Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We're All in Sales

Daniel Pink was the keynote speaker at this year's PMI Global Congress. I have blogged about him in the past (here and here). His presentation this time was based on his latest book, To Sell is Human.

As the title implies, a main theme of the book is that we're all doing sales of some sort, even if it isn't in our job title. I thought about the times I've been working with a new customer and trying to "sell" them on agile and why they should start using it to run their projects. He had six pointers to help us as sales people
  1. Extroverts aren't better than introverts at selling. It's really the people that are in the middle that are the best sellers. They balance talking and listening the best.
  2. Interrogative self-talk is the best way to prepare for something like an important meeting or presentation. Don't think "I can do this" ask yourself "Can I do this" and answer in a way to convince yourself.
  3. When we're trying to sell, compare it to something else. So compare agile to waterfall and explain why agile is better.
  4. Related to that, less options are better than more options. Pink told a story of an experiment selling jam. When there were over 20 types to sample, people sampled a lot but bought less than when there were only 6 types because is was easier to decide which ones they liked best.
  5. A minor negative attribute can help sell. So if you have these great shoes with a lot of desirable features, but they only come in 2 colors, this small negative will actually help you sell. You come across more open.
  6. Have more conversations about why than about how. 
I had a chance to chat with him briefly during a book signing. When I mentioned agile project management, he said he thought agile would become the only way to run projects. I haven't finished his book yet, but I still recommend it. I even used the technique in #2 to prepare for a big client presentation yesterday and the presentation went very well. 

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