How to Sell Without Selling Your Soul: 8 Sales Techniques for the Righteous

How to Sell Without Selling Your Soul: 8 Sales Techniques for the Righteous

Reader Comments (61)

  1. Mr. Morrow, I think you write the best articles here on Copyblogger.

    Selling has really gotten a bad rep thanx to the snake oily creatures from the web’s darkest corners, and that’s why I rather use the word “influence” than “selling to people”, because that’s what it comes down to.

    Nothing’s new in this article, but it’s a great reminder of the important aspects that a soul keeping biz person should know.

    • I take pride in my status as salesman. Without the sale, nothing else happens.

      I agree with you Mars. Selling is about educating the customer. The thing that keeps me awake at night is knowing that I’ve sold a product to a customer that is not ready to buy it. They will not feel like they got a good deal, because they don’t really know what problem the product is really intended to solve.

      Keep up the good work Mr. Morrow!

  2. I just cant help but agree with #1. How many times I have seen people just trying to sell the product anyhow without paying attention to whether the client is interested or not.

  3. Sorry Jon, I have to disagree with you on the key point of this post:

    “The most terrifying specter that might show up on my doorstep begging for a Snickers bar is …
    The aggressive, pushy salesman.”

    I can only assume that you’ve never been confronted by a Jehovah’s Witness? 😉

    Brilliant post, thanks very much.

  4. Jon,

    Jeffrey Gitomer always says, “People like to buy but they don’t like to be sold.” He couldn’t be more right.

    When you focus on informing and educating the prospect then the product will pretty much sell itself if it’s of high enough quality/value.

    Thanks for the post!

  5. Jon, great post- it’s Sales 2.0, right? 🙂

    What’s so great is that this philosophy (which is aligned with the principles of “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann) is that it makes sales so much more comfortable for everyone involved. So many entrepreneurs are uncomfortable with the sales process, but when you actually stop TRYING to make the sale and start focusing on the other person and how you can serve them, the pressure is taken off of you and off of the person you want to do business with.

    Plus, it’s just good business to make sure that your client feels good about doing business with you- before, during, and after the sale.

    Great post!

  6. Teaching sells.

    Ha. It’s genius and the cold-hard truth.

    This is also why I believe that blogs will become the lifeblood of free and powerful information. The Internet already is free and powerful, but it is rare to find websites that contain such great information. I went months not knowing what Copyblogger was, but after landing on it it has lead to me guest blogging class, understanding the craft, and making it a ritual to wake up in the morning and look for new posts and read old ones.

    Teaching is not only a powerful way of selling; it’s an extremely phenomenal way of building something from the ground up to something monumental and everlasting. The potential and opportunities are limitless.

    Love the post, Jon. Delightful.

  7. What a great post Jon and I love that I can take your 6 steps and immediately put them into action. I really hate selling and I hate the big red header and yellow highlights even more. I am focused on helping people and hope that comes across. Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. Brilliant article. The only thing that sells better than teaching is entertainment. Do you have to be SOLD to have a good time?

    So ditch your manipulative, old-school douche bag pitch and demonstrate in an entertaining way…people will line up to see you.

  9. “Never Write an Advertisement Which You Wouldn’t Want Your Own Family To Read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine. Do as you would be done by.”
    -David Ogilvy

  10. All great points – but #1 is by far the most important, in my opinion. To the extent that you are able to understand people’s pain points and help solve their problems, you are golden. No matter the industry, country, size of market or area of expertise – if your pitch is about the client, it really isn’t a pitch at all. It’s a solution.

  11. Proof that this works is listening to the buzz around town when a chain of a popular franchise is about to open. You hear comments like “Wow – we’re getting a Target!!” not “oh crud! Target is opening a store here.”

  12. Great ideas here, which good salespeople have always known. The bad salespeople, copywriters, bloggers, and marketers always give the rest of us a bad name.

  13. You really hit this spot on; I recently asked a great friend of mine, who happens to be a sales-woman for a filter company, how she can sell and not feel bad. She in less words told me the same thing you highlighted in this post. Great article!

