The Art of Persuasion

potato peelerToday I’d like to tell you a story. Actually, you may have heard it before – it’s about a man who became a millionaire selling a potato peeler.

Now you may be thinking that I’m straying from the focus of my blog a bit, but I’m not really. You see this story is about the art of persuasion and believability. As internet marketers, in order to sell our goods we must be believable and refine our skills of persuasion.

Not persuasion in a deceptive context, there are many of those in this business – but persuasion in a manner that guides the reader to believe that they really must have what it is that we are selling or promoting.

Let me introduce you to Joe Ades by means of the video below. Joe was an infamous New York salesman who sold this potato peeler on the streets of Union Square until he passed away February 1, 2009.

The Potato Peeler Sales Pitch

Quite the salesman wasn’t he. How did he do it? With a sales pitch built on the art of persuasion!

I’m pretty certain that all those people walking by were not initially there with the intent of purchasing a potato peeler. So what made them buy?
Joe’s convincing manner and sales pitch.

As marketers, creating that environment is exactly what we are looking for. Whether we’re selling affiliate products or our own goods and creations, we are looking for that pitch to move our visitors into buyers.

I also like Joe’s story because he’s selling something I’m pretty sure we all already have in our collection of kitchen gadgets yet he convinces many to buy his peeler. We sometimes think that what we have to offer is no different than what everyone else has to offer and we become discouraged. Why? They’re not you – You have your own power of persuasion and believability.

“Anyone can use it, whether you are right handed, left handed, or — like a politician — underhanded. It’s Swiss quality! See that loop on the side? That gets the eyes of your potatoes, and cleans up pineapples without wasting any fruit! It even slices cheese into wafer thin slices, effortlessly!” – “This thing really works!”

Let’s take a look at Joe’s winning ways and how we can apply them to our business –

1. Demonstrate Your Authority and Credibility
Note the newspaper articles to his right and the Vanity Fair article in the vegetable bin to his left. If you have positive customer reviews or testimonials, then share them on your site.

2. Work on the Subtle Sale
Note that Joe says he won’t ask for your money, remember he is selling the peeler on the streets of New York and doesn’t want to look like a pan-handler. Instead, Joe eventually simply asks for the sale after pointing out the efficiencies and time saving aspects of the peeler.

In our business, don’t have a blaring “buy my product now” type image on your home page, like large pop-up ads which make me want to promptly click away. Instead, mold your approach around real world scenarios.

3. Cater to Your Audience
Joe reaches out to appeal to women and busy moms with, “You do that for the kids, they’ll eat their vegetables – they’ll think its candy.”
Find the conversation that resonates with the audience.

4. Paint a Picture of the Consequences of Not Buying
Joe picks up a standard basic potato peeler and points out their flaws by saying “You can’t slice a potato like that with one of these peelers.” Everyone can picture using those clumsy peelers and moves closer to becoming a buyer.

5. Be Yourself
Joe comes across as a down-to-earth, likeable and trust worthy guy through his direct approach and humor. He puts his audience at ease.
We’ve heard this numerous times – just be you. Talk in a conversational tone to your reader – let them get comfortable with you.

6. Show Proof of Popularity to Gain Acceptance
When ready to make the sale Joe pulls out a large wad of money which conveys the point that many have bought this peeler and that you should too.
Now this is tough to do when you’re building your business, but as visitor numbers increase and our products sell, advertise this in your sales pitch.   

7. Create the Mindset
Your content should help to create that “I can’t live without this” mindset. Get the waffling buyer converted by constantly talking about the product’s strong points, how it will solve their problem or satisfy their need. Increase the value of your proposition.

8. Have a Special Offer
When selling your own products you have control of the price point so offer discounts on quantity or if purchased by a certain date. Add a special report or e-book to the sale to provide that value-add for your customer making them extra happy with their purchase.

9. Ask for the Sale
Oddly enough this is what many do poorly, yes even me. It’s easy to assume that when you have your buyer’s interest that they will take the next step and make a purchase. But go ahead and ask for the sale pointedly with a “buy here button” or some such action.

Taking my own advice –

Buy the Swisspro Vegetable Peeler Here or Buy 4 and Save Here

comment now –

Marilyn T


  1. Hi Marilyn,

    Excellent! 1 and 5 are SO key! Promote yourself by sharing testimonials, endorsements and any positive press. Then be yourself, because you are most powerful and persuasive by being you.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Hello Ryan and welcome!
      I so agree, you know for the longest time, the toughest part for me to get was to just be yourself. It sure is easier than trying to figuring out who you should be. : )

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I love this!! I need to work on my marketing skills for my other business. I love how you broke it down too.

    Thank you!!
    Missy Bell

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