How to be a Successful Salesman

How Harry Browne’s Approach to Selling Relies on the Principle of Service

When someone says “salesman,” do people have pleasant thoughts of how they feel that that group of people have helped them? No, most likely not. Salesmen are dreaded these days for their tendency to be pushy and the lack of help they actually give.

This is not the way salesmen should approach the selling of their products.

Harry Browne introduces a new method in the realm of salesmanship: the principle of service. The salesman who follows Browne’s method will be a successful salesman.

The Principle of Service

Here to Help

Many people would categorize a person as being fit for sales if they are outgoing, persuasive, and pushy. This is not the way Browne sees it.

Browne shows that if a potential buyer will not be helped by your product, then it is best to let go of the customer.

However, there is a process in reaching the point where you know that a customer will not benefit from your product:

  1. You’re there to help

First you need make the potential customer believe that you are truly there to help him (as you should be). This is how you get in the door in the first place. If the customer truly believes you are there to help him, then of course he will let you in. He wants to be successful.

This is also how you get in the second time. And the third. The most money made in sales is on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc sales – the return customer. You might only break even on the first sale, but you will get the customer the next time.


Now there are some situations in which there will not necessarily be a return customer; such as in a large purchase like a house or maybe a car. In those situations, you might be tempted to want to milk the opportunity for all it is worth, but not so with small ticket items in which you need the return sale.

  • Listen to the problem

Once he believes that you are there to help with his problem, ask him to explain his problem. And don’t just have him explain his problem, you have to listen. You want to know exactly what his problem is so that you can see if you have anything that will help him in his problem. Other salesmen won’t listen; you will.


Don’t argue with him. He likely knows more about his problem than you do. However, if you can pick up on a problem that he may missed that potentially reveals how your product will help him, then you can point it out.

  • Evaluate

Once you know what the problem is, then you can determine whether you can help him with your product.


Remember the saying, “Don’t tell me about your grass seed, tell me about my lawn.” They don’t want your product, don’t tell them about your product. Don’t sell them your product. Sell them the benefits.

If you can’t, then politely thank him for his time and let them know that you are sorry, you don’t think your product will solve the problem. But you also might recommend a product that will (if you are aware of one). If he knows that you are recommending another product from which you will not even earn a commission, this will certainly solidify the belief that you are there to help. This will also let you in the door next time.


Also, don’t try to motivate a potential customer that your product will help them. They don’t need to be motivated. You just need to find their motivation.

However, if you think that you can help him with your product, then there are more steps.

Make sure to confirm. You want to be sure of his problem. Once he confirms that you understand his problem, then you can talk about your product. But only those attributes of the product that address his problem.


In conclusion, Harry Browne’s approach for selling differs from mainstream salesmanship in its principle of service. The three main differing attributes between modern salesmanship and Harry Browne’s methods are summarized in the list below:

#1. The average salesman pushes his customer to sign on the dotted line. The successful salesman asks questions and listen until he understands the problem

#2. The average salesman will continue to push until his customer will sign – whether the product will benefit the customer or not. The successful salesman will only sell the product if it benefits the customer.

#3. The average salesman pushes towards his goal. The successful salesman accomplishes his goal by accomplishing the goal of the customer.

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Author: Pilgrim

My name is Pilgrim. Like the Pilgrim in The Pilgrim's Progress, I am a young man who searches and pursues truth and wisdom. If you'd like to know more about who I am and Whom I find my identity in, I invite you to drop by I'd love to talk to you and learn about who you are and what you love to do; so drop by and leave a comment on the Discussion page! I hope to meet you soon!

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