How to Sell Without Selling by Charlie Page

How To Sell Without Selling

Over the years I’ve had many a member worry that they were not good enough “salesmen” or “saleswomen” to make money online.

It’s an understandable thought, but the truth is different.

While there is absolutely an art to persuasion, in most cases being a Zig Ziglar level salesman is not necessary to make money online.

Let’s talk about how to sell without selling and how one of the greatest ad men ever did just that.

One of the greatest salesmen to ever live was David Ogilvy.

Starting out as a chef in Paris, he eventually moved to New York and founded Ogilvy & Mather, one of the most profitable advertising agencies in the world.

Here’s the thing about Ogilvy; for all his selling prowess most of his ads were statements of facts.

Just look at his world-famous Rolls Royce ad, pictured on this page. It’s a headline, sub-headline and 13 points of fact.

This way of writing ads still works today!

If you are worried that your selling skills are not up to the job, or just hate the idea of “selling” on principle, here are proven ways to sell online … without selling!

Make sure your ad copy (be that a solo ad or sales letter) includes the following.

A compelling headline

The headline can be simple. The headline has one job and one job only, to get the reader to read the ad.

To do that you can state the main benefit of your offer (lose 10 pounds in the next 14 days) or create curiosity (as in the Rolls Royce ad).

If you are tempted to make a headline long, follow this guideline – keep your headline to under 17 words.

The “under 17 words” guideline has been proven in testing to be highly effective.

Some of the best headlines ever were much shorten than 17 words, so don’t feel that you need to use 17 words.

If you need help writing headlines please refer to my article on headline writing here.

A real world reason why

Your prospective customer cares about one thing. They care about what’s in it for them.

  • How will they benefit from what you offer?
  • How will their life be better if they buy what you sell?

The key here is to make the reason why they should buy be both realistic and highly desirable.

[social_quote duplicate=”yes” align=”default”]Knowing the reason why a customer should buy is the first step to creating a great ad, and it’s something you can do in less than five minutes.[/social_quote]

Here’s how.

  1. Make a list of how a person’s life would change if they bought the product you are promoting and the product worked to its maximum effect.
  2. Prioritize the list, putting the most valuable benefit at the top of the list.
  3. Make that #1 reason your “reason why” in the ad you write.

If you do this with all the products you promote your sales should increase almost immediately.

The reason for this is that you will be speaking in the language your customer understands best. You will be telling him or her what’s in it for them.

And that is what they really want to know.

A list

People love lists. Love ’em. So be sure to use lists in your sales copy.

Notice in the Rolls Royce ad how Ogilvy used a simple list to sell the product?

His ad is basically a list of reasons why the car is superior and why you will love owning it.

But he does not beat the reader about the head and scream out benefits in 36 point type.

No need for that.

He simply states the facts and leaves it to the reader to come to the conclusion that they want what he is describing.

This is a powerful, and effective, selling technique. Plus, it respects the reader because he is not telling them what they want but rather letting them choose.

And we all want to choose for ourselves, right?

A call to action

Finally, you need a call to action. So let’s talk about that for one moment, and let me share some guidelines.

First, what is a “call to action”?

It’s that place in your ad where you ask the reader to take an action, like “click here to learn more” or to buy.

There are many ways to do that, enough so that I will save that for another article. This one is getting long enough as it is! 🙂

Here are some guidelines.

  • If your ad is under 200 words, you can use one call to action to get the job done.
  • If your ad is more than 200 words you want to have a call to action once every 200 words.
  • Start your calls to action with an active word. “Click here to learn more” is okay but “Start saving on your car insurance is better.

These are guidelines, not rules. But they work so give them a try.

Writing great ad copy is an art, no doubt there. But far too many people believe they can’t write great ads because they don’t have the gift.

Nothing could be farther from the truth

Ogilvy started as chef, then sold stoves door to door, then entered the advertising business at age 38.

He learned how to write great ads by trial and error. In the process, he earned a fortune and built a huge business.

The good news is we don’t need a fortune or to build an Ogilvy & Mather. We just need to make a high six figure income and enjoy our lives. 🙂

Doing that, and serving others while doing it, now those are beautiful things indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

Charlie Page

Happily married for 45 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and creator of over 40 membership sites. You can see all Charlie offers using this link Click Here

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments

Hey Charlie, I read everything you write and you still have me enthralled each time. The RR is a great add and a great example. Headlines yes, Points yes, lists yes and yes to your blog.

Thanks Mark M

    Charlie Page

    Thanks Mark. I am always encouraged by your comments.

Gordon Appleby

Excellent article, Charlie. I love your “finding the customer’s reason why” exercise. It creates the foundation for writing compelling copy that causes your reader to buy…for his sake, because you can now create a vivid picture of how his life would change for the better once he’s the proud owner your product. And that list of how his life would change would be a pretty good list to include in your copy. Spell it out for him. You’re right, lists are very powerful.

That exercise also help uncover the “benefits of the benefits of the benefits”. Now we’re at the place where buying decisions really take place. No one actually buys a product, do they? We all buy a hope, a solution to vexing problem, a chance to be better or do better for ourselves or our family, or way to eliminate pain or realize a dream. Shame on us if we cheapen ourselves by selling a product we don’t believe in. But if do believe in that product, selling at this level becomes very easy and very effective…with practice, of course.

BTW, Dan Kennedy is another guy that was self-taught, so I agree with you that we can all learn to be effective ad writers…with a little practice, of course.

Good luck to us all.

On a lighter note, I don’t suppose that Rolls Royce is still available for the price in the ad…$13,995! One can hope :-).

    Charlie Page

    If you could buy that Rolls for that price you would have something special. They cost a bit more now, don’t they?

    Here’s an interesting fact – Ogilvy quit the Rolls Royce account a few years after this ad because Rolls shipped 500 cars to America where the quality was low. Imagine quitting a paying account that loves you and for whom you created a classic campaign. That is integrity.

    I love what you said here.

    “Shame on us if we cheapen ourselves by selling a product we don’t believe in.” Amen to that! I’m actually teaching a course on choosing products and integrity plays a big part.

    And here …

    “But if do believe in that product, selling at this level becomes very easy and very effective…with practice, of course.”

    So true. Ziglar said this “If you really believe in your product then you have an obligation to sell it as vigorously as possible.” I paraphrase him but that is the essence. Selling does become easy and it becomes a passion, almost a “must do” because of your belief.

    Always great to speak with you in this way. Have a great day.


anna loredana

You know I like what you do, unfortunately I cannot afford it. You have to know this detail
because you can decide it to continue to keep my mame in our list or not. Because I am no more
than a name in a list, this is the modernity of autoresponders. Well, I do not like to deal with
an autoresponder. With all my sympathy.

    Charlie Page

    Interesting comment. It is indeed impossible to have a personal one-to-one email connection with tens of thousands of people without using an autoresponder.

    But you are not just a name on a list to me. I respond to every inquiry that comes my way, and approve all comments personally.

    I’m not sure to which product you refer when you say you cannot afford it, but Common Sense List Building is currently (as I write this) only $20, discounted to people on my list from $147.

    I have been in the place where I could not afford $20. If you are there I feel your pain. If you mean another product let me know, or if I can help you reply to this and let me know.

    Also, I would never take anyone off a list because they did not buy. That is not in my character. I have subscribers who have literally been on my list for over 5 years and never bought a single product from me. I share openly, regardless of whether someone buys or not.

    Thank you for your comment.


Gary Hogan

Thank you Charlie – A good startting point of thoughts – Gary

    Charlie Page

    There is more to say – just didn’t want to write a book. 🙂



A big thank you. As always, very good content.

Thank you.



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