  14. Many of you may have read this, but I’ll mention it anyway. Look up “Joe Girard: How To Sell Anything To Anybody” for more about selling with dignity. He gives away the best advice from the toughest niche out there – car sales. The attitude and principles mentioned in Jon’s post made him “The World’s Greatest Salesman” (The Guinness Book Of Records) for many years.

  15. At my old job that I had to quit to keep my sanity, I kept trying to tell the bosses that a hard aggressive sales pitch in copy or in person does not work. They told me they needed “closers” 🙂

    Now, I have worked in retail and in direct sales most of my life. I do know without a doubt that being overly pushy pisses people off even more than getting a fact wrong. Yeah, that’s right. Buyers are more likely to forgive someone for getting something wrong that is not too pushy than forgive someone who never shuts up but knows everything.

    My former bosses were “social media experts” that phrase makes me laugh.

    • Yeah, some people get hung up on sale styles, totally forgetting that it’s only the results that matter. If you’re making sales, and your customers are happy, who cares if you don’t fit the mold?

  16. Great points! Any good sales person should know these, but we may forget at times. It’s all about finding (listening) out what your customers need and how you can best fill their needs (honestly)! Thanks

  17. In my sales career, I’ve found the only way to sell successfully is to bring more value to the customer than they are currently receiving. If you can’t do that, don’t feel bad about walking away. It’s the best thing to do to maintain high standards for yourself, as well as your offer to the customer….

  18. Jonathon,
    I love this approach. I have been trying to do this for years of my business, and it had great success. You do not need to be a sleazy marketer to be a success in marketing. In fact, I think the opposite is true. The more honest and above board you are, and the more you really care and try to provide value for your customers the better you will do. If not in the immediate time frame, then without a doubt in the long run.

  19. I love reading your posts, this one in particular in so relevant for online marketers today. gone are the days of ruthless marketing tactics, online and offline too! they simply will not be tolerated. Marketing has moved on considerably…and quite rightly so. searchers are more specific to what they are searching for .
    Your posts always over deliver and help considerably keeping me focused…Thankyou.

  20. This really is a great article. I think a lot of copywriters are wary about the hard sell, but aren’t aware of the alternatives. This really makes them clear.

  21. Fantastic post! Love your point about trading dollars for dimes. That’s a poignant, tangible example of value creation. I also like the idea of considering yourself a people-helper rather than a salesperson. The idea of selling puts a bad taste in our mouths, so if we think of ourselves as just helping, what could it hurt? Great insights!

  22. Appreciate the clarity and spiritual aspects of your approach to selling. Selling ,is like a relationship and all good relationships are built up on mutual respect care and love for each other. Listening for 20 wonder how many of us do that in “real life” when with our families/friends.

  23. It’s a relief to hear more and more people talk about selling without snake oil. Ick-free is easier on the sales person and the buyer, though it seems that part of us is programed to think we’re supposed to do it the pushy way. Thanks for highlighting what we all want to believe about selling–genuinely helping rocks!

    I think you’re on the money when you mention not trying to force people into buying upon initial contact. You mention trying to get them on an email list instead. That’s a great way to kick off a giving-not-getting relationship.

    Once someone is on an email list, the key to building that relationship is to focus on helping and serving that new subscriber. Selflessly sharing what one knows over blogs or email newsletters is a great way to do that. Then, when you have something valuable to sell, they may be interested. After all, you’ll have shown them the quality of content you provide.

    I realize this is considered standard practice among many in the online world today, likely because it works so well.

    Thanks again for sharing the anti-ick approach. It’s always a great to hear it.

  24. Awesome points. To be successful in selling in this day and age, your approach should be less about manipulation and more about genuinely helping people. Showing people empathy is what will help you build your brand.

    Focus on helping your prospect find solutions to their problems. This approach makes sales much more comfortable for everyone involved.

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Obsess over #1 and you never have to sell again. Serial helpers turn away business…or at least, they never suffer. Give freely, receive generously.

    Thanks for sharing!


  26. Great post. It’s always easier to sell my services to clients when they feel like I’m teaching them something. It also reminds me that I’m selling something valuable.

  27. I’ve recently met one of the most enchanting salesman ever, who managed to talk me into buying a 3 year gym membership. I see all his techniques in your post. Now I shall look into how I can actively apply them at work. 🙂

  28. Selling becomes evil only when some unethical salesperson destroyed the reputation of the profession. I admit that my sales techniques used to consists of some manipulation. As I grow as a person, I learned to shift my sales techniques. Now it’s less manipulation, more empathize and listening! It feels good to know that the prospect is making a decision without pressure!

  29. Hi Jon
    Thanks for this great article. I suspect I will be reading it more than once to get it to sink in. I have a lot to learn in this area, it’s all new territory being on the selling end. I was a secretary working with a lot of salespeople a long time ago and I got to see the ugly side of sales which tainted my view somewhat. I am a terrible liar and one day one of the salespeople told me I was getting really good at lying for him. That really had me questioning my role.
    It helps to know that you can be successful in sales without being pushy and overbearing.

  30. This is excellent, Jon. I do think there’s a bit of reframe that has to happen though. I find that new entrepreneurs often think of selling as if they’re asking for a favor. The imagine they’re saying, “Could you please help me with my business by buying this product or service?”

    When in fact, a good business is just the opposite, as you point out. It’s like you’ve seen someone carrying a heavy load and said, “Here, let me help you with that.” Nothing drove this point home like starting a business myself. I had so much to learn at once, it was so hard, and I kept wondering, “Why aren’t people pitching me? Can’t they see I’m struggling?!”

    As you know, I write about career change, where I hear all the time about how there aren’t any prospects for jobs. And I’m always thinking, “Are you kidding me? Peope are dying out there! Go help them!”

  31. Hi Jon,
    Great Site and advice! There is so much out there, and I just started blogging. It is refreshing to hear someone just speak their mind, and tell it the way it is!

  32. Great tips! I have to agree that if people get a trust in you, you’ll be able to make a better sale than you imagined. Have it be a person to person convo., not just a sales person hoping to sell and doesn’t care about anything except that.

  33. Love this article Jon! Content marketing for sales people – it’s so true.

    I see it like this: Selling used to be about relationships.

    Salesmen used to pop in for a cup of tea. And to talk about the latest football match. They’d take their customer out for a boozy lunch. And then they sold some stuff because they’re nice guys (or girls).

    Quite a lot of sales people are still stuck in this relationship approach. But their nice chat might upset customers. Their customer may think they’re wasting their time. Their customer may be far too busy for a chat.

    Of course being likeable is still required, but a good relationship should be based on helping your customers to achieve their goals and solve their problems. And if you’re not sure what challenges your customers face, just do a survey and ask the questions. And find the solutions to their problems.

    Helping your customers be more successful is worth so much more than a free meal.

  34. Jon, this article is gold! It’s great how you walk the reader through their sales inhibitions. You’re right. Most non-sales types shy away from this aspect of business building because of past experiences with overly aggressive sales people. Yes, sales must be made but the process is much easier when following the tips that you outlined above. Thanks!!

  35. Oh! It is very interesting to read. Very important tips are provided. I hope these tips are more helpful to improve our business and sell the products very easily.

  36. Thank you for the great insights. I will include your article in the December issue of Inventors News for the benefit of independent product developers. Thank you for keeping us on the leading edge of business.

  37. This is one of the very best short and direct to the point articles I have read about sales.
    At the end of the day, this style offers a solution to a need with Ease, Integrity, and Detachment from outcome. The detachment from outcome while maintaining a mental vision of abundance & rewards for both prospect and sales person is a huge value because it provides a growth experience for both even if a sale was not made.

  38. Jon, I breathed a sigh of relief after reading this article. You make “selling” sound like something I WANT to do instead of the disagreeable task I’ve always viewed it as. It’s paradoxical but true that the less you focus on selling and making money, the more you sell and the more money you make. And your article very clearly explains why this is so. Helping people and providing a service as the number one reason for being in business, whatever that business may be, has been too long absent from the selling equation. I’m glad the focus is finally shifting. Thanks for this inspiring article.

  39. Two things keep me selling.
    1. The people who are counting on me to provide for them.
    2. The customers who thank me for selling them our services.

This article's comments are closed.