The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

13. Using the Science of Perfect Timing to Improve Sales Outcomes w/ Dan Pink

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Tune in to episode 13 of the Sales Hacker podcast with Dan Pink, WSJ and NYT bestselling author as we talk about the importance of time management in sales.

One, two, one, three, three, quote. Everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. We've got an incredible episode upcoming with world famous author Dan Pinks. I'm so glad you're listening. Couple messages that we want to share with you before we get started. The first is from our sponsors at air call. Air Calls a platform to make every conversation count. They empower sales and support teams to ace every call with a phone system specifically built for their favorite business tools. Now I happened another company pretty well. They've been growing very, very quickly. One of the Nice things about air calls they integrate directly with all of your customer support systems like Zendesk. It's really, really easy and seamless. They have a self service product in addition to a product built for teams. They've been growing five to six sex over the last couple of years and they're just a phenomenal company and the customers love of they've got over a thousand customers including, in fact, then the actual numbers over threezero companies worldwide. Some of the customers include seek, Geek, cooper, Birch box and and if you're in New York. I know they have a very strong presence in New York. So take a look at air call. The website is are called ioh. One more thing before we get started. We we've got a lot of folks listening out there and sharing some of our content on Linkedin and I just can't tell you how how appreciative we are the salesacer podcast, of all of the folks that have been writing in. So I want to start doing a thing where where we mentioned some of the folks that have reached out to me over linkedin and giving them a little bit of a shout out in appreciation for for their support. Three folks today, Lenny Fernandez, Shane Black and Sleigh huff. Slay huff has has been buying some of the books that we've been recommending on the PODCAST. Lenny Fernandez has sent me a lot of really nice messages, so I really appreciate it, and Shane Black really liked our our episode with David Primer. So, Shane, Lenny, sleigh, thanks so much for listening. If you're out there and you want to shoot me a note and you have ideas for new episodes, please let me know because we're excited. We always want to get better and if you have guests that you think would be interesting, send them my way and without further ado, let's take a listen to Dan pink. Thanks so much. Hi everybody, welcome back to the sales hacker podcast. Today is a very, very special episode. We've got probably the most celebrated person to appear yet on the PODCAST, but beyond that, somebody that's actually been a very big influence on my life personally. So let me first tell you about him. So Dan Pink is our guest today. He's the author of six provocative books, including his newest when, the scientific secrets of perfect timing, which is spent four months on the New York Times best seller list. His other books include the long running New York Times best seller a whole new mind and the Number One New York Times best sellers drive and to sell as human his books of one multiple awards and have been translated into thirty seven languages. He lives in Washington DC, home of the Stanley Cup champion Washington capitals, with his wife and their three children. Welcome Dan. Thank you for having me. Sam. I would never would have expected anybody would have introduced me as hailing from the home of than like a champions but it's great. It's a wonderful time in existence, despite all of the other bad things that are happening. Well, I'm hoping that it clears a path for my beloved Washington nationals to break their curse. I think this is the year. I was exactly just thinking that and there was anyway we can talk about DC sports at length. But the only bad part of all of it was that Bryce Harper was a Las Vegas Golden Nights Fan, which was disappointment. Well, another signal that it might be his last year here in the nation's cabin exactly. Max's are, though, undoubtedly the Pie Young of the National League. If you ask me, I have two spirit animals. Make sures are in James Harden. There you go, that's who I want to be. Well, I'm hoping that you have a James Harden style beard. Right now. I don't. I don't know if I could even grow that. That is the kind of aspiration that's even too high for me, Sam, nevertheless. All right, so back to serious business here. You know, Dan, it would be helpful. You've written so many amazing books...

