Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) is the author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, which uses social science, survey research, and stories to offer a fresh look at the art and science of sales. [Note: this is a rebroadcast from the vault. If you’d like to hear a more recent conversation with Daniel, make sure to check out episode 63: Daniel Pink | When Is the Best Time to Get Things Done?]
What We Discuss with Daniel Pink:
- What’s the best way of dealing with an “off” day?
- Learn why sales and a sales skillset are a part of our lives — whether we like it or not.
- Understand the concepts of irritation versus agitation (and how to use both to motivate others).
- Attunement: what it is and how it can make you more persuasive.
- Tips for both introverts and extroverts to improve a social skillset and build better rapport.
- And so much more…
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You probably already have an idea of what you think a salesperson is — and it may not be flattering. But whether you like it or not, understanding the techniques that serve an effective salesperson will make you more persuasive. You might say you hate sales — just like people say they hate networking. But if you’re ignoring it, you’re either being willfully ignorant and oblivious to the secret game being played around you (and therefore losing it), or you’re just saying “I’m not a salesperson” and cutting yourself off at the knees.
On this episode, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others author Daniel Pink joins us to talk about how we can utilize the same dynamics used for sales to have an impact on how we influence others (and be aware of how these techniques are used to influence us).
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about irritation (challenging people to do something they don’t want to do) versus agitation (challenging people to do something they actually want to do), how attunement gets us in touch with someone else’s wants and needs by seeing things from their perspective, why power can degrade our perspective-taking abilities (and how we can dial it down to be more effective and prompt better engagement), how to navigate by social cartography, and lots more. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [Note: this is a rebroadcast from the vault. If you’d like to hear a more recent conversation with Daniel, make sure to check out episode 63: Daniel Pink | When Is the Best Time to Get Things Done?]
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss our conversation with vertical skateboarding legend Tony Hawk? Catch up with episode 324: Tony Hawk | How Did I Get Here? here!
The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman gives you insights into the mind, brain, behavior, and creativity. Check it out here or wherever you listen to fine podcasts!
Thanks, Daniel Pink!
If you enjoyed this session with Daniel Pink, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
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Resources from This Episode:
- To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink | Amazon
- The Pinkcast
- Daniel Pink | When Is the Best Time to Get Things Done? | Jordan Harbinger
- Other Books by Daniel Pink | Amazon
- Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation | TEDGlobal 2009
- Daniel Pink | Website
- Daniel Pink | Facebook
- Daniel Pink | Twitter
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini | Amazon
Daniel Pink | To Sell Is Human (Episode 522)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Daniel Pink: One of the areas where technical salespeople go arrive is they always use their own specialized jargon rather than the customer's language. And there's a lot of evidence of like mimicking people's language using their words is extraordinarily effective. If the customer says, "I want a roast beef sandwich with three pickles on the side and Diet Pepsi." You would say, "Okay, you want a roast beef sandwich with three pickles on the side and a Diet Pepsi." Repeat their words back word for word. But when you look at the dependent variable of tips, the second group, the group that repeated the order back word for work earned 70, 7-0 percent higher tips.
[00:00:43] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional former cult member, drug trafficker, or extreme athlete. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:08] If you're new to the show or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about it, we've got episode starter packs. Those are collections of top episodes organized by popular topics to help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to take a look at those or to help somebody else who's new at the show gets started with us. Of course, I always appreciate that.
[00:01:29] Now, today, we're talking with my friend, Dan Pink, author of multiple best-selling books, including To Sell is Human. This is one from the vault. You should listen to this show because we're going to talk about why sales and a sales skill set are part of our lives, whether we're a salesman, whether we like it or not. The concept of irritation versus agitation. In other words, the carrot, the stick, and how to use both to motivate others, a process called attunement and how it could make you more persuasive, and last but not least tips for both introverts and extroverts to improve their social skill set and build better rapport. This is a great episode, lots in here. Enjoy this one with Daniel Pink.
[00:02:04] And by the way, if you're wondering how I managed to wrangle up all these amazing guests for the show, it's because of my network. I'm teaching you how to build your network, whether it's in the office, at home, for leisure, business, whatever it is that you want to do to develop business or personal relationships, check out our course, it's free. jordanharbinger.com/course is where you'll find it. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course. They contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. Now, here's Dan Pink.
[00:02:35] So Dan, we started the show in an interesting way that you asked me how I was doing. And I actually told you, honestly, having a little bit of an off day, kind of weird, don't really know how to shake these things when it happens. What do you do when you have an off day? When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, how do you handle that?
[00:02:50] Daniel Pink: You know, I have to say that happens to me quite a bit. And my strategies such as it is, is not to indulge myself and just get to work. So rather than sit and think about it, rather than wonder why am I, what's off today. What's going on? Did I sleep the wrong way? Did I drink too much? What happened? I think the best solution is just to get to work. And I find there's something about, with many things, simply the momentum of getting to work that can cure a lot of ills.
[00:03:17] Jordan Harbinger: So just getting right back on your usual track.
[00:03:20] Daniel Pink: Yeah. It reminds me of this great line from Julius Erving, the Dr. J of the basketball, the hall of fame, NBA, and ABA player. And he said once, he was interviewed by David Halberstam, the late great journalist, and Erving said — I'm paraphrasing — but he said, "Being a professional is doing what you love to do. Even on the days you don't feel like doing it."
[00:03:41] Jordan Harbinger: And so that's where you're at with it. You're like, "Look, this is just about toughing it out."
[00:03:45]Daniel Pink: Dr. J has written my prescription for this ill.
[00:03:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. Nice. It sounds like you worked through it and you just get as quickly back onto your routine as possible from the sound of it.
[00:03:55] Daniel Pink: And sometimes you don't get back on the routine. Sometimes you just have a crappy day, but to me, it's a matter of not indulging. This is really important to me, Jordan, because as you and I are talking, you know, I'm working on a book right now, I'm writing a book, and that's just excruciating. And if I sat around complaining all the time about it, I would never get anything done. So I think that Seth Godin has written about this, Steven Pressfield has written about this. I think that what makes it professional is that he or she shows up and that's the blunt force method that I've used for myself.
[00:04:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think it makes a lot of sense that you have to get back to your routine as much as possible. And sometimes you're right. Yeah, being a professional. You just have to know how not to indulge. Today, though, I'll admit I indulged. I was like, I've got optional stuff. I'm going to just not do it. And I curled up in a ball and took a nap, which I never do, which makes me think like, "Uh-oh, am I getting sick?" But that's interesting because when you indulge, you start going down this negative thought process, and I'm not saying you're going to make yourself sick with it, but it's really easy to waking up on the wrong side of the bed, snowball into woe is me and having a terrible day. When really you could just kind of suck it up if you really focused on sucking it up, even for just 10, 15 minutes and got to work and got back in the groove.
[00:05:06] Daniel Pink: Yeah. And I have to say, you know, naps are not the worst thing in the world. In fact, believe it or not, just strangely enough, I've been doing a little bit of research on that for this something that I'm writing. And so this is pretty good evidence that naps can be quite useful for you.
[00:05:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love a nap. I'm not practiced with it, but maybe that's a skill for another day.
[00:05:24] Daniel Pink: It is. Yeah. You got to do it right. There's naps and there's naps. The problem at least in my reading of the research that people have, that I've had myself, because I've never been a napper. I hated naps. You got to keep them pretty short. You got to keep them pretty short. Once you go past 25 minutes or so of napping, you're so deeply asleep.
[00:05:42] Jordan Harbinger: You just went back to bed at that point.
[00:05:43] Daniel Pink: Yeah. And so when you wake up, you're spending, like it doesn't save you any time. It doesn't refresh you as much because you're spending another 15, 20 minutes trying to get back to your baseline level of awakeness.
[00:05:55] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. I didn't know. So there's a penalty to taking too long of a nap. You have to be disciplined even while you're asleep, man. This is BS.
[00:06:03] Daniel Pink: No, no.
[00:06:03] Jordan Harbinger: It sucks.
