Selling You
Selling You

Selling You

Quick Summary

Over the past few months, we’ve been focusing on mental models that are particularly powerful for helping you create a product that sells, whether your company is small or large. First, we talked about creating an offer with these models:

Think Like A Customer
Think Like A Customer
10,000-Experiment Rule
10,000-Experiment Rule
Buyer Hot Buttons
Buyer Hot Buttons

However, the offer isn’t the only thing that makes something sell. A lot of times, especially in a smaller company or startup, a lot of what people are buying is not just the product — in many ways, they are buying you.

So in this manual, we’re going to talk about selling you.

When I first started out in speaking after college, I remember my mentor said:

People aren’t just buying your product, they are buying you. It’s about 50/50.

That 50/50 split has just been a really good reminder. The overlap of the Venn diagram below is what people are buying:


For those of you who don’t know my background, I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 16. After I graduated, together with my then-girlfriend (now wife), I  created a national road tour of college campuses for which we got a 32-foot RV, wrapped it in our logo, and drove around the country doing half-day conferences. We sold these events for $10,000 to each college, and we had corporate sponsorship for each event as well.

Over the history of the company, we did more than 450 of those half-day conferences, in addition to over a thousand keynotes where we placed other speakers.

So, we had a lot of experience with sales at that higher level, and we saw that when people like you, they’re more likely to buy from you. If they personally like you, they will look for ways to work with you and work you into their budget.

That experience shaped my understanding of the Selling You model.

I’ve also really seen it applied to writing.

When I was 16 years old attending high school in Hopewell, New Jersey, my best friend Cal Newport and I started a web development business.

Cal has since gone on to become famous for his book Deep Work, so when I first started writing for Forbes a few years ago I reached out to him and asked for advice. This is what he said:

Readers are not seeking random clever ideas and interesting links (there are much better sources for that). They want to follow someone who is advancing a cause/point of view that intrigues, upsets, or excites them."—Cal Newport

So you see, people aren’t just influenced by what someone says. They are influenced by who says it.

Bottom line: Understanding this model is going to help you get more readers for your content and more sales for your product.

It’s particularly powerful because often, when entrepreneurs are thinking about their product, they’re ignoring (or not fully taking advantage of) this aspect of selling themselves. If you have a product right now that’s not fully clicking, this might be the missing link.

Now, let’s look at some approaches to selling yourself.

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