The secret of selling anything (and everything)

November 27, 2023

People today are bombarded with advertising. If you’re in business trying to sell anything, you face a real battle to cut through the hundreds of other voices competing for your customer’s attention.

Consumers today are also highly sceptical of anything that looks like it’s trying to SELL them something. They want to see rock solid PROOF of your claims. Otherwise, they’ll laugh in your face.

As the recession bites, we are entering an age of scepticism, like we’ve never seen it before. So what does this mean for you, as a business needing to advertise?

It means, first and foremost, everything you say must be BELIEVABLE. You need to back it up with proof, proof and more proof.

It means, when you are writing your website (or any other advertising) you need to focus squarely on your strongest proof elements. That is, your most persuasive and impressive credentials.

This includes:

• your strongest case histories
• endorsements
• testimonials
• “reasons why” you offer better results and solutions
• success stories
• proven outcomes
• your expert status and areas of specialisation
• your reputation within your industry.

If you write all of this with a spirit of candour and integrity, you can just about guarantee your advertising will be a winner! With all these proof elements you have outlined, your most commonly encountered enemy, scepticism, is largely swept aside.

Find out what your customers want … and help them get it!

The great motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar, has said, “You can get anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Ignoring this simple insight is the most common cause of marketing failure. Over and over again, otherwise sharp marketers launch a product because they want to sell it, not because anyone wants to buy it.

The secret to success in marketing is to look through the other end of the telescope – not the lens of what you want to sell, but the lens of what people want to buy.

One of the most inspiring books on selling (on the Internet or anywhere else) is Harry Browne’s “The Secret of Selling Anything: A road map to success for the salesman who is not aggressive, who is not a ’smooth talker’ and who is not an extrovert.”

Harry Browne wrote this gem of a book in the 1960s but it wasn’t published until after his death in 2006, by his widow, Pamela. The book is available at

Browne was a brilliant salesman, who discovered what he calls an “almost effortless” way to sell anything.

His secret is similar to that of Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, who said, “The only way to influence someone is to find out what they want, and show them how to get it.”

Browne puts the same idea this way: “The secret of success is: Find out what people want and help them get it!

“This is the way you separate yourself from the mass of people who just ‘get by.’ This is how you make sure that your services are always in demand. This is how you command a high price in the market-place, by making sure that what you’re offering is what people really want …”

The basic rule is, don’t start selling until you know what the buyer wants to buy.  Find out what people want, and give it to them! It’s so much easier.

That’s why knowing your market is so important

If you are already selling a product or service offline and you want to move online, you will have a foundation already on which to discover the needs and wants of your market.

You can talk with your current customers and find out what’s most important to them. You can ask your top salespeople what works best for them.

When you move onto the Internet, you can use split-tests and multiple versions of Google ads,  each built around different benefits, and scientifically measure which achieves the best results.

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