[00:06:04] Daniel Pink: No, no, no. This is smart. I wish we were doing a TV thing because I could draw a chart for you to show this. So by the length of naps and how long it takes to recover this actually. No joke. It happens to be a friend of mine because I was just reading this research, but there's some pretty good evidence of that. And what I do on the off chance, it's useful for your readers as I've been experimenting with it, myself. What I do is I set my phone alarm to a countdown for 25 minutes and then I lie down and then I just get up when the 25 minutes buzzer goes off. So if it takes me five or 10 minutes to fall asleep, That means I can nap for 15 or 20 minutes. And that's really the sweet spot in terms of giving you the refresh without giving you that kind of alertness deficit that you sometimes have to crawl out of when you nap for too long.
[00:06:47] Jordan Harbinger: Good to know. And I think it's funny because I'm afraid to take naps and I think a lot of people do it wrong, but now we got a nap game plan and that's a game plan I can get behind.
[00:06:57] Daniel Pink: Yes, indeed. We have our nap game plan. So we're all set. All your listeners now are going to click off and take a 25-minute nap.
[00:07:03] Jordan Harbinger: I know, right? Like don't do it during the show and don't do it while driving.
[00:07:07] Daniel Pink: Yeah.
[00:07:07] Jordan Harbinger: One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you today is because I've heard a lot of good things about you through mutual friends. And usually when a book is talked about as positively as yours has been, especially To Sell is Human, there's a threshold at which I become suspicious of how good it actually is because when books are relatively unknown, that could go either way. When they're talked about a little bit, I think, "Oh, there must be something to this," but when it's talked about a lot, it has the opposite effect on me. Just probably because we're around marketers and things like that a lot where I thought, "Okay, what's really happening here? Is this guy just a master marketer? Or is this book that good?" And not to blow sunshine where there isn't any, but I've read To Sell as Human for the first time recently. I'm surprised I haven't read it before. Probably just wanted to be the one guy who hadn't. I love it. And I don't like—
[00:07:51] Daniel Pink: Hey, thanks.
[00:07:52] Jordan Harbinger: —a lot of the stuff that I read, but I really, really liked the book because there's a lot of original stuff in here. That's not just, "Make sure you're following up with our prospects every day." I mean, you know, the basics you mentioned, you're writing another book. I got to ask you if it's so excruciating, how come you keep doing it?
[00:08:07] Daniel Pink: Yeah, that's a great question, Jordan. And I've actually wondered that myself and I don't have a very good answer, but the answer that I'm giving myself is that it's what I do. At some level is how I think about the world. If I talk to somebody and we start talking about a set of ideas, says, "Oh, you know what, that'd be an awesome book. In fact, the way to do it would be to be X, Y, and Z." And there are these moments though, it's often very excruciating, and there are these moments, at least in writing, for me, they're rare. I don't know that percentage, 3 percent of the time, where you have moments of transcendence that are unlike anything I've ever experienced, where you come up with a thought that you had no idea that you had, and that it turns out to be pretty amazing. Like you've learned something from yourself or you come up with a way to phrase something that is so original. It's like, "Holy crap! Did I just think of that?" And so I think it's those 3 percent moments of transcendence, at least for me, carrying me through the 97 percent moments of drudgery and pain.
[00:09:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So you think about the world in books, which it's kind of a painful way to see things, right? Because if you think about the world in pictures, you can get a camera, you can take a lot of shots and really mess with it. If you think about the world, even in oil pastels, you can create something brilliant in a few days or a few weeks. I'm not an artist. I have no idea how long that stuff takes. Watercolors, same deal, right.? A day or so, or even a few hours. If you think about the world and books, man, you're in trouble.
[00:09:40] Daniel Pink: Yeah. Yeah. At some level I'm a literary agent trapped in a writer's body.
[00:09:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:09:46] Daniel Pink: I love coming up with ideas for books, figuring out how to craft a book that no one has written before. You know, there are a lot of things that I'm curious about and I'm like, "Oh man, that would make a really good book. Like I've totally read a book about that." And to some extent, the books that I write, one reason that I write them is that I want to read them. And that's certainly true for it To Sell is Human. I've had a lot of experiences interviewing business people and spending time around companies and whatnot, and talking to people who were in sales. And I found that none of them were like stereotype of what I had in my head. What many of us have in our head about salespeople, they were released smart, really sharp.
[00:10:20] And then I realized, you know, also that so much of what I do as a business owner, as a writer, as a father even involves selling and persuading. And so I wanted to read a decent, good, smart book about sales and persuasion, except for, you know, Cialdini's Influence, which is a remarkable book. There aren't that many great books out there. So I decided at some level to write a book about sales for people who might never read a book about sales.
[00:10:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think this is an important realization because we're looking at fewer and fewer just to end the market in the world, fewer OG salesmen who are glad-handing and kind of, you know, following up and putting you through the assumption close or whatever the techniques are. There's fewer and fewer tactical salesmen and peddlers, but people, even in business, we're moving more towards individual contractors or entrepreneurs or who have to manage people or solopreneurs who work alone. We're kind of all in sales, whether we like it or not. And I think that's an important realization because a lot of people say, "I don't want to be in sales. I hate selling. I hate the profession of selling. I'm not in sales," and what I'm kind of hearing from you and what I saw in the book and what I've noticed just through my observation, since reading it is that you might say you hate sales, just like people say they hate networking, but if you're ignoring it, you're either being willfully ignorant and oblivious to the secret game, being played around you and thereby losing it. Or you're just saying I'm not a salesperson and just cutting yourself off at the knees.
[00:11:49] Daniel Pink: I have only one thing to say to that analysis is amen. I'm with you.
[00:11:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, he started to research the sales book and like you said, you noticed it even as a father and I assume you don't mean selling your children, but persuading them.
[00:12:05] Daniel Pink: Oh, man. I didn't think about that. That could have made things a lot easier.
[00:12:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yes. It could have, short-term anyway, but there's a trend, as you mentioned, towards micro-entrepreneurship. Tell us what that is. Prove to us that sales is everywhere and people don't just have to take my word for it.
[00:12:20] Daniel Pink: Well, I mean, it's embedded in your very question, you want me to sell you on the idea.
[00:12:24] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, touche, touche Dan Pink.
[00:12:26] Daniel Pink: Even the very act of what we're doing right now is that way, but there are other indicators of it. And some really, really interesting indicators in what people do for a living and the nature of work today. One of them, which you mentioned before, is this move toward people working as solopreneurs, as proprietors of very small businesses, as independent contractors, people in what's called poly-employment that is who are doing more than one thing, people with side gigs. And so if you are working for yourself, you're in sales. I've never gotten any pushback from somebody who was working for him or herself on this claim that they're not in sales.
[00:13:04] So if you're an itinerant graphic designer, you're selling your graphic design services all the time. You're not nearly cranking out the graphic designs. Part of what you do is selling. So you've got the rise of small entrepreneurs as one facet there. Another thing that's happening is, I think, it's pretty interesting is that even in other kinds of jobs, there's much less segmentation within a firm. I wrote about a couple of companies, software companies, one of them was doing in the billions of revenue and they don't have salespeople. Why is that? Because they consider everybody part of it. Like their engineers are their salesforce in the way that they've structured the business. So that's another reason why so much of us are in sales.
[00:13:43] And then the other thing, if you look at the US workforce, the biggest by far job growth in the US workforce has been in two sectors, education and healthcare. And those are professions all about selling. Teachers are selling students on the idea of learning, of learning on how to do a quadratic equation. Healthcare professionals, whether they're physical therapists, selling, "Hey, you got to do this exercise," or a physician saying, "You got to take this medicine." All those have this degree of sales without a cash register ringing embedded right in it.
[00:14:10] And so if you actually go to the guts of what people do every day, a remarkable portion of it is some form of selling. Sometimes you're selling a product or service. Other times you're basically asking someone, "Hey, you give something up. I give something up, we'll make a deal. And we'll both be better off," even though the cash register is not ringing, even though the sale is not denominated in dollars, but is denominated in effort or attention or commitment or deal.
