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To Sell is Human by Dan Pink (Free Audio Download)
Last Updated January 3rd, 2013

This guy spits in the face of “old school sales tactics,” and I’m happy that he did it.

Here’s the deal:

We live in a world where we’re all in sales. You. Me. Everyone.

Whether we’re trying to convince our bosses to give us a raise, persuade our children to do their homework, enticing investors to part with their money, or turning a prospect into a client, we’re all in the selling business now.

The problem is there are some sleazebag salesman that give honest people like you and me a bad rep.

What’s weird is, I thought these hucksters were just bad people, but I’ve come to discover otherwise. It turns out that some old school sales trainers actually teach their students to lie to get the sale…

Head meet desk.

Introducing Dan Pink’s “To Sell is Human”

Dan Pink's To Sell Is Human

That’s where “this guy” comes in though…

Meet my man Dan Pink. He’s the New York Times best-selling author of books like Whole New Mind and Drive, and he’s got one of the most viewed TED talks on the internet. (He made science go viral)

Well, he’s got a new book that just came out that slams these old school sales tactics, and he shows us THE NEW WAY to sell without being sleazy, slimy, or salesy…

…And I persuaded him to reveal some of his TOP TIPS for selling in 2013 and beyond on my podcast Social Triggers Insider.

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Note: The bonuses are no longer available, but we still recommend you pick up the book. As I mention on the podcast, you’ll learn the ins and outs of selling and more.

Quick Question For You…

Have you ever had a HORRIBLE—or FANTASTIC—experience with a salesperson?

Share your story in the comments.

What made it great? What made it bad? Be as specific as possible, but please refrain from mentioning specific company names.

Also, if you liked what Dan Pink had to say, I suggest you grab his new book “To Sell is Human” on Amazon right here (it’s 45% off) (aff)

What do we cover in this master class?

  • The 3 myths of becoming great at sales (hint: there’s no “selling gene”)
  • The definitive answer to “Is selling ethical?”
  • How to Close More Deals Without Compromising Your Values
  • The secret behind selling confidently (Warning: if you don’t, you’re toast)
  • The NEW “ABCs” of Selling (and How to Take Advantage Of Them)
  • The Contrast Principle (It’s The Secret Weapon Of Great Persuaders)
  • The Big Problem With Being An “Empathetic Salesman” (and What To Do Instead).
  • And More.

Did you know Social Triggers Insider is now on iTunes? If you enjoy this series, please take a few seconds and leave an honest review. It would be a huge help.

Right click this link to save the audio as a MP3 file to your computer

The transcript for this podcast is not available… yet. Please check back.

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88 comments Leave a comment

I’m a 1 or 2… max. How cool is that?!

5/20/2013 – I decided to date my comment as you don’t bother to show any dates on your blog… which, in salesman terms, is slightly sleazy 😉 and makes some people look kind of stupid commenting on ancient posts as if they were recent.

Andy Nathan

Ridiculously great podcast! Loved the part about extrovert versuses introvert. Need to listen more.

Phil Cropper

Hi Derek,
Working my way through all the Social triggers Insider podcasts and really loved this one with Dan Pink. I’m even making notes as I go!
Really impressed with what Dan Pink had to say so popped over to Amazon UK and because I’m always looking for a bargain , downloaded the Kindle version of ‘To Sell is Human’ for just £2.57.
I’m ‘Pumped’ – to steal your favourite word.

Really appreciate all your help on social triggers and am especially loving the Insider series.

Would you be able to recommend any other books or your own work which helps specifically with online sales of physical products.



David Bennett

Book arrived today 🙂

Tammara Hoover

Love, Love ,Love this book. Daniel Pink Rocks. I teach consultative selling and I have my sales reps reading To Sell is Human. The round table discussions are fabulous. If you want to earn a spot at a C-level’s table , then Sales reps better be able to see ,feel and communicate the corporate issues that keep the decision makers up at night.

David Bennett

Just got notified by Amazon UK that Dan Pink’s book has shipped.

While I am here, I recommend ‘The Hidden Power of Advertising’ by Robert Heath, as well as Charles Duhigg’s book ‘Habits’ that you highlighted – a very good book.

Dan Geller


I’m really enjoying the content you put up, and appreciate the recommendation for Dan Pink’s new book.

A couple of days ago, you offered some promotions if we went ahead and ordered Dan’s book.

I’ve done so, but don’t see the link to receive those promotions. Can you help?


Dan Geller


In my corporate life I did a couple of stints supporting network and mainframe sales. The salespeople used to come back laughing about what they had just sold and for how much knowing full well that the system the business had just bought was not what they needed or wanted. And I had to support mess they had created. They didn’t care. My takeaway from that job: NEVER TRUST A SALESPERSON particularly if you don’t have a sound understanding of whatever it is they are trying to sell you. All they care about is making the sale and collecting their commission. Make sure any claims salespeople make about a product, make sure it is BACKED UP IN WRITING.

