Daniel Pink

Pink: Can you be a problem-finder?

Best-selling author opens CUNA GAC with ED Talk.

February 21, 2016

Daniel Pink, the best-selling author and well-known business expert, told a large audience of credit union advocates this afternoon that the sales environment in which they operate has changed more in the past 10 years than it did in the previous 100 years.

Pink launched the 2016 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference by presenting the second annual “ED Talk,” sponsored by the CUNA Councils and named in honor of credit union movement founder Edward Filene. CUNA’s premier conference runs through Feb. 25.

Pink said the sales revolution reflects the information explosion. It has created a shift from a world of information asymmetry, where the seller had a lot more information than the buyer, to information parity between seller and buyer.

That parity removes some of the power a seller formerly had over a buyer.

In the new environment, sellers can no longer simply be the route through which consumers access information. Everyone has access to information.

Sellers must take on the role of curators of information, assisting buyers by using their expertise to make sense of the information that abounds.

The environment of information parity also requires another change in the traditional sales role, Pink said. It is no longer sufficient for sellers to be problem-solvers because buyers can usually find solutions on their own. 

The new skill that’s required is problem-finding: discovering hidden problems for your buyers and proactively identifying problems that could lurk in their future.

Pink told the audience that there’s broad research that identifies three key personal qualities that seem to matter most in selling—whether you’re trying to move an idea, a product, or a service.

They are:

1. Attunement. Can you get out of your own head and see things from someone else’s perspective?

2. Buoyancy. Can you stay afloat in an ocean of rejection?

3. Clarity. Can you go from accessing information to making sense of information? Can you be not just a problem-solver, but also a problem-finder?