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How To Sell Without Selling

Sales usually get a bad rap. That is because there are salespeople out there that spend their time trying to persuade people to spend money on things that they don’t want or need.

But that is not the only way (or even the best way) to sell.

And I know it sounds kind of paradoxical, but the best way to sell a product is to NOT sell it.

Imagine a Man With a Flower Stand Imagine you are walking down the street and a man with a flower stand calls out to you:

Buy a flower! It will make you happier! It is only 5 dollars for a 3 flower bouquet!

Would you buy a flower? I probably wouldn’t.

I don’t need a flower, I don’t want a flower, and I really haven’t been convinced that it will be a good use of money.

So on the whole, not the most effective approach.

Let’s try again.

Now imagine you are walking down the street and a man with a flower stand calls out to you:

“Good morning! How are you doing today? I love that shirt, it kind of matches the colors of these chrysanthemums. Would you like one?”

Would you buy a flower? I probably would.

But even if I didn’t buy a flower then and there, the chances are greatly higher than the first scenario. Why?

Because I felt as if my life mattered to the second flower-man. I felt as if he cared about me more than just for a purchase.

But while these two hypothetical situations are interesting, let me show you a real world example as well.

What Does People-First Sales Look Like? It was only a couple minutes after I had first checked out the Praxis website and downloaded the program guide when I got an email from Mitchell Earl.

And while I the email was entertaining enough, I will spare you the pain of reading the entire thing by simply sharing the most important snippets.

I think I read this email over 3 times before I continued on with my day. Why? Because I was struck by three things within the email.

  1. HumorThis is Mitchell from the Praxis team. (Well, technically, I had to automate this email to keep up, but I did write it and I will write back if you reply.)

  2. My Own NeedsThe fact you’re here must mean you’re looking for answers to some big important questions.

  3. And Other OptionsOur program just might be a good fit for you.


While I read this email, I knew that Praxis was trying to get me to apply to the program, but emotionally, I did not feel sold to.

And while the first 2 points are important, the third point is what stood out to me the most.

Similarly to the hypothetical with the second flower-man, I felt as if Mitchell, and Praxis, cared about me more than just how much I would pay to be part of the program.

Just the word ‘might’ showed me that while Praxis was interested in how I could be part of their program, they were more concerned about helping me get the best educational experience possible, whether through Praxis, college, or something else.

Praxis sold to me without selling by demonstrating their interest in my life outside of the product they were trying to sell.

Where To Go From Here So, what next?

Well, next time you are trying to sell something to someone, ask yourself:

  • Is this conversation transactional or genuine?

  • How many questions have I asked to learn more about the person I am talking to?

  • Am I more concerned about making a sale than helping a person?


Know that it can be intimidating to try to sell something by NOT selling it, but trust the process.

For the most part, selling by showing interest beyond just money is a game-changer in the long run.

Because even if I hadn’t decided to be part of the Praxis program, I would have been much more likely to recommend Praxis to a peer because of their genuine and thoughtful approach.

And that is how you sell without selling.


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