...and just for the folks out there I first came to know about Dan through his book to sell his human and then his Ted talk on the science of motivation is one of the ten most watched of all time, with more than twenty million views, and I regularly cite it in sort of discussions about how to motivate people. So tell us how you got into writing such interesting books and we're inspiration comes from, and just sort of give us a little bit about your revolution, because it's it's always interesting to hear we're people come from. Okay, so I so I came to the path of being a writer or the kind of Rut I am now, I think most people indirect stumbling, fits and starts kind of way. I started out my working life with a law degree and no desire to practice law, so instead I started working in politics, which is something that I was at the time very keenly interested in. I worked in a number of jobs in politics and campaigns on Capitol Hill, for cabinet official and for reasons, again another set of really just kind of random, halfass reasons, I became a political speech writer because it was something that I could do marginally better than other people who were in the office. That became what I did and I liked it and I was pretty good at it, and I became chief speech writer to Vice President Now Gore, in one thousand nine hundred and ninety five, over there, in nineteen and twenty six, but in one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, later, in one thousand ninehundred and ninety seven, after a couple of years I daunt at me that I didn't want to work in politics the rest of my life. In fact, I didn't want to work in politics anymore, and so what I really wanted to do was right under my own byline, write my own stuff, and this is something that I had always done on the side, something that I had done ever since I was in college, writing articles and essays and op eds and things like that for magazines and newspapers. I always considered it kind of a hobby in a sense, something that I did that wasn't really like my job. Is just something I did because I thought it was kind of fun and an interesting but took me into my early thirties to say, wait a second, this might be what I do, and so that's when I started. So this is now twenty one years ago, and I went to work for myself again, not a wild crazy decision, because my wife kept her job when I quit my job. She didn't leave her job or her salary or her health insurance. And I said then, let me just try to make it at writing my own stuff see how it goes. And that was twenty one years ago, and you know, what I've tried to do as much as possible is right about things that I was deeply interested in, and there's two reasons for that. First is that if I'm writing a book, is really, really hard, it's a giant pain and if you don't really love your material, it's going to be even more miserable and you're probably not going to write a good book. Second is that I've always felt like if I'm interested in something, then other people be interested in it, that I don't think that I have extreme taste or exalted taste or specially refined taste, that if there're things in my life that I'm wondering about, whether it's hey, what kind of skills are my kids going to need in a workforce where work is easy to be outsourced and automated, how do you really motivate people at work? Is Selling a noble profession? Or something sleazy. How do you make better decisions about when to do things? I always felt, you know, if I'm wondering these things and other people are wondering it too, and so by written these six books, again really driven by my own interests and trying to figure out what makes people tick, what people actually do, it work, how they can do it better. And I've always been fascinated by work as a lens, because we spend half of our waking hours, over half our waking hour sometimes, at work, and so it becomes as great way to study who human beings are, why they do what they do or what are their conflicts, how do they work together? What are their aspirations, what are their hossles? And so that's what I've tried to do. I have again that I've been working for myself for twenty one years. I started out working on the third floor of my house, then we moved and I was promoted to the garage behind my house. So I've never had an office that wasn't at my house. Well, and I can actually hear the birds in the background right now. Any really yeah, there are. I mean it's springtime here and it's the end of springtime. Here in Washington as we're talking, and seriously it's annoying, the skies are awash with chirping birds. I find it quite pleasant actually.

It's sort of do okay, good pastoral picture. So let's talk about your most recent book. It's incredibly fascinating and pay thanks course, relevant for salespeople. It's called when. Tell us a little bit you know more about it. So this book is about the science of timing, and that's really the main idea of the book. As I said, as we was talking about in that lengthy overview of my life and times, would generally promised me to write books. Is are my own questions and again the assumption that other people are probably dealing with things that are similar, and in this case the question that I was asking myself out of frustration was how can I make better decisions about when to do things? So because in the course of the day, a week at life, you make all kinds of wind decision. When in the day should I do this kind of work? When in the day should I do that kind of work? When should exercise? When should I start a project? When should I stop the project? When should I make a sales call? When should I not make a sales call and I was making the decisions in a very sloppy way. I want to make them in a more systematic way and as someone who has studied behavioral science but a lot of time looking at the research in a number of different realms, in a number of different books, I said I wonder if there's any research out there on this topic of when to do things, and it turned out there was a huge amount of research on this question. It was spread across many, many, many different fields and so it took some corralling, but what I found is that while we make most of our timy decisions based on intuition and guess work, that's the wrong way to do it. We should be making them based on this rich body of science and evidence and data. And so the book lays out the science of when to do things. How does a pattern of the day effect what we do and how we feel about it? Why it breaks matter? How Do Beginnings Affect Us? How to endings affect us, how to midpoints affect us? How to group synchronize the time? And so the goal is to give people a taste of the science, taste of the evidence, but then also direct them into some very simple, practical, tactical things they can do to make better decisions in their own life. So, you know, just jumping off into that from