as I was doodling in my journal this morning (ok, about 147 seconds ago) on the topic of ‘educational marketing & selling’, it suddenly hit me like lightning:

one of THE biggest reasons why so many people struggle to sell stuff online is … well, there’s a problem with the ‘SELLING’ part.

And the next line in my journal reads:

(Why) is selling needed?

(or, another way of looking at it: why do we believe selling is needed?)

Now, I do have my own answer, but rather than rob you of the opportunity to figure out the reasons why YOU may be struggling with ‘selling’, I’ll leave you to contemplate it;-)

Answer that one question: “(Why) Is Selling Needed?”

Share your thoughts below! Including: where in the top 10 of ‘obstacles to success’ do you see ‘selling’?





  1. Offer people what they already want, where and when they want it and no “selling” is needed. Only a transaction.

    • Detlev, that’s kinda what I had in mind with this post: in an ideal world, what you describe would be ‘normal’: people want something, you have it, they come to you, you shake hands, trade something of value, and everybody is happy.

      So, WHY do we not live in this ideal world? What is missing? WHY does ‘selling’ appear to be the norm/why is it ‘necessary’?

  2. Nothing happens until somebody sells something!
    Think about that for a second. What do you think Adam was selling Eve? Where would we be if he didn’t pull that off?

    I used to sell medical equipment in several different modal. The engineers were under the false impression that they were the ones responsible for getting the train down the track (pardon the obvious metaphor) but we pesky salesmen would always remind them of the fact that their new and better dohicky, needed to be demonstrated and sold on the benefits to the customer before you could get them to dig deeper into their pockets or simply change an old habit. We humans resist change.
    Customers are busy and usually frugal. Someone needs to capture their attention first and then quickly (very quickly) show some serious benefit(s).
    After selling medical equipment, I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of owning and operating a night club. However, I fell far short of the 1.4 million necessary for this venture. So, guess what had to happen next? I had to sell my idea to some investors.

    Nothing, outside of good ole Mother Nature, happens in this world before someone sells something first.

    • Anton, now if that doesn’t open the doors to a good night (ideally at the bar in your club) of heated debate if something/anything in this world happens before someone sells something first.


      PS: do you own & operate a club now?

      • Veit, I owned the clubs from 2003 through 2008. I currently run a business networking organization. This is where I run weekly face to face meetings for local business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs for the primary purpose of giving and receiving referrals from each other.

        The night club business is difficult! At the peak, I had 36 employees, each of them a thief.

        Back to my original point about selling something first…
        If you are in a business where you do NOT have to sell or persuade first, I would argue that you are either selling a commodity or you are competing on price. Only the BIG boys (and girls) get to sell commodities. That leaves using price as a USP, unique selling (I like VALUE here instead) proposition. Bad business model! If you are currently doing this, a day in your life is probably miserable. You are dealing with the least faithful customers/clients on the planet. They will leave you the moment they see a sale down the street.
        That leaves value. Value needs to be understood in order to be appreciated. Therefore it must be explained or SOLD first!

        If you build a business and your customers/clients appreciate the value which you bring into their lives, they will become loyal and even raving fans.
        When I started with my original statement that “Nothing happens until somebody sells something”, I am proving my point now. Some who read that dismissed it out of hand. Others perhaps will read this, and some of them will be persuaded over to my view of needing to sell something first. The caveat being that you are not selling a commodity or competing on price.
        I’m selling…are you buying?

        • haha, doesn’t that sound familiar … “each of them a thief” – precisely what Lucius Carey told me: when he built up his burger-(mini)-empire, every one of his (student)employees … a thief.

          See my response to Les’ comment – THAT’s what I mean by “WHY” (we think) selling is necessary. And yes, I agree with you 100% – if you cannot compete on price in the commodities market, you’re screwed … unless you sell on something other than price – in which case of course you need ‘selling’;-)

  3. I see selling as the number one obstacle because, despite having to first identify the right prospect within a targeted market, before having generate sufficient traffic, nothing happens before the prospect is converted into customer and a sale is made.

    • interesting point, as you’re saying “NOTHING” happens before the sale is made.

      Meaning: ultimately, it’s “a sale or NOTHING” (meaning: only the sale counts).

      is that true?

      and if assume it is true, let’s go back to the original question: (Why) is ‘selling’ necessary? In the sense of: why is it ‘necessary’ – why do we have to sell? Or: why is it not possible to get that ‘SOMETHING’ without having a (salesy?) sale?

  4. Piotr Flakowski says:

    Hi Veit, well as I’ve been just a couple of days ago trained by T.Harv Eker: he is not selling-he is helping his customers.

    • so, using that model, is selling still needed, and if so, why?

      when I look at 99% of the “hey, I teach you how to ‘attract’ clients” coaching crowd, they all don’t walk the talk, and at the end of their sales-funnel, after being all helpful ‘n all, they then dump the bonus & scarcity bomb on you.

      Suggesting: just being helpful and helping people alone isn’t enough. (incidentally, I personally think that’s NOT true (at least to some extent, those who only ever ‘help’ without getting anything in return (aka: getting taken advantage of) are a whole other story).