[00:14:38] Jordan Harbinger: And we're doing this inside and outside our businesses. I think it's important to know, because I think people might be able to swallow the jagged pill of selling because they decided to start their own business or because they're in a sales role temporarily until they can get themselves out of it or something like that. But I think it's important to realize the greater point of the book, which is that you're in sales no matter what — you could be a stay-at-home dad or mom, you're in sales, period. Anytime you have to interact with anybody.
[00:15:08] Daniel Pink: Yes. And as you said, Jordan, at the beginning, a lot of us don't like that. A lot of us kind of recoil at that. We can talk about why that is. If you think about just anybody who's listening to your show is an individual contributor at a company. All right. You know, you are going to a meeting and you're pitching an idea; you're selling. Maybe one time, you're going to ask for a raise; you're selling. You're trying to convince your boss that you should do this product rather than that project; you're selling. You're trying to convince a colleague to come over on your team rather than another team; you're selling. I mean, over and over and over. And I think that it's really important to talk about why people have this visceral response to selling. And I think it has to do with information.
[00:15:48] Most of what we know about sales of anything has come from a world of information, asymmetry, where the seller always has more information than the buyer. When the seller has more information than the buyer, the seller can rip you off. But from basically the very beginning of commerce, the first time there was any kind of commerce among human beings, whether it's some guy selling a goat in exchange for shells, the seller always had an information advantage. Almost everything we know about commerce from the history of human civilization has been a situation in which the seller had a lot more information than the buyer. This is why people think that selling is sleazy because they've been buyers in a world of information asymmetry, but what's happened in the last 10 years is that things have sort of flipped.
[00:16:29] Many, many markets are no longer information asymmetry, but are more or less an information paradigm. And that's a very, very different world. And when buyers and sellers are evenly matched on information, the seller cannot take the low road. The seller will be found out, forget about the moral side of it for a moment, it's a bad strategy.
[00:16:47] Jordan Harbinger: So this has changed the game because now if you're telling me something, I can look on my phone in the middle of the conversation with you and find out whether or not this is the lowest price we've ever offered. Or this is—
[00:16:56] Daniel Pink: Exactly, precisely — I mean, I'll give you an example from my own life. If you think about car sales, quintessential American sales transaction. I live in Washington, DC. So not that long ago, my family and I bought a car. We're a one-car family, we lived in a suburban setting here. So we have one car. So about three years ago, we bought a car. Think about buying a car three years ago or today versus say 20 years. 20 years ago if I went into a car dealer, the car dealer would know a lot more about cars, a lot more about that make and model than I ever could, right? This is why we have the principle of buyer beware. Huge information advantage for, let's say, the Toyota dealer in Rockville, Maryland who's selling me a car in 1996.
[00:17:41] Today, I go into that Prius dealer, Toyota dealer. I know what every dealer in Washington is charging for a Toyota Prius. We had a trade-in and the guy offered. It was ridiculous. I said, "So what will you give me for the trade-in?" And he does this elaborate little dance where he goes in the back, "I've got to check something." Then it comes on and he writes the number on a piece of paper. And it kind of swirls it at me in this sort of grand eloquent way. And I'm like, "What?" And I get on my phone. "No, this is the price of a trade-in for this particular car that I'm trading in." I showed it to him on my phone.
[00:18:12] So we've gone from this world where buyers have not much information, not many choices, no way to talk back to a world where they got lots of information, lots of choices, and all kinds of ways to talk back. That's a fundamentally different world.
[00:18:25] Jordan Harbinger: This is a great insight because we're looking at — the tactics are now completely destroyed. This is like trench warfare versus after airplanes, right? This is just, "You can't come at us with that stuff anymore because we will just go right over you."
[00:18:40] Daniel Pink: That's a good analogy. I like that. I mean, that's exactly what it is. It's a more antiseptic way that I was about to say it. Like yours is better is, to say it's not a difference in degree, it's a difference in kind, all right. It's not like, oh, this is a different kind of trench warfare. No, it's a different kind of warfare. Period.
[00:18:59] Jordan Harbinger: And it makes all the other tactics irrelevant and obsolete, right? And you can't come at us with that stuff because — I mean, I can imagine him going, "Hold on. I have to ask my manager." And it's like, "Well, you go ahead, but I'm not going to sit out here in the suspense that you think you're creating, because if your manager says, no, I'm literally going to show you the same screen and I'm going to show him the same screen. And if you still say, no, I'm just going to go anywhere else and show them the screen until I get what I want, because this is what it actually is."
[00:19:26] Daniel Pink: Right, I'm going to go to one of the other 18 dealers in the Washington metropolitan area that are selling a Toyota Prius for basically this price.
[00:19:34] Jordan Harbinger: And recent you for trying to pull the wool over my eyes and definitely never do business with you, even if you do offer me that price, because now you're jerking me around.
[00:19:42] Daniel Pink: Jordan, I'll see you and raise you on that because in this particular sales transaction, I won't go into all the details, not that interesting, but we ended up having a point of sale with just a horrible, horrible experience and really bad. And I was so ticked off. I tweeted about it. And I got a call the next day from the dealership, the head of the dealership, apologizing, "what can we do to make it right?" It's not only like if you mistreat somebody, they lose you as a customer. With Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and all these other kinds of networks, people can broadcast the unfair treatment. And so mistreating me is not losing one customer, it's threatening to lose, you know, 10 or 15 or 20 or 30.
[00:20:22] Jordan Harbinger: Now, you're not just pushing your luck with one person. You're pushing your luck with that person and everybody that they influence, which had they Googled you, they definitely would have given you the price on your stupid phone. Right? Like, "It's not worth it. Give him the price. Give him the Prius.
[00:20:37] Daniel Pink: Yeah. It doesn't even matter who it is. Like anybody who comes in there and says, "Hello, this is the price." I mean, come on. It's like, it's sort of archaic about why we're even haggling over something like this in the first place when there's so much transparency for that kind of product. It's not some kind of specialized B-to-B solution where someone is coming to a business and installing, say a computer system and a knowledge management system that has to be tailored and customized. It's a freaking Pruis, right?
[00:21:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:21:08] Daniel Pink: It has four wheels and it has some seats, a steering wheel, it comes in a finite set of colors. Okay, this is kind of a commodity product here, guys.
[00:21:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Even if you're not quote-unquote in sales. If ever your competitive advantage is, "Well, other people probably don't know any better." So that's a bad, competitive advantage that is temporary at best and very tenuous. Right? If you're selling things because people can't find out that there's a better price, if your services that you provide for your own employer, or if you're a solopreneur, or if you work for another company, if you're a competitive advantages, nobody knows there are better alternatives out there, you are trouble,
[00:21:46] Daniel Pink: You're in big trouble.
[00:21:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:48] Daniel Pink: You might have an okay today, but you're going to have a series of painful tomorrows.
[00:21:54] Jordan Harbinger: This should be something that is the Canary in the coal mine, where you just go, "I've got to start working on my ability outside this," because it's only a matter of time. It's literally only a matter of time because information over time is getting easier to access unless you work for somebody who's completely ignorant and isn't willing to do the work. And that's where you're stuck.
[00:22:13] Daniel Pink: You know information asymmetry, believe me, has not completely disappeared, but it's moved more quickly and more powerfully to something close to information parody than most people ever expected. And you also have this, I think in general, this is not all positive in terms of our social lives and our moral lives and our political lives, but there's this greater and greater transparency in everything. And there's fewer places to hide, to hide for yourself, to hide information.
[00:22:44] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dan Pink. We'll be right back.
[00:22:48] This episode is sponsored in part by BiOptimizers. Now, you all have maybe heard me talk about this on air before, but we are expecting baby number two, and same as her first pregnancy. Jen's been struggling with leg cramps and insomnia, but she noticed a big difference on the days where she takes magnesium. Magnesium Breakthrough by BiOptimizers is an organic full spectrum magnesium supplement. That includes seven unique forms of magnesium, and there's a lot of great reviews online. Don't just run to the store to buy the first magnesium supplement. You can find most magnesium supplements, they use these two cheap synthetic forums. They're not full spectrum. They're not going to necessarily fix the magnesium deficiency or help you sleep better. There's seven unique forms of magnesium. You've got to get all of them, apparently, if you want to experience the calming sleep enhancing effects, or just get rid of pregnancy leg cramps. And that's why we're recommending Magnesium Breakthrough by BiOptimizers. Two capsules before you go to bed, see how much more rested you feel when you wake up less leg crampy.
