Dan Pink, in his relevant book, To Sell Is Human, writes:
One of nine workers in the USA is in direct sales.The other 8 are “non-sales” sellers who use persuasion to move others to give up something they’ve got for something we’ve got. According to Gallup, 40% of our work time is used persuading, influencing, and convincing others to move.
They’re not paid to sell products or services. They’re trying to convince someone to move, to trade, to expend resources; to give time, attention, and energy to someone else. We’re humans living in a human world. Cooperation and consideration are necessary…to do our job, to live our life, to achieve our goals. We must give people what they need so we can get what we want. It’s a fair trade.
Getting people to consider your idea, getting them to take action—to change—is selling. For them to consider you, you must consider them first. You need to find out what they need, what they want. People sell to people, people buy from people. Sales is based on mutual trust and credibility.
If your title is salesperson or business owner; if you’re an engineer, lawyer or designer, people are buying into you…maybe. They’re buying into what you have to say…maybe. Maybe. If you want to convince me to move—to give you my time, my attention, my energy, a chunk of my life—learn how to sell me.
We’re all in sales. You have not convinced me merely because I listen or because you’ve silenced me. Telling isn’t selling. You’ve convinced me when I follow you. That’s called a sale. But you knew that, didn’t you?