Kenneth Vogt

Derek, you are getting in to better and better circles. I mean, Dan Pink…I’m a huge fan of both of you. The idea of preparing yourself for a selling scenario by asking, “Can I do this?” rather than some kind of self-affirming pump up was worth listening to the entire hour, and it was hardly the only good point.

I know you both really care about accuracy. Dan mentioned Tony Robbins more than once as an example of someone who espouses positive self-talk. That is not correct. In fact, Tony talks a lot about how that tactic does not work. Perhaps a better reference would be Norman Vincent Peale.

I loved the introvert-extrovert discussion too. As a fellow 3, it was immediately compelling. I wonder what the hardcore extroverts at the 7 end of the scale can do? It must be particularly hard for them.


Great deal of getting a copy of this book with so many bonuses and love your podcast, learned a lot from it. Thank you!

Brian Bennis

The best form of selling has always been to help others get what they want first and foremost. As Dan confirms, the internet has created a much more level playing field between buyer and seller and that’s great news for all those ethical sellers out there, as it’s eliminating the cowboys. Great recording as always, Derek. Thanks and Happy New Year.


Some years ago, my husband and I were considering purchasing a new car for me. We casually stopped at a dealership one day to have a look around. We weren’t together, we were looking at different vehicles when a salesman approached me. It was a some sort of special sales weekend and the place was extremely busy. He introduced himself and asked if he could help me. I replied that no, thank you, but I was just beginning to consider a car purchase and was only looking around. His immediate response was, “Well, where’s your husband? Let’s go find him, and we can talk to him about this!” I have no gender issues, but I was incensed that he immediately assumed that I needed to have a husband to make a car purchase and furthermore that since the car was for me, that I wouldn’t/couldn’t be making my own decisions about it! Needless to say, we did not purchase a car that day – or ever, from that dealer, for that matter!

Linda Chaousis

Derek, one of the best things about the podcast was you asked questions that addressed my concerns about sales-eg the ethics, the hesitation and concern about being pushy etc. I got lots of new insights from both you and Dan Pink in this podcast. One thing that occurred to me about the ’emotion vs thinking’ target in sales is that emotions can be temporary and fickle so if someone buys something from you from emotions, they may resent the purchase after the emotions have passed and the ‘head takes over the heart’.
Your videos, newsletters and the BTC course are ‘gold’.

Karen Daniels

Derek, I think this was one of your best podcasts yet. Loved it. And bought the book (and also “Drive”) What a rousing way to start off 2013.

Worst sales experience? Don’t have one but I ALWAYS hate fear marketing and never respond positively to it.

Happy New Year and well done.

Jenny Spring

Hi Derek

I’m in Australia. I am planning on buying the book from Amazon, however will Daniel honor sending over the other stuff?

Good podcast — I use these as must-listen-to training materials for the small business clients I coach. We love your direct style here in Australia.



My dad was born in 1929. He was a traveling salesman of the older generation and he lived by a very honest code. He always told me that the best salesmen find a great human need and fill it (probably a quote from some inspirational speaker). He treated his customers with honesty and genuine interest and they respected him for it. He wasn’t always the richest man on the block but he supported a family of 5 daughters successfully.
I worked for him for some time and the managers I met went out of their way to express their respect for my dad. His example reminds me of your message. I believe it works. Offer what your clients actually need and deliver what you promise. They’ll come back for more every time!

    Piers | KickstartersHQ

    I may be wrong, but that quote sounds suspiciously like an old Jim Rohn quote to me… (Although Jim often quoted others, including people like Earl Nightingale and Dale Carnegie)

Mark Conger

The best sales person I ever met was, believe it or not, a waiter at a pretty good restaurant. A tall burly guy, yet he was the model for wait staff worldwide. Never wrote a thing down, read the specials from memory like he made the menu himself, made you feel like you were family yet in a professional way. We (my wide and I) loved him! Some time later he moved to another state far away. Guess what? We’re Facebook friends now. I’ve tried many times to persuade him to write a guide for waiters but he won’t. Too humble. That’s my Fantastic salesman experience.


I’d say I am about a 3 too. Outside at events speaking, teaching etc I’m outgoing but afterwards I lock myself up at home until my next teaching/event.

Funny every time I hear a new podcast of yours it puts motivation into me to do one more thing on my website. After listening to this show – guess what? I set up a social share page in preparation to launch a new project/idea I have. Social Triggers – Social Motivation? 😉

And yes it works! Well Not sure about this one yet – but keep it positive

David Bennett

Hi Derek,
I ordered the book and emailed Nicole.

My worst salesman experience?

Well it wasn’t really bad – more like interesting. It was in Manhattan in a camera shop on Broadway.

The price was good but I negotiated it lower. Then the price got really low.

