Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink recruits three Goizueta students to participate during his visit to campus, as part of the Dean's Leadership Speaker's series.

As part of the Dean’s Leadership Speaker’s Series, New York Times bestselling author, Daniel Pink provided Goizueta students with a humored and insightful look into the evolution of sales. Once the chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, Pink is now well known for his research on the science of motivation.  A speech he delivered about the topic is one of the 20 most-watched TED Talks of all time.

Goizueta Business School hosted Pink for a talk about his most recent book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Attributing the wide misconception about sales to previous lack of research on the topic, he stressed the need to understand motivation simply because “it just may be important to make sure the cash register rings in a business.”  On a serious note, he did emphasis the importance of understanding “we’re all in sales now.” He applied insight from a sales perspective to fit the facets of any career, noting most careers require some form of sales or motivating others to act. Pink applauded Goizueta for providing students access to sales classes and noted the offering to be a rarity among many renowned colleges and universities.

He highlighted the evolution of sales from “buyer beware” to “seller beware” as consumers gain access to an ever increasing pool of information.  Having three members of the audience draw a capital “E” on their forehead, Pink demonstrated the need for attunement to others’ perspectives in sales.  He also emphasized the need for buoyancy and clarity, completing his ABC approach to selling.

“Dan is a keen observer of what defines our professional lives and the changing nature of work. So his insights are extremely relevant to Goizueta’s students as they prepare to enter or reenter the workplace. His ideas are provocative and presented compellingly and sometimes hilariously, but they’re also well-supported with research and data,” said Robert Kelly, who teaches a class on sales and business development at Goizueta.

He also noted the value and significance of Goizueta bringing speakers to campus. “My class was able to compare his ideas about sales compensation – which are contrarian – with other academic research, and it made this topic much more engaging. His new work suggests the surging importance of selling skills, for salespeople and non-salespeople alike, and really helped my students crystallize a perspective on the selling function,” said Kelly.


– Meredith Farahmand