[00:23:43] Jen Harbinger: For an exclusive offer for our listeners, go to magbreakthrough.com/jordan and use Jordan10 during checkout to save time 10 percent.
[00:23:50] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. There are some creative names for therapy, Hocus Pocus, mental brainwashing, head shrinking. Unfortunately, the realm of therapy or counseling still remains quite mysterious to a lot of people, maybe a little bit stigmatized. What really happens in the room? If I go to a therapist, does that mean? I'm crazy. Am I weak? Am I some kind of failure? What will other people think? What if I'm seen coming out of that kind of office? Unfortunately, as a result, many people decide not to pursue counseling despite experiencing significant emotional, physical, mental distress. So let's be clear. Most people who initiate counseling, they don't have a serious mental illness at all. They might have serious life challenges or they're going through difficult life cycle transitions that might be taxing them, our ability to cope, which is totally normal and totally fine to admit. And this stuff can affect your ability to function as well as you would like. Things can be work-related, financial, family, health, whatever it is. I recommend Better Help. You want to dip your toes in the therapy waters. It's so easy. They'll assess your needs, match you with a licensed professional. Text, chat, video. You don't have to go to the office. You don't have to park. You don't have to worry about sitting in the waiting room or walking out of the office and getting spotted by all of your friends who are just, of course, are just standing outside, ready to point fingers. It's all private, it's all confidential, and it's more affordable than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available.
[00:25:07] Jen Harbinger: Our listeners get 10 percent off your first month of online therapy at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:25:15] Jordan Harbinger: Now, back to Dan Pink on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:25:20] What I really liked about this book was not just that it changes the way that we look at selling and changes the way that we look at sales or whether or not sales is for us. But you have some really interesting social dynamics concepts in here, whether you consider them that or not such as irritation versus agitation. Can you speak to that? Because I like this. This seems to be very original or at least something I haven't seen before.
[00:25:43] Daniel Pink: I'm glad that you mentioned that because it actually underscores one of the other things that you were saying which is, that's a concept, that irritation, agitation in sales. That's a concept. It doesn't come from a salesperson. It comes from a teacher who was talking about that and it ends up being extremely relevant for that. So this guy, Larry Ferlazzo says, he talks about irritation. It's challenging people to do something that they don't want to do. This would be my son, like, taking out the garbage, right? He really doesn't want to do it.
[00:26:20] Agitation, this guy, Larry says, is challenging people to do something that they actually want to do. I think that's an interesting way to put it, and it goes to a lot of different pieces of research and social science about why people do things and how you get people to do things. I hate to use my son as an example again. But irritation is the only way to get him to take out the garbage, okay.
[00:26:41] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:26:41] Daniel Pink: You got to take out the garbage. That's irritation, okay? Agitation though, I can use agitation with suggesting that he go and practice whatever sport he's involved in that particular season. In fact, today, it was like I said, "Okay, hey, you haven't hit off a tee. When's the last time you hit off a tee? "Oh yeah, I got to do that." That's something that he wanted to do. And so if we think about it like, here we are moving people to do different things. And this guy, Larry Ferlazzo, a teacher, he says, you know, we got to think about most of what we want to do is agitate. And this is such an important concept in such a deep way.
[00:27:13] A few years ago, I wrote a book about the science of motivation. How do you motivate people? And one of the leaders in the field of human motivation, a guy at the University of Rochester named Ed Dici says, "We have to get past this idea that motivation is something that one person does to another and recognize that motivation is something that people do for themselves." And so what you want to try to do is change the context where people will do something because they want to do it rather than doing something because they're simply being forced to, by you. They're being bribed by you and they're simply complying with you. They will do that, but it's short-term. In the long-term, what you want to do is you want to agitate people, create the conditions in which they want to do things for themselves.
[00:27:58] Jordan Harbinger: So how do we create those conditions? What are some techniques or mindsets that we can use to help create those conditions?
[00:28:04] Daniel Pink: Well, there are a number of different things. I mean, you know, in the book I talk about, if we accept this idea that we're all in sales, no matter what we're doing, but sales isn't what it used to be because we're no longer in a world of information asymmetry. The next question is that is okay, what do you do about it? And there I look for answers in this wide rich array of social science, not in sales, per se, but in economics, behavioral economics, cognitive science, linguistics, social psychology. One of the principles that comes out is this idea of attunement, which is, can you get out of your own head and see things from someone else's point of view?
[00:28:37] And that ends up being, if there's one skill that I would like everybody to start working on is getting out of their own heads and trying to get into someone else's heads. And so there are all kinds of ways that you can do that. For instance, there's a big difference, say between persuading up and persuading down. So when you're persuading up, let's say, inside of a company, the most important thing you can do according to the research is not to attune yourself emotionally to the boss, but figuring out the boss's interests. What's in it for the boss? So part of it is when do you focus on interest? And when you focus on emotions? And when you're persuading up, say inside of company, you focus on interests. No question about it. For other kinds of things, maybe peer-to-peer or with your family, you want to focus on emotions.
[00:29:19] One of the things that I tried to do in the book is explore some of these great precepts of sales and see whether there's any scientific weight underneath that. So let's take somebody like mimicry. There are many people who have been taught, "Oh, what you should do is you should mimic the other person's gestures. You should mimic the way that they're standing. Okay. It sounds completely duplicitous, but there is a giant volume of research saying, "You know what? That's actually effective." That is when you stand away, someone else's standing, you actually do a better job of understanding where they're coming from.
[00:29:50] When we're talking about sales, particularly of more complicated things, more technical things, one of the areas where technical salespeople go arrive is, they always use their own specialized jargon rather than the customer's language. And there's a lot of evidence of like mimicking people's language using their words is extraordinarily effective. There's one great study of waiters from some European country. I can't remember, I think it might've been Holland where they had one set of waiters. Take the order as usual from customers. They had another set of waiters. Repeat the customer's order back word for word that as they were trained to mimic the customer. The customer says, "I want a roast beef sandwich with free pickles on the side and Diet Pepsi." You would say, "Okay, you want a roast beef sandwich with three pickles on the side of the Diet Pepsi." Repeat their words back word for word.
[00:30:38] Was there any difference in these two sets of waiters and waitresses? Well, it turned out the orders were accurate most of the time. There wasn't any difference in the accuracy of the orders, but when you look at the dependent variable of tips, the second group, the group that repeated the order back word for word earned 70, 7-0 percent higher tips. What I was trying to do here is say, you know, what works and what doesn't. And if we're persuading all the time, we're doing it in a remade landscape, how can we follow some evidence-based rules about what to do.
[00:31:08] Sorry, Jordan, to circle back to your original question, one of the most important things is how do you attune yourself to other people? How do you stop, think, listen, ask good questions? Say, "Where's this person coming from?" And then say, "Do I focus on their interests? Do I focus on their emotions?" Maybe I can get a better deeper understanding if I repeat their words.
[00:31:29] There are also some very interesting dynamics regarding power that is feeling powerful to distort your perspective, taking abilities. And so, but again, at the heart of all of it is attunement. Get out of your own head. See things from someone else's point of view.
[00:31:42] Jordan Harbinger: You know, it's funny, you mentioned the roast beef sandwich thing. I literally, I never eat like this, but I was in the city yesterday and I had a roast beef sandwich, two pickles not three on the side, and a Diet Pepsi. That's just a very strange coincidence.
[00:31:54] Daniel Pink: Yeah.
