Selling and Change

Here are insights from Dan Pink’s keynote presentation at Change Management 2015.
When you are facilitating others to change, you must “sell them” on the new process, system, idea (mindset) or behaviors. Change is about persuasion which essential is selling.
The ABC’s of successful selling:

  • Attunement – tune in to others and get out of your own head. When you are persuading someone else you need to understand his or her point of view. Dan’s research shows that when people feel powerful they are much worse at seeing things from another person’s perspective. Humility is the key here. When you lessen your power and “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” you do a better job of responding to concerns and anticipating problems.
  • Buoyancy – this is about resilience. There is a lot of rejection that will take place when leading change. An expected part of change is resistance. It’s not good or bad, it just is. So how you handle this inevitable part of selling (or change) is a very important skill.
  •  Clarity – you must be clear about how the change will solve a problem. Dan talked about how there is less value in problem solving than in problem finding. If you think about it, anyone can find a solution on the internet. We need to improve our ability to create clarity about problems versus being a fantastic problem solvers. Solving the wrong problem is a common corporate malady. We call this solving symptoms rather than finding the root cause and solving the real problem.

Another interesting insight from Dan’s presentation was about the ideal salesperson. We are led to believe that outgoing extroverts make the best sales people. Research from Wharton’s Adam Grant finds that the link between extroversion and actual performance has no correlation. The most effective sales people are in the middle of the scale between extroversion and introversion. They’re what he calls “ambiverts.”
One final insight is that the most effective messages don’t try to convert people or convince them. Effective messages or pitches bring others into a conversation as a co-creator. How can you involve your change targets in a conversation about the change?
For additional insights from Dan, check out his website, the 15 minute summary or read To Sell is Human.

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