Master the Art of Sales and Persuasion

"Today, like it or not, we're all in sales," says Dan Pink for Big Think Edge. Recognizing this is the first step to mastering the essential art of persuasion.

Today, like it or not, we’re all in sales.

The Death of a Salesman might be a great play but it’s far from the truth about what’s happening in the workforce today. If you look at the U.S. economy you have about one in nine people in the U.S. workforce are in sales sales. That is their job is to sell stuff. They’re selling wholesale seafood or consulting services or motorcycles. But if you look at those other eight and nine, eight and nine people in the workforce, they don’t have sales in their job title. They don’t have sales on their business card. But they’re spending an enormous amount of their time selling in a broader sense. They’re persuading, influencing, convincing, cajoling.

Non-sales selling

We have data showing that people are spending on average about 40 percent of their time on the job in this thing that I call somewhat clumsily non-sales selling. You’re selling but the cash register’s not ringing. You’re selling but money’s not changing hands. You’re selling but the denomination isn’t dollars, it’s time, effort, attention and energy. You’re a boss trying to get employees to do something different or do something in a different way. You’re selling. You come to a meeting and pitch an idea. You’re selling. And it’s a big part of how we spend our time. What’s also interesting is we ask people to talk about how important that aspect of their work was to their overall effectiveness. And what was very interesting about that is that people rated the importance of it – of that task, of non-sales selling very, very high. Indeed in excess in the amount of time they were doing it. So what we got from people was saying yeah, this is a big part about what I do but in order to be effective on the job I actually have to do it a little bit more.


Big Think Edge is a video-driven platform that catalyzes happiness and performance in professional environments by cultivating leadership, creativity, and self-knowledge. Learn more about Big Think Edge.

"Today, like it or not, we're all in sales." Dan Pink, NYT and WSJ bestselling author of To Sell is Human knows that many professionals don't think (or like to think) of themselves as salespeople. For many of us, the word "sales" conjures up anxiety-inducing visions of ourselves standing with charts in front of a restless audience or fumbling through an "elevator pitch" to someone who's hoping the elevator will hurry up and let him out.

Dan Pink's 7-part masterclass on Mastering the Art of Sales and Persuasion is available exclusively at Big Think Edge

Why America’s Christian foundation is a myth

A new book by constitutional attorney Andrew Seidel takes on Christian nationalism.

Image Source: Ericsphotography / Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • A new book by attorney Andrew Seidel, 'The Founding Myth: Why Christian nationalism Is Un-American', takes on the myth of America's Christian founding.
  • Christian nationalism is the belief that the United States was founded as a Christian nation on Christian principles, and that the nation has strayed from that original foundation.
  • Judeo-Christian principles are fundamentally opposed to the principles on which America was built, argues Seidel.
Keep reading Show less

Should you marry a passionate lover or your best friend? Here’s what science says.

Married people even do better during the so-called middle-age slump.

Photo credit: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Personal Growth

We've known for a long time that married people experience better physical and mental health, just so long as they're happily married. Last year, a study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that marriage may have stress relieving properties, as those ensconced in marital bliss carry less of the stress hormone cortisol in their bloodstream, than singles or the divorced.

Chronically elevated levels of cortisol can lead to low-level inflammation throughout the body, which is a contributing factor to some of the most dreadful conditions, including diabetes, dementia, and heart disease.

Keep reading Show less
Personal Growth

None of us enjoys having our job cut into our leisure time. So the next time your boss asks you to work late and miss your band rehearsal or board game night, point them to a new study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior.

Keep reading Show less