So in the most respectful way I could, I asked the salesman whether the camera was genuine. It looked genuine, but who knows?

The shop was deep from front to back and narrow, and the counter ran down one side of it.

The salesman said something in exasperation and threw the camera down the length of the shop and it disappeared somewhere in the back.

I don’t recall whether he said anything else, or whether I said anything else. I was embarrassed and annoyed at the same time. Had I overstepped the mark? Had I been rude? What mark? Whey couldn’t I question a crazy low price?

This was on Broadway, known for rip-offs.

Still, it was my choice to go into the shop.

What do you think?

    Aubrey Williams

    Me thinks he protests too much. It was a fake. Be glad you didn’t buy it.

      Piers | KickstartersHQ


      Even an exasperated salesman isn’t going to throw an expensive camera (and likely the amount of his weekly pay) down the aisle.

Aubrey Williams


Great interview. You’re always high-energy in your interviews but I could tell you were especially excited about this one. The content of the interview, my respect for your judgement, and that genuine excitement resulted in a sale: I bought the book.

My sales horror story has to do with photo studios in department stores. Their whole business model relies on giving you a coupon for a $5 photo session then having to endure a sales pitch from an often poor salesperson where they try to upsell you to hundreds of dollars. Because of my distaste for this I use an independent photographer where I am happy to pay a reasonable rate or have talented friends take my family’s portraits, just to avoid this sales experience.

Joe Scherrer

Well done once again. I respect and appreciate your approach and all the “homework” you do to put out absolutely first rate content.

This conversation with Dan Pink is not only credible, but spot on. Ethical selling is a non-negotiable requirement in this age of hyper-saturated information and social connectivity. The psychological insights are huge when it comes to relating to people and leveraging our ingrained habits.

I suggest taking a deep dive into nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” as well as his work with Tversky on decison-making biases. Powerful stuff.

Keep up the fire, fantastic site!

P.S. I ordered Dan Pink’s book and look forward to reading it (and getting the bonuses)

David Bennett

This is really a question for Daniel.

I get Daniel’s emails.

I read his email for this book and the deadline for the freebies was 31st December.

I didn’t say yes then, but now hearing this back and forth in the interview, I want to go ahead – but I am in the UK, so I would buy from Amazon UK.

If I do this before Jan 6th, do I get the freebies? Would you ask Daniel and let me know?


Christopher Mack

I often wonder if the easiest book to write would be a book about selling. Go to barns and nobel and the is always a healthy selection of the newest and greatest sales techniques bound to double and quadruple your income.

How can there be any “new” selling methods? I tend to think all sales methods work, depending on who and what you sell. I think it also matters how you get your leads that needs to be taken into account. High pressure sales may work great if you.

I can’t be too confident in a book that claims to have anything new when in selling it self on this page regurgitates old idea. For example:
Create urgency-
So, check it: If you grab his new book “To Sell is Human” on Amazon right here (it’s 45% off) (aff) before January 6th, at 11:59PM PDT, you’ll get his book, and the following bonuses for FREE:

Offer something for free:
A free 20-page PDF workbook, based on To Sell is Human, giving you a two-week plan to get better at selling.
A free customized Field Notes memo book – Dan Pink’s favorite notebook of all time, printed in a (very) limited edition batch commemorating publication of the book. (while supplies last)
A free signed To Sell is Human bookplate to slap inside your book.
A free audio download featuring exclusive interviews with Robert Cialdini, author of the classic book, Influence, and Adam Grant, the Wharton professor whose not-yet-published study is one of the biggest pieces of news in To Sell is Human.

Claim your product is superior:
This guy spits in the face of “old school sales tactics,” and I’m happy that he did it.

Why you NEED this product:
Whether we’re trying to convince our bosses to give us a raise, persuade our children to do their homework, enticing investors to part with their money, or turning a prospect into a client, we’re all in the selling business now.

Talk about your previous successes, satisfied customers, experience, etc
When Dan Pink released his book, he ran a HUGE pre-order campaign to drive book sales. That campaign ended about a week ago, but I convinced him to open it back up for Social Triggers readers.

If you have some new techniques why does this reuse all the same old stuff?


You won’t believe the gall of this guy…….trying to sell me a multi level marketing thing he invited me to a meeting. I was impressed by the speakers and the “all natural” products they sell but have always baulked at MLM selling. I told him that, great products yadayada, but no it’s not for me. Several months later he turned up out of the blue at my mother’s funeral! At the wake he was pitching to me and my family. He came armed with a bag load of selling materials to hand out. I couldn’t ask him to leave so he stayed and stayed, taking every opportunity to corner me. What do you think of that tactic? Attack while the target is down!

Troy Vayanos

I don’t know that I would call it a ‘horror story’ but it was still very ordinary.

I took back a PlayStation game to a store last week that wasn’t working. I approached the salesmen from the side as he was opening up some boxes etc.

