The Secret of Selling Anything

“The Secret of Selling Anything” by Harry Browne teaches us that all action has to be beneficial for all parties involved. We get what we want only after we’ve helped others to get what they want.


            No matter the environment or the medium, everything is about selling.

We sell

an image of ourselves to the people around us

sell our professional profile to the employer we wish to impress

the idea of happiness to our children and family…

Selling is not about the product, or the seller, or the buyer, but about the act of negotiating the best terms for both parties involved. 

            “The Secret of Selling Anything” is a compilation of two unpublished manuscripts: “The Secret of Success” and “Selling is Easy”. It was written by Harry Browne in 1966 and 1969.

            The technique developed by Harry Browne is as applicable today as the day he tested it. 

             Unlike most salespeople, Harry Browne was an introvert. His goal was to demonstrate that you don’t need to be a talkative, extrovert, and pushy to get a sale. According to Harry, “selling is easy”.

            The manuscript is the result of his daily practice.

Harry walks you through the process he had been applying in his own sales life.

            Eugene Schartz , one of the greatest copywriters points out in  Breakthrough Advertising” the same concept supported by Harry Browne.

 You cannot instill a desire to buy when no desire was previously.

People have desires. What you have to do is find out what those desires are and appeal to them. 

            The idea is transparent in Harry Brownes sales theory.

The salesman is in the wrong when he thinks he will convince people to buy something they don’t need or want. So, instead of talking and making compelling arguments, the first thing you need to do is listen. That is the key to everything.

The first step is to find the prospect’s motivation and appeal to it. You can only do that by asking and listening. Don’t worry about going through a set of questions. Even if, before a meeting, you might have something prepared, your goal should not be to go through a list blindly but to get the other person to talk. Your job is to let the person in front of you reveal what his problems are and make sure you are ready to listen.

Harry Browne has a common point with Dale Carnegie. In his book, “How to make friends and influence people”, Dale Carnegie talks about one crucial element of success: “find out what people want and give it to them.”

Harry understood that principle quite well.

People will appreciate you more, he says, if you didn’t try to sell something they don’t want or need. If you can’t do anything for them, refer them to somebody who can help.

Honesty is the best policy in every human interaction.

Bullying your way in is not the solution because you can only do it once. 

Once you know your product is what the person needs, you can start to present your product.

  1. Don’t stretch the truth.
  2. Be honest.
  3. People will find out if there is something wrong with it, so you might as well point possible issues from the beginning. 



If you make your sale through dishonesty, you will only make it once.

Moreover, people talk to other people, which means that your reputation is also at stake, and that’s something you don’t want to jeopardize.


Move on to asking and answering questions

A lot of salesmen try to avoid truthful answers to questions. 

It’s alright when people ask you questions. You are the one who knows your product the most.  

It can be an indication that you haven’t presented everything about your product, or, they want to make sure that what you’re offering is the right solution for them.

They might also want to take you for a ride and get information from you to get another offer from somewhere else. All these are risks that you have to take.

Everything in business and life is a risk, and you cannot start with the assumption that everybody wants only free information.

Don’t be afraid to address any doubts. It’s normal. A lot of salesmen tend to forget that they, too, are customers on a daily basis, and they appreciate people, who have their best interest at heart.

The process Harry Browne takes you on is pretty simple. It does require planning but it’s mostly also common sense.




People love to talk about themselves and their problems.

Learn to ask the right questions, and people will tell you what you need to know.

That advice is useful not only in business but in every relationship we establish.

We tend to talk because we want to impress the people around us, when in fact the key is to let others talk.

That doesn’t take away from your light, it just adds to it and people will love you for it. 

Just as Chris Voss, former FBI negotiator says in his “Never Split the Difference”: both parties have to come to a mutually beneficial solution. It’s not about I win and you lose. It’s about both of us being happy in the end. 



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The secret of selling anything


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  • Impeccable description of the process
  • The logic flows naturally as does the process
  • The emphasis on finding mutually beneficial solutions


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