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“To Sell Is Human”: Modern Economy and Life in General

Non-sales selling sounds like an oxymoron; however, for the modern world, this approach is basic. In the classic view, sales are about persuading a customer to purchase a product in exchange for material values. In the book To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, Daniel Pink emphasizes that not only money but also intangibles such as attention or time can serve as resources. The author calls the central concept for this assumption moving, which is involved in all social actions which, at first glance, are not related to sales at all (Pink, 2012). It implies that a key indicator of professional success is the ability to persuade, influence, and convince others.

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Non-selling sales include industries that do not offer direct purchase of any product. Nevertheless, people part with material or non-material resources in exchange for the services of a particular company. Thus, they do not consider themselves to be involved in traditional sales, which, to some extent, deceives their perception. Pink (2012) supports his claim with statistics from a survey of 9,057 respondents around the world.

Data shows that modern people spend about 40% of their time at work persuading, influencing, and convincing others which does not involve anyone purchasing goods (Pink, 2012). It is also noted that the amount of time devoted to moving increases depending on the position’s seniority. Moreover, professionals view such activity as critically important to successful work. Thus, non-selling sales are the basic characteristic and backbone of the modern economy, as they are embedded in all industries.

The author suggests entrepreneurship, elasticity, and the education and medical field will become the main concepts shortly. The last decade has been characterized by the proliferation of small businesses, which are also stimulated by the features of Internet resources. The author argues that the company may not be engaged in direct sales of goods, but entrepreneurship implies the salespeople’s activity (Pink, 2012). Thus, Pink suggests that the future is not in corporations, but in small businesses and individual entrepreneurs who possess different qualities from the salespeople of the past.

Since all modern people are involved in sales and moving to conduct their activities, the necessary skills are also changing. Pink (2012) proposes the concept of elasticity, which is presented as the new set of skills demanded by influential companies. The author provides an example of a company developing and selling software but doing it in an atypical modern form. The author explains that the customer first downloads a trial version of the product and then calls support to ask some questions.

Thus, it is the buyer and not the seller who initiates the business relationship. However, the company’s employees do not seek to sell to the customer directly; they help the potential buyer understand the software and consider its benefits. Thus, it is necessary not only to create quality products but also to research the needs of customers and create unique and exciting offerings so people will be moved to buy (Pink, 2012). Therefore, both engineers and support workers are involved in sales, as their activities are aimed at persuading people to purchase, although they do it in different ways.

The modern business environment encourages elasticity by forcing people to transcend their usual responsibilities. In many ways, this shift is facilitated by technologies that expand the boundaries of functional skills. In the modern world, it is not enough for professionals to be experts in a narrow field; they must have a range of related knowledge to be successful. However, Pink emphasizes that the ability to move others is the most fundamental to any modern activity.

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To illustrate how elasticity is common today, the author gives an example of how much the responsibilities of previously exclusively technical workers have expanded. Pink supports this claim by describing professionals who, in addition to performing their direct duties, also need to solve problems, manage personnel, and communicate with customers and partners. Moreover, there are already people whose main task is encouraging people to move (Pink, 2012).

To achieve such goals, one person needs to operate in different areas, which requires a variety of skills. Thus, the modern person is involved in sales daily; however, they have taken an indirect form and are about interaction and influence. The elasticity of skills forces people to go beyond the usual responsibilities to be successful because today it is impossible to fill only one role.

Pink also cites the field of education and healthcare as a prime example of the modern sales world. Workers in such areas use different methods for selling because people associate them with various virtues (Pink, 2012). A teacher or a doctor proposes a person to part with certain resources, convincing him or her that in exchange, he or she will receive something more valuable. Thus, educational and medical fields are non-selling sales since they do not provide any goods.

However, people exchange resources, including tangible and intangible, for education or health. A teacher or doctor uses not only their professional skills but also their ability to persuade, influence, and convince, as they need to convey the value of their work to clients. Thus, educational and medical fields are the main areas of the modern economy, as their primary goal is to move others to be successful.

Pink further describes three essential qualities in the modern changed environment. First of all, attunement involves the ability to harmonize one’s actions and outlook with other people, depending on the context. The author offers several techniques which can help develop this important ability to connect with different people.

The next necessary skill is buoyancy, which allows one to cope with unforeseen and challenging circumstances. Pink explains that it is necessary to constantly adapt to new conditions, and find ways to use the situation to our advantage. Finally, clarity refers to the ability to identify other people’s problems and help look at them from unexpected perspectives. Today, the skills required have changed in favor of finding information in vast amounts of data and the ability to ask questions, which are key to modern salespeople.

In his book, Pink presented an unexpected perspective on the modern economy and life in general. He emphasizes that all people are involved in sales, as they constantly need to persuade, influence, and convince others. A key concept for modern professionals in achieving success is moving, which includes constant interaction as the basis of a business. Workers need to develop skills elasticity, as the range of duties performed is constantly expanding. It also includes three completely new skills which were not previously relevant to salespeople. Thus, the world has changed significantly, offering a new environment in which sales are the daily norm for all people.

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Pink, D. H. (2012). To sell is human: The surprising truth about moving others. Riverhead Books.

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