Posts Tagged ‘Dan Pink’

Be more persuasive with three “buoyancy” principles

Bestselling author Dan Pink has dedicated his latest book to the study of how we move people in To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. You might ask why we’re recommending a book about sales to those of you in the social sector.

The answer?

Pink builds his argument for a “broad rethinking of sales as we know it.” You’ll see in his first-ever analysis of people’s activity at work: “We’re devoting upward of 40 percent of our time on the job to moving others. And we consider it critical to our professional success.”

He further shares that one in nine people are in traditional sales while the other eight are in “non-sales selling.” In other words, most of us are in the business of persuading, convincing and influencing others. When you put sales in Pink’s terms, we’re all in the business of moving others—especially those of us in the nonprofit sector.

Are you old school or new school?

In our first post about Pink’s book, we mentioned the broad variety of strategies at play in the nonprofit sector when executives are in the midst of convincing, persuading or influencing their boards, staffs and constituents. Some may be using old school techniques, and perhaps others draw on intuition. No matter what the convenient tactic at hand, a strong case can be made for formalizing our approach to moving others and understanding what motivates. It is, after all, the (nonprofit) business we’re in.

How do successful persuaders keep persuading?

Nonprofit leaders constantly find themselves asking how to move a donor to give, how to move a board member to lead, how to move the staff to act. Understanding today’s truths about Pink’s sales ideas such as Attunement, Clarity and Buoyancy is especially relevant due to the sector’s increased presence of competition and general misunderstanding of sales.

Three truths of moving others

We discussed Attunement in our first installment about Pink’s three truths for nonprofit leaders who want to move others. In today’s post, we’ll address a second truth called Buoyancy. Remember, these are qualities of successful people who move others. In the face of resistance or objections, nonprofit leaders who exhibit Attunement and Buoyancy are far more accomplished at convincing and influencing others. Here are three underpinnings of Buoyancy:

Buoyancy through interrogative self-talk

In sales as in fundraising, the rejections and constant effort can get you down. Pink asserts Buoyancy, the “B” in the new “ABC” of sales, must be part of your strategy here. Before a sale, interrogative self-talk is more helpful than positive self-talk. Instead of just telling yourself you can do it, the author encourages you to ask the question, “Can I sell this?” This question allows you to go through your plan, discover holes and realize where you are good specifically. This interrogation goes deeper to prepare you mentally for a negotiation.

Buoyancy through positive thinking

During a negotiation, he recommends a three to one positivity ratio. For every three positive thoughts, you will also think one negative one. Positive thinking, according to social science research by Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina, broadens your options and makes you more creative. Negative emotions usually decrease your vision and possibilities. Fredrickson and Hall discovered this three to one ratio to be ideal because you are not bogged down by negative thoughts but you are also realistic and think enough negative thoughts to improve your performance.

Buoyancy through explanatory style

During the ask, too, it is imperative to actually believe in your product. After a sale or lack thereof, your explanatory style is important. Pink draws on Martin Seligman’s research on “learned helplessness” here. If you can use optimism to see failures or negative occurrences as temporary vs. permanent, specific vs. pervasive, and external vs. personal, you will be more able to recover from setbacks.

Try these exercises to increase your buoyancy with fundraising, leading and persuading

Dan Pink includes exercises in his book to practice interrogative self-talk (forming questions), monitor your positivity ratio, tweak your explanatory style, enumerate and embrace your rejections in order to improve and motivate yourself, write rejection letters to yourself to prepare yourself for the worst consequence and think through your strategies, and allow yourself to go negative every so often in order to improve.

If you’re in the business of raising money, persuading others or leading your team, consider Pink’s three truths about moving others: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. All three qualities are consistent themes in the author’s extensive research. As nonprofit leaders, we have an exhaustive list of persuading to-do’s. Dan Pink has identified what characterizes the most successful movers. Try on some of his Buoyancy strategies and get moving.

See also:

Seeing Through the Eyes of A Donor

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Image credits: youngupstarts.com, slideshare.net, smallbusinesstalent.com

Leave a reply

Three ways to become more attune with your donors

Bestselling author Dan Pink is asking you to call it what it is.

