More often than you may realize, you spend a big chunk of your day selling. Beyond selling products and services to customers, selling may include pitching your ideas to your bosses and coworkers…convincing your spouse, children and or other relatives and friends that your advice is sound…persuading a prospective employer to hire you…even coaxing a credit card issuer or phone company—or a grocery store cashier—to correct a mistake. One poll found that 40% of a typical employee’s work hours are spent in various forms of ‘non sales selling’ and the percentage outside of work may not be a lot lower.

And much of what we think we know about all these forms of ‘selling’ is wrong, according to recent research. Daniel Pink, best-selling author, goes on to describe six surprising ways to increase your odds of succeeding no matter what form of ‘selling’ you engage in …. This week I’ll share one that actually has worked for me both professionally and personally.

“Stress potential at least as much as accomplishments.” – Daniel H. Pink

Accomplishments are real and verifiable, while potential is subjective and uncertain. Logically, accomplishments should carry much greater weight with an audience. But, a 2012 study by researchers at Stanford University and Harvard Business School found that the opposite was true—people generally find potential more enticing than actual accomplishments. The researchers speculated that the inherent uncertainty surrounding someone’s or something’s potential will cause possible buyers to consider it more deeply. And when buyers think deeply about someone or something, they often begin to feel a connection and think of reasons why this relationship will work.

For example, during a conversation with an interested donor for our Early Intervention Chicago expansion, I used our success of the Early Intervention Wood Dale program as a springboard to illustrate our tremendous potential for future accomplishments in the city. “Yes, I lead the best non-profit program for children with hearing loss and their families in the suburbs. We have a very narrow focus; that of working specifically in the area of hearing loss and having expert therapists. We do one thing and one thing only-we teach children to listen and talk (and their families too). We bring expertise to the table—we will be able to offer services to the families of Chicago who otherwise do not have this opportunity.”

I am very pleased to say we have two very strong funders and are continuing to secure more!

– Dr. Michele
References: Pink, D. H. (2012). To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing and Influencing Others. New York City. Riverhead.
Pink, D. H. (2006). A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. New York City. Riverhead.