How to Sell Anything To Anyone

…in just one easy step.

Make something people want to buy.

Five years ago, when I first got to Yahoo, I was excited. All my life I’d been selling media… sometimes I failed slowly, other times I barely succeeded. I was pretty good at it, if you compared me to everyone else in the field, but it was by no means easy.

The Yahoo guys were different, though. Where it took my staff and me months or even years to make a million dollar sale, Yahoo’s salesforce was doing five or ten million deals every week or so. They knew the secret. They were supertalented, highly trained and very, very motivated.

So, now I was at Yahoo, playing for the winning team, and I was invited to go along on a sales call. I was vibrating in my shoes in anticipation.

You’ve probably already guessed the punchline. It was one of the single most inept sales presentations I’d ever seen. A lousy powerpoint. A non-charismatic, non-empathetic salesperson who faced the wall and read the fine print on the slides aloud. At the end of the presentation, he mumbled something about being able to take a check.

A few minutes later, the prospect handed over four million dollars.


Sometimes it seems like the very best stuff sells itself. That explains why some car dealerships have waiting lists and sell stuff for a premium, while others look like ghost towns.

Sometimes, salesmanship is overrated. What matters more is real marketing, marketing that involves making the right product, not hyping it.