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How Persuasion Really Works: The Big Secret Behind Two Remarkable Ads
Last Updated December 4th, 2014

Double Your Sales
With This Two Part Training

Part 1: How Persuasion Really Works (You’re Here)
Part 2: 4 Reasons Why People Don’t Buy (Free Ebook + Video)

Is there a secret to selling?

The answer is “YES!”

And it all boils down to one simple idea…

To demonstrate, take a look at these two famous advertisements:

Even though these two companies are selling the same thing, they’re doing it in drastically different ways. In one ad, silence is a sales proposition. In the other, noise is.

Take a look at the headlines:

Advertisement #1

Rols Royce Ogilvy Advertisement

Advertisement #2

Land Rover Advertisement

I know I’m a New York sales and psychology nerd, but there’s a good reason why I’m sharing this with you today.

Write this down. Tweet it. Share it. Quote it.

You can’t make everyone happy. When selling, make
the right people the happiest they can be.

If you’re selling a luxury car to a rich aristocrat, they may value their silence. If you’re selling another car to a dude who likes to rev his engine at a red light, they may value their noise.

The key is to know who you’re selling to and speak their love language.

You might think, “Well, that’s kind of obvious, no?”

And maybe you’re right.

But it’s so simple that most people miss the point. They fail to target the right people and their business suffers.

Decades ago, direct marketers knew the secret to creating great advertisements relied on your ability to appeal to the right people first, and then, later, convincing those people to buy.

And this is lost on business owners today.

I’ll get emails from people like this…

“How could I possibly start a consulting business? I don’t have any credentials!”

But when I press them, they say: “Well, I know what I’m doing, but I just don’t have a piece of paper that proves it…”

This makes me laugh because some people distrust that piece of paper just as much as other people trust it. And knowing that means you can use it to persuade people to buy what you sell.

Double Your Sales
With This Two Part Training

Part 1: How Persuasion Really Works (You’re Here)
Part 2: 4 Reasons Why People Don’t Buy (Free Ebook + Video)

Take a look at what I do as an example…

I openly tell people, “I don’t have a PHD in psychology, so I couldn’t conduct great research experiments like Dan Ariely, Timothy Wilson, and Sheena Iyengar. But what I specialize in is taking their great work in the laboratory and figuring out how it applies to the real world. And I’ve done that for 8 years.”

Why would I discredit myself in the first sentence?

Because I know people view “laboratory experiments” as just that. Things that work in the lab, but not in the real world. Yet, there I am, saying, I don’t conduct lab experiments like the PHDs. Instead, I take their great work and show you how it applies to the REAL WORLD.

It’s subtle and simple, but it’s one of the more advanced marketing and persuasion principles that’s hard to get right.

The bottom line:

Do you see how lack of traditional credentials could actually be a sales proposition as opposed to a sales obstacle?

Now Here’s What I Want You To Do

The next time you come up with a reason why people shouldn’t work with you, take a second and think about how that same reason can become a reason why people SHOULD work with you.

As a matter of fact, let’s do that right now.

What do you sell? List one reason why people wouldn’t buy it. And then use the same reason as a reason why people SHOULD buy it. Share it in the comments.

Spread the love!

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96 comments Leave a comment
Dion Siluch

I used to be in Car sales with Ford. I have to say this is a great depiction of how sales work. Understanding your customer and relating the information they want to hear is our number one skill and it hasn’t changed. However I question the reliability of these photos as the internet is always pumping out fake and photo shopped information but this still gets the point across nicely.

Barefoot Business Mentor

Really enjoyed this article

It is so true that getting clarity on who our ideal clients are enables us to ‘sing’ to them and create more synergy and as a consequence more sales. More ‘happy’ sales with happy clients because they ‘get’ you…

Greg Lyles


Years ago I was a shopping center developer and heard small retailers complain that they couldn’t compete with the “big box” retailers. They simply didn’t have a unique value proposition and lacked the understanding of how to create one and position their business around it.

I work with real estate agents daily who face the same struggles. Without a unique value proposition they are viewed as a commodity – easily replaced by the next agent who comes along.

Keep up the great work!


Hi Derek, let me try to answer your questions: I am a Berlin-based designer who creates unique, textile design objects for windows as an alternative to classic curtains.
The reason why people wouldn’t be interested in my product is because they don’t like the idea of curtains in their home. They think of it as something totally outdated. And this is exactly why they SHOULD buy my product:
People dislike curtains because there is no modern, individual, stylish product on the market. That’s why I invented it myself. I give people what they were actually looking for but couldn’t find.

Leah Drayer

Hi Derek!

Thanks for the great read! I completely agree! and understanding your audience is so important. You don’t have to be an expert you just need to be able to put in the time and do the research in order to match the right people to your product.

Thanks again!
-Leah Drayer


Hi Derek,

Very helpful article! I’m a painter, mostly self tough, I recently quit my job to do art and I started studying at Academy of Art with traditional approach (realism). Although my art is expressive and not realistic at all I thought I needed to improve figure drawing to have more liberty to express and this Academy is a perfect match. I know I will always paint my interpretation of reality, where the emotions and energy plays the main role and not the reality itself. So if someone wants to have perfect painting according to academic rules they should not buy my art πŸ™‚

Kristy Lopez

You are absolutely correct! Targeting the right audience is critical to staying in business. Now, many items (or concepts) can be sold to many different audiences, but the message, as you have described, must be tailored to that audience. This is why we change cover letters to different companies, but still have the same general message, and why computers are being sold to anyone ages 3 and up, and in any profession (or lack thereof).

