To pass from one place to another; to prompt, actuate or impel some action; to arouse or excite.
Remember the old Dire Straits tune Money for Nothing? Great video and worth a watch. And who could forget those lyrics?
We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour TV's
The song's about how most people perceive the life of a rock n' roll star to be a cakewalk. Meanwhile, most people have to make a "real" living. Regular folks, like you and me, have to pick things up...and we have to sell stuff. That's what the word "move" means in regards to refrigerators and colour TV's. To sell.
In about two weeks, Dan Pink's latest book, called To Sell is Human, will be released. And you have to read this book. I was fortunate enough to receive a preview copy and couldn't put it down. Dan sold me on his premise and now I'm trying to sell you. Or I should say "move." Because that's just it. Whether or not we have "sales" in our title or job description, we are all "movers" by necessity. In almost everything we do, we are asking people to exchange their attention, time, effort or money for something we have. We are trying to move when we ask a co-worker to sponsor a project...or encourage our kids to brush their teeth.
Since we're all in sales, does that mean we have to be like the cigar-smoking guy pictured in the Dire Straits clip, wear a plaid jacket or stretch the truth? No. In fact, the most effective way to sell, or move, is to embody some special traits Pink calls Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. The dreaded "closing the sale" becomes Pitch, Improvise and Serve. Dan pulls from research and personal interviews, as he did in A Whole New Mind and Drive, to create an updated framework for an art as old as time.
Intrigued by Dan's points, I pulled 10 books about sales down from my own bookshelf to compare approaches. One I paged through is a 1993 book by Hal Becker, called Can I Have 5 Minutes of Your Time. In 1976, at age 22, Hal was the Xerox Corporation's top salesperson - out of 11,000. Some of his observations were spooky in their similarity to what I had just read in To Sell is Human. Be enthusiastic, be ethical, be outgoing (extroverted) - but not too outgoing. Listen and have empathy. "Whatever your job or business...you are selling." The other books I browsed echoed these same principles. We are humans selling to humans. To the extent we can connect with them, understand their needs and help them find solutions to their challenges, we have a good chance of moving them.
I had no idea where the Hal Becker book had come from. Then, as I turned the last page, a letter fell out onto my desk. It was a letter from Hal, dated June 22, 1993. The letter was addressed to the CEO of my former company, a large public holding company. I then realized I must have picked the book up at our office when a stack of old books was left out for anyone to take. Hal had sent the letter to our CEO, along with the book, and no doubt followed up to inquire about the sales training his company then offered...and still does. I searched "Hal Becker" and was surprised to see his business address was in a neighboring town. I saw an email address, clicked on it, wrote Hal a note and asked if I could buy him a cup of coffee. 5 minutes later he emailed me back and suggested I reach out to him mid-January. Of course, following Mr. Becker's own advice and the coaching of countless other successful movers, I put a note in my calendar for January 15th to get back to Hal. And I will.
Everything I've been told is that you can learn to sell. Sure, there are a few natural tendencies, but you can become much more effective. The skill even applies to attracting the opposite sex, according to Hal Becker. And that reminds me of another song from around 1990, this one a bit racier, but still to our main point. So take action. Make things happen. Bust A Move.