that starting point. The first part of the book, which I've read, talks about that, as you mentioned, the hidden pattern of everyday life and that there are times when to make decisions. So walk us through that, because that was obviously extremely interesting and helps you know we're doing. As I mentioned before, we started recording, we're doing this podcast at two PM, is a very significant part of the day when maybe we are more inclined to perhaps dislike each other. Oh well, I wouldn't go that far. I would say that it is a suboptimal time of day, but there are things that we can do about it, about which more in a moment. That the idea here is that if you look at again, and I think one of the interesting things about this particular topic, is that there is a field called chronobiology, which is a study of our biological rhythms. But beyond that, this this study of timing, is something that's studied in different ways by many, many different disciplines. It's been studied in a whole array of life sciences and medical sciences, so anesthesiology and a chronology, molecular biology, but it's also been studied in an array of social sciences, whether it's social psychology, economics, anthropology, of Linguistics, and what it tells us, at least at the unit of a day, which is a very important unit, because a day is something we can't control, right. Mean, like you know, we're on a planet and that planet makes a turn every single day and that turn, that pattern of the day, has a profound effect on our mood and our performance, and I think what's interesting about it is that so many scholars and so many different fields, different fields using so many different disciplines, keep coming to the same conclusions. And the main conclusion here, and I think in terms of your listeners Sam whether they are their sales reps, whether there are sales few peas, whether the sales managers, whether the chief revenue officers, whatever, is this that our cognitive abilities are brain power doesn't stay the same throughout the day. It doesn't stay static throughout the day. It changes. Okay, so your mental sharpness is not the same at different times of day. Now it's some level. We kind of sort of knew this intuitively, but at other levels, we didn't. And so for me, for instance, when I felt like, Oh, wait a second, I don't feel a sharp right now, I thought of that, as you know, a weakness, as something peculiar right, and it's really not so. Our COGNITI abilities...

...aren't the same throughout the day. They change, they change in predictable ways and sometimes they change in pretty extreme ways, so that the difference between the daily high point in the daily low point can be quite large. And when we do something depends on what it is that we do, and it's so it's possible to take it's possible to discern a pattern of the day and to figure out when to do certain kinds of work at the right time. Yeah, I will paraphrase and then you can correct me and add on. But is it accurate that at the barest essence it's that, you know, you do sort of new, most cognitive, your high cognitive load activities in the morning that during the afternoon there's sort of a trough period where both, I guess, there's more negativity generally across the human race, but also specifically, your ability to sort of process difficult analytical decisions is reduced and then they're sort of a surge as you move towards the evening and we need to be mindful of that. Is that is that an accurate you know summary? That's pretty accurate. Let me make a couple of refinements here, because there is some nuance in this. So at the start some of this depends on what's known. I mentioned the field of chronobiology before. chronibiologists have talked about what's People's chronotype, right, and that's basically your propensity. Do you wake up early and go to sleep early, if you wake up late and go to sleep late, or you're somewhere in between, and so part of the pattern of the day is determined by your chronotype. And again it's something that is heavily innate, heavily biological. It varies a little bit over very sometimes significantly over age, but the gist of it is this. About fifteen percent of us, one five percent of us are pretty strong morning people, larks, get up early, feel energetic, super energetic in the morning. But twenty percent of us are owls, get up late and actually feel super energetic and acute, much, much later in the day, in the late afternoon, early evening, Midi evening, even later in the evening. And then about two thirds of us are in the middle, where what I call them third birds, were, you know, a little bit of both. And so figuring out your chronotype, which is actually fairly easy to do, is the first start here, first step here. I mean actually, I don't want to be opaque. We could figure out your chronotype, Sam, in thirty seconds if you wanted. I've already decided. I'm the LARK. Let's test, US go, let's Tuch your intuition. So there's a standard psychological assessment called the immunochronotype questionnaire, the mctq. That is a way to assess this, but there's a back of the envelope way as well, and so let's just check yours. I mean literally, we can do it in thirty seconds. So I'm sure to think, Sam, about what's called a free day. A Free Day, a free days, a day you don't have to wake up to an alarm clock and you're also, you know, not massively sleep deprived and trying to catch up on sleep. So when you'll have to your own devices? What time would you typically go to sleep when you don't mean you have a free day, you don't have to wake up at a particular time you don't have an alarm. Fun I'd say ten thirty PM TO THIRTY PM. And then what time we typically wake up? Seven am, seven AMS, if I have no professional obligations. Yeah, Cook. Great. So what we're talking about here then, is that what we're trying to do is figure out your midpoint of sleep. So well, we have here is ten thirty two seven, so that would be home. Might it's we got a half hour there. Let's figure this out here. I can make it six thirty two, make gettings here. Let's make it sick thirty to make it easier. Eight hours. So your midpoint of sleep would eat to thirty am. Correct. That's what to figure out. Okay. So, and what's the research shows is that if your midpoint of sleep on a free day is before three and thirty, you're probably a Lark. If your midpoint of sleep is after thirty am, you're probably in a hell, and if it's between thirty and thirty, you're probably intermediate. That what I call a third but so you're definitely a Lark. So that that makes sense. So your intuitions are spot on. And here's what we know. Again, I don't want to take too much time talking about this. But a way to think about it is as follows, even simpler ways, like we have owls and we have non owls. Right. Most of US marks, people in the middle, tend to move the day exactly as you say, Sam in three...

