Servant Leadership Workplace-Servant Selling

“Servant Selling” – Thought-Provoking, No?

This post is for everyone out there in sales.

By that I mean, this post is for everyone!

That’s kind of the point made by best-selling author Dan Pink in his best-selling book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others.*

Pink says is that everyone is in sales.


Because, broadly defined, “sales” is the practice of motivating people.

And all of us – especially servant-leaders in the workplace – are trying to do just that – motivate people.

Which means that the folks in the sales department aren’t the only ones in sales. All of us are motivators – as leaders, of course; but also as parents, spouses, friends and neighbors.

Pink goes on to say that heart of great motivation – of great selling – is service.

Indeed, the last chapter in To Sell is Human is called “Serve.”

In that chapter, Pink reviews the philosophy of Robert K. Greenleaf, the man who coined the term “servant leadership” in his 1970 essay, The Servant as Leader.

Pink then offers an updated version of servant leadership:

“The time is ripe for a new version of Greenleaf’s philosophy. Call it servant selling. It begins with the idea that those who move others aren’t manipulators but servants. They serve first and sell later. And the test – which, like Greenleaf’s, is the best and the most difficult to administer – is this: If the person you’re selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve? When your interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began?”

Thought-provoking, no?

What do you think? Do you like Pink’s idea of “servant selling”?

Let us know.

As always, we appreciate your views.



And don’t forget to download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!


* Pink, D. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others (New York: Riverhead 2012) 220.

All Dan’s books are super and full of insights that servant-leaders in the workplace should find valuable. His latest book is just out: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing (New York: Riverhead Books 2018). To learn more about Dan’s work, visit his website: