How to Sell Like a Guru, Without Being One

We’ve all done it. We’ve all believed, if only for a second, that we could become rich without work.  That we could build a business that runs on auto-pilot. That we could live on a beach in Maui while the checks come rolling in. You know what I’m talking about: “Living the dream.” The ultimate goal of success without work.

Unfortunately, we all know that’s not reality. As small business owners, we work day and night to reach that dream for ourselves. And we know, through experience, that there’s no “easy button” we can push to achieve it.

But isn’t it frustrating to watch as others continue to succeed by selling the dream that we know isn’t possible?

How To Sell Like A Guru

You know who I’m talking about. Those guru-type slimy marketing promotions that tell you things like, “Make $14,023 a month at home in your underwear with no effort!” or “Making money by pushing buttons has never been easier with this revolutionary system!”

We all know those systems don’t really deliver on their promises. The only people getting rich are the gurus selling those scams. But the truth is that the reason they continue to offer these scams the way they do is because it works. Humans like to buy the dream.

Take a deep breath. I know, it’s frustrating. Because that’s not you and me. We don’t make promises of overnight success. We run real businesses where we try to solve real problems for our customers.

But there’s an opportunity to learn something here and use it to our advantage. If you look at why people buy, it’s usually for a different reason than you think it is. For example, people don’t buy a fancy diamond engagement ring because of how it looks. They buy it because of how it’s going to make their lives better and how it’s going to make the other person feel. They’re buying “forever!”, not diamonds.

In another example, people don’t buy Nike products because they’re any higher quality than Converse or New Balance or 100 other brands. They buy Nike because Nike sells “winning.” They’re buying the dream. They want to be labeled winners.

So next time you see a guru trying to sell something you know is full of false promises, don’t get angry. Instead, use it as a lesson to think about what you sell, and more importantly, what and why people buy from you. Then use that lesson to improve your marketing message for more sales, leads and publicity.

Stop over at and join a community of like-minded business owners.


Jim Kukral Jim Kukral is a professional speaker, blogger and Web business consultant who has helped small businesses and large companies like Fedex, Sherwin Williams, Ernst & Young and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how find success on the Web. His latest book is "Internet Marketing for Business Answers."

6 Reactions
  1. Tapping into the emotions of your customers is a very powerful way to sell that gurus manipulate to their benefit. However, if you are providing a real product/service that solves real problems & desires then tapping into your customers’ emotions will greatly increase your effectiveness. Thanks for the post Jim.

  2. Great post Jim. People always want to buy the dream — it’s an unfortunate side affect of the “Just give me a pill to solve my problem” society we live in. I think there is definitely a fine line when marketing your product/service between “selling the dream” and staying in reality – and people should always remember to focus on the emotions of their prospects when selling.

  3. You raised a good point there Jim, people often fall for brands rather than going for a product which can be reliable and inexpensive as well.

  4. Jim, I have joined your UnGuru community. I am reading your Attention book at the moment, and I look forward to have a discussion about it at some point in time.

  5. Read this comment and you’ll make a million dollars 🙂

    I agree with you 100% Jim. It’s sad to see people falling pray to these outlandish claims, what’s even sadder is to see the same people fall for the same lies over and over again.

    Sites like Clickbank have been overloaded with false claims and exaggerated income statements. The products are cheap enough that millions of people fork out $17 to $47 for some hope.

    Jim, what are your feelings towards companies that sell informational based products, like ClickBank or RapBank?

    Regards, John