What Is It That You’re ALWAYS Selling?

Commenting on my earlier post about “Time Management Secrets Every Entrepreneur Should Know,” Dennis said:

“Nice presell, Dr.Mani.”

I laughingly replied that there was “nothing for sale”.

But I lied!

Here’s why.

Let me ask you a question. What one thing is it that you are ALWAYS selling, no matter what you say or do? Regardless of which business you are in? Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing?

Think about it for a moment, answer the question to yourself…and then keep reading.

The first time I consciously thought about it was around three years back (it happened in the shower, where some powerful insights pop up regularly, and random thoughts snap together into a startling and clear picture! 🙂 You?)

It was almost revelational!

You see, the line of thought started from a forum discussion where people were talking about the now famous Internet marketing ‘30 Day Challenge by Ed Dale. One person stated that Ed wasn’t selling anything…but I knew better. Because I ‘bought’ it. Even ‘sold’ it to others.

But…WHAT was it?

Before answering it, let me ask you another question. If you could afford to, would you buy me?

Yes, ME.

Would you buy me?

Now, no matter what your answer was, think about this.

  • What if YOU were a product or service?
  • Who would buy you?
  • Why?

Marketing is about filling a need, identifying what an audience wants, solving a problem for them. And selling is about making them want it – because unless they want it, they sure ain’t going to buy it!

People do business with people. They prefer to work with people they know, like and respect. And because business is always about people, the one thing you are always selling is the PERSON behind the business. The ‘product’ or ‘service’ called…YOU.

If you’re a ‘product’, you should fill a need. If you’re selling the ‘product’, you should learn about positioning it as something your audience wants.

That’s exactly what marketing yourself is about – and every single one of us is doing that (successfully, or not) every day, in every way, all the time…knowingly or otherwise!

It’s what Ed Dale is ‘selling’ (and doing it masterfully) in his FREE ‘30 Day Challenge’. He’s selling you on ‘Ed Dale’ – the man, the expert, the brand. And every year, thousands are buying…just like I did, just like even you did, maybe.

Through this weekly column on Yaro Starak’s blog, that’s what I am doing too. I’m selling you, my reader, on the brand called “Dr. Mani”.

So, you think it’s egoistic to consider an individual a ‘brand’? Here’s an eye-opener for you. It’s this article by Tom Peters I read way back in 1997 that shifted a paradigm in my business thinking, and got me working on a strategy to brand myself. “The Brand Called You” is a landmark article every entrepreneur must read, especially in today’s exciting, socially networked, globally accessible world powered by the Internet.

Because now, EVERYONE – yes, that includes YOU – has the power to build a brand around the unique, special and exquisitely exciting person that you are.

“Solopreneurs should not fear competition. You are unique. There is only one YOU.”

My friend Mari Smith, whom FAST COMPANY magazine calls “the Pied Piper of Facebook”, said it very nicely on one of her blog posts.

That’s absolutely true, especially when you sell your audience on you. Suddenly, you have no serious ‘competition’. And that’s why it helps to think about yourself in the same way as you would a product or service. Consider features and benefits. Figure out positioning and USP (Unique Selling Proposition). Think about marketing angles and presentation.

Then use the inexpensive, yet wildly powerful tools that you have access to, and leverage your online presence into a strong brand that attracts the right kind of people into your network. “Social marketing”, even if it’s a paradox in terms, is about revealing and sharing your personality. When you align that with your brand and business, you can squeeze incredible value out of your engagement on every social network you choose to participate on.

That’s how marketing on social media works.

Authenticity is its currency. Transparency is the risk. Trust is your rich reward.

The nice thing is that you can direct the conversations that happen around your brand – by becoming a part of it online.

Except that it’s a lot more complex than merely promoting a service or launching a new product – because this is something you are selling ALL THE TIME.

  • Yes, even when you’re schmoozing on a discussion forum, or answering personal email, or dashing off a tweet on Twitter, or updating your status on Facebook.
  • Yes, even when you’re posting that funny picture on Flickr, or commenting on recent news updates, or sharing a joke or quote or a blog post with friends.
  • Yes, whatever you do online (and maybe, even offline – since the people you do it with may share it on the ubiquitous Web!)

And the collective impact of it all is what goes into creating what Hugh ‘GapingVoid’ Macleod calls ‘the global microbrand‘ that’s YOU.

That’s the risk – and the opportunity.

Because when you do things that are remarkable or worth sharing, you tap into the new ‘recommendation era’ we are now entering, and get your brand to go viral through social networks. People tell people about you. New audiences hear about you and your message. Markets open up and expand. Competition withers away and dies.

All of this can happen – for FREE!

Amazing, huh?!

So what can you do to take advantage of this situation and leverage it into expanding your business and growing your profits? It’s easy. Just make it easy for others to recommend you. Realize that you are selling yourself, the brand named ‘You Inc,’ and use that realization to structure everything that you say and do – at least in the future.

You can take this insight that you are selling yourself all the time, and use it to attract the attention of your ideal propects, build relationships with them that translate into getting closer to your goals, and turn them into spokespersons for your brand, for your business, and for YOU.

  • Knowing this, will you go out on Twitter or Facebook spraying around affiliate links willy-nilly? Or will you engage your followers and friends in conversation?
  • Knowing this, will you mindlessly pass along racist jokes, controversial blog posts, or make religiously offensive comments? Or will you first run it through the “Does this fit my brand?” filter?
  • Knowing this, will you condemn and criticize folks, or bad-mouth certain categories of people on a public discussion forum, lose your temper or go off on rants? Or will you tweak this behavior to fit your ‘micro-brand’ better?