Bruce Hurley

We have clients who are brand new doctors and they always worry about credibility. We have them turn that around by owning the power that their newly graduated status means that they have access to the latest research, leading-edge technologies, and the highest-level training and education ever offered in the history of the profession.

Their patients won’t be a victim of some pattern of treatment that was relevant decades ago, but they can instead be the beneficiaries of the world’s most effective techniques, which the new doctor is uniquely qualified to offer. Suddenly a perceived detriment becomes a benefit.

    Meredith Laskow

    Bruce, this really hit home for me. Sixteen years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My HMO assigned me to a young doctor who completed her residency only six months prior.

    My mother begged me to go to a more established doctor, and offered to pay whatever I needed. I decided to stay with my original doctor.

    She was compassionate and interactive. She treated me as an equal in all medical decisions, and gave me the information I needed to make those decisions. Never once did I get the “I’m the doctor, do what I say” attitude I’ve sometimes gotten from older doctors.

    I chose a newer treatment that didn’t yet have a track record — and has since been recognized to be equally effective as the old method.

    Looking back sixteen years, I’m grateful to have had a doctor with the latest research and no pre-conceived notions of “this is how it’s always been done.” I could not have had a better doctor, period.

      Bruce Hurley

      I’m using your story (anonymously) to support our young professionals. Thank you so much for sharing this!

        Meredith Laskow

        My pleasure πŸ™‚


Such a great post! I use to struggle with the concept of credentials all the time. There were so many people around me saying I that in order to be considered an “artist” I had to get a Masters Degree, needed to go to take more classes, needed to show my work in a million galleries and be in a million magazines, etc. As if I had to look a certain way in order for people to buy my work, and for a long time I believed that. I was just too stressful trying to be the “right kind of artist” that I just said screw it.

If you are passionate about what you do and it makes people feel awesome, then that is all the credential you need.

    Joshua Powlison

    Hello Kimberly,

    Totally agree!

    Just hearing about those people frustrates me… glad I haven’t run into any like that! I know a lot of talented artists who don’t fulfill either of those criteria.

    For me, being outside of the norm has helped me develop my own ideas, and actually attracted a 10-year company to get me on their team for script writing (they said they’d never seen anyone with my approach).


I do coaching and consulting and a lot of people that come to me do so because I have a skeptical viewpoint about the mainstream both in terms of strategy and the culture as a whole. For example, I attract a lot of people that are NT or NF Myers-Briggs types and see themselves as sort of being “outsiders” or pride themselves on thinking differently from those around them.

So it’s very true what you say, Derek. Being someone that comes at things from an alternative angle from most can be exactly what attracts the right people to you. You won’t attract everyone, but you’ll attract the ones that are going to be a good fit and that’s who matters anyway.

Melissa Toler

I’m a health and wellness coach and I help women stop putting life on hold while they lose weight. I DON’T help people lose weight, instead I help them find out how they break free from all the crazy messages about food and weight loss. One of the reasons someone might not work with me is b/c I don’t give meal plans and workouts. Women SHOULD work with me b/c I’m not another ‘guru’ telling them what they should and shouldn’t be eating. I’m totally different than most health/fitness/wellness coaches who focus solely on weight loss.

Adrian Harper

My 12 Weeks personal training. Why they shouldn’t buy ? Its too expensive. Why they should buy? Its expensive in relation to inferior trainers but they don’t provide a money back guarantee. So if they don’t get the results we set out in their consultation I will refund them their money.

Great blog Derek

Kim McNeil

I sell private yoga therapy to people who are in pain, recovering from an injury, or simply who are intimidated to go to a traditional yoga class. one reason they wouldn’t buy from me is because I don’t have a medical degree or physiotherapy credential. The reason they WOULD buy from me is because they distrust these individuals because their approaches have failed them in the past and are ready to work with someone like me, an alternative approach. I don’t hug trees though so this makes me a friendly, approachable option. Ha!


Great examples Derek. I’ve been thinking about this exact topic lately as I am an intuitive mentor who works on email with my clients (also a writer – ideas express themselves best in me thru writing).
I hesitated to offer email coaching for ages, thinking people wanted phone & in person, but when I finally got up the guts to offer it, I found some of my ideal customers had been waiting for this type of help! They tend to be very introspective & writing helps them get clarity, too. They’re often, but not always, busy moms (& /or working) who struggle to commit to regular (uninterrupted) phone chats, & are so grateful for the flexibility to think, integrate & express on their own schedule. The results they’re getting is blowing me (and them!) away.
I am so grateful for this concept of finding the strength in your perceived ‘weakness’, as is allowing me to offer something truly unique and do business on my terms, in the way that I work best!


I read your article: How Persuasion Really Works: The Big Secret Behind Two Remarkable Ads.
And I have a huge problem… I am selling an online course to Track and Field coaches. One reason why they may not buy from me is because I am young and I have not coached any athlete who has won a major medal… But I really cannot say how this could be spun around for a positive outcome (a reason that they SHOULD buy my course)…. – Even though I am very knowledgeable about what i do…
Any help??