As I spoke and explained my problem he continued to work and rarely made eye contact. He gave me a weak answer and it became obvious to me he just wanted to continue doing his unpacking. This went on for about 5 minutes and still next to no eye contact.

He clearly just wanted to be left alone and to get rid of me. I left the store feeling quite frustrated and very disappointed. I need to go back again to replace the game but will without hesitation seek out a new sales person to assist me.

He should have stopped what he was doing and looked me in the eye at the very least.


Glen Craig

Here’s my bad sales experience (and yes, another car salesman) – I had saved up and paid off all my debt. Now I was looking to buy a new car. Not having any experience in buying a car I took my folks along. In this one dealership the sales guy shows me a car and them proceeds to try and sell my folks on it. But I clearly told him I was buying the car. He basically ignored me, thinking it was my folks he had to sell it to. Throughout the visit he couldn’t get it into his head that I was the one with the money and the intent to buy. Suffice to say he didn’t get a sale out of me either.

Example of great sales – There’s a small gas station by me. In New York you are allowed to pump your own gas. Well, this station always has an attendent to do it for you (yay) and the main person there is ALWAYS friendly and is quick to ask how it’s going. It’s like he actually likes his job (as opposed to many people who act like they hate their jobs). I gotta say I don’t even know if they charge more than other stations but I always make sure to get gas there because of this one guy and how friendly he is.

jane gardner

I believe what Daniel says about hopefully there will be a new style of selling now that we have the internet. I have learned there are very few people that are listeners who listen and understand what the other person is saying and that most people are talkers who love talking about themselves and never ask questions of the other. So, I agree a ambivert? is the winner and I look forward to reading Daniel’s book.
I have to say maybe cause I have had trouble leaving a review for your podcast on Itunes (maybe its IE9 that s the trouble or it is because its a popup box). Have your team check it out (it is probably me but I’ve tried twice ) ….. technology ..they should make it easy and compatible to all browsers .

Bill Loganeski

I have been in sales for over 40 years and my Father told me that we take nothing with us to the other side when we go , so why misrepresent your product and be dishonest.
He said that “A man with a clear conscious sleeps on a soft pillow”.


Hello Derek – once again you delivered GREAT STUFF! You’ve got a great style for “getting the goods” in an interview – like every great salesmen, you do your homework so that you can believe in what you’re selling and your communication has context. I can’t believe it, but I’m going to listen to it again and I liked it sooooo much I bought the book! I’m a BIG believer in marketing versus selling and I think that ultimately that’s the essence of this conversation. Marketing done well, opens the conversation, removes the barriers and makes the sale simple. Thank You!

Jennifer Kennedy

Huckster is my new word of the day! Love it!

We had a bad experience with a car salesman. It was a two seater sports car & my boyfriend took a test drive just one block (not even enough to get to a top speed). When my boyfriend returned, he had ants crawling on him. I guess the dealership had an undercover ant farm! Ha. Who knows.

But after pointing out the ants, mentioning the air bag light was on, and taking the quick test drive, the salesman took us to the “sales” room, proceeded to say the price we offered was stupid and brought in reinforcements who wouldn’t take no for an answer!

He even had my boyfriend’s drivers license. When the bf refused to give him our address, he just whipped out the ID card and wrote it down any way.

I was happy to run out of there!!


    Jennifer, I love that word too. 🙂


Great post! Fascinating…I’m going to listen to this a couple of times. I am definitely looking forward to reading the book and learning more about attunement. I never thought of mimicking in the context of FAQs but I am totally stealing that one. 🙂

Customer service reps are in my mind salespeople. Now, I have plenty of negative experience and I have ranted/vowed to never buy from some of these companies as a result. However, I had one really great experience last year.

I ordered a watch online but I was upset to find the crystal cracked when it arrived. I immediately called the service line. The rep was genuine, empathetic, attentive and proactive. That’s all it took. Had her attitude been even slightly off, this would be a completely different story. Not only did she overnight a new watch to me but she managed to entice me in to buying another watch on the spot with a discount. I even sent the company an email commending her exemplary work. A few weeks later, I received a branded laptop cover and a hand-written note from the rep thanking me for the kind words. I was impressed. She was smooth but more importantly, I now realize, she took the high road and that was…refreshing.


ENGAGE and be AUTHENTIC . . . with others and with SELF.

People ask me, “Why do you associate with that person?”
I answer, “They are authentic and I enjoy engaging with them.”

For me, rather than ‘selling’ I want to build relationships, because this will benefit everyone in the long term … it is all about the long term.

I am thankful to know Derek and Dan are 3s … I’m in great company.

Wishing everyone success in 2013


Recently leased a new car & discovered hail damage on the roof before driving it out of the lot. Upon confronting the salesman with the small dents, he claimed he never knew & that the dents would “pop right back out”.

