Quick. Without using Google, can you guess which personal trainer is worth $200 million and is the 2nd biggest distributor of bison meat in America?

I’ll tell you at the end of this article. You’ll be shocked. You might also be surprised to know that the fitness experts you see on prime time television are worth only 1% of the $200 million trainer’s wealth.

There’s a reason why this discrepancy exists. It’s not because the $200 million man is a better trainer. Being the most highly skilled trainer, doctor, dentist, plumber, dog trainer or jewelry maker doesn’t guarantee you the greatest income. But there is one special skill that brings in the money. And that is the skill of selling.

According to the founder of Early To Rise, Mark Ford, the author of Ready, Fire, Aim, “Selling is the first stage of entrepreneurship…There is a direct relationship between the success of a business at any given time and the percentage of its capital, temporal, and intellectual resources that are devoted to selling.”

Learning how to sell is simple.

It all starts with determining what Ford calls, the “Optimal Selling Strategy” for your business.

Where are you going to find your customers?
What product will you sell them first?
How much will you charge for it?
How will you convince them to buy it?

Picking the right product, Ford says, requires the following 5-step process.

1) Find out what products are currently hot in the market.
2) Determine if your product fits that trend.
3) If it does, you are good to go. If not, follow steps #4 and #5.
4) Come up with me-too versions of several hot products.
5) Improve them in a way by adding features or benefits lacking in the originals.

That’s a simple system. But I must give you a word of warning. You must not let product creation become a bottleneck in your journey to success. I’ve met too many potential success stories that have spent months – even years – in the product creation stage. This is unnecessary. If you’re building an online business, for example, you should be able to finish your product in no more than four days. Spend one day on research, one day on an outline, and two days recording your content or putting it down in a word document. That’s it. Then you must move on to a much more important matter – selling. This is where you need to spend 80% of your time.

Now I know, I know, you “hate selling”.

So did I. But in 2003 I recognized that there was one path to the top of the mountain of success. I could continue on the route that led round and round the bottom of the mountain without making any progress, or I could learn to sell and slowly – and eventually rapidly – climb the mountain of success.

Success in sales means overcoming inner, emotional resistance.

“Money,” as Dan Kennedy explained, “is attracted to the individual operating free of guilt or shame. People with inferiority feelings about their information, expertise, or business activities are at a profound disadvantage. They subliminally communicate their guilt to others and unconsciously sabotage themselves.”

Your success is your responsibility – you must open up your mind to money and fortune. Don’t sweep over the essentials of selling by spending time on frivolous matters like Twittering or ordering new office furniture.

There is nothing wrong with selling your solution to the world because you know it works and you know it changes lives. So why are you so reluctant to sell? (I’ll let you answer that one to yourself…be honest!).

Almost everyone turns a sickly shade of green when you give the advice, “Learn to Sell”. So let me inject a little political correctness into this article. Replace the word selling with “persuading”. You must learn to persuade. (Even though they are the same thing!)

The definition of persuasion:

Cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.
Cause (someone) to believe something, esp. after a sustained effort; convince.

That’s selling. But in a much more politically correct definition, I suppose.

Listen, even Jesus had to sell. First he sold (sorry, “persuaded”) his disciples on going out and spreading his word. Then he persuaded the thousands of people that would attend his sermons on the mount. He sold the beggars and the prostitutes on believing in the word of God. And sure, sure, he had the fact that he could perform miracles on his side, but aside from that “minor” advantage, he was still out persuading every day.

The politically incorrect truth is that Christianity didn’t grow as big as it is because Jesus and his Apostles dropped off a few Bibles at the Holiday Inns across the Roman Empire. It grew through selling (sorry, PERSUADING) people every day to hear and believe the word of God.

Your business, whether it is online or offline, is not going to grow because you dropped off a couple of slick brochures at a local business or pinned up a sales flyer on the bulletin board of your favorite coffee shop. Even writing a few nice blog posts won’t make you money.

You must get over your fear, dislike, and avoidance of selling. You must persuade the world to change.

I’m not exactly sure what is holding you back from making the change, but I can assure you the reason has to do with some sort of internal resistance that you have in your head.

But listen, you must take personal responsibility for everything you do. You must overcome the internal resistance in your life. You must come up with solutions for every obstacle that his holding you back. You must change your mindset. You cannot have self-doubt.

Overcome the resistance, self-doubt, and struggles you are facing by learning to sell. And don’t tell me you are too busy. You need to control your time as much as possible. This all starts with identifying your top priorities, doing only what matters, eliminating wasted time (get better at this every day), and accepting personal responsibility for your life.

Stop doing the things that you should not be doing. You can’t do it all. Pick what you must do the best and focus on that. And if you are starting a new business, then you must make selling your top priority.

Oh, and about that $200 Million Man?

It’s Tony Little. His peers on prime time TV fitness shows are worth only $2 million. Tony is the wealthier trainer because he is the master salesman.

That’s the difference the skill of selling can make in your life.

Decide what you want to achieve, and where you want to be, and then take massive action towards getting there. Start with the coaching. Fix your mindset. And then learn how to sell – and make sure that not a day goes by where you aren’t SELLING and persuading.

It worked for Tony, it worked for Jesus, and it will work for you.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with a web-based business that you can operate from anywhere in the world – including a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or anywhere around the world where there is Internet access. Discover how you can achieve the American Dream and your financial independence here. You’ve never seen anything like this before.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com