Can I sell it?

It takes these two things to make a living marketing and selling online:

1. Something to sell

2. Buyers for it (enough to make the time and effort worth your while)

That sounds really elementary, I know. Many people have something to sell, but have no idea who the buyers are or how to find them. Others hear about all these buyers of this or that type product, and wonder how they can find something to sell them too.

Let’s assume you are:

1) selling something that needs introduction or demonstration. It’s NOT a commodity (something you can buy at Wal-Mart or, say, like a book, an iPod or a DVD); and

2) you are doing direct sales or network marketing – i.e. approaching people directly in person, through email, your blog, etc. (versus having a store or site where they come without direction from you).

Can you sell it?


Answer these four questions about whatever you are selling:

1. Does it define you?
2. Do you have a big fat emotional connection to it?
3. Do you know it or the why of it, thoroughly?
4. Are you completely confident when you present it?

If you answer no to 1 or 2, find something else to sell. Those who might buy will see you’re not really that into it and wouldn’t buy from you. Who buys a really top grade tennis racquet from a person who doesn’t live and love tennis?

You can learn to change 3 and 4.

That’s step one – having something to sell where you can say YES to 1-4 above.

Next – how to find your buyers – assuming there are enough so you might get some.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I don’t know that I necessarily agree with your point about what you are selling you should answer yes to these 4 questions:
    1. Does it define you?
    2. The emotional connection to it?
    3. Know about it thoroughly?
    4. Confidence when presenting it?

    I think you can answer NO to all of them and grow into Yeses’ with some of them. I don’t know that a product you sell ever has to “define you”. And emotions, isn’t that best left at home and not in the boardroom?

    I don’t know, maybe we are thinking on two different thought patterns here.

  • I agree with your line of thought but I don’t really agree that what you sell has to “define” you.

    For example, I have been in the burglar alarm business for more 17 years but I think that it says who I am all. I am good at it though. As far as my emotional connection goes, I don’t really like the security business at all but I can consider myself an expert in the field and therefore have confidence when presenting it. Having confidence is hugely important and so is knowing your product.

    I still think that you bring up some very good points and they should be considered.

    Amy Howard

  • I have sold newspaper advertisement as well as maps, globes and teaching materials to schools, and a few other things – and was bored to tears.

    However, since I have a background in sports, I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition.

    So I much prefer to sell nutritional products, than say insurance. You absolutely would not want to buy insurance products from me, but I can eagerly talk all day long about nutrition.

    So your list of four questions definitely applies to me.


    Eat Well. Live Well.

  • I agree with Fortune Teller. Some of the products I have to offer are not things I personally want to purchase. Lots of other people like them though & isn't that the point? Maybe it depends more on your product line? Food for thought……

  • I completely agree.

    What I find myself personally
    it’s hard to get excited about
    telling others about it, if you do not have the emotional connection.

    My product does define me, I’m all about organic, it’s my passion, I belive in it wholeheartedly.

    I do know alot about it, because I belive in it, that’s what brought me to the product in the first place. This gives me confidence when presenting it.

    For me personally the difference is what I percieve as being a “salesman” or being an advocate.

    Yes I am selling products but I’m not convincing. I’m advocating for the things I belive in, clean water, clean environment, healthy people.

    I am not interested in convincing someone, presenting the product is a natural extension of who I am.

  • Fortune Teller…

    I think about Steve Jobs and Apple. Do the Apple products define him? Does he have an emotional connection to his products? Etc.

    Or the Google founders, all four are true for them.

    If you’re going to become successful (I mean more than $400/mo) and if you are doing direct marketing of special products and programs, you will be marketing them to special people who value those things. Who else will buy?

    That’s why it’s important to BE one of those people – someone who HAS those values and lives by them – because when one of these folks crosses your path, they’ll know if you’re really not into the values, and if you’re just a sales person or an order taker.

    Standing behind a counter or selling from a catalogue where people are coming to you is not the challenge new direct sales people have. Or NMers.

    That challenge is to FIND buyers who will lay out money for something special – which is the nature of the direct selling model. They lay out the extra money because of the values they are defined by. E.g. organic, religious, etc.

    If your values are the same, you’ll have something to talk about even if they do NOT buy from you. Plus they’re a good source of referrals, if your values are shared.

    If your products are not that special, and they compete with those at Wal-Mart, you’re in trouble.

    In that case you will lose out because they can sell it cheaper than you can.

  • Amy —

    When I say someone should answer “yes” to “Does what you sell define you?” I am thinking of people who want to really enjoy what they do, so they’ll keep on doing it and getting better at it, even when sales are not happening yet.

    I believe their chances of success approaching people is MUCH increased if what they sell DOES define them, or is an extension of them. Most direct sales products are specialized and more pricey than the stuff you’d get at Wal-Mart.

    Ergo, it takes a person with certain values to buy it and continue to order it. If they see you do not have those values, I think I for one wouldn’t buy from you.

    The lower the values are that are associated with a product, the more people buy it, and the more likely it is to be at WalMart. Who cares where you buy the book or DVD? Or perhaps even an alarm system anymore? Or what airline you fly?

    But that’s not what Internet Marketers and NMers sell – not usually, anyway. It’s easier to sell environmentally friendly stuff if you use it yourself because the environment matters to you.

    I commend your success in selling alarm systems, even though you say you don’t like it much. I too have done stuff that pays that I don’t like much.

    But why promote that? Assuming people are doing NM because they really want to make a change in their lives and rise above the clutter, doing things one doesn’t like doesn’t make for a satisfying life.

    Doing stuff just for the money is definitely not much fun. Personal choice on what you want from life, though, I agree.

  • I Agree with what this post says: especially with points #1 & #2.
    You have to love your product.
    It has to be something you enjoy, & would be buying yourself if not selling it.

  • Like the post. Good questions to consider.

    I would add to that that it is not absolutely necessary to have it totally define you.

    For example would every car selsman say that he is “totally defined” by cars. No.

    I think it is important to be passionate enough about what you are selling that you don’t get bored and you must believe that it is a great value. Otherwise it will be a tough sell.

    I would also add that if it can be sold offline it can probably be sold online. That is a good way to tell if there are buyers for your whatzit.

  • I agree with all of the points, especially #1 and #2.

    That's why I need to stay in the fitness and nutrition field. I talk about and practice it every day without any money involved.

    Ok, so now I just convinced myself to stop dabbling in other businesses and stick to fitness and nutrition because that defines my values.


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