I develop Directors in an International Wellness company whose products compete with major brands in chain and wholesale stores.
We are paid to simply connect shoppers directly to our manufacturer, eliminating all advertising and middlemen.

I am often befuddled at people’s resistance to change shopping habits. This is a great exercise that I look forward to sharing with my team! Am I on the right track? This seems awkward.

If you are not concerned about the hazardous effects of toxins and carcinogens on your family’s health, then you probably wont be interested in our safer, effective products.

Or, if you purchase supplements merely by price, then you may not be interested in our 90 day money back guarantee, or our patented mineral delivery system.

Jen Hill

I am still working on what I really want to “sell.” I have a local TV show, and I tend to think people wouldn’t be interested because it is not big, just in Portsmouth, NH, and I am not a professional or celebrity host. HOWEVER… I think the charm of a local show is attractive, and I bring my passion for healthy shifts and holistic practices to the screen – in an approachable (not intimidating/already famous) way.
I was nervous about commenting, but felt it would help me clarify – and it did! Thanks, Derek. πŸ™‚


Long time reader and fan, first time commenting on your blog. Loved this and definitely resonate with this since I am getting ready to launch my first product next year. My services are designing and building websites for established small business owners/entrepreneurs whose current website is outdated, doesn’t exist or doesn’t reflect their brand. If you are a brand new business owner my services are not for you. If you are considered a large company my services are not for you.

My product is a DIY Website Training for Small Biz Owners/Entrepreneurs that will help you to rock your online presence. If you are WordPress savvy, or have zero interest in learning how to manage your own website, this course is not for you.


I sell and lead travel tours abroad. People shouldn’t work with me because I am not an official tour guide. People should travel with me because I’ve been traveling/living abroad independently for over a decade.

Serene Heng

Love your article, Derek!

I sell design services that solve problems for businesses, refine their marketing communications visually and position them uniquey to gain an edge.

Clients won’t buy from me because their friend’s son’s neighbour, who happens to be a design student, can do it for them.

But, you know what? I’m totally fine with that if they choose to leave their fate in the hands of a fresh and inexperienced design student instead of a professional designer.

Faith Watson

Hi Derek, I’m a marketing copywriter. I help non-writers write, and entrepreneurs market their businesses, brands and blogs–without distress. My audience is a subsection of your larger market. With pen to Zen, I serve those who are stuck, stalled, stressing or guessing about their copy. I am 100% with you on this post, and use/teach the same ideas myself. But I don’t treat myself as my own client often enough, so I thought I’d take this fun challenge. It’s funny (you didn’t mention) that in the first classic Rolls Royce example, David Ogilvy admitted borrowing the headline premise from another ad that ran decades early for Pierce Arrow. Of course, as a legend he is, he made it work perfectly for Rolls Royce. Anyway:

1) One reason people don’t work with me is they’re just starting out online and money is tight for them as bootstrappers. And though I give general advice on the blog for free, I charge money to work with/for them.

2) A related reason these same people might not work with me is that I’m not “big.” I don’t have a large following, a highly rated site, or a known name. Most of my audience follows other online mentors/advisors who also dabble in giving advice on marketing communication, offer constant copywriting tips, and are guesting for eachother in the inner circle, etc. In short, I don’t have the high-profile social proof.

The reason they should work with me is that general advice can’t apply to everyone, and not everyone is skilled at applying it. Your business, messaging and relationship with your audience should be your own–and as a working writer, working personally for every client for 25+ years, I actually transform their writing and create better copy for them, not just tell them ideas about how it’s done. Admittedly, that’s why my own online reach is growing rather slow and sure–because I’m busy crafting copy that works wonders for people who haven’t been able to do it themselves. Client work comes first.

Aurelie Chazal

This article came at the right time for me. I’ve been struggling with focusing on a small target and excluding people while doing that.

I sell a live chat software including video and audio communication in addition to the regular text chat.
There are many reasons to not buy from us: we’re not as established as many of our competitors which makes us a risky choice, our product doesn’t have as many features and we don’t have a lot of customers (social proof). But this allows us to really help each new customer to get the most out of the tool, we provide tailored advice and ideas. Our software is also simple to install and use and new customers will get a big say in the new features we implement.

– Aurelie


At Megacindy.com I sell online salestraining for entrepeneurs.

The reason people wouldn’t buy it is because they think they’re not the sales-kind of people. They don’t like to sell. They don’t feel comfortable in the forefront nor talking about themeselves. And on top of that they think that in their industry ‘selling’ wouldn’t be appreciated.

And the fact that they think this, that they have this mindset is exactly the reason they should buy my salestraining. As I help them to acquire a new mindset around sales. I show them that sales actually can be FUN!
I teach them that sales is not about you or your product but about helping your prospect with his problem or needs.
Plus I tell them that what really isn’t appreciated in any industry is, when you have a great solution to help people, you’re not willing to sell it to them nor making an effort to reach the people that need your product or service.


Greetings from Belgium.

Stephanie Wicker

Hi! I’m a parent coach in Sydney, Aus.

Something I get asked here and there is if I’m a parent. The answer is no! I’m not a parent. However I have been working with children for over 12 years in daycares, schools, development centres, aba centres and homes.

I currently work as a behavioural therapist with children on the spectrum and as a parent coach in Sydney helping families with special needs children reach their goals as a team.

