Summary of Daniel Pink’s Masterclass on Sales and Persuasion

Masterclass Notes
10 min readFeb 18, 2022

22 key takeaways from the NYT-bestselling author and former presidential speech writer

masterclass.com
  1. Sales is about service not sleez. For most of history, there was an information asymmetry. Some sales people took advantage of that and used the customer’s lack of information to dupe them. Nowadays however, buyers can easily do their own research online, compare options, read reviews, and use all of that information to their advantage in sales negotiations. The situation has reversed in that there is now information overload on the customer’s end. Hence, the modern salesperson can provide value by helping the customer make use of all the info they have, and to make the best decision for themselves. The best way to persuade is to be a decent human being. Collaborate to make what may seem like a zero-sum game into a win-win situation.
  2. There’s an inverse relationship between feelings of power and perspective-taking. The ability to empathize and find common ground is essential in sales. And to do that, one must be willing to step out of themselves and see things through the other person’s eyes. People who have less power and status tend to be better at taking perspective, because their survival depends on their ability to do so in order to get the powerful to provide the resources they need. Power can distort the higher ups’ ability to take perspective, which is often what eventually causes their downfall. When we feel threatened, our natural instinct is to increase our feelings of power, but the reverse actually works better. When we humble ourselves, we gain greater perspective.
  3. Ask questions that inspire the other person to come up with their own reasons. For example, instead of yelling at a teenager to clean up their room, ask “on a scale of 1 to 10, where are you on cleaning your room?” If they answer 2, ask “why is it not 1?” This will throw them off, and get them to think about the few reasons why they do want to clean their room a bit, and that thinking could lead them to come up with even more reasons, and ultimately lead them to decide to clean their room on their own. If they answer 0, ask them “what can we do to get it to a 1?” This also gets the teenager to come up with their own reasons to do the work. This is also why when the facts are on your side, you should pitch with a…

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