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To Sell is Human: The New ABC’s of Moving Others
Figure 1: Word cloud of 25 common adjectives when describing “sales” or “selling”
Today, the playing eld has shifted and the game for sales has changed. We are moving
from a world where the warning sign read “Buyer Beware” to one where it is “Seller Beware.” Information asymmetry has been replaced by information parity.
The ABC’s of effective selling have changed.
In the movie
Glengarry Glen Ross
, the old-school sales manager exhorts his real estate sales-men to never forget their ABC’s:
losing. In other words, don’t let up until the customer buys. This traditional sales philosophy is what led to the perception that sales people are “pushy” and would do anything to get a sale. In the last 20 years, there has been an explosion of research in behavioral science indicating three new ABC’s that are keys to selling in today’s environment:
In this age of information parity, it is imperative that a sales person takes on the perspective of the customer and sees the customer’s point of view. This relationship
building creates trust and condence.•
In reecting on the challenges of his job, one sales person lamented, “Every day I face an ocean of rejection.” The key, then, to selling eectively is developing skills of buoyancy to stay aoat. Humility is not a virtue often associated with sales, but questioning one’s abilities and analyzing failures can make a sales person more eective going forward. •
Power previously came from access to information. Now that everyone has access to information, the important skill of great sales people is curating it, distilling it, and choosing what is most important. Also, today great sales people don’t just solve customers’
problems; they nd problems that customers might not even know they had.
“In the old days you [sales people] had a comparative advantage of having access to information. Today, everyone has access to information.”
“The premium has shifted from the skill of problem solving to the skill of problem ﬁnding.”