I’m building my online presence through writing blogs, e-books and e-courses (through your zippy courses!) to reach more families and hopefully grow my international client list.

My point is that even though I’m not a parent, I am a parent coach. I love my job! It’s incredibly rewarding. Some days I get questioned by people who doubt my ability only because I’m not a parent. My response is I teach parents tools and strategies that I use every day with children of different ages and developments. The same way that a NFL coach may have never played NFL but can coach a team to the super bowl – I can coach parents to family success!

Sarah Jordan

I sell e-courses for women who want to earn money by teaching hoop dance classes. I also have a related marketing e-course for dancers and suite of online courses called The Hooping Academy.

I do not have any type of fitness certification. What I do have is over 20 years of dance experience. I’ve worked with thousands of kids over the last few years.


I am building up two businesses. One is a coaching business working with mostly women to get clear on what their blocks are and through that finding their genius.

Why people wouldn’t work with me is that I have zero coaching qualifications but what I do have is 65 years on the planet and a ton of life experience. Plus a really good eye for your genius.

The other is a whole new way of group coaching for Forex traders. Why they wouldn’t work with me is that I am not a trader. Why they will is that I am a shit hot group facilitator and can come at their issues with completely unbiased eyes

If you are up for it I would love you to like my facebook page. I am creating 100 likes by Christmas. XX Rosie


Hi Derek, I sell eBooks, and articles geared towards the spiritually/psychically-minded person, and even though; not everyone has such a mindset, I ensure; I include information, and meditation practices, that will help everyone improve their lives.

Wendy Reese

GREAT article and thank you for helping me have an AH-HA moment! I sell freedom from fear and self-doubt. People should buy from me because they’re sick of playing small and they’re ready to shift. I sell a safe place to see you as I see you and remember your greatness. You should buy from me because you want to step into your greatness and live fully. So, who wants to play?

Tova Gold

I create and sell ear acupressure kits you can use on yourself, by yourself, at home. I am a product designer, not an acupuncturist, but my husband is an acupuncturist. He came to me with the idea for these kits and laughed at him. I was like “no way those things work!” And then I tried them. And now I’m basically addicted. There’s a reason Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. They totally work. Based on our sales it feels like maybe I was the last holistic minded person to jump on that bandwagon. I had no idea so many people knew about auriculotherapy.

Pauline Todd

Hi, I am a mobile holistic massage therapist and one reason why people don’t ‘buy my services’ could be due to lack of disposable income for ‘looking after yourself’… or just the idea of treating oneself to a massage when ‘family’ & ‘work’ are a priority..


My design business, Practical Sanctuary, creates spaces that heal.

I don’t have a degree in interior design. What I do have is twenty-five years as a fine artist and seventeen years as a healer; my superpower is walking into a room and knowing exactly what to do to make it feel cozy, inspiring, exhilarating, intimate, or safe.

My healing practice has taught me how to collaborate with clients in order to figure out and give them exactly what they need, as well as an understanding of how vital it is for people to feel good in their own space. Spaces which irritate your nervous system can have cascading effects which lead to chronic illness and pain.

And my artistic chops have taught me how to execute a client’s fantasy environment–such as painting a Zen garden all over their kitchen cabinets– in a way that is effective and tasteful.

    Nelda McEwen

    This is a very interesting comment. Steph, I would like to quote you.

Joshua Powlison

Here’s my other product, a musical for theaters.

(Statement to theaters:)

I’ve never published a musical before and this is my first business. Which means I won’t give you the crap that’s become practice for other script distributors! It also means I’m willing to try new things that provide you with greater opportunities- because hey, I gotta stand out! And, as you’re working directly with the writer who’s passionate about all theater, you’ll get AAA service and passion for your best no matter who you are from somebody who actually knows the product!

(For musicians getting involved (this one I’ve struggle with most, especially with my unique business model):)

I’ve never published a musical before and this is my first business, and I’m just 20. I also am not embedded in the world of musicians much at all. But I’m a creative who’s worked as a writer, graphic artist, animator, and videographer, which means A) I know how much clients who tell you what to do that don’t know what they’re talking about suck and B) I won’t be that guy.

Instead you get artistic freedom from a fellow artist who wants you to have the experience he dreams of. We may be in different fields, but we’re both artists- and I know I want both artistic freedom and to get paid for what I do. Seems nigh impossible to get both, no?

But you have the opportunity for both here, AS WELL AS to join and build a community of other musicians on Facebook- you not only get to work with your passion, you get to share your passion!

Also, as I am publishing this myself and for the first time, I’m not embedded in the ways of other publishing companies. Which lets me do crazy stuff like this! And since I’m only 20, it’s a prime time for experimenting together and seeing what crazy places we can go! I’m not afraid of risk- I can take it, I’m so dang young!

So let’s take it and go crazy-awesome places together!

    Joshua Powlison

    Man, I guess I got a ton of these. For people to support before it’s ready for performance (potential audience members):

    I’ve never written or published a musical before, and never worked under a lead writer. Which means you’re getting something totally different instead of the same old stuff you’ve got from every other writer! I was able to step back and look at the core of a story and what the songs really mean, and craft you a musical based on what makes sense instead of habits of the industry. And the result? Well, so far everybody’s loved it!