...stages, a peak, a trough of recovery, peak early in the day, trough in the middle of the day, recovery later in the day. Owls are much, much more complicated, much more complicated. They sometimes will go through the day, recovery, trough, peak, but they will hit their peak far, far later in the day. So let's just say an outside very hard because conventional work schedules are designed to crush their spirits. But let's take someone like you, for instance, or me. I'm not at a Lark, I'm in the middle, but Larky. We tend to move to the day exactly as you say, in those three stages, peak, trough, recovery, peak early in the day, early in the day. That's when we are most vigilant, and that's the key word. That's one of most vigilant. We're able to bat away distractions. So during the peak you're better off able to do work that you're you should be doing work that requires be doing basically analytic work, work that requires analysis, focus, heads down, attention, eliminating distractions, writing a report, analyzing data, whatever. That is all right. So for most of us it's early in the day. Now for you, you might want to begin doing that. You actually an hour earlier than me, or forty five minutes earlier than me. Exact. We can't say when in the particular moment everybody should do it, but in general, early in the day your higher and vigilance. That's when you should be doing analytic work. During the trough that comes between, in the early to mid afternoon, that's a very, very dangerous time for people. There's a surge in medical errors, I mean an incredible difference in problems at hospitals, declining hand washing in hospitals, over prescribing of antibiotics during this period. More per capita car crashes in this period. More and Athees the errors and hospitals. I mean, it's just unbelievable. And didn't also there's criminal or judicial errors during these periods and more susceptible types and things. You're exact. Actually write about that excellent point. Jurors are more likely resort to racial stereotypes and afternoon deliberations and there are morning deliberations, and so that trough period is not a great time, and so that's what we're better off doing, administrative work, work it doesn't require massive cognitive creativity or analytic power. Then there's the recovery period and other cover period is very interesting and it's a little bit complex and it's a little bit nuance because it's not merely about cognitive power. Isn't quite the right way to look at it. What's really important to think about is different forms of cognition, and here's what I mean by that. During the recovery what you see in a lot of researchs that our mood goes back up. All right, so our mood from most of us higher early in the day, declines in midday and then recovers later in the day. And so during this recovery period, which again for most people, eighty percent of us, is late in the afternoon, early evening, we're high and mood but, as you say, are vigilances and as high, and that combination makes it a very powerful Combo for a different kind of cognition, not heads down, analytic distraction, free thinking, but things that's a little bit looser, iterating new ideas, brainstorming, coming up with not obvious solutions, solving what social psychologists call insight problems, which don't bend necessarily to mathematical logic and rigor, and that gives us basically this overall guidance. So if you eighty percent of us, we should be doing, in general, analytic work early, administrative work in the middle and creative, iterative in sight work later in the day. Now, if you're an owl, then it's much more complicated, but the most important thing with the awl is that you're, if you're an owl, out there listening. Your vigilance is highest later in the day. So you're better off doing your analytic, Heads Down, Bat away distraction work late in the afternoon, early evening, even well into the evening, which sounds like a lot of engineers that I know. Absolutely I think that's exactly what's going on. And so certainly engineers, software engineers who have some liberty over their own schedules, choose to work like that. If they're more owls and Len larks, they tend to be higher and vigilance and focus later in the day than early in the day it is to be Kitler's no moral judgment here. It's not like this one is right and one is wrong. It's just that those people have different proclivities. But once you...