[00:31:55] Jordan Harbinger: But I definitely understand the idea of getting out of your own head. I mean, basically you're speculating on how other people might be perceiving you. You lose presence, you stop listening as effectively, and then you start overthinking weird stuff that you shouldn't be doing, like your nonverbal communication and things like that. That should kind of be on autopilot. And you end up with a very awkward interaction, which not only does that break any rapport that you had, but it's impossible to build more of that non-verbal rapport if you're constantly working on kind of freaking out essentially about how you're being perceived by others.
[00:32:27] I love the concept of a two minute, sounds like something we normally call calibration as well. And you did mention something else interesting that when we become powerful, we lose our ability to chameleon a little bit. Can you tell us about that? That seems important because it seems like our ability to get us to a leadership position could then end up being exactly the thing that makes us a bad leader or a poor salesman, so to speak.
[00:32:48] Daniel Pink: Yeah, you're exactly right. And I think that as you say, that many people who are listening can think of somebody who fits that description very well. There's some really interesting research showing basically this, I'm oversimplifying a tad but not too much, but there's an inverse relationship between feelings of power and perspective taking. That is the more powerful you feel, in general, the more your perspective taking abilities degrade. And it makes a lot of sense because if you're feeling powerful, there are all various kinds of experimental manipulations to make people feel powerful that social psychologists have used to test this proposition, but if you're feeling powerful, if you think, "Well, why should I take someone else's perspective. If they were as awesome as me, they would be the ones in power?"
[00:33:27] And feeling powerful can actually be very, very helpful sometimes. It can give people greater confidence in job interviews, in doing things that they're uncertain about. And so feeling powerful, isn't a bad thing inherently, but there is evidence that it degrades your perspective taking abilities. As you say, this is exactly where bosses go awry. If you look at why people leave jobs, they usually leave jobs because of a bad boss. And I think the biggest flaw of many bad bosses is that they don't take their employees' perspective enough. They don't consider things from the employee's point of view.
[00:34:01] And so what you have to do is a leader persuader. Persuader leader is you have to think of your power as almost a dial. I think people do think of power as a dial, but they think it only goes up. There's actually sometimes where you want to dial down your feelings of power and that will increase the acuity of your perspective taking. That is feeling less powerful can make you more effective. It's a little bit of a paradox for a lot of people who associate this direct linear relationship between power and effectiveness, but actually reducing your feelings of power can enhance your perspective taking abilities, which in turn can make you a more effective leader.
[00:34:35] Jordan Harbinger: So how do we reduce our feelings of power? Because it would be pretty hard to do that. If I'm the CEO—
[00:34:40] Daniel Pink: Okay, so let's say this would never happen in real life, but we can create this fantasyland for a podcast. So let's say I'm your boss. I'm your boss, we're in a company X and I'm your boss and I want you to do something and you think it's not a great idea. I mean, it's not illegal or immoral. It's not going to hurt anybody, but that's kind of a waste of time. Are you still going to do it?
[00:35:00] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. I would have to just because it's my boss, you know? I'll do it.
[00:35:04] Daniel Pink: Right. Exactly. Okay. So even looking at the tone of your voice here, "Yeah. Okay. I got to have it," right? So I think that, "Oh, wow, okay, here I am being persuasive." All right. Now, let's say that maybe there's a better way for me to do this. So I could go into you as a typical boss. Like, "Jordan, we need you to do this thing," and you might say, "Ah, okay, I'm not sure why?" "Yeah, come on, come on. Just do it. We've got to do it." Okay, that's typically how many bosses would do that. But what I can do to be more effective is this. If I tell you to do something and you resist, this is not true in all cases, but in some cases, if I tell you to do something and you resist. In that resistance is information I can use. "Well, wait a second. He's resisting. If I continue to dial up my power and force him to comply, he's probably not going to do it in as great of a way."
[00:35:49] So what I can do instead is this. I see you resist. I say, "I'll tell you what, you know what? Let's talk about this later this afternoon." I come back and before I go into the conversation, I basically, before I just think about things a little bit differently. So you know what, Jordan's really good, in order for me to accomplish my objectives as a boss, I need him not to go out about this in this half-ass way, but I need him to really be all in on this.
[00:36:11] Jordan Harbinger: Right. You need buy-in.
[00:36:13] Daniel Pink: Yeah, I really need him to want to do this. Like, he needs to really do a good job on this because that's important to me. You know what? At some level actually, you know, Jordan's really good at maybe he needs us in this very tight labor market a lot less than we need him. And so what I'm doing there is I'm kind of thinking about the power dial. I'm just clicking it two clicks to the left. Even though I'm nominally powerful. I have a higher position on the org chart. You report to me, I make more money. I can fire you. Maybe in this particular situation. If I reassess it, I'm less powerful than I think. And so if I dial down my feelings of power in that moment, okay, I'm not like giving back my salary. I'm not resigning. I'm not saying, "Hey, you and I are going to be equals side-by-side forever." All I'm doing in that moment is recalibrating my own, in an accurate way, my own notions of how powerful I am. I can become more, remember, inverse relationships. I dial down my power. In general, I increased the sharpness of my perspective taking.
[00:37:09] And so I can say, "Hmmm, why is he resisting?" I can maybe ask you some questions about that. Maybe there's an obstacle in the way, and I'm the boss. I can kick that obstacle out of the way. Maybe if I really break a sweat, I can say, "Hmm, what's in it for Jordan to do this thing differently or do this thing in a different way. And so it's small things like that. Small kinds of recalibrations based on this and some really good evidence of this and social science can help us be a little bit more effective in those kinds of encounters.
[00:37:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. This seems like a really tricky task because once you're at boss level, it's not that pleasant to go back and think, "Oh, I've got to take into account what everybody else — what their motivations are. I'm in charge here. Why do I need to do that? It's frustrating."
[00:37:49] Daniel Pink: It's frustrating. I mean, but it's also the reality. You see this with CEOs, CEOs of publicly held companies. These are figures who we think can touch like bolts of lightning in their hand. And even they will talk about how difficult it is to get people to do stuff, to get buy-in, to get people to move beyond compliance. The people will comply. That's the thing. If you have a power differential, you will get compliance from people because of that power differential, but in business, in any realm of life, if you're a leader of your boss, you want compliant workers, or do you want to engage people working for you? And the way you get engagement is not through coercion and control, it's through these other kinds of mechanisms.
[00:38:32] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. And sometimes it can be kind of tough to think, "I've got to reinvest in persuasion and a quote-unquote, sales skill set. I already got promoted. I don't need to do that anymore," but that's part of leading.
[00:38:43] Daniel Pink: I would argue, I don't have data to support this, but as you make an interesting point. My hunch is that as one rises in the organization, the percentage of work that involves persuasion and selling increases that as you move from say an individual contributor, probably doing something technical, and as you rise in the ranks, portion of your time and brainpower spend on sales and persuasion will rise with it. I mean, if you think about a public company CEO, what does he, or she actually do all day?
[00:39:12] Jordan Harbinger: Good question.
[00:39:13] Daniel Pink: They're not like, oh, writing code all day. What are they doing? If you look at somebody like Jeff Immelt of GE. I mean, GE is essentially like a nation state, right? In its size and its breadth. He's essentially a head of state. He has in some ways a diplomatic role. If you're a diplomat, you persuade all the time. He's going to talk to customers. He's going to talk to employees. He's going to talk to his board. I mean, his job, the job of a public company, CEO has got to be, you know, 90 percent persuasion.
[00:39:44] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Essentially, internal sales, right? You're selling down the chain.
[00:39:48] Daniel Pink: Multi-directional, multi-directional, because you know, you're going in front of customers to persuade them. You're going in front of investors to try to persuade them. You're going in front of your board to try to persuade them. You're going in front of your employees to try to persuade them. You're going in front of your senior management team to try to persuade them. That CEO job isn't like me. It's like, "Oh, I got to come to my office and write for three hours by myself." I mean, it's all persuasion all the time.
[00:40:13] Jordan Harbinger: One of the elements that plugs into this skill set, into the ability to chameleon is something you call social cartography, which I love that term. Can you tell us what you mean by that and how it works?