    So watch the video! And tell me your thoughts afterwards.

    PS- thanks, Derek, for the place to vent these ideas! It’s super-helpful!

Joshua Powlison

I don’t have a degree in writing and haven’t ever worked under a lead writer in the “real film/theater world”, so I’m able to think freely and provide you with fresh new ideas on the secrets of the core of a story and how we relate to every media that will help you get ahead of the game.

I’ve got one for another project that I’ve gotta process more and will put in another comment.

Sukhneet Singh

Love it!

For our product, we’re bringing world-class security to the people who need it most… That is, the working Americans who can’t afford LoJack.

Most security companies get in the game for the profit margins, selling to the 1%. We’re on a mission to bring that security to the 99%.

Some people don’t care. As I see the inequality in the US grow, it drives me and my team forward.

Thanks for the insight! So in line with Start With Why by Simon Sinek.


Great post! I run a gym teaching group classes and personal coaching. One reason people wouldn’t buy my product is that it’s too expensive…on the other hand, if you invest in yourself by paying a premium, you are more likely to stick to it when things get tough.

Meredith Laskow

First, I find it interesting how many of the comments are from people either in the creative arts or in “alternative” fields. Let me add myself to that list πŸ˜‰

I am an artist selling my jewelry at craft fairs and online. In my online product descriptions, I frequently use phrases like “If you’re looking for the same-old same-old, this isn’t it” or “For the woman who wants to stand out from the crowd.” In person, if the customer says, “This is really different” (which can be either a compliment, or their way of saying that they don’t get it), I always say “Thank you.”

Basically, I’m weeding out people who are looking for commercial trendy product, and emphasizing the artistic value of what I do.

    Aurelie Chazal

    I love this “if you’re looking for the same old, same old, that’s not it”. It’s actually a perfect reversed value proposition for people looking for out of the ordinary product.

    I find it works even better for me to see this negative than to see the positive statement “For the woman who wants to stand out from the crowd.”
    It would be an interesting thing to explore πŸ™‚


I sell business plans that help people get financing to start new companies. If they aren’t looking for any kind of financing then I also offer coaching, but mostly, I sell business plan writing.

So if someone does NOT need external funding to start a business, they should not buy my standard business plan package. They should buy my consulting services instead πŸ™‚

Alex Iglecia

People really shouldn’t hire me to help them leap into a new leadership role while making their most important relationships be epic, because I actually have no coaching certifications or business degrees, nor am I a licensed relationship counselor. Despite the seeming unrelatedness of my degrees in Materials Science from Cornell University and a Masters in Conscious Evolution, Yoga Certifications and more than a decade of Transformational Training, I’ve been successful at creating a magical marriage for myself, bold creations, and helped entrepreneurs and speakers clear the most unrelenting blocks and blindspots to create epic lives for themselves and their customers.


This is so perfect, Derek!! For years, I avoided publishing my books because I didn’t have impressive credentials behind my name. Now I’m marketing my upcoming book using that VERY reason. I accomplished what I did without the formal credentials, which means that my audience (who may not have credentials either) can do it, too!


new idea for advertising…lot of people like this…copy writing is big business


I help entrepreneurs and young professionals develop magnetic personalities so they can create instant rapport, build a powerful networks of friends, influencers and VIPs, and talk to anybody, anywhere at anytime.

Why wouldn’t someone work with me or buy my stuff: I’m a 21-year-old college student, who looks 16 (on a good day), and I’ve only been in business for 2 months.

Why SHOULD people work with me and join my comprehensive courses?
In my 21 short years of life, I’ve worked alongside and been mentored by several masters of closing sales. People that can pick a phone, and with one phone call–just one–extract millions of dollars from other people. You don’t get people to open up their wallet like that without understanding the intricacies of connecting with people on a deep, deep level. To do that, you have to be an influencer. Someone that leaves people begging for more in every interaction. NOT only have I studied under these folks, BUT I’ve implemented their exact systems in my own life and applied it in the real world. Over the course of 13,746 cold calls, 7,245 personalized direct response emails, and 236 face-to-face meetings, I’ve learned the exact communications mindsets, strategies and tactics it takes to instantly connect with people at the highest level. With my tested and proven concepts, you’ll never struggle for things to say in conversations again, be able to instantly attract the right kinds of people into your life, and take your career or business to the next level by having every person you interact with begging you to say more.

    Joshua Powlison

    Hey Robert,

    I’m actually interested in hearing more, where can I find more information? I’m a 20-year old entrepreneur looking to get people onboard some risky business propositions (that I know will succeed with the right people).

Justin Bivens

I was an IT Consultant for nearly a decade. I went through school and received titles such as “Microcomputer Specialist” and “Electronics Technician”. But in IT everyone wants to know if you have an A+ CompTIA certification. Which I did not. I knew more than those who graduated did. But without that piece of paper I could not go very far. Now years later, I am a work from home dad that uses what I learned and have researched to help others make extra income.

Point of comment: Listen to Derek an others like him. It is what you know and can do that matters. Not what a piece of paper says. Find your niche and run wide open everyday!

Find me at: dadworksonline.com


Im beginning to coach on producing content for online training? Why hire me? Ive done over 50 workshops with over a million in revenue. I’ve worked with top education companies and consulted for solopreneurs who are at the top of the online education game. My results show I get what it takes.