...know this pattern, you can do the right work at the right time. And again, I don't want to Belabor this, but we have to think about how much we don't do that. Okay, we're not very intentional deliberate in doing the right work at the right time. So we sometimes will do our administrative works larks so that their administrative work first thing in the morning. That's a huge waste. You should be doing your analytic work then and put your answering your routine emails in the middle of the day. Boss is should not be scheduling meetings about if they have an office full of larks at the if have an office full of locks, they shouldn't be scheduling, you know, a thirty am meeting about, you know, the travel out your policy. That's an administrative task that belongs in the middle of the day. Nor should boss is be scheduling brainstorming sessions at thirty in the morning if they have a lot of locks, because people are going to be very vigilant then in vigilance actually works against you in a lot of brainstorming, at least the first stages of brainstorming. You want to be iterative, you want to be loose, you don't want to keep bad at, you know, knocking down ideas, and so the real punch line here is that we have to be intentional about when we do things and we're intentional in many cases about what we do. We have to do list, we're intentional about who we do things with, we have HR offices, but we're not intentional at all about when we do things, and it matters. It matters a lot. There's research showing that time of day, just time of day alone, explains about twenty percent of the variance and how people perform on the job. That's a big deal. Yeah, it's incredibly vigil I have a sort of two questions to parts of the same question. So one is, you know, thinking about our audience, salespeople. One of the things that we do a lot is we reach out to people that don't know who we are, meaning with prospect and of course we hold we old meetings where we're interacting with with somebody else. Now, one way to frame it might be well I want to prospect when my prospects are less vigilant. So maybe I want to do a bunch of outreach around three or four pm because that is the time when, if I am able to get through to somebody, that they are less likely. But I may be defining vigilance and an inappropriate way. You're on sort of the right track, although the train leaves in a somewhat different direction. I want to get on the train, but you're right about that and it's actually a really important question because we know something else too about these kinds of things. What you're talking about here is, let's put a very fine point, in terms of sales right. I think there's a difference in some cases between the meeting and the prospecting. And again, at a top level, prospecting is in part largely in number. That well, really depends on what kind of sales you're in. But in some cases it's a numbers game and so you want to be doing it a lot and time of day might matter marginally less. But if you're doing it and it's less of a pure numbers game, let's say you're you're selling, it's a more complex sale, it's more consultative etcetera, etc. Here's the way to think about them. Think about it from the perspective of your prospect. When human beings they're making a decision, and when human beings make decisions, particularly decisions like the one that we're talking about here, where someone is essentially forcing them into a decision, we come to those encounters with a default decision in our back pocket, and our default decision is usually no. Right. So nope, I'm not interested, or Nope, Sam, I'm your boss, you can't have a raise. So our default decision is typically no. And so there is research, though, showing when people are likely to overcome the default, and it turns out that people are slightly more likely to overcome the default early in the day and, I think, even more important, immediately after breaks. Early in the day and immediately after breaks. So if you want people to overcome the default, that which is typically no, you might be marginally better off making the pitch early in the day and immediately after that person has had a break. Now I just want to be clear here that you know on some of this, none of the research yields a lockdown perfect strategy. So what we're talking about here in terms of let's say selling is that, you know, maybe an ordinary circumstance you have an eleven percent chance of someone saying yes, and if...

...you get the right time of day, maybe you can dial it up to a fourteen percent chance of getting a yes. You still have an eighty six percent chance of getting a know, the odds are still against you. However, as any salesperson will know, will immediately understand, and saying people in sales understands viscerally that, I mean they understand. It's math, but they have a visceral understanding of this. I will take that move from eleven percent chance to a fourteen percent chance if it's something I'm doing repeatedly, because over time that's going to matter and I think that's the way to look at it in this case. There also some im we can talk about if you want. There's some and treating effects of sequence to if it's a serial competition, you know c Sri Al Competition, that is, you know you're pitching, then I'm pitching, than Fred is pitching, then Maria's pitching, then Susie is pitching. You know, do you want to go first? Do you want to go last? And there's some interesting that ends up being fairly complex, but there's an interesting guide posts that can help us figure out the sequence side of it. What are those guide posts that would be helpful to I always think of like ad agencies and things like that. So client says, okay, we're putting our current agency under review and we're invite getting in eight or nine agencies to pitch the business. And again, like the example that I gave before, there ways to turn the dial a little bit in your advantage, particularly about, you know, when you you go first and when should you not go first? So let's see this. So again back to the default thing. Let's say that. Okay, let's I don't know if you want to keep on this AD agency idea here. I like idea. I mean there's plenty of situations to your point, where there's more than one vendor that's brought into a conversation and there they are going sequence. So it's at it the only one, but it's here's the thing. If you're not the default choice, okay that, if you're pitching against someone who already has the account that you're seeking, going first can be helpful because again there's a default. Hey, the default is probably I probably stick with these people who we've gone with four years. This particularly