[00:40:23] Daniel Pink: Yeah, it's a way to attune one's self to groups. I like writing about work and studying work because it's sort of like being an anthropologist in a way. And this is sort of anthropology for the workplace. You want to know, like who's making decisions? Who do people care about? Who do people respect? So let's say you go into a meeting. And you're maybe an outsider or you could be in the company as well or you're new to the company, whatever. And what you can do is you basically put everybody's initials kind of in a little map of where they're sitting and then think about how often people talk and who do they talk to. So every time somebody talks, maybe draw a line, and if they talk to a particular person, draw a line with an arrow to that person.
[00:41:02] Then what you'll see if you do this in the course of a meeting, is that you'll have this kind of what seems to be this jumble of lines. And you'll see who's talking a lot, who's not talking a lot, but also importantly, you'll see who are they talking to. And that can give you a very quick and dirty map of the power dynamics of a particular individual. And when you get into like B2B sales, one of the keys is always who's the decision maker, and this is a really a makeshift way to figure out who has influence in this organization, who has influence within the social group and who might be the decision maker.
[00:41:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, this is interesting. So to be clear here, you're talking about keeping track of who people are talking to because that person, not the person who's talking the most, but the person who's being talked to the most has the most influence in that situation.
[00:41:48] Daniel Pink: Well, you want to see who's talking the most because that can give you some clues but you want to compare it to who's being talked to. So if you have somebody who is doing a lot of talking, but no one is talking to him, that's probably someone with very little influence, not always, but that's someone with very little inputs. So, what you want to do is you just want to get a map when we're in a meeting, it's sort of like playing a sport.
[00:42:07] Let's say you're playing basketball and in the moment, in the heat of the moment, you're sort of aware of what's going on, but you're not fully aware of what's going on until you end up watching the tape later on. And so this is a way of essentially poor man's version of a video tape, sort of recording what went on in that meeting, forgetting about the content of it, looking at the social dynamics. It's modeled after something that you see in information sciences called social network theory, where you can actually do this in a very, very sophisticated way with say email.
[00:42:39] And so you can take a trove of email from an organization and look at the email patterns. Who's sending email? Where are they going? How they are being forwarded? And what you often find in social network analysis is there certain people inside of organizations who kind of knows, who are like really important in terms of getting information out, getting information disseminated, who become, in some ways the go-to people inside of organizations and that kind of map kind of cartographic view of things can reveal who's influential.
[00:43:09] And one of the things that comes out in social network theory often is that when you map these kinds of social relationships, who's going to who for advice, who's going to who for information, the people who are the knows, who everybody is going through are often not the top people in the organization. They are people who end up playing a central roles, but they don't have necessarily the formal title that signifies that they're in a central role.
[00:43:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's interesting. I love the fact that people are doing this with email. It makes perfect sense. The things that we teach our live program involve, of course, doing this in live social situations in person, but it makes sense that you can do that with actual hard data.
[00:43:47] Daniel Pink: Exactly. That's exactly right. So basically this technique of social cartography, which is similar to, I guess, what you guys do, is kind of a lightweight quick and dirty version of this, actually what ends up being a very sophisticated research technique.
[00:43:59] Jordan Harbinger: One thing I noticed that I thought was especially relieving, I think for a lot of people, myself included, is that extroverts are not necessarily better at sales because I think a lot of folks think, "Well, look, I'm too introverted to be a sales person," or, "You know, I'm not one of those gregarious, outgoing people. So this is going to be harder for me. I'm not naturally talented at it." And you debunk this.
[00:44:22] Daniel Pink: Yeah, well, I mean, I debunked it because there's research out there. Research done by a guy named Adam Grant, a really lovely piece of research, where he looked at very large Salesforce, measured the introversion and extroversion levels of the Salesforce. I mean, they're well-established instruments for measuring introversion and extroversion. So we measured the introversion and extroversion levels of this very large Salesforce. And they went out and they were selling software, B2B. They went out and sold software for a certain amount of time. And they saw how much each person sold.
[00:44:48] And it turned out that there's a great myth about strong extroverts. We think that big extroverts are great salespeople. That is completely not true. There's no evidence to support that. And Grant's research showed that. So the strong extroverts, not that good, the strong introverts, even a little worse, the people who were really good were the ambiverts, which is a term that a lot of people surprisingly don't know, even though it's been in the academic literature for nearly a hundred years.
[00:45:12] Jordan Harbinger: Well, we all like to think we're special, right?
[00:45:15] Daniel Pink: Well, a part of it is, I mean, I think it's Myers-Briggs fault because Myers-Briggs has told us that we're either an introvert, an extrovert.
[00:45:20] Jordan Harbinger: Good point.
[00:45:21] Daniel Pink: When in fact the way that social scientists measure extroversion and introversion is not the way Myers-Briggs does it. They measure it essentially on a continuum, on a spectrum. And it turns out the people who are the best at selling are people who are ambiverts. That is, they're not fully extroverted. They're not totally introverted. They're kind of in the middle. If you go to that prefix ambi, you know, it's like ambidextrous, they can go left, they can go right. And those people are the best sellers because they know when to push and they know when to shut up. They know when to speak up. They know when to stop talking. They know when to assert. They know when to observe. And so they're out there in this world of sales is this gigantic myth that as you said, in order to be successful, you have to be strongly extroverted, gregarious, a backslapper. And truly there is no evidence of that.
[00:46:14] Actually strong extroverts are generally terrible salespeople. They talk too much and listen too little. They can sometimes be too pushy. They sometimes are so concerned about how they're perceived or they lose track of what the basis of the compensation is about. They often want to be well-liked, which means it's harder for them to say no. So strong extroverts, there's no evidence that they're good at sales, but it doesn't mean that you want like strongly introverted people because they're not very good either. What you want are people in the middle ambiverts. Somewhat introverted, somewhat extroverted. And the truth is, is that when you take this broader view of introversion and extroversion, the view that science has had for years and years and years, and years and years, a few of us are strong introverts, but not very many. A few of us are strong extroverts, but not very many. Most of us are kind of a little of both. Most of us are ambiverts.
[00:47:02] Jordan Harbinger: But what if I'm shy, does that mean I'm an introvert and can't do this?
[00:47:06] Daniel Pink: Well,, shyness and introversion are different things. So you can be an introvert and not be shy and you can be shy and not be an introvert. If you're a super strong introvert, like if you're a very strong introvert, then you don't want to be in a role where you have to do a lot of selling and persuading.
[00:47:21] Jordan Harbinger: But we just talked about not being able to avoid that.
[00:47:24] Daniel Pink: Okay. So there's like a scale that they often will use to measure introversion and extroversion. So let's think about a zero to seven scale. So let's say that you are a one on a zero to seven scale where zero is, you know, at the left side of it is super strong introvert and on the right side is a super strong extrovert. If you're like a one you probably don't want to be in a position where you have to sell. You're probably not going to be very good at it.
[00:47:47] Jordan Harbinger: So don't have kids.
[00:47:49] Daniel Pink: Yeah. Or have quiet, have super, super quiet kids because these traits are somewhat fairly heritable. So you might end up having an introverted kid. But the truth is, that the distribution in the population of introversion, extroversion is very much a bell curve. So if you draw a bell curve over that one-to-seven scale, you're going to have very, very few people who are super strong introverts.
[00:48:09] So I'm a good example. So on this scale, the zero-to-seven scale. I tested about two. I'm definitely more introverted than I am extroverted, but here's what I can do. I can go from say being a two on that seven-point scale to maybe being at best a three. What can I do there? I can look at my extroverted friends and maybe try to do a little bit of what they're doing every once in a while. You can't change yourself fundamentally, but you can go from being, say a two to a two and a half or two to a three. And that's actually pretty good. Two and a half and three are very good at sales because they ended up being good listeners.
[00:48:44] So let's say that you're on the other side of it. Let's say that you're a six. You're not a crazy seven, but you're a six. You actually want to become a little bit more introverted. So what can you do? You can actually start practicing listening a little bit better. You can actually wait until people finish their sentence before you start talking. You're never going to be a two like me if you're a six, but you could end up being say a 5.5 and that's very good.