Alicia - Live Clean + Get Clear

I am a clear skin coach for young women struggling with acne and other skin conditions. To help these women get rid of their acne naturally and holistically, I sell an ebook, products, and coaching sessions. I am not a medical professional which I thought might deter people at first but I use my personal experience, along with conventional and alternative medical information to put together a tailored clear skin plan for clients with great success! While I am not a dermatologist, this is actually a pro for a lot of people who have not had success with the conventional approach to clear skin. Instead of just treating the symptom, I help them get to the root cause of their skin issues. Just goes to show you that your biggest ‘weakness’ can be your biggest strength! Thanks Derek, this was a great reminder of that!


Love this concept! I’m a copywriting coach for holistic business owners. A lot of people might balk at working with me because they believe that writing your own copy is a big, frustrating task that they can easily outsource to someone else. The flip side of that, however, is that outsourced copy often dilutes your voice and your brand. It’s not authentic. The reason to work with me, then, is that I take the frustration out of things, simplify the process, and help people express authenticity in their writing (which is really hard to achieve when outsourcing it). Thanks for the amazing content, as always, Derek.

Dave Bross

Side note + story:

The Land Rover ad was done by Howard Gossage as sort of a send up of the Rolls ad.
Gossage did it with Ogilvy’s blessing (he checked with him) and Ogilvy thought it was quite funny.

Which brings us to pointing out that Howard is someone to have a look at if you’re inclined to learning from history and might like some deep thought on creativity, ads, life well lived, etc.
He was an amazing character.

The best source is “The Book of Gossage” which is out of print and a bit pricey .


I’m an event planner who works with a lot of DIY event hosts. If someone loves DIY, why would they hire me? Because I have the expertise of a planner, and the non-bias opinion to tell them the truth about their DIY projects (and why they actually can’t or can get them done). I help people create realistic timelines, projects, and budgets. After our work together, they can take my know-how and run with it!


What I’m selling on my website right now is a weekly meal plan for people following Tim Ferriss’ version of the slow-carb diet. Why wouldn’t people buy from me? Because I’m still fat.

Why would they buy from me? Because I’m in the trenches with them, trying this thing out myself. I’m not like the other weight loss coaches online who never had to deal with their own weight loss telling you what to do. I’ve been there with you, and I can tell you what’s worked for me and what hasn’t. While I’m still overweight, I do have personal results with to prove that what I’m sharing works.


Sharon Jackson

I build websites for people. Typically, they are beautiful to look at, easy to navigate, have lots of white space and I provide training. People might not want to hire me because I am not an expert in SEO, I just do the basics. The reason why someone WOULD want to hire me is because they will get a great website and then I will point them in the direction of an SEO expert. They then get the best of both worlds.

Lizzy Love

I sell art on Etsy, I use to only sell my original art, art prints, art dolls and some other stuff like hand painted bags, wallets, cell phone cases, tshirts, I have a signature style that I can put on anything and make it work and I did ok like this. PROBLEM – I noticed that A LOT of the people shopping on Etsy are other Etsy sellers/Artists and they dont want to buy my art because they make their own art. SOLUTION – Now I sell my designs as Digital Stamps and the people who buy them are other artists/Etsy Sellers that want to use them in their own artwork. My business has improved exponentially since launching the digital stamps in my store. I am still selling all of the same stuff that I did before and the digital stamps, however I am selling to 2 different customer bases so I have my mailing lists separated in 2, one mailing list is for digital download customers only and the other mailing list is for my customers of everything else as well as people who add themselves to this list. I style my mailings differently for these 2 lists as if I sent the same campaign to both groups I would most definitely be hit with unsubs from both sides, designing the campaign to target each list individually makes unsubs a rare occasion. I believe this to be a good example of what you are talking about.


    That’s a really great idea and I’m getting ready to sell on Etsy.. so hearing your story has helped tremendously. All the best in your business.

Lauren Rader

I offer creativity/art classes & also sell my own paintings.

Classes are for people who want to explore their own creative expression – not for those who want me to give them rules or my expectations.

My art is for anyone willing to see with their eyes and their heart, but not for those who are closed…

Thanks for the opportunity!


I sell e-courses teaching people how to formulate their own cosmetics – for thrift or profit.
I do not have a degree in cosmetic chemistry – so why should people trust me?

The fact that I do not have a degree and can show you how easy it actually is to do this, shows that you too are perfectly capable of doing this for yourself from your own home.

Theprofit margins in this industry are notoriously high, so people are very secretive and possessive about their formulas.

Nelda McEwen

This was a really excellent brain primer. I am a Medical Intuitive. The why not is obvious. I am outside the ‘box’ and have no straight science ‘creds’.

Why people buy my services is that I am out of the ‘box’, which means I don’t have to play by the rules; I don’t have to buy in to any diagnosis, or treat people like lab rats. I have only one concern; to meet the need of my client. I don’t have to make any regulatory body happy.

In conclusion, I have to say that what I learned from you Derek, is that I am quite a specialist in ‘Creative Disobedience’. Thanks so much.

Helen Richards

I am about to start a Teaching English Online Business. I don’t have a website yet, never mind a Teaching qualification, nor have I taught online before. So, no qualification and no experience. Plenty reason for not succeeding.However, I am a native English speaker, love all languages, am very motivated and believe I will be successful, following all successful online teachers and what they do.I had a dream to live in Crete and be able to support myself financially and this is exactly what I am doing. I am constantly educating myself and with help from people like you, I can only be a winner…..Thanks!