Digging further, I found out that the damage had not only been documented, but an insurance cash payout had been made to the dealership on the damage to be used to fix the dents…which they pocketed instead of using it to fix the damage…

After figuring this out, I took a look at the salesman’s horrified face & asked how many damaged new cars had been driven off the lot this week. “Over 20” he responded.

Caught red-handed, the dealership manager taught me that in the car sales industry, hail storms are dubbed “pennies from heaven”, as the subsequent insurance cash payouts which are usually pocketed.


Best, just recently so I remember it. Competing bids for getting a pool and the winner was knowledgeable, very experienced, and at ease with his products/services and with our family. He told us what we needed and what we didn’t. Not the least expensive contractor, but a solid guy. He also sent a Happy Holidays simple and personal email, not a big corporate newsletter, so I thought that was nice of him. I think good character basically comes through. Worst is billboards selling me somebody’s religion, seriously, does that ever work?


Is this offer good w/ a purchase on iTunes?

Chef Brenda

I’ve had my share of horrible service but this story is about a company that really knows how to treat customers.

Around 1996, after my income had taken a quantum leap, I treated myself to my first new “grown up” car. Writing that check and knowing I would never have a car payment made me feel like I’d finally made it. My coworkers were happy for me because I had been driving an old Jaguar that was in the shop more often than on the road.

About a month after the purchase a group of them came to my office and just stood in the doorway, acting awkward. One of them said “I don’t know how to tell you this, but…” I thought, either I’m fired or there was some kind of company emergency. Finally, he pointed out the window. An unoccupied work truck had apparently rolled all the way across the lot and smashed the front end of my brand new baby!

It was 5pm on a Friday. The only thing I could think to do was call the car dealership (not my insurance company). By then I’m in tears. The sales manager didn’t miss a beat. He told me to sit tight and he’d handle everything.

30 minutes later, he shows up at my office followed by a flat bed truck. He handed me the keys to his car (same model) and told me to pretend it was mine until mine was out of the shop. A few weeks later I returned to the dealership to pick up my car, which had been flawlessly repaired. We never even filed an insurance claim. On top of that, they even gave a year of free detailing.

When it was time to buy another car, guess who I did business with? Plus, my best friend became a customer too.



    I wish that story was telegraphed to every car dealership. You found a gem in a sea of stones.


Hi Derek,

Well I’ve had a long sales career and have a whole bunch of stories; but one of my favorites happened when I was at lunch with a customer and he accidently spilled salad dressing on his tie. As he went to clean it up (mind you I had been doing business with him and his company for about a year at this point) I said “Don’t worry, that’s the worst looking tie I’ve ever seen. In fact it looks a little better now.” I was joking of course, but he said “Do you really think this tie is ugly?” and I replied “Yea, I do.” He took the tie off, put it in his pocket and told me that his Mother had given him the tie and he actually hated it. From that day forward we got 100% of his business ’cause he said it was nice to do business with a person in sales who was so honest!!

Norm Fisher

I bought a new car in July of 2011 that came with an after-market command start to get me through those cold Canadian winters. The dealer had arranged for the install and included it as part of our agreement. One cold January morning, the command start failed and I had to drag my butt to the garage to start the car myself. When I arrived at my office, I called the salesperson I had dealt with for the name of the company who installed the command start. Michael says, “What I’d really like to do is drop by your office to pick up the car and take it for the repair.” It’s about minus 40 degrees but in 20 minutes the guy shows up for my keys and leaves me a car to get around. He returned it in working order before the end of the day. Clearly, I was already sold on the car when I bought it. That January morning I was sold on my sales guy and you can bet he’ll be the first person I call when it’s time for a change.


Every experience buying a car has been a pain..I have had the standoff salesman who says come find me when you find something or the stand next to me until it gets awkward…in the salesman situation..once I decided on a car, it came down to negotiation in which it was very aggressive on both ends. In general, I see a range of no sales techniques to hard sell. I opt for the no sales..but then I wonder is this the best car for the money..if an insider that I trust made a recommendation and it just so happened to be a car that was not on his lot, that would be awesome.

John Corcoran

Hey Derek – I’m looking forward to listening to this interview. I just interviewed Dan on my podcast recently as well, and he’s such a fascinating guy. The funny thing was I actually had coincidentally spend most of the weekend prior to our interview shopping for a new car, which was definitely good preparation for our interview. The interesting thing was the experience was vastly different from the last time I bought a car just a few years ago. Some car salesmen were old-school and very pushy, but others (including the one I bought from) had definitely adapted to the new world – they were knowledgeable and useful without trying to be manipulative. I can see why writing about selling was a fertile topic for Dan at this moment in time.