[00:49:08] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dan Pink. We'll be right back.
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[00:52:56] Now for the conclusion of our episode with Dan Pink.
[00:53:01] According to Myers-Briggs, anyway, I'm an introvert, but most people seeing me speak on stage seeing this show, for example, listening to the show, you wouldn't be able to guess it, but these skills, you just learn them manually. It doesn't matter whether or not, you feel rested or ultra comfortable all the time doing it, you just get used to it. It's maybe half of it. I loathe to assign a percentage, but a lot of it is habits and skills, public speaking skills, et cetera. That can be learned.
[00:53:27] Daniel Pink: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But also speaking in public has basically nothing to do with introversion and extroversion.
[00:53:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's good to know. Let's separate that.
[00:53:34] Daniel Pink: Yeah. Susan Cain wrote about this in her book, Quiet. I mean again, so all these things that we think involve introversion and extroversion, that have nothing to do with what we really think it is. So, I mean, you mentioned shyness before. I'm actually more introverted than I am extroverted, all right, but I'm not shy. So people look at me, perhaps, if anybody looks at me and say, "Well, this guy's not shy. This guy talks a lot, so he can't be introverted," but I'm actually quite introverted.
[00:53:58] What are the markers of that degree of introvert? Well, number one is that I'm completely content and happy being by myself. Number two, is that as a brilliant, important measure of introversion, the way social psychologists measure it is the degree of stimuli that I can take. So I can't multitask. I will often wear ear plugs to drown out noise. Whereas somebody, who's more extroverted will often, you know, likes being around ambient noise, likes to have a lot of people around him or her.
[00:54:25] So when we really look at this though, I mean, I think the really big takeaway here, Jordan, is that this introversion and extroversion thing that we always talk about, it's not binary. All right, it's not black and white, it's gray. And the truth of the matter is that most of us are a little bit of both. And that's a good thing because the people who are a little bit of both are more effective at sales and persuasion.
[00:54:48] Jordan Harbinger: So do you think, and do we have any data on whether or not it's easier for an extrovert to dial it back versus an introvert to take social risk and move outside their comfort zone?
[00:54:59] Daniel Pink: A great question. I don't know.
[00:55:01] Jordan Harbinger: The fact of the matter is you can learn the skills.
[00:55:03] Daniel Pink: Yeah. The one thing that I want to emphasize though, is that these are not perfectly 100 percent fixed traits. It's not like height. You know, height is a very fixed trait. A I could hang upside down from my knees and I'm probably not going to get much taller, but these traits are, you know, they're heritable. In part heritability explains, I can't remember what proportion of it, but a significant in decent portion of the variance from one individual to another. And so you can't take someone like me, going back to our seven-point scale, where one is really introverted and seven is a really extroverted, I'm a two, you know, 2.3, whatever. I don't care what you do to me. What kind of counter-programming, what kind of training you're going to give to me? I'm never going to be a six. That's just not who I am. And that six is never going to be a two.
[00:55:51] But you can nudge people a little bit by moving them, as you say a little bit outside of their comfort zone. As someone who's fairly introverted, on airplanes, I often wear either earplugs or headphones all the time, partly because, to preserve what's left in my hearing. Another one is just so people don't talk to me, but you look at extroverts. Extroverts do something that is really peculiar for those of us who are on the introverted side, they will sit down next to a complete stranger and start talking to them. I would, honestly, never do that.
[00:56:22] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:56:22] Daniel Pink: Ever. I find that peculiar behavior
[00:56:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:56:26] Daniel Pink: But that's what extroverts do. And you know what? It's not a bad idea sometimes. And so every once in a while, I will push myself out of my comfort zone to talk to the person next to me, one time out of 10. And, you know what, it's actually good for me to do that every once in a while.
[00:56:39] Jordan Harbinger: Honestly, though, breeds opportunity like crazy. And I'm sure you've found that it's just that you have balanced that with the level of comfort in doing so, right? I would imagine some beneficial relationships have come out of talking to strangers.
[00:56:50] Daniel Pink: And the other thing though, is I'm kind of a hyperrational person. So I always look at it in terms of opportunity costs. So maybe there's a benefit that comes out of it. But if I spend an hour talking to this person sitting next to me, that's an hour I'm not spending writing, it's an hour I'm not spending answering email, it's an hour I'm not spending more likely watching baseball highlights.
[00:57:11] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah. Wait, wherever the value lies, right? Wherever the value lies, I got you.
[00:57:16] Daniel Pink: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:57:17] Jordan Harbinger: One of the interesting parts of the book that I'd highlighted as well is that self-talk that is positive is good, but interrogative self-talk is better. And we obviously spend a lot of time talking about self-talk because it's a hot topic. Most of us would not have any friends if we spoke to our friends, the way that we speak to ourselves when we talk.
[00:57:35] Daniel Pink: That's true. That's true.
[00:57:37] Jordan Harbinger: So we're always trying to hone that, right? But tell us what is the difference between just positive self-talk and interrogative self-talk, which is superior.
[00:57:45] Daniel Pink: In certain circumstances, it can be better. And you got it exactly, right? This is not a case evidence. It doesn't say, "Oh, positive self-talk is worthless. It's actually better than doing nothing." There's no question about it. So if I'm about to do an important encounter, and I say to myself, "Dan, you got this. You can do it." That's better than going in neutral. There's no question about it. But interrogative self-talk is something that's a little bit different, where instead of saying to yourself, you know, "You can do this, you got this," you turned it into a question. You ask yourself, "Can you do this? And if so, how?"
[00:58:12] And the reason it's effective is that questions operate differently; questions by their very nature elicit an active response. So if I ask a question, someone else, or even to myself, I kind of have to respond. So if I go and I'm going to pitch an idea for something. And I say to myself before the meeting, "Dan, you got this, you're awesome. You can do this." You know, I feel pretty good about that. I like telling myself I'm awesome. I love hearing from myself that I'm awesome. But if I go in there and say, "Dan, can you do this?" I have to answer myself. And so I can say, "Yeah, I can do this. I'm prepared in this way. Yeah, I can do this. I got to make these three points. Make sure I get them in. Yeah, I can do this. Last time, I did something like this. I didn't listen well enough. So I got to make sure that I listen. Yeah, I can do this. You know, sometimes I talk too fast. So I got, maybe put a break on my rate of talking." and what am I doing in that case? I'm preparing, I'm rehearsing. And that ends up being in many cases more effective than the more sort of superficial muscularity of pumping yourself up.
[00:59:11] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, it forces us to examine our motivations and our methods, right? Because we're actually making our brain answer these questions.
[00:59:18] Daniel Pink: Exactly. And the motivations are actually a pretty important part of that, because a lot of the research shows that when interrogative self-talk can surface people's intrinsic autonomous motivations for doing something.
[00:59:29] Jordan Harbinger: Can you give us an example of what this might look like in action? I mean, you don't have to use something you're really using with yourself, but I think it would help if we add an example for the framework.
[00:59:37] Daniel Pink: Sure. Let's say I'm going to go in and pitch an idea for a new book. And let's say, I mean, I love my publisher, but let's say I were to take it around to different publishers and ideas for whatever book in a few years. Okay, so I'm pitching an idea for a book. I can go in there and I can say, before I go into this meeting, I'm sitting in the lobby. I can say to myself, "Dan, you got this. You're awesome. You're an animal. You're going to tear it up. Let's go." Seriously, that's often better than doing nothing. That's not a bad idea because I want to make that really clear.
[01:00:01] But what if I did this? What if I said, "Dan, can you do this? And if so, how?" I have to answer the question. So I can say, "Dan, can you do this?" "Yeah, I can do this. I've written books before I know how this game works. I can picture what the room looks like." "Can you do this?" "Yeah, I can do this. You know what? This is a really good idea, but it's a little complicated. So I got to make sure I just distill these two-key points and just keep coming back to these two-key points. Yeah." "Can you do this?" "You know what, other times I pitched books before it was one person over there. Jane, Jane has hated every idea. That's come out of my mouth in all years in publishing. She's just a complete naysayer, but in my back pocket I have something that I think I can move Jane. Yeah." "Can you do this?" "You know what? I haven't done this for a while and I know that sometimes when I do this, I end up basically sort of talking too much and being a little too crazy. So what I want to do here is I want to make sure that I really listen, really make sure that I stop and listen and maybe even wait for the idea to fully settle in before I immediately jump in, try not to interrupt people."
