questions and statements operate differently. When we pitch people, when we talk to people, when we try to motivate people, questions operate differently from statements– and even when we try to talk to ourselves. So questions elicit an active response, whereas statements often have a passive response.
So if I ask myself a question, I kind of sort of have to respond, not out loud, but I respond to it in some way. So if I say to myself, I go into an encounter, let’s say, go into this interview. OK, I’ve got this big podcast for HBR. You can do this, Dan. You’ve got this. OK, pump myself up going in here– you’ve got this. Instead, what I could do is, I’m better off saying, Dan, can you do this? Can you do this?
Why? Because if I say, can you do this, I implicitly begin answering that question. Can you do this? Well, yeah, I’ve done interviews before. Can you do this? Yeah, I actually know this material inside and out. It is really interesting to me. I think it’s going to be valuable to these listeners. Can you do this? Well, yeah, what I should do is that, since I wrote a piece about commissions for HBR, I should make sure that, before I come in here, I look over that piece in case they want to talk about that piece.
What am I doing? I’m preparing. I’m getting ready. You know, that warm bath of affirmation, and you can do it, feels good. I like to tell myself I’m awesome. I love to hear from myself that I’m awesome. But it doesn’t really prepare me. And so interrogative self talk is more muscular. And this is what Bob the Builder does. Bob the Builder, when he faces a complicated management situation–
JUSTIN FOX: Can we fix it?
DANIEL PINK: And then, we realize, we think through how we can fix it, and then we say, yes we can.
JUSTIN FOX: Good old Bob. This is part of a bigger theme, and a chapter, actually, in your book. But this idea, you call it buoyancy. And clearly, when you’re trying to sell a thing, an idea, yourself, you’re putting yourself out there…
So if you are interested please check out the HBR Podcast and read the Amazon.com reviews on this book.