    Brian Watt - Integrant Services

    Crete is beautiful! I can’t blame you for wanting to live there!

      Helen Richards

      I love it, apart from the weather and the beauty of the island, the people of so kind and giving and very hospitable….

Gwen Gayhart

This was the exact concept I taught my recruiting team as a Talent Acquisition Director. I showed them a photo of a paper job post stuck on a telephone pole that began with the headline “Nerds Wanted…”. I pointed out that the RIGHT people, the people that we wanted to hire would not be offended by this but would, in fact, “get it” and even be more likely to be interested. One of my team (trained in old-school recruiting, of course) replied that some of the senior-level IT pros we had in process WOULD actually be offended by such an ad which, of course, offered me the perfect opportunity to drive the point home: to note that the ad wasn’t for a senior level position, so we wouldn’t WANT the people she had referenced to apply.

Now for your “assignment”:
I have just wrapped development of an online course that instructs jobseekers how to use consultative sales process & LinkedIn to get their dream job, but the overarching theme of the material is to refuse to play by the current job search rules that were created and are maintained by the recruiting “machine”.

Both now and back when I was a sales coach, the most common objection people have given was that I didn’t have a long, storied sales career or a list of multi-billion dollar accounts I had closed…all the things that people expect – and hate – about both salespeople & sales trainers. I point out that they are absolutely right. But then walk them through what I had done with my clients in every session as a psychotherapist:

Step 1: Built rapport, develop the relationship (clients won’t tell me anything if they don’t like or trust me)

Step 2: Dig deep, asking difficult questions to find out “what hurts”…in other words, establish the need

Step 3: Summarize what I heard them say to confirm “what hurts”. Then describe the plan I am proposing to solve the problem (it was called a treatment plan and was required to be signed within the first session in order to get paid by insurance).

Step 4: Confirm their agreement with the plan as described (or make adjustments with them, as necessary), have them sign the plan and then make their next appointment.

I never failed to get the “a-ha!” look as I described that it was PRECISELY because I HADN’T been a salesperson that I could show them how to SOLVE PROBLEMS, which makes them that much more desirable & appealing to employers & prospects alike.


I sell Public Relations. Public Relations is not a ‘money-making’ function, but when you’re building a strong and lasting brand, making money is only a reflection of the relationships you are building along the way. #RethinkPublicRelations

Aleta Pippin

I am an abstract artist and my gallery is focused on abstract art. Many viewers/collectors aren’t comfortable with abstract art. They prefer something they can identify. The nice thing about abstract art is that it’s an emotional art form and as such, allows the viewer/collector the opportunity to turn inward and to bring their personal perspective to view it and complete the message the art is imparting.

Gabe Johansson

Excellent article, Derek!

I’m selling my fitness ebook sharing my journey and the tips that I applied to reach my own goals, as well as evidence based training and nutrition strategies.

I’ve had people tell me they don’t think the methods will work. I then tell them that I understand how they feel. Several people I’ve worked with felt the same way at first, but what I’ve found is that when people take the information and apply it over time, they get great results.

In fact, one person I’ve worked with went from bench pressing 95 pounds to 175 in under 6 months, using the same methods. Another person went from squatting the bar to 205 pounds while losing body fat in a few short months, using my strategies.

Relating to them and sharing a few testimonials has helped increase downloads quite a bit. The fact that the ebook is free helps quite a bit too πŸ™‚

Gotta say, I love that Rolls-Royce ad!

-Gabe Johansson


I sell mind-hacking transformation from the inside out disguised as Zen Life Coaching. The reason people WOULDN’T buy from me is because I spent 14 years training as a monk in a Zen Buddhist Monastery and so I have no coaching, consulting, or psychology credentials to show anyone. The reason they SHOULD buy from me is because I have proved over-and-over through the results my clients have reported that what I do is better than any therapy, consulting, or professional coaching around. Because I have used what transformed my own life as a way to help others go deep within themselves to transform their own lives. πŸ™‚

In lovingkindness,


Great stuff, Derek!

Here’s an ad I love of someone selling a Jeep in a rugged tone: http://swiped.co/file/jeep-ad-from-craigslist/

Bunch of Ogilvy ads there too: http://swiped.co/person/david-ogilvy/



    Steve, that Jeep add rocks! Wow..that list was nuts.


      I know, right?! Wonder who bought it. I’m sure they left his driveway feeling like a bad ass haha

connie curtis

I am a food and gluten allergy coach. One reason wont buy is I can find all the information on line that they think they need to switch their lifestyle. One reason they will hire me is because I can guide them through the basics and they dont have to google every thing or end up guessing and other things come up when you start switching your lifestyle so I can ask questions on how they would take action in a situation or ract.

Brian Watt - Integrant Services

Integrant Services “Enables technology so YOU can get down to business”. We provide support to small business owners, including WordPress setup, transfer, maintenance, and graphics design. If you prefer to do your own WordPress updates, backups, installation, and configuration, our services aren’t for you. However, if you’d rather concentrate on doing what you ENJOY doing, we manage the technology for you.


