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How To Perfect The Art Of Selling Without Selling

A lot of bloggers and online business owners don’t relish the idea of selling because they always come away from making sales feeling like they just sold their souls.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. What if you could learn how to make those sales without being pushy?

Everyone’s had the experience of pushy salesmen.

You may have been buying a car, or maybe it was some street side hawker trying to get you to buy something that you had absolutely no use for as you walked by. Or maybe it was that annoying door to door salesman who wouldn’t go away…

But you’ve most likely experienced the worst of it online.

There are some marketers who relentlessly bombard their email lists with offers every time they send an email. It’s all a whirlwind of deadlines, bonuses, one time offers and more. And as soon as that one is done, they get on to pushing the next offer.

No wonder most of us have such a negative picture when we think of selling.

Of course, none of us want to be that ‘douchey’ salesman, but all too often, people make the mistake of then not wanting to sell at all. Or they approach selling in a manner that is standoffish because they don’t want to come off as pushy.

This just leads to offers that are weak and ultimately, lower sales.

The trick here is to bridge that gap and find that happy medium between the two extremes, and this article is going to help you do just that.

How to Sell Without Selling

So let’s talk about what makes an offer ‘pushy’. If we’re going to avoid being a pushy salesman, we should know exactly what that means, right?

Selling, by nature, is not pushy. Don’t equate all those bad experiences that you’ve had at the hands of pushy salesmen to the entirety of selling and marketing.

Think of it this way: In life, everyone is a salesman.

Even those who don’t overtly sell products or services are still salesmen.

Every day you’re selling yourself to the people around you (especially your significant other…). You sell yourself to potential employers, friends, family and even strangers sometimes.

As long as you’re human and you are a part of society, you’re using some sales and marketing skills every day of your life. Now take a look back at those times when you felt that a salesman was pushy.

What made you think that?

What was it about the experience that left a bad taste in your mouth?

I’ll bet you it comes down to one of these two factors:
  • Either the offer just wasn’t right for you, which means that you weren’t interested in it
  • The person doing the selling wasn’t listening to you – they only had one goal, the sale, and whatever you said was just a hindrance to be overcome so that they could get the sale

That’s really all it comes down to. An offer that is not right for you, and/or you not being acknowledged.

Good marketing is just the opposite of this.

If you can offer people something that they are not only interested in but that they are reaching for, and if you can listen to your prospects and treat the things they say with importance, your sales battle is as good as won.

People don’t like you when they feel like you’re not listening to them. In such a situation, they won’t even want to communicate with you which means that they certainly won’t be buying anything from you.

So as you can see, the answer to not being that pushy guy isn’t to be passive.

If you know you’re providing real value to your customers, don’t apologize for making an offer. Remember, you’re helping make some aspect of their lives better. You’re doing a good thing. So when the time comes to sell, SELL!


Make sure that the offer you’re making is actually right for them and will really help them. Be in full communication with your prospects. Listen to them, have empathy and treat what they say with importance.

Your goal in making that sale shouldn’t just be about the money.

If it is, that’s when you start to come off as desperate. Aim to deliver the result that your prospects are actively seeking. Your product is merely the mechanism for delivering what THEY told you they wanted.

As long as your product or service is relevant to, and fully aligned with the outcome that your actual prospects are seeking, you will not come off as pushy.

In other words, sell the right product, to the right people and not just to anyone and everyone with a wallet.

When you start pushing a sale before you qualify whether or not it’s the perfect fit for your prospects, then you become the pushy salesman and you’re forced to resort to pushy tactics to boost your conversion rate, whereas this all happens naturally when you display your product or service in front of the right audience.

Passive Versus Active Offers

If your goal is to make any real money with your blog, then you have to make some offers. It doesn’t matter whether they are your own products or services or if you’re selling on behalf of others as an advertiser or an affiliate.