the case, not so much in an AD agency opening up or a client opening up and a review, but in terms of the example that you're giving, which is, hey, we have this one vendor, but hey, we're willing to listen to some other pitches from from other vendors. And so if you're not the incumbent, it's better to go first. If they're relatively few competitors, it's often better to go first because of the what's called the promisy effect, and if there are a lot of strong competitors, it's sometimes better to go first. This is interesting. Going first seems like a pretty good choice a lot of the time. In many circumstances, however, there are many instances where you should not go first. So let's go back here. If you are the default choice, don't go first, because people are likely to you don't need to go first because in many ways, if you go at if you go at a different time, they're more likely just to cement and rubber stamp the default. If there are a lot of competitors, then going later can be a small advantage. Going last can be a huge advantage, and there's some really interesting research, believe it or not, in a whole range of different fields, like idol competitions, like the singing showed idle competitions in Europe showing that the one who just happen to be slotted last in the performances had a ninety percent chance of going to the next round. You see something somewhat similar in wine tastings. You see something somewhat which is another kind of serial competition. You see something somewhat similar in figure skating, in the mechanism behind that. I think it's quite interesting because at the beginning of something, the judges, the evaluators have this kind of idealized notion of perfection. It's like, Oh, we're going to have we're going to get a vendor in. The vendors going to be perfect, they're going to come in with an incredibly low price and it's going to be served by the smartest people in the world and the product is going to be flawless. Right. And then as they hear more and more like I at wait a second, is probably not a perfect vendor here, and so the early participants get punished for their lack of perfection. The same thing is happening to if you're operating in an uncertain environment, and this happens a lot. So let's say that you somebody see it in job interviews,...

...for instance, where there's a serial competition. So let's say that the if they're very clear criteria, this doesn't matter. But let's say the buy or the prospect, the decider, whoever she is, doesn't know precisely what she wants. They will use the first two or three or four or however many people entrance to basically figure that out and you, if you come in later, you're more likely to get it because they've already figured out what they want. That's really interesting and enterprise. There's there's RFP's all the time and they don't go off to each vendor at the same time sometimes. So it's it might be advantageous to come into the RFP process later after they've interviewed a bunch of other vendors. Now they know what they want and now you can shine. Hopefully you're totally right on that. There's not like there's a failsafe, perfect way to do this. The most important thing, though, is to begin asking that question. It is to begin thinking about, okay, what is the effect of sequence? What do it? And those kinds of questions end up sharpening your strategy and they should be in timing and sequence should be part of your strategy. You have to have a good offering at a reasonable price that you know that. That's obviously essential. It's table sticks, but you might be able to drive a little bit more of an edge if you really carefully, in a strategic way, scrutinize the timing in the sequence. Again, it's not going to give you a lock, but what it is going to do is it might dial the probability a few more points in your favor. And, as I said before, and it sales people know intuitively if you up your odds and do something a lot, it's going to pay off. Well and again you're right. It's about systematic repeatability and then, and then, those percentages can make the impact. I want to move if you have time a few more minutes. I wanted to move to your penultimate book, which was the book drive, which is all about motivation, and the reason I wanted to talk about that is because so many of my peers are managing large teams of sales executives and at any level, managing is about tapping into the motivation of people that are working for you and I think you know you've made a lot of really interesting points over the years, and I read your your Harvard Business Review Article about the misuse of money at the primary motivating mechanism, even in the sales world. So would love you know some of the insights about how people should think about tapping into motivation and what sort of levers might be effective. Yeah, and it once again there is, you know, as with all these things that are based on research, there is a degree of nuance and all of this and at some level when we talk about money, that's a little bit of a head fake because what's driving a lot of the behavior and what the research is telling us is that it's not necessarily about money. Is Important, we'll talk about that, but it's not so much money driving things, it's something else. And in here's and here's what we know. There's a certain kind of reward that we use in organizations. This is sort of at the juncture of a book called Seals, human and at and a book that I wrote called drive. What the Science of motivation? What we know from fifty years of behavioral science is that there's a certain kind of reward we use in organized zation. We use lots of rewards and organization. Some of them are monetary, some of them are motion, some of their recognition, Blah, blah, blah, Blah Blah. Okay, but there's a certain kind of reward that we use an organizations. Its psychologists call a controlling, contingent reward. I like to call that something simpler. I like to call it an if then reward. If you do this, then you get that. If you do this, then you get that. Here's what fifty years of science tells us. Buddy, if then rewards. They're extremely effective for simple task with short time horizons. They work really, really well. Okay. Why is that? And this is really important, because we love rewards. They get our attention, they get us to focus, they are that we lock it, and so that very narrow focus is extremely effective if you know exactly what you need to do and you can see the finished line. So if then rewards are effective for simple tasks with short time horizons. If them rewards, though, Fifty Years of science tells us, are far less effective for more complex creative work with longer...