David Victorine

I had an amazing encounter with a an luxury aircraft salesman. My (day job) employer’s business is in no way related to his field, but through our phone conversation (Our business was providing services for one of his kids) what started out as a brief, to the point phone meeting (my usual customer interaction) changed into a deeper conversation based on him asking me a few questions leading into an intriguing story which really disarmed my usual guarded behavior for my line of work. By the end of our conversation he had moved to one of my most important priorities for the day. Why? Because he had taken enough time to ask a few normal, personal social questions to his service provider and leveled the playing field to two people interacting instead of a customer/salesperson stereo typical interaction. I was blown away when I hung up the phone.

Awesome podcast man, thanks! Great insights that I can use right now.

David Christensen

An urgent (but impersonal) email from an acquaintance, offering some product or other with the caption to the effect “Urgent – please read and respond by midday. I only need to sell 2 more of these and I get a trip to Hawaii.”


I’m sure this comment will be pigeon holed as ‘Hater’, but it’s not meant to be.

It just kind of rankles that the thesis 2.0 launch of three months ago, the shoddy communication, broken promises and suspect product claims are in complete contrast to what you appear to be advocating in this post. I haven’t listened to the podcast as the intro was as far as I could get.

I’m not a subscriber but I do follow your blog because depending on the post, you either annoy me or interest me, either way you always tend to give me pause for thought.

I’m not using this as an opportunity to thesis bash, but to highlight what I see as a dichotomy between what you say here and the selling process used elsewhere.

    Derek Halpern

    Hi Dave,

    You’re not a hater. We’ve been clear that, unfortunately, there was a delay in the release of some of the new stuff. You see, Thesis 2.0 changed how Thesis works for the better. It was new, and while we tested it internally, once we released it into the wild, to more than 50,000 customers, many things popped up that we did not foresee. Have we worked tirelessly to fix those issues? Yep. Are we on track to begin releasing even more great stuff for Thesis (like skins, boxes, and packages?) Yep. How the launch of Thesis 2.0 goes against what I’m advocating here makes zero sense to me, and holds no ground.


      Thanks for replying Derek.

      I think it does hold ground. The sales copy clearly targets an audience with a promise of simplified design and no coding necessary. This is totally and completely untrue and can at best be called misleading. Instead of being honest about the skills needed to use 2.0 in order to acheive anything close to the claims in the sales page it uses clever copy and lashings of superlatives in order to generate as many conversions as possible.

      The evidence of this is clearly seen in the huge amount of negative feedback from frustrated customers on the DIY forum, the appsumo comments page and elsewhere on the internet.

      I appreciate it’s your job to put a positive spin on things but, people feel like they’ve been sold the emporers new clothes and DIY doesn’t give a damn.

        Derek Halpern

        Hi Dave,

        The big problem is this: the new version of Thesis does not work like the old version of Thesis. What happens? People who are accustomed to the old version of Thesis fire this version up, and think “where is the options panel? Damn it. This is HARD.”

        How do I know this? Because I’m not a developer, and when Chris first sent me Thesis 2.0, I had the SAME reaction. I was actually mad, at first. But once he walked me through how it works, it really is easier for the non-developer… it just takes learning a new way of putting together websites (without code).

        And based on COUNTLESS positive feedback, on our forums, in our comments, in blog posts, and everywhere else… other people had the same exact reaction. They always say something like, “At first, I thought this was harder, but as I learned how to use the new system, it’s actually easier.”

        Can things be improved? Absolutely, and as we begin rolling out pre-designed skins, boxes, and packages, I’m betting that they will be. Right now we need to focus on rolling those out as soon as possible, and DIYthemes development team is working on it. After all, it’s in our best interest, and the customers best interest, to make things as easy as possible.

        That said, you need to learn how to read directions. At the end of this post, I say very clearly to talk about your experiences without naming names. I approved this comment to show you I have nothing to hide, but for future reference, abide by the rules of commenting or be banned.

        If you’d like to discuss this more, point out specific things you believe to be untrue, I’d love to hear more. Send me an email. I don’t think you’ll actually email me, but hey, maybe you’ll prove me wrong :-).


          I’ll try my previous comment again because for some reason it didn’t get approved!

          I emailed you some time ago but you never replied.


          Couldn’t find an email address for you so have sent it via your contact form.


          I’ll do that.

Heidi Caswell

I had a horrible experience with a vacuum cleaner salesman. Basically he was telling people they didn’t love their kids if they didn’t buy his product. And that he’d tell your neighbors how you didn’t love your kids too.

After confronting him on his sales tactics, and he told me it didn’t matter because it worked, I was inspired to write this post.

I had to think things through before I could sell anything. What was sad is that he was training a young kid.


Derek is the best guy ever and this was a great listen. P.S. buoyancy is a hard word for me to say, too 😉


Derek I gotta say I followed a tweet a few weeks back and discovered Social Triggers – your no nonsense approach and no fluff is right on. I appreciate your insight! Keep it coming.
This audio with Dan was mind blowing. I enjoyed your ‘think’ and ‘feel’ video and his research on Attunement further explains your approach to your clients using this mindset is key. I have always favored the feel approach (I’m sure we all can attest to the feel, felt, found back in the day). But I plan on incorporating the ‘think’ strategy – 76% close ratio say no more.
Also I’m about a 5 on the extrovert sale – plan on working on that as well.