I use this idea in our copy. I run an online yoga studio, and market it as “we are not a multi-million dollar California vibe studio.”

This differentiates us from the competitors and makes people feel we are more accessible, more of a community.

Mark Oelze

Thanks for your encouragement Derek! I sell people training on the essential progressive stages to process all conflict big or small in a manner that is governed by love. I don’t have the big degree either (a Ph.D) – just a Masters Degree in Biblical Counseling. I tend to think many people might not look highly on that. BUT actually I have a Masters Degree in an area of study (the Bible), written by a person (God), who invented communication – and this has given me the assurance of a method I have trained hundreds to use that surpasses any method out there and is HUGELY successful!

Thanks again – I love your message today!


I like this Derek! Very Interesting! So for your challenge: I am a designer of beautiful yet quirky, out-of-box inspirational invitations, stationery and greeting cards. So one reason a person may not purchase from me is because my designs are not for the traditional-minded. I create designs that are for agnostics, atheists, spiritualists, “big-eyed aliens” lol, cultural expressions, pretty much the unconventional. Some people may get turned off because of their views. However, people ( and ET beings out there..lol) may purchase my artwork because I am speaking from the heart for them who really don’t have a voice in the stationery world. So instead of creating Christmas greeting cards, I create “Be a beacon of light and love to the world” cards.. πŸ™‚

That was great! Whoa, I have laser focus now… Thanks Derek!


Ok, so I sell solar panels, and the one reason I have heard often, for not covering a roof with solar panels, is that they are ugly and spoil the aesthetic value of the house, and I say; yes, they do change the appearance somewhat, but when people see your ugly roof, they will assume that you are a conservationist, therefore will not see the ugliness, and will only have praise for you for your effort in attempting to save the world by reducing your carbon footprint.


    Excellent plan…turn the “ugly rooftop” into a social badge of respectability and responsibility!

Von at VonBlancoFitness.com

Great piece here, Derek.

I have an online personal training/coaching program in which I train dozens of clients from all over the world.

One reason why people wouldn’t hire me: my program consists of only a 3 day workout routine with no additional cardio protocol.

With that said, I work mainly with individuals who dislike doing cardio and have busy lifestyles and can only work out a few hours a week.

– Von

    Aurelie Chazal

    That’s a perfect example. When I read your proposition I thought, “how is 3 day protocole” a bad thing?
    I see I fall right into your target audience but now I also see how others would consider that a minus.


      Von at VonBlancoFitness.com

      Exactly! πŸ™‚

      – Von

    Wendy Reese

    So you sell customized workouts to people who are focused on maximizing their time and workouts?

      Von at VonBlancoFitness.com


      I sell a coaching program for people who would like to simplify their fitness. My typical client is someone who’s tried everything training related (P90x, Insanity, a personal trainer, etc) and nutrition related (low-carb diet, Paleo, Atkins, etc.) but can’t seem to get the results they’re looking for. The problem is usually a lack of consistency because of analysis paralysis.

      – Von


    Perfect! This is a great example of knowing your target market and their needs! Thanks


“Seth, creating change can’t be that simple…” Biggest reason why people don’t buy and also why they should.

Killer article Derek. Always a good reminder to qualify and get people to say no quickly so that we speak to the right prospect.

Hadarah Batyah

What do I sell? Digital downloads of original Hebrew Roots Music. Or at least I will be once it’s on iTunes in a few days and I do the launch πŸ˜‰ To your challenge: One reason why ppl may not want to buy it is because it’s already available for free on youtube. But a song that’s only on youtube can often be inconvenient because the listener is required to be online and if they want to repeat the song they have to click the replay button again and again. One reason people will purchase the digital download is so they can have more control over when and how often they want to listen to the music from wherever they are. And they also know that it’s going to be music they love, cause they’ve already heard it on youtube! So when they invest in the music they love, it helps the artist who makes the music to be able to afford to record even more of what they love. Happy people all around. Thanks for the fun exercise Derek!

    Wendy Reese

    I love your point on helping the artist. By buying they are helping in a small way to make the music.

Elizabeth Heck

Thanks Derek. Always love your posts. I manufacture facial skin care products. I’m not a dermatologist or an aesthetician, but I am an herbalist and I thoroughly understand botanical ingredients and how to formulate with them. This makes me better at creating truly natural products.

    Derek Halpern


Adam - Sexy Confidence

I sell dating advice for women and the one reason they wouldn’t buy it is because they are HAPPY with their current dating life. It’s something I say in all my sales letters “If you’re totally content with your current path and the men you are meeting – then DO NOT BUY!” Sounds obvious, but it’s important and very effective.

    Wendy Reese

    What’s interesting is how many women don’t believe they CAN feel satisfied, so they still with “this is how it is” and “all the great ones are taken.” Don’t you sell magic, love, and romance? Don’t you sell opportunities for healthy, authentic relationships?

    Derek Halpern

    That’s a great example of excluding people who you DONT want buying your stuff.

      Vincent van der Lubbe

      It’s also a clever rhetorical device: it implies that if you are not totally content, you should buy… By doing it this way, the reader fills in the gap which makes it more powerful I assume.


Very interesting what you said, I believe ours too, you do not need to be a content marketing expert to work with marketing, just grab what worked for people and apply to your business. You have two ways of learning, 1) alone, 2) with others, I prefer to others.
Thank you.

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