...time horizons. Why is that? It's because we love reward so much that they get us to focus narrowly. And so if you're doing something that requires complexity or creativity, a narrow focus actually doesn't work to your advantage. It can actually work to your disadvantage. You often want a more expansive focus. What's more, that narrow focus doesn't always get you to the finish line if it is far, far away and around several turns. And so what we should be doing in organizations, whether it's a sales function or anything else, is that we should be using these if then rewards where they work and using something else where they don't work very well. We should be using if then rewards in for simple tasks with short time horizons. We should be trying an alternative for complex tasks with longer time horizons. Now let's go back to sales. One of the things, and this is where we're sort of bridging these two books, one of the things happening in sales, as you know, Sam, as many of your listeners know, it's its sales has become, has moved to become far less routine and transactional, because any kind of sales function that is like super simple and transactional. That's going to end up getting automated, that's going to get we get done with self service, and so the sales tasks that remain are going to be the ones with higher degrees of complexity, longer time horizons and so forth. What we have to do is we have to be nuance in the way we deal with compensation for salespeople. If it's all based on commission or heavily based on commission, that's going to be effective if the sale is relatively simple and the time horizons with the sale are relatively short. If it's more complex and a longer time horizon, it might not work very well. If it involves collaboration, it might not work very well. And so one of the and so we have to be much more nuance and how we deal with this. I don't think the science tells us we should be against variable comp of any kind. I don't think it tells us that. I think what it tells us is that we have to be very careful about that. And in my view of sales, which is articulated in this book, to sell as human is. It's a else has become much more complex, much more professionalize, much more cognitively demanding than simply call, try to get a s call, try to get a s call, try to get s called, try to get a s called, try to get a yes. I think then, in many ways, business to business sales today is essentially management consulting, and you know, we don't put management consultants on the same kind of compensation scheme that we put doortodoor brush salesman. Is it an alternative compensation scheme or is it really just an alternative reward structure? And in that alternative reword structure, is that sort of psychological rewards like? It's a great question and I think it's both and I think we have to in some ways to disentangle these two things. Let's talk about the the pure compensation side. I think there's not going to be a perfect solution for every organization. I don't think there's an off the shelf solution for all of this. I think it's going to depend on the people you have, is going to depend on your industry, it's going to depend on a lot of variables. I do think that there are common set of design principles, though, especially for more complex sales. One of them is to higher great people. Okay, there is a notion in sales. Our Conversation Scheme is so well oiled that we can put anybody into it and they're going to respond as we predict that they will respond, and that is not true. So higher great people. I think that there is even in sales, especially in complex sales, which again to me is becoming management consulting. There should be a healthy base salary, then there should be some variable comp but the variable comp should be based on a set of very simple, hard to game metrics, and I mean literally just like three or four simple, hard to gain metrics, because, as everybody on this program every listener knows, salespeople are expert and gaming any kind of compensation system and one of the problems that organizations have is that their compensation systems, in order to avoid gaming, become complex...

...and all that does is trigger more complex behavior on the part of the sales force and to the organization it exacts a cost, because the more complex the compensation system is, the more cumbersome and expensive and administrative apparatus you have to have to monitor it, to enforce it, to litigate disputes within it. And so high grade people pay them a healthy base salary and have some variable comp based on some very simple direct metrics that matter. I think that's the general set of design principles that are best. Again, just I'm going to be clear, for more complex consultative management of consultant like sales. If you're going door to door selling pots and pants, pay people commission on every pot and Pan they sell. Yeah, you know, it's interesting. There's a whole can of worms that this topic may ultimately open up. You know, I follow this stuff very, very closely. You may not follow as closely, but so you know, if you're a mid market account executive, if you're selling something that's at twenty to Fiftyzero solution and even beyond, most people's COMP is fifty base. And you know, commission and many many firms, many many companies are really coming in saying, well, we're going to come in with a very low base, a base that some folks can't even live on, and then you're going to but it's the ot it's the on target earnings, it's the ability to earn this number that it put in the offer letter, which may or may not be realistic. It's all based on whether or not the demand is really there for the product. And so now the other side of that is that sales people do tend to be the highest paid people in the company, and so there's this whole tangled web that has to be untangled where, you know, maybe what we're saying is that we normalize sales compensation back to compensation that looks like every other department where you know, three quarters of it is base