  • Active offers refer to when you do the actual selling. You have a product or service that you feel is right for your prospects and you actively work to make the sale.
  • Passive offers are when you’re simply presenting a product at the proper place and letting your prospects find their way there. You don’t follow up if they don’t buy.

Both of these types of offers have their place in helping you grow your business but the real money is in active offers.

Ways of Presenting Passive Offers

1. Give The ‘How To’ For Free

This is one of the most effective ways of presenting a passive offer.

Show the people how to do something and then offer them a product or tool that will help to speed up the process. They are actively looking for information on how to do something and you’re giving it to them for free.

Once you’ve done that, immediately follow with an offer for a paid product that will do the same thing better, faster, or easier.

This doesn’t require any hard selling because the prospects see the benefits very clearly. This works for affiliate offers or your own products. Just create any type of content (blog post, video, or webinar etc.) and present a shortcut at the end.

2. The Behind The Scenes Look

Give your audience a ‘behind the scenes’ peek at how you accomplish things and then link to all the stuff that you use. That’s it. If any of those tools have affiliate programs, you just link to them using your affiliate links.

Even if there isn’t an affiliate program for a particular tool, link to it anyway.

Remember, it’s not just about you making money, it’s also about providing the most value that you can to your audience.

3. Tools and Resources Page

Create a page for your tools and resources if you are in a market where people DO stuff (such as Internet marketing).

List all the tools and resources even if some don’t have affiliate programs.

Make sure that the page you create has a lot of value and is useful for your audience. The people who are reading your blog are interested in the tools and resources you use. It’s content, not selling…

4. The Free Course

This is another take on the same idea as the free ‘how-to’ lesson. Offer a free online course on how to get something done and then offer a shortcut.

You could offer a free workshop that they opt-in for, or maybe use an email series or challenge. Give them all the free information they need to know about the ‘how’ before offering the paid ‘with what’.

Ways of Presenting Active Offers With No Pushy Sales Tactics

While the passive offers listed above work great for most businesses, you need active offers if you really want your sales to take off.

Everything in Internet marketing has to do with attracting and then funneling attention. When you’re able to control attention, you make money online. In fact, this is true everywhere, it’s the reason why celebrities make so much money even though most of them produce so little.

Active offers involve making offers, then actively directing your audience’s attention to those offers and working to close the deal.

Because most people have this natural ‘inertia’ about them, they don’t like to make decisions. No decisions means no change which is (to their minds) safe.

This means that you’re going to have to use some clever and effective marketing strategies to gently get them to make those decisions.

1. Offer Products or Services That are Actually Good

You have to really know your customer’s persona and what they want and need. Only then will you be able to craft offers that match your specific audience and therefore sell.

Here are some questions you can ask to achieve this:
  • What’s the simplest and most direct way of designing something to provide what they want?
  • What is the best way to remove potential confusions and difficulties?
  • Is there a way of simply removing their pain and handing them whatever it is they want?
  • How can I give them their desired solution as close to the target price range I’ve determined?
  • Is there something I can include in the offer to bridge any gaps and avoid asking them to make decisions?

This is about outlining your offer, not your product. Create the offer first, and then create your product to fulfill the promises made by your offer.

2. Be Personal

Remember the part where we talked about offers being pushy because marketers weren’t listening to prospects or treating them like people?

Well, this is how you do it right, by being personal.

Be yourself, use nice pictures of yourself on your site. Your contact page should be inviting and human. Bring out your sense of humor and let your readers see your casual, fun-loving side.

It doesn’t have to be all-business all the time.

3. Tell Stories

Stories are a great way to sell without selling. Storytelling transfers your audience into another world.

By telling stories, you get your audience to visualize the scene and experience it as if they were in it. Stories have always been compelling because it’s the reader co-creating with the author.

The author writes it, but the reader is the one who imagines it as they are reading.

You could use a story to tell your audience about a problem you had, how you overcame it thanks to some insight you got through an experience, and now that your problem is fixed, you have a mission to help them.