  5. Hi Veit,
    I don’t see selling as an obstacle at all.

    I don’t really sell. I have a list and let them know what I am using, the results that tool gets me and then they buy it.

    To answer the question, IMHO selling in not necessary at all. Sure, nothing happens until a sale is made etc.

    But, I find that simply being an authority that they trust who seriously over delivers is more than enough so that when you show them what you use they know they need it too and just go get it.

    Your list loves you when you constantly over deliver and only have their best interest and needs at heart.

    Sure, there are some marketers that may out sell me a little. But, the retention rates on my lists make them blush.

  6. Why is selling needed? A very interesting question. If I have a product or service that no-one is aware of, I have to let them know about it. So I suppose to me selling is a combination of informing and persuading. I use to sell advertising for a local newspaper. to “help small business owners see the importance of advertising I use to tell them that being in business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. Only you know what you’re doing. For me, I don’t find selling as an obstacle to success.

    • Les, very good point – if people are not aware of, you need to tell them about it. But, do you need to ‘sell’ them? How do you know ‘they’ actually WANT or NEED it?

      I hope you see where I’m going with this: one aspect is *marketing*, the other *selling*. And (and this is of course just MY opinion) – there’s too much emphasis on ‘selling’, and not enough on ‘marketing’ – and when you do that, selling gets hard, because people’s ‘selling/marketing-BS-meters’ go off the charts, and they don’t WANT to hear yet another pitch…

      • Hi, Veit, I agree with your comment one aspect is Marketing the other is selling. Personally, I think the first thing you need to sell is yourself. I run two offline business. One is an audio and video restoration business, the other an IT business. In My IT Business, I have 12 clients, not a lot I know, but one has been with me for over 25 years (and is worth over $40,000 pa) and the youngest has been with me for 8 years in this time I have only lost 3 customers and all three were due to their businesses closing down. I have always made it a point of befriending anyone I do business with the occasional email or phone call or even visit (a lot of my audio clients are in different states in Australia) I would say that at least 50% of my regular clients I can look upon as friends and they trust me to always do the right thing by them. So in answer to your question how do I know if they want or actually need what I have to offer I guess the answer is I have to know them.
        I started to write this reply to you about an hour ago and got to this point when I had a phone call from a client in NSW some 2000kms away who had a problem and asked if I had a solution to it as it happened I did and fixed the problem for him. Turns out the company He works for has a similar problem and while I was fixing his problem he rang his boss and I have a phone link up with him tomorrow morning (it’s now 9.45pm here) So Veit as you say without actually selling I am about to earn around $3,000 dollars. because of trust.

        • Very nice – did it work out as expected?

          You’ve mentioned precisely one of the key points why I think “selling is (seen as) necessary” in today’s world: because precious few people take the time to build up trust in the first place. Which, when you look at the selling profession is a sign of a true pro (not talking a “slick” salesperson here, but a real pro) – the pros build up TRUST, something the amateurs leave out (whether it’s due to sloppiness, stupidity, carelessness or simply not knowing how, I don’t know) – and because they didn’t build trust (amongst a few other factors) first, they then have to resort to “selling”

          • Hi Veit it actually worked out better than expected. And I agree wholeheartedly with your comments would two of the other other factors be observation and listening?

          • Les,

            now, this is where it gets interesting: listening and ‘active listening’ is of course often listed as one of THE top qualities of a good sales-person, and I agree. Except, ‘listening’ is FAR more than just ‘shutting up and paying attention’.

            The reason is: your brain can only pay attention to what it knows – anything it doesn’t know is basically ‘invisible’ – The best example for this is when you visit a country where you barely speak the language. The few words you know, you’ll hear everywhere, but the rest, well, it’s just a garbled mess.

            Here’s why this matters in practice: if your primary ‘need’ (because a) you’re hardwired that way, and b) you think that’s what required from the conversation) is to come across as ‘knowledgeable’, but your prospective client wants to express their *emotions* about something they’re concerned with, then, well, most couples experience this on a daily basis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg)

            So, yes, I’d say it is “observation + listening” = active listening, but from a much more ‘educated’ perspective than just ‘shutting up and taking notes’ – for this to work, you truly must be able to let go of your own view of the world and walk in the other person’s shoes, at least for a little while.

  7. I am along the same lines as Les. Why is selling needed? Simply it is every comment from above. If you are educating someone, are you selling? Of course the education is based on your viewpoint, so ultimately you are no different than car salesman educating you on what the car has under the hood. Patrick says he doesn’t sell he becomes the authority and people trust him. How do you become the authority? You are selling yourself as the authority. By over delivering value, you are selling them on you. We all sell, all day long.

    • David, funny coincidence (or not?) that the whole post was inspired by an ‘educational’ post.

      My take: if you do the ‘classic’ educational thing as taught by e.g. Chet Holmes, then yes, it’s ‘selling’ – all it is pretending you have your prospects best interest at heart, but it’s almost always crafted in such a way that at the end YOUR thing is THE desired solution.

      The post that inspired this thread here was the opposite: proper education with a nice added twist … they’d already lost anyone NOT interested in the product on the first page

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