salary and there's a bonus component, but it's not this wild roller coaster that that is the life of the salesperson right now. I think that's again depending on the industry and the kind of sale that it is. I think that's inevitably where things are going to go. I think that in many ways sales compensation is a legacy of the simplicity of many kinds of sales transactions, pre Internet, pre automation, Pre Self Service, where you needed somebody to actually hit the street and take the order. When sales becomes more complex, I think you need, in general, a different compensation strategy. I think the most important thing, though again I don't want to be here peddling simple solutions here. Think the most important thing that, which is exactly what you're hinting at, is to challenge the orthodoxy. Challenge you orthodoxy that the only way to motivate salespeople is through low base salaries, fear of not being able to feed their family and dangling out Super High Commissions. It makes a lot of sense, Dan. We're essentially out of time. I want to leave a few moments now to see if we can pay it forward. So we obviously first of all, just so that everybody knows and that we do the appropriate level of publicity. The new book is called when the scientific secrets of perfect timing. I would imagine it's available where all booksellers books are sold, including yes and Jeff bezus is company and anywhere else. You can buy it on Amazoncom, BNCOM, indiecom, you can buy it at your favorite books and mortar book store, including your local independent bookseller, all of them. The other books are called drive and to sell US human. And then, I think you're maybe the longest running, one is called a whole new mind. You also have a website, Dan Painkcom, where I think you have a newsletter, if I'm not mistaken, and book in some of their wonderful and so then the last thing I would ask of you is you are one of the leading business writers. I always say, you know, in the universe, we don't know who else is out there on different planets, but certainly, but you know, what are the great books have you read? Who are the authors or the thinkers that you are influenced by, so that we can sort of follow the journey? Oh, there's just so many great books and so many great writers out there. It's sort of it's in many ways an embarrassment of riches. So if you think about I think that someone like Susan Kine, who wrote a book, a quiet about the power of introverts, could be very Germaine to a sales audience because there's some interesting research showing that being a strong extrovert is not the best...

...way to be persuasive in a sales setting, that introverts and ambiverts can have some advantages as well. So I think that Susan kine would be good on that. I think that someone like Whitney Johnson, who has written a book about how to build a great team, who was a former Wall Street analyst and venture capitalist, could have some very, very, very, very very interesting things to say. There are Daniel coyle has a great book this year about teams and how teams cohere and how teams operate. There is a fascinating book by Jeremy Hymns and Henry Tims that just came out called new power, about how, you know, how movements build in this remade landscape. I still am a fan of I use the terminology all the time of Blue Ocean. The Blue Ocean folks, Champ, Kim and renee my born. So there's just a lot of really, really, really great stuff out there. Without that was an exceptional it's an actually typed it all down because I want to make sure that I sell fed of Fi. Dan, thanks so much for your time. We really really appreciate it. We said where we can find your books and thanks for contributing. I think we got on a lot out of it. Thanks and for having it's been a pleasure. Thank you. Go caps. Hello everybody. That was Dan Pink World famous author, multimillion Ted Talk Viewing Getter, and this is Sam's corner. Obviously we're incredibly excited and honor to have Dan on the show. He has written so many interesting books and made so many useful and interesting insights about the world. In addition to the comments that he made about his new book when, which talks about went that the science of figuring out when to do things, not just how to do them, to whom you to do them. He has also talked a lot about motivation and one of the things that I often reference in conversations with new managers and people that I work with is this Ted talk, which is gotten over twenty million view so definitely go take a look at it. In that talk he talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose, the things that motivate people. Autonomy, the opportunity to act independently, mastery, the opportunity to become excellent at something and really develop a skill, and purpose, understanding the context and the Vision for why what you're doing contributes to a broader organization. I think about that a lot and again, purpose for me comes down to context and communicating back to the organization here's why you are doing what you were doing and here's how it relates to our broader goal, and I think if we can keep that in mind we can keep all of the people in the organization with Him we're working. You can keep all of them engaged. So this has been Sam's corner. Thanks to Dan Pink for being a special guest. We look forward to more special guests in the future and I thank you for listening and until then, I'll see you next time. To check out the show notes, see UPHAM and guests and playing more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, visit sales hackercom podcast. Can also find the sales hacking podcast on itunes or Google play. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your peers on Linkedin, twitter or elsewhere. Special thanks again to this months sponsors at air call. See more at Air Call Dot I. Oh. If you want to get in touch with me, find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs or on Linkedin at linkedincom and Sam f Jacobs. I'll see you next time.

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