The Secret of How to Sell Anything

17 August 2017

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Dear Chief ( of making things happen)

In this BLOG I share the secret of how to sell anything. It’s a simple secret, and it works universally, no matter what business you’re in.

The great motivational speaker, 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, I’ve seen otherwise sharp marketers launch a product because they want to sell it, not because anyone wants to buy it.

Chief, remember this always — you will easily avoid embarrassing failures and discover great riches only when you look at markets 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.”

While I have never seen it labelled as such, thanks to those words by Zig Ziglar, I have always considered this the ultimate secret of how to sell anything: “Find out what others want and why and talk to them about how you and your business can help them get it.” and for those of you who have completed our Two — Day High Performance Selling Skills course — you will remember this because this is what we teach. It is the foundation of what we teach.

Some years ago my sales coach, Robert E Johnson, and I put our ‘selling knowledge and skills’ thoughts together — based on everything we had learned and all the great sales people and sales trainers we had experienced and wrote a book — ‘The SALES FACTOR — the Secret to Selling Anything’ . We never published the book — we somehow just got busy doing other things.

Imagine my delight when I recently came across this unpublished manuscript that took this same principle, The Zig Ziglar principle and fleshed out the profound implications that flow from it, describing how anyone can use it to sell anything far more effectively and easily.

Perhaps — A Masterpiece on Salesmanship

This undiscovered treasure is called The SALES FACTOR — The Secret of Selling Anything: A road map to success for the salesman (meaning man or woman) who is not aggressive, who is not a ‘smooth talker’ and who is not an extrovert.

This unpublished gem could be one of the greatest little books (an e-book) ever — Not published on effective salesmanship.

If you could read only one book in your life on how to sell anything to anybody, and do so without relying on high pressure, manipulation, exaggeration, or even an extroverted personality, this would be the book….when I update it and bring it all together.

The book brings together not only the thoughts of Bob and myself but also of other men and women who have been very successful in the selling profession and emphasises how good they all were and how they were able to consistently outsell virtually everyone else they worked with, while putting in far fewer hours.

The reason for this was they had discovered a remarkably powerful and easy method for selling anything. The approach was so simple that they believed that anyone could fairly quickly become a master salesperson without being aggressive, manipulative, dishonest, persistent, extroverted, glib, confident, or even hardworking.

And they proved it

The Secret of Selling Anything

The secret is virtually identical 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.”

The one rule that sums up the job to be done , the one formula that is fully in harmony with the real world , the secret of success is Find out what people want and why 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 your services are always in demand. This is how you command a high price in the market place , by making sure what you’re offering is what people really want…’

What a Surprising but Liberating Discovery — 
 You Cannot Motivate Anyone!

I believe (after winning and losing more sales than I care to mention) that you cannot motivate others to want something they don’t already want. You can’t create motivation. It must already be there, inside your prospect. If it’s not, you’re wasting your time and appealing to the wrong audience and making your job of selling so much more difficult.

But when motivation is already there, and you know how to identify it, you can make your job so much easier by tapping into it and using the prospect’s own desires to open and close the sale so much more easily.

Here’s how Bob describes this critical insight…( Bob used to be the GM for the Dale Carnegie organisation in Greenville, South Carolina , USA)

“It isn’t what you want that determines what other individuals will buy from you — it’s what they want. And that answer can only come from them, not from you…

Probably 99 out of 100 salesmen try to motivate their prospects. And that’s their mistake. You’re not capable of motivating anyone, no matter how persuasive you think you are…

Everyone is already motivated. The only question is ‘By what?’ Your job is to find out what it is that motivates your prospect. And then show him how he or she can get what they want through your product or service. Only then will they buy…

Most sales are lost because the salesperson presented their product before they knew what motivated their prospect…”

I remember Dale Carnegie explaining this same principle by saying that while he loves to eat strawberry shortcake, when he goes fishing he baits his hook with worms. He would detest eating worms, but he doesn’t try to catch fish with what he likes to eat, but what the fish are hungry for.

How do you find out what motivates your prospect? There are two different answers to this question, based on whether you’re selling person-to-person…or writing advertising to a whole marketplace at once.

In person-to-person selling, it’s easy. Just ask! You’re sitting right there in front of a live prospect, so sound him or her out before you start selling anything.

We should never assume that our product or service is right for every person out there, so don’t pretend it is. That just turns prospects off.

Rather, when you’re in front of a prospect and before you sell anything, probe for their strongest motivation.

This idea is one of the necessary steps to execute the master strategy of salesmanship we are discussing here: ‘Find out what others want and why and help them get it.’

Good Luck and (always) Good Selling



PS. UPYOURS by the way. UP your questions and find out what people want and why they want it and talk to them about how you can help them get it.

PS2. If you would like to know more about the soon to be released e-book and the 12 module sales course that goes with it — just email me at

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