Maybe yes. Maybe not. But either way, EVERYTHING that you do has an impact and influence.

Because, remember, YOU are the brand!

Thoughts? Comment away 🙂

Dr. Mani

About Dr. Mani

Dr.Mani is actively engaged in spreading awareness about congenital heart disease (CHD) and fundraising to sponsor heart surgery for under-privileged children in India.

An ardent group of volunteers and donors have embraced this noble purpose that is bigger than any individual or group, and grown it into a global movement that has touched and saved the lives of 87 little children. You can help too. Learn how at http://www.DrMani.com

Follow Yaro

View Yaro Starak's profile on LinkedIn
Follow us on Instagram


  • Hi Dr. Mani
    That is indeed a great aticle – It took me quite a few try and erros before I realized that branding yourself is essential in the online world.

    I totally advise every marketer NOT to splatter their twitter or facebook up with promotion or affiiate links. And I unfriend people who do it on my wall. It all right occasionatelly, but only if it something you have bought yourself and that you truly recommend.
    I even have friends that have been insulted because I wouldn’t press the “like” button on some crappy MLM company they just signed up for. But It would hurt my brand to support MLM so I don’t. I also never make political statements as I don’t want to be associated with politics.


    • Thanks, Tina. I’m glad you shared that important message about how things change once you decide to brand yourself through all that you do online. It can be scary, uncertain or even difficult in the beginning. But over time, as your brand becomes better defined and more broadly recognized, you’ll realize how powerful that strategic decision was… as I’m sure you now find 🙂

      All success

  • Great post with some really top content – its about vision and you’re so right “you’re the brand” and so many people starting out in business both off and online forget that building that brand will longer term have value – believe it

  • Hey Dr. Mani, I love your posts:) (That means I’ve bought you huh? Good sell)

    You know what’s particularly interesting, there is so much you say that we’re on the same page about, I’m going to tag things back to your posts in my own E-J articles, because they are a great reinforcement for some my content.

    My article from this week was about building my profile & brand through social media, & I was sharing how some amazing things happened very quickly, and it was all due to that fine balance of authenticity, transparency & sharing valuable information. The words I used to describe it was consistency & congruency within your self and sharing the right information with the right people at the right time.

    I love that our world is becoming more transparent through social media etc. It increases authenticity and integrity in business & elsewhere.

    Cheers, neroli

  • This is really important for every business, especially on online businesses where many online marketers just send affiliates links on facebook and twitter without understanding that this will hurt them on the long run because people see them as spammers

  • You couldn’t be more correct we are always selling ourselves whether it is randomly out in public, speaking, or in a forum posting. You always try to make yourself look good and presentable when you leave your house, your image is the same thing.

  • This post its one of a kind! I love it…

  • “Superb” article doc, as always ! Everyone who’s doing an online business or planning to do one must read this article. Many people forget this one critical aspect – about their online presence or brand and haphazardly put their reputation at risk, and go out of business in a snap. I feel this is the most important thing that will decide the fate of an online entrepreneur. Great read..!

  • A great article. I am amazed to find out by experience that in this age of the internet and social media, “solopreneurs” (I like this word) have as much a chance at success as their much older and larger competitors!

  • Branding myself was one of the hardest things for me to do. I’m a PRIVATE person so putting my name and photo on the PUBLIC internet was…{can’t think of a good term}

    Now I’m moving with both feet in.

  • A great article. I am amazed to find out by experience that in this age of the internet and social media, “solopreneurs” (I like this word) have as much a chance at success as their much older and larger competitors!

  • tremendous post Doc, the points you make are really legit and make you really think twice about the term of ” selling ”.

  • hgh

    Dr.Mani 1st of all thanks for such a great post

  • Some nice key points about affiliate marketing there :),
    I like how you used the “If you were a product” meme to get us to understand the point of view you’re in, and the most important thing is surely about “filling a need” when we try to promote or sell a product, I agree with that completely, by a hundred percent.
    Anyway, that sparked a thing up my mind and reminded me of the main objective before promoting a product, thanks

  • Great article thank you very much.
    at the monment im trying to setup a profitable blog and i find branding one of the hardest things to do(thats why i love this blog!)
    Thanks again!

  • Were always marketing ourselves, some don’t always do a good job.

  • I didn’t start branding myself until last month, and I because of that, I received very little success online. If you brand yourself you will see so much more success.

  • Thanks for your insightful article, it has given me some new ideas, as well as taking a good look at myself.


  • I’ve been a telesales agent before and I have to agree, it is not the product that you are selling but it is yourself. When you know how to sell yourself, you can sell product. 🙂 Nice post Dr.Mani

  • Youa are like Archimedes, he cried ”eureka” beeing in bathroom like you.

  • Nice Dr. Mani! I’m buying u! 🙂 Love this sensible article. I always learned way back when I was a marketer to ALWAYS sell the BENEFIT ‘coz all other brands carries exactly the same features. So, when you do, you make your customers feel the need of the BENEFIT/s.

  • So true! As a high school teacher and blogger I have to be careful what I put “out there”. I’m always aware that anything I say and do can come back to bite me. Sometimes I wish I were free from the constraints of having to maintain a “teacher” image, but after reading this article I realize working online is similar to working offline. I’m always selling–me.

  • I have not even signed up for the challenge yet but this article added huge amounts of confidence and value to my psyche.In other words that was hot Doc!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Yaro: Email | RSS | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube