How To Sell Without Selling

How To Sell Without Selling

Reader Comments (42)

  1. Kudos for great use of reverse psychology. You just have some seconds to impress before the user clicks off. Suggesting the problems, actually suggests the solution.

    • Yes, it definitely flips on it’s head what I would naturally think to do; benefits and dot points etc.
      I was always taught stating “benefits” were the way to go, but you’ll never know what works best unless you test and try, not blindy listen to others.

  2. Thanks for awesome tips , When mailing out to my lists i always make sure i never ever sound like a seller and instead i keep my tone friendly and that always works for me , its all about building trust and building a relation with your list .

  3. Settle’s the email King. Any of you not on his list, get going. His Email Players and Scribe are the only marketing continuity products I pay for. But even if you don’t subscribe, his daily emails are full of amazingly useful tips. My two cents.

  4. Hey! I feel gyped! I was all psyched up to get the solution to my pain problems that are the result of me sitting morning till night in front of this computer and there was NOWHERE to CLICK!!!!

    (Oh! I get it. I see. Good one!)

  5. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for some great tips. I always write emails to my list as if they were a friend I was chatting to, this works really well for me…it must be because by forming relationships with people they grow to trust you and your recommendations!


  6. Nice post. I’ve been working on building my list for awhile, and I have to get off my butt and do something with it. This seems like as good of strategy as any to get started. 🙂

  7. It’s really effective idea to talk about people problems and to show that you really know what they suffer from, and then you show that there is a solution for that issue.
    As you said at the last of the post, you don’t need to be copywriter or using copywriting tactics but the only thing you have to know is to know your market or your target market.
    Anyway well noted…

  8. This seems like a great way to provide value to your mailing list and broaden your writing topics. I know from my own email subscriptions that reading about the same products and services over and over gets really stale, so this is a great solution to help set yourself apart from the crowd and still get value out of your content.

  9. Even though the sample pain email was written about physical pain, I’m assuming it works for other types of pain, too? 😉

    Thanks for the tip!

  10. Love this post! I copied it into Evernote so I can refer back to it over and over again.

    You’re right. We need to highlight the problem of our clients and customers. It’s not about us, it’s about them. Your email is the perfect example of how to sell without selling.


  11. Great article Ben! In fact, I want to steal your damn email example because you literally wrote EXACTLY what I do in my business (help creative people–especially writers–improve their health and wellness). You really illustrated to me what I need to be doing more of in my emails when I send them. Thanks for making my day!

  12. Wow Ben!
    I’ve been on your email list for a little bit over a year now and always make sure to read your emails as they are always chock full of amazing tips at creating gripping emails. Once again you hit hit the ball out the park with this post. I wil definitely be applying this little homework lesson later on this evening. Thanks again for imparting your gift with us.
    Much Obliged,

  13. So I’ve been needing this kind of a guide for a while.

    I hated the idea of starting to do copywriting because I hated marketing. I worked in a corporate environment where everyone BUT the sales trainer said to push the product, push the product, sell it, sell it. The sales trainer pointed out that we had to figure out the customers’ pains before we could decide whether or not our product was right for them. I consistently refused to believe anyone else was right in their selling techniques except for him.

    This post just reinforces my beliefs about proper selling. Or rather, helping people with their pains. Thanks!

    • Good marketing copy should be salesmanship in print (or pixels). Listening to effective salespeople about what actually works is always a good idea.

      A lot of corporate marketing, alas, is driven much more by ego than it is by doing what works to serve the customer and make the sale.

  14. A little over the top don’t ya think?

    Maybe divide into half a dozen emails with less emphasis on the fear tactics and a few more facts. I’ve enjoyed Ben Settle’s daily emails for years, they’re entertaining. You might sell bag balm to a high school farm boy, but I think most writers are smart enough to have seen this coming by the second sentence.

  15. Agree! I was looking for the click-thru at the end because I feel that pain! Thanks for the tips. I’ll be looking out for you in future!

  16. Absolutely; it’s about trust! Due to shrinking budgets and ever-increasing pressure from management, I feel that marketers are trying to accomplish EVERYTHING, all at once, within a single touch-point. First, disarm the audience from being ‘sold’ – offer them something of value to build trust; it should be multi-staged approach. Great article and thoughts.

  17. Gee, your email example makes me want to go exercise. As a writer I can relate. Great example of presenting the problem and pulling the reader in.

  18. What a great “Article Heading” – How to Sell Without Selling. BRAVO !!

    And the E-mail pitch is even better – A combination of human Psychology, Copywriting and Innovation.

  19. I had been into Email marketing for quite sometime and your ideas and tips are simply superb.

    Thanks for sharing such an awesome post with us, Ben…

  20. I agree that this tactic works very well for emails.

    However, I disagree that you don’t need copywriting skills. All those spaces used in your email and your easy-to-read, flowing writing are all traits of true copywriting skill.

    If it didn’t take a good writer to like emails like this, I’d be out of a job.

    Thanks for the tip! Will definitely use this tactic the next chance I get.

    • This is most certainly a copywriting strategy, good old problem-agitate-solve. 🙂

      The more copywriting strategies and skills you have in your tool kit, the better your chances of having the right tool for the business problem you’re trying to solve.

  21. Thanks for the tips 🙂

    I tend to try to go for a personal approach. I think you definitely need a cirtain amount of copywriting skills though

  22. Kinda makes sense in that overselling a product or services benefits over competitors can be a little annoying. But emphasizing common issues and problems the reader may have is a good way of giving them that “I have that problem too” thought as they read through the email meaning they may feel like they want to learn more…

  23. Thanks Ben, some interesting tips. I write for various travel websites and always try to provide information but perhaps I could take it from a different angle.


  24. Fantastic piece, Ben. I agree wholeheartedly, and I loved your example — great way to show, rather than tell. And speaking of showing — focusing on pain is the best way to show the reader that you know their world, and something I strive to do in my business advice articles. I find that too many pieces skip straight to the solution, without taking the reading through the experience of pain – in my book, without the pain part, the solution is meaningless. Again, great advice and so well put. I will share.

  25. Wow, great ideas here. Interesting point about focusing more on the problem rather than the solution when writing an email. I know firsthand how easy the unsubscribe button is to click when receiving one too many emails hitting me on the head with sales copy!

  26. Superb. I was looking for this stuff since many times, Now I got the way to use the long list of e-mail subscribers. I will try and bring traffic via mails and also try for the conversions. The points which you wanted to clear here are really impressive and everyone should think about them. All these points were basics but as always we humans tend to go for tough things and forget about basics.

  27. I love that you bring up the importance of building that trusting relationship between the buyer and the seller. There are two types of salesmen, the kind that will do anything for the sale, and the kind that care about the customer’s needs. It is true what you shared about talking about the pains. As you are able to help alleviate some pain through your product or service, you will build trust in the process. Thanks for the article.

  28. Compelling article, but its really circumstantial from business to business. Timing would be critical to success, so for example Black Friday… I could see this working really well about a week before, as sale anticipation ramps up.

    My response also assumes that you are already using some sort of personalized targeted email plan and don’t make a lot of bad pitches.

  29. I can say this has proven to work on my list! As someone who has just started out with e-mail marketing and creating newsletters, I noticed that I wasn’t getting any clicks in my e-mails. In other words, people weren’t reading my stuff and I wondered why.

    I think this template, plus the whole idea of showing the reader you UNDERSTAND them inside out goes a long way.

    Anyways for some harder numbers – I don’t have much of an e-mail list but…

    List – 31 people
    Opens – 12 (38.7%)
    Clicks – 4 (12.9%)

    One in three clicked – not too shabby!

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