It’s a great way to bring people in before guiding them to your product or service. And all that happens without you being pushy in the least.

4. Be Aware of the Downside

Sales and marketing are not just about saying how amazing something is.

There are always good and bad aspects of everything in the real world, so make sure that you acknowledge the pros as well as the cons of any product that you sell.

This is a great way to build trust. Most marketers believe that by acknowledging the negative side of a product, prospects won’t want to buy it, but that’s not true.

They will be grateful to you for pointing out the good and the bad, but for the most part, that doesn’t affect their decision to buy.

So don’t avoid the downside, address it.

The Bottom Line is: Selling is not Evil

It’s an essential part of our lives. Literally, every single product or service that you have ever used had selling involved at one point or another for it to get to you. Without selling, the whole progress of civilization would grind to a halt.

But now you know that selling doesn’t have to be pushy.

It only becomes that if you’re selling something that isn’t right for that particular prospect or if you’re just not listening to what they say they want or need.

To become great at selling only requires you to focus on helping people by listening to them, teaching them how to solve their problems or make their desires come true, and then giving them deals to get solutions which truly deliver value in their lives.

So get out there right now, help someone, and make money!

Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published June 25th 2018

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Marta

    Hi Steven,
    Thank you for sharing.
    In fact, people don’t trust those who tend to sell them something. Even though all of us are salesmen in our lives when it comes to selling something, in most cases actively, we don’t know how to do it.
    I agree with you. We should listen to the needs a prospective customer has and give him what he needs.
    But what about articles. Do you think it’s better to write reviews for the products we promote, or it’s enough to talk about an issue and give the right solution to it and then offer a product that can solve the problem for good?

    1. Steven

      You can do both, or, whichever you enjoy doing most. It can also depend on your niche, some lend themselves better to reviews, some to articles.

      Thanks for the comment Marta!

  2. Cameron

    I always like to refer to the car dealership when referring to “selling without selling”. When someone walks onto the car lot, they are obviously there to potentially purchase a car. But as soon as they are approached by the annoying car salesman, they get scared off. People like to buy but hate to be sold to.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in how to actually help people make decisions objectively rather than focusing on the commission from the sale. Great advice that I’ll surely put into practice.

    1. Steven

      Glad tom hear you enjoyed the article and got something useful from it.

      Thanks for the comment Cameron!

  3. Oscar

    I hate it when people are pushy to sell something. When I go on vacation, I even omit to go into certain establishments because you cannot even look at an item and they often make you buy it.

    Although I have learned to say no and leave the stores without buying anything, it is just crazy how pushy they can become.

    The art of selling without selling is not so easy to learn, and yet so effective. You make much more by doing it that way.

    I love how you outlined exactly how to do it. I had not seen it broken down the way you did it. The “how to” should absolutely be free, and that I something I had not understood very well before.

    Also, I think the personal part, that you mention, has to be there. If you don’t own the item, or if you don’t have any experience with it, it is difficult to sell it.

    Awesome article,

    1. Steven

      Glad you liked the article and got something from it. Our business is one of subtlety, being pushy would certainly be a recipe for failure.

      Thanks for the kind words Oscar!

  4. Jon

    Great article on the art of selling without actually selling! I’m new to affiliate marketing and getting over the idea that selling is an icky thing is definitely a challenge. The way you frame the fact that we’re all salespeople in some way is a very interesting idea. Some of us have had those nasty experiences with the ‘car salesman’ type and it just kills our interest in sales and leaves a bad taste in our mouth. Focusing on helping people rather than trying to make the sale is the key to getting over this challenge I think. Thanks again for your insight!

    1. Steven

      We are all salespeople no matter how you slice it. We must sell ourselves every day. If you do it from the perspective of helping others though, you can still sleep at night and avoid that ‘icky’ feeling.

      Sell yourself by producing helpful, quality content designed to truly help others and you will be on the road to real success!

      Thanks for the comment Jon!.

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