More specifically, your work. If in your job you spend any time persuading, convincing and influencing others, you are in the business of moving others. Frankly, he explains, you’re selling. And if you’re selling, it’s important to recognize major developments over the years that have changed how the best people are moving others. Through a first-of-its-kind study and a collection of a broad spectrum of examples, Pink has thoughtfully made the case for rethinking sales. You will learn how to be, what to do and how to put all the pieces into play in his new book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.

There are a broad variety of strategies at play in the nonprofit sector when executives are in the midst of convincing, persuading or influencing their boards, staffs and constituents. Some may be using old school techniques, and perhaps others draw on intuition. No matter what the convenient tactic at hand, a strong case can be made for formalizing our approach to moving others and understanding what motivates. It is, after all, the business we’re in.

Three truths about moving others today

Nonprofit leaders constantly find themselves asking how to move a donor to give, how to move a board member to lead, how to move the staff to act. Understanding today’s truths about Pink’s sales ideas such as Attunement, Clarity and Buoyancy is especially relevant due to the sector’s increased presence of competition and general misunderstanding of sales.

Attunement

For example, Attunement honors the knowledge and goals of the buyer, jettisoning the old sales adage, “ABC” or “Always be closing.” Pink begins the new “ABC” with the first word, Attunement, or “the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in. Think of it as operating the dial on a radio. It’s the capacity to move up and down the band as circumstances demand, locking in on what’s being transmitted, even if those signals aren’t immediately clear or obvious.” He also calls this “perspective-taking.”

Pink describes three ways to become more attune with your buyer/client/funder:

Increase your power by reducing it. Through several social science studies Pink relates, it was found that people who perceived greater power became less attune with others’ points of views. And the inverse is true of those who perceive less power. Because a salesperson no longer holds all the information and therefore, the power, s/he must rely on taking the other’s perspective and giving up power in order to move someone.

Use your head as much as your heart. Perspective-taking is not the same as empathy. Pink describes perspective-taking as a cognitive action where you imagine what someone else is thinking. Empathy means you feel for the other or try to imagine what another person is feeling. Empathy can cause you to toss aside your own interests, as you may feel too deeply, whereas perspective-taking can help both sides achieve their goals. Therefore, perspective-taking with a cognitive focus on people, their relationships and context is more effective to move people.

Mimic strategically. Pink stresses that mimicking your buyer can help you negotiate better. Mimicry builds connections, trust and understanding. However, it must be treated with care so it is not obvious. Otherwise, it can backfire. Pink also discusses how touching (e.g., on the arm) can help build connections and foster negotiations.

Pink’s choice for nonprofits

In addition to attunement, Pink explores many other essential principles surrounding the notion of moving others. We asked him which one he felt was most appropriate for nonprofits for our Page to Practice summary and have excerpted here.

CausePlanet: Nonprofit leaders constantly find themselves convincing or persuading others to support their causes. Is there a principle from your book that you feel stands out as especially appropriate for nonprofit executives to apply?

Dan Pink: Make it personal. There’s an array of research showing that abstract and conceptual appeals (“Increase vaccination rates”) are far less effective than specific and concrete ones (“Vaccinate this child or she risks dying of malaria”). And the principle goes well beyond fundraising. There’s some great research from Israel, for instance, showing that radiologists who see both a scan and a photo of the patient whose scan it is spend more time and are more accurate in their evaluations. The same is largely true for leadership. When leaders put themselves on the line and when others see they’re real people, their leadership effectiveness rises substantially.

For those of you who find yourselves in the business of moving others (and Pink argues virtually everyone is in this business), consider how attune you are with your prospects and then ask yourself how you can make your appeals personal. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks as we discuss Pink’s observations about clarity, buoyancy and other interview questions we had for him.

See also:

The Influential Fundraiser

It’s Not Just Who You Know

Yours for the Asking

 

Leave a reply

Welcome! Please provide your log-in information below.
Forget your password?
Enter your email or user name and your log-in information will be sent to the email on file.