The World’s Most Valuable Skill

If you want to be wealthy, I’ve mentioned (in past messages) the four things you absolutely must do …

1. Master a financially valuable skill.

2. Develop a high income.

3. Invest conservatively in other businesses.

4. Invest aggressively in a business you know.

Today, I’d like to talk about THE most valuable skill you can have – and share with you some of the secrets I’ve learned over the years that can help you become very good at it, very quickly.

On the road to wealth, developing a financially valuable skill is the most important step. It’s the foundation upon which every other step is based.

What is the world’s most valuable skill? Simple: the ability to sell. Not just products and services – but ideas, concepts, and beliefs.

You know it as well as I do, in any organization, power moves inexorably to those who are persuasive. This is true for every business in every country in the world.

What matters is that you have a way to convince people (your boss, colleagues, customers, investors, etc.) that your ideas (and your work) are worthwhile.

I’ve identified a few fundamental secrets of selling over the years – a few tricks of the trade. And that’s exactly what I’m going to share with you right now.

I can’t give you all my secrets in this one message, but I can give you the basics behind every great piece of salesmanship.


#1. People don’t like the idea of being sold.

#2. People buy things for emotional, not rational, reasons.

#3. Once sold, people need to satisfy their emotional decisions with logic.

Let’s look at Rule #1: People don’t like to be sold. On the face of it, this doesn’t make sense. Every year, trillions of dollars worth of goods and services are bought and sold … billions through the mail alone. Think about your friends. Many of them, no doubt, love to shop.

People like to buy things. But they don’t like to be sold. Remember this. Whether you’re writing a sales letter or trying to convince your friend to go to a concert, don’t apply pressure. Offer to give something. Don’t force. Tempt.

Let’s say you want to get your friend to buy a piece of chocolate cake. You wouldn’t start off by listing 10 reasons why cake is good for him, would you? Of course not.

In real life, if you really wanted to get a friend to buy a piece of cake, you’d probably start by describing how great the cake smells, how gooey it is, how thick the icing is, and how it will just melt in his mouth …

In other words, you’d create a verbal picture that teases his desires — his hunger, his craving for chocolate. You’d tempt him by appealing to his emotions. You would not bore him with reasons or bully him with force.

Understand this first principle and you’ll have people eating out of your hands.

Rule #2 Hit ‘Em Where It Hurts: People buy things for emotional, not rational, reasons.

If people acted rationally, you couldn’t sell chocolate cake. There’s no logical reason to eat it. It’s not nutritious. It makes you fat. It screws up your metabolism. And it’s expensive.

So why is chocolate cake a multi-million-dollar industry? Because it makes you feel good!

To be persuasive, you have to appeal to your prospect’s feelings and desires.

Here are seven very important ones: Fear, Greed, Vanity, Lust, Pride, Envy, and Laziness.

Rule #3: Once the prospect is emotionally sold, he needs to justify his irrational decision with rational reasons.

Think about TV commercials for cars. How do they work? First, you see a stirring image of the car itself — beautiful, stylish, new. The background says something too: There’s a mountainous landscape for the prospect who wants to see himself as rugged. A five-star hotel for the prospect who wants the car to enhance his status. A beautiful woman for — well, you get the idea.

Next, you see an interior shot to show how luxurious your life will be with this car. You get to listen to the state-of-the-art sound system. (The type of music depends on the feeling required.) Then, there’s a shot of the car driving by the ocean. Put it all together and you have an effective 20-second movie that’s designed entirely to appeal to emotion.

But car commercials don’t stop there. They usually give you numerous bits and pieces of information —  the size of the engine, statistics on fuel economy, speed, weight, interior space, rankings in national surveys and customer satisfaction reports, and so on.

All this data isn’t meant to sell the car. It’s to make the prospect feel good about the decision he’s already made. And in the final analysis, this is almost as important as the emotional appeal. Though the information doesn’t sell the car, it does justify the sale.

These secrets are, of course, only the beginning.

But the great thing about the secrets of selling is that once you understand how they work, you can use them in every aspect of your life: to land a better job – to get a promotion – to sell more of your company’s products – even to convince your friends to follow your advice for your next vacation.

Over the years, I’ve taught many of my students the little-known psychology of selling. Two of my top protégés took these secrets and, with my help, developed an organization called the American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI). It’s a group that helps regular folks become top-notch, high-paid sales writers (or “copywriters,” as they’re called in the advertising industry).

You heard from one graduate of this program last weekend – a student of mine who turned the sales knowledge he learned from AWAI into a life of high-paying freedom as a copywriter. Believe me, he’s not the only one. I could show you literally dozens of people who have used these very same techniques to make a heck of a lot of money – and to enjoy a freedom few people will ever know.

Make no mistake about it, sales writing is one of the highest paid professional skills in the world. (I’ve personally seen ads that make writers tens of thousands of dollars each year – year after year.) But because so few people understand what copywriting is, much less how to do it effectively, there’s a great shortage of good copywriters.

Whether you want to become a professional writer, or simply want to learn how to communicate much more persuasively, mastering the basics of selling can really give you an edge. And there’s no better program to help you do this than AWAI’s. Period.