Every once in a while a book comes along that is refreshing, groundbreaking and fun to read. Dan Pink's new book, "To Sell Is Human, the surprising truth about moving others", is one of those books. I highly recommend it to anyone who is not a hermit.
My dad was a chemistry professor at Willamette University. So I acquired a mild to blazing condescension to salespeople. Yet, Dad ignored the fact that his occupation consisted almost entirely of "selling" chemistry knowledge to often recalcitrant young students. His job was to move them towards an "A" in chemistry if at all possible. He enjoyed it immensely. And he was very good at it. But by god it wasn't sales.
So I'm sure there was some disappointment when I became an insurance agent. Since those were the good old days of cold calling, I had descended into the dregs of sales: dinner time telephone solicitation for insurance "x-dates". Believe it or not, I called out of the white pages, "Good evening Mr. _____, this is Gary Duell with Farmers Insurance. Would you be interested in comparing with us when your next insurance policy renewal comes up?" If on the off chance they were willing, I would collect as many details as possible on my X-date card and file it by date for future contact. I remember cheering and dancing around the "boiler" room when I got my first X-date. And went on to collect over 2000 of them. Hardly good use for an MBA.
Without revealing too much of Pink's excellent book, I can say that he turns the classical sales model on its head. ABC- always, be, closing, becomes ABC- attunement, boyancy & clarity. His research shows how sales actually is a very honorable profession, while some very honorable professions are actually sales. I highly recommend it!