[01:01:01] So in this case, what I'm doing is I'm preparing, I'm rehearsing. It's like you think about athletes. I mean, there's evidence from athletes that great athletes don't do this kind of pumping up self-talk well, they do some of it, but they actually do this more kind of instructive self-talk before a big encounter, because they don't need to pump themselves up. They need to practice and rehearse.
[01:01:20] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. So the higher level we are, the more likely we are to use this by training, or maybe by chance.
[01:01:25] Daniel Pink: More often separates experts from non-experts is the degree and depth of their practice and preparation. And self-talk is part of that.
[01:01:36] Jordan Harbinger: Speaking of positive self-talk, there's also something to be said for positive emotions, expanding our creativity, and enhancing our effectiveness. You also mentioned the concept of explanatory styles. Can we dissect this? I think this is a useful tool as well.
[01:01:50] Daniel Pink: Yeah, so this has to do with, you know, if you're in sales, you're going to get rejected. There's no question about it. So one of the qualities that I talk about is quality I call buoyancy, which I got the concept from a guy who was in sales, who said every day I face an ocean of rejection. That's what sales is like. You're facing an ocean of projections. So buoyancy is how do you stay afloat in that ocean of rejection. And one of the things that's important is how you respond to failure, how you respond to rejection. And Martin Seligman has some very longstanding research showing that one of the best predictors of sales success is how one explains failure.
[01:02:27] And what he talks about are the three P's, personal, pervasive, and permanent — personal, pervasive, and permanent. And the goal is to say, we hate being rejected so much — we often take it very personally. So we will say, "Oh, it's all my fault. It always happens. And it's going to ruin everything." And so what this explanatory style does in the face of failure is an accurate substantive way, rebuts some of those negative explanations.
[01:02:54] Is it really all your fault? Most failures are not entirely your fault. Does it always happen? In most cases, you know, it doesn't always happen. Is it permanent? Is it going to ruin everything? Most things don't ruin everything. And so then explanatory style that looks for ways to make it in an accurate way to make it less personal, less pervasive, and less permanent offers a very important muscle-building skill for dealing with rejection.
[01:03:17] Jordan Harbinger: How can we start to change our paradigm if we find that we're pessimistic? Can we like track positivity over time? I mean, how do we go, "All right, I'm that guy, let's start a process to changing that"?
[01:03:27] Daniel Pink: I actually think that you just practice. And so I think you ask yourself this, you catch yourself in an entirely negative browbeating explanation and you challenge yourself. You say, "Is it entirely personal? Is it entirely pervasive? And is it permanent?" And at some level, talk to yourself the way you might talk to a friend coming to you with this.
[01:03:45] Jordan Harbinger: So what if we find ourselves maybe not only being pessimistic, but catastrophizing regularly, really taking it to the extreme? I mean, you must see high performers that you train dealing with that all the time. Sometimes it works to get us to the top, but then it drives us slowly crazy.
[01:04:00] Daniel Pink: I think there's a balance. I mean, I think one needs the negative critique in order to improve, but there's a way that things go from negative to debilitating. The way I look at it and I use this technique myself, you know, the personal pervasive and permanent. Well, the way I look at it is like, "What would I tell a friend who was coming to me with this?" I wouldn't tell a friend, a good friend, "Oh, it's all right. Everything's great. It's not a problem, dah, dah, dah." I wouldn't tell them that. I would tell the friend, I would try to be as helpful and constructive as I can with the friend.
[01:04:27] And so the friend was coming to me, beating him or herself up saying, "Oh, it's all my fault." I would say, "Well, what happened? Well, it doesn't sound like it's entirely your fault. It's partly your fault, but it's not entirely your fault." You say it's always happens. "Well, remember, two weeks ago, something actually good happened. So it doesn't always happen." "It's going to ruin everything." "Well, it's not because most things aren't permanent in that way." So you basically talk to yourself the way you might talk to a good friend.
[01:04:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So basically you can walk other people or yourself through that structure. The answers will probably alleviate the concern. Unless, of course, you're unable to even be realistic about that stuff, but maybe divorcing yourself emotionally from this stuff and doing this exercise after you've had your requisite panic attack or whatever kind of thing before you take action in the other direction, that might be permanent. You can walk yourself through the three P's and find out whether or not you're doing the right thing. And you're not just stressing out over nothing.
[01:05:18] I made this change in myself, which is why I'm so curious. And it took a long time to develop the habits. But once I was able to do that, it was a huge relief. And even now, Jen, my fiancée sometimes has to be like, "Do you think this will even matter next week?" And it's like, "Well, okay no," Or in a year, no. Some of those P's can really come in handy.
[01:05:35] Daniel Pink: There's actually some other science behind that particular thing. It's something that is called a focusing illusion. Basically, focusing illusion is a cognitive bias. Whatever we're thinking about right now is actually less important than it is the moment we're thinking about it. So we tend to think that whatever we're thinking about now is ordinarily important when in the grand scheme of things, it's really not.
[01:05:59] Jordan Harbinger: Now, I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before we get into that, I wanted to give you a quick bite of the episode I did a while back with skating legend, Tony Hawk. Tony virtually defined the entire sport of skating and was innovating in the niche before anyone even gave it a second look. His marketing and business savvy and stories of some very close calls really made this a good one.
[01:06:19] Tony Hawk: I picked up skating at the tail end of its first boom in the '70s. That was the trend. And then when I discovered the possibilities and I literally saw people flying out of empty swimming pools, that was my wow moment. There was like a danger factor. There was an edgy factor and I just devoted myself to it. I wonder how to fly.
[01:06:38] Jordan Harbinger: For guys who considered yourselves nerds and outcasts, you were pretty tough.
[01:06:41] Tony Hawk: That is the defining moment if you want to do this seriously or continue to do it is the moment you get hurt. One of my worst injuries in the beginning was I got a concussion. I knocked my teeth out. I knew when I woke up in the pro shop of the skate park that I wanted to get back out there and do it.
[01:06:57] I can't believe people still recognize me. I can't believe that I got recognized for skating because that was never something that was a goal. There was never something that was an option when I was younger. The most famous skaters when I started skating were only known to a very small group of skateboarders. They were in the skate magazines. They were definitely not on TV. They weren't considered sports stars.
[01:07:19] I still feel strange that I get recognized. You know, it's weird skateboarding now, some people get into it to be rich or famous. When I got into it, neither one of those things was even possible.
[01:07:31] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Tony Hawk, including how he almost lost control of his brand entirely, check out episode 324 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:07:41] Fantastic stuff from Daniel Pink. Of course, that's what we expected. And you know, it's interesting the sales skill set part of life, whether you like it or not, attunement, irritation, agitation. It's really interesting to me to see how both introverts and extroverts can sort of go towards that middle ground in order to reap the benefits of those skill sets in kind of both directions. And I think a lot of us, we do suffer from these stereotypes that extroverted people are the only people that can do this or that they even have some sort of advantage, but it looks like really we're on equal footing. It's just a matter of how we use our skills to improve and leverage our strengths to do the same.
[01:08:14] Big thank you to Dan Pink. The book is titled To Sell is Human. He's got a lot of great books. Check those out. We'll link them up in the show notes. Links always, for everything, books and otherwise in the show notes. And please do use our website links if you buy the books. It does help support the show. Yes, they work in other countries. Yes, they work on Audible.
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[01:09:17] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's interested in these different types of concepts with extroversion, introversion, sales or otherwise, I hope you share this with them. I hope you find something great in every episode of this show. We sure as heck spent a lot of time making it great if we can. So please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and leave everything and everyone better than you found them.
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