Attack the day.

Joe Hage

Respect, Halpern, respect.

Consistently good content. I appreciate the homework you put in. You deserve the attention you’re getting.


lol @ sleaze-baggery. Officially assimilated into my vernacular.

Another great podcast by the way. Super way to kick off the new year!

    Derek Halpern



One of the jobs I took to help me get through school was selling gym memberships. I’ll never forget some of the sales “techniques” I learned while being “trained”. The most unforgettable one: “When a potential sale tells you he needs to ‘discuss it with his wife’, you ask him if he lets his wife make all his decisions for him…”—a classic!

I’ve always felt that if someone really doesn’t want what’s being sold to them, it’s probably best to just let them be and go find someone who does.

    Derek Halpern

    People who sell gym memberships, and some of the personal trainers at those gyms who sell personal training, are notoriously some of the world’s sleaziest salesman. I sat down with a trainer, told him to give it to me straight, with no BS, and he was literally UNABLE to do it. I fired him halfway through the conversation, and talked to his colleague. I ended up more a few grand on personal training with his colleague because he was able to drop the act.


It was so refreshing to hear someone talking about the “Honest” sales person who has felt the fear of becoming a “sleazy” typecast. That is who I am. I decided I would stop “Selling ” and start “Helping and doubled my territory. Thank you Derek, as always, great information and a fabulous interview! I am buying the book today!

    Derek Halpern

    Glad to hear it Gerald. So, you doubled your sales territory (and probably commissions) because you took the NEW approach to selling? I’d love to hear more about that…


      Sure you need to do more than “help” to Sell, I just prefer to call it helping and approach it that way. It relieves the stress on me and the probable purchaser.


Dude, Derek – your podcasts are amazing. I’ve been listening to them for the past couple of weeks and each new one opens my eyes in a new way. THANK YOU for your efforts in putting these together.

    Derek Halpern

    Thank you Seth. These podcasts are a pleasure to create, and I’m glad people find value in ’em.


Very interesting! I’ve actually written my Master’s thesis about information asymmetry three years ago. I did an investigation about how much people valued an item with more of less information. However, I didn’t get a significant difference.
Anyway, I really believe if you try to help people and give them value, you don’t have to worry about being “sleazy.” And it really gives a great feeling if you focus on helping people.

    Derek Halpern

    You’er right, you have to “help people,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn about selling too. Sometimes “helping people” isn’t enough.

      Piers | KickstartersHQ

      Agreed. Sometimes to best help people, you need to be able to sell them on something. For example, a personal trainer who can’t sell a client on doing what’s necessary to get in shape is letting their client (and potential clients) down, every time.


      Yeah, that’s right. You have to know what tricks to use when you want to sell something. I believe you can do whatever to persuade people to buy something from you as long as you increase the value for your customer.

      It becomes sleazy when you’re trying to sell something with a negative return for the customer (costs > benefits). When you focus on helping people, you automatically focus on bringing value because otherwise you’re not helping them.


Interesting stuff….

On the downside of sales techniques & since you mentioned TV sales, there once was a chain of popular electronics stores that’s no longer in biz (well with store fronts anyways) that offered such a unique shopping experience. Picture this, when you really wanted to make a purchase of a TV (or whatever item) the sales staff seemed to magically disappear – everytime I shopped there.

    Derek Halpern

    I feel that way every time I walk into a big box retail store (aside from Nordstroms).

Syl - The Fit Fem

I actually saw Dan’s interview on GoodLifeProject. It’s funny how “sales” has such a stigma, people cringe at the thought of sales. I dont know about you but I freakin’ hate “extroverted” sales peeps. All they do is talk your ear off without actually listen to what your needs are. Most of the time I tell them to shut up and then run away. I tend to buy from people I can relate to, resonate with, and people who tell it like it is.

There was this one guy trying to sell me Body by Vi shakes and to become a network marketer. I don’t care if people are into that business model but its just not my ‘thang’. This dude mssgd me on FB – I kindly turned down his offer. But he kept attacking me about what kind of mistake I am making by not signing up. I proceeded to tell him the real reason (my personal medical reason) why I do not buy or sell these types of shakes. He then sends me youtube testimonial videos about patients with my condition and how it changed their lives. Ummm I yelled at him and told him to leave me ( the”F”) alone. All he cared about was making that sale. So people , if you are reading out there, do not make this mistake. Do NOT be insincere with your selling pitch, listen to the person you are “selling” to and provide a solution rather than an exhausting laundry list of all the reasons why they should buy.

    Derek Halpern

    I bet that guy is a bad network marketer, too.

      Syl - The Fit Fem

      Yea, he’s pretty horrible

Simon Bozeat

Hi Derek,

Going to take my time on this one and read it thoroughly! seeing as I’m part of a sales team this should be useful.

Thanks Derek

    Derek Halpern

    Would love to hear your thoughts after you go through it.

Chef Kendra

That slapping your hand thing. Too funny. She must have been sneaking behind the bar for a nip or two. Anyway, I haven’t had time to listen to the podcast yet but that’s on my to do list for today. Thanks Derek.

    Derek Halpern

    Do you have a horror story (or fantastic story) about talking with a salesperson? Would love to hear it.

      Lisa Stein

      When I was sitting in a coffee shop, a woman approached me. She told me I had beautiful skin and then went on to say she sells Mary Kay products. After a few minutes of conversation I did give her my work phone number and we went about our business. She left a few messages on my voicemail, but I never returned her call. Then the third message said “thanks for NOT calling me back,” “I guess you don’t care about your skin or the way you look, so please don’t bother calling me back.”
      That is what you call bad selling!

Justin Westbrooks

If you consider a waitress a salesperson (I do – they can increase or decrease their tips with a few simple actions or words), then I would say I’ve definitely had a horrific experience with a salesperson. I was out eating with team members from my startup and as we were paying for our meal, I tipped what I considered to be a normal tip – 18% – and the waitress slapped my hand. She followed up this brutal assault with “You were in a group – you’re supposed to pay 20% tip when you’re in a big group.” Needless to say – she didn’t get what she wanted. Lessons learned? Don’t slap people who are trying to pay you. Looking forward to listening to the podcast!

    Derek Halpern

    The person actually slapped your hand? No way. That’s hilarious.

      Justin Westbrooks

      Yes – just as I was signing the receipt. It was pretty shocking – I didn’t really know what to do. It’s worth noting her cultural background was significantly different than mine, but still a bit outlandish.

Marius Fermi

Now I’m in the realm of sales training and have to say I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories. But the thing is with sales is that because everyone does it, they all have their own methods – some good and some Rated R.

But honestly when everyone really is a sales person it makes your pitch that bit harder. Besides you can tell the good from the bad a mile off *cough* used car sales *cough* granted that is a cliche.

    Piers | KickstartersHQ

    I used to do sales for Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and it’s many followup books), as well as Robert’s sales advisor Blair Singer (Author of Lead, Teach and Inspire). In learning from Blair and a number of other prominant sales trainers, and trying the methods out daily promoting Robert, my experience was that not everyone can tell effective selling from non-effective, as Derek points out. What we *can* always tell is if we feel uncomfortable or not, which is often the hallmark of a short term approach (see the film “Boiler Room” for a classic example). There are places where a short term approach (in the short term) are more effective, but most of these are in situations which most would deem unethical. In terms of long term, sustainable business, considering the lifetime value of a customer will tend towards more long term thinking, which naturally leads to a more ethical approach.

    Unfortunately, people using ethical, long term sales approaches rarely get noticed as being sales people at all, as they work hard to make prospects feel comfortable and consider their best interests. The sales techniques that get noticed, are the sleazy, unethical ones, as they’re the ones that make people feel uncomfortable.

    The real downside of this is that it creates a stereotype that *all* sales is sleazy and pushy, which people beginning in sales then feel that they need to conform to if they’re going to get results. While sad for the sales profession and many of the people it comes in contact with, it leaves the market wide open for the more forward thinking people willing to go beyond the sterotype sales style to the kinds of methods outlined in this podcast.


      There’s the “Boiler Room” high-pressure sales people techniques out there which give even the most timid salespeople a bad name when they use these “techniques” on potential clients.

      Then there’s the “no technique” sales people, who are just themselves, no-pressure at ANY point of the sale and in fact allow people to BUY from them rather than sell.

      I’ve been in sales for over 20 years now and have to say my last 10 years have been much better for learning how to be me.

      It’s true Derek, what you say that some prospects can’t tell the good from the bad, heck, when I started in sales I THOUGHT that I had to sell the way they did in Boiler room, all high-pressure, big smile, be professional, use all the stupid sales scripts, and this indeed ended badly for me, because I was playing the “Numbers Game” and getting rediculously LOW sales conversion.

      After I learned how to UNWIND from traditional sales training methodologies and think DIFFERENTLY about how sales happen, clients and prospects started buying from me and I didn’t have to sell, but rather became a “Trusted Advisor” to them over the long term.

      Save yourself the pain of trial and error, be yourself and find your own, natural way of connecting with potential clients and don’t EVER think of yourself as a salesperson again… It will do work wonders.

      Just my 10c worth 🙂

    Derek Halpern

    Not everyone can tell the good from the bad… and that’s the problem. However, as Dan Pink points out in this podcast, as the world shifts from “Buyer Beware” to “SEll Beware,” I believe what you’re saying will become more true.

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