The Psychology Of Selling Books with Sean D’Souza

Sean D’Souza is the master “Rainmaker”. Through years of experience studying human behavior Sean has created a powerful business that teaches business owners, and authors, how to sell their wares and provide maximum value.


The bottom line is that everyone who sells anything needs to understand how the human brain works, whether it’s a book or the Brooklyn Bridge.

In this episode Sean and I discuss:

  • Why people make decisions on what to buy and how much to pay
  • How to structure your products, services, and books so that people will buy
  • The “Yes, yes.” strategy of presenting products and creating value
  • The tactics for pricing to maximize sales
  • How to get to the root of what your customer really wants, and then give it to them


The Show Notes


The Psychology of Selling Books with Sean D’Souza

Voiceover: Rainmaker.FM is brought to you by The Showrunner Podcasting Course, your step-by-step guide to developing, launching, and running a remarkable show. Registration for the course is open from August 3rd through the 14th, 2015. Go to to learn more. That’s

Jim Kukral: All right, so if you listen to any of my other podcasts or you’ve seen me speak or if you’ve read any of my books, you know I’m always fascinated with how people think and how they make decisions. Specifically, when you own a business, you’re worried about purchasing decisions because that’s the lifeblood of your business. It’s getting people to buy.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to sell your latest book or a pack of waffles from a grocery store or you’re trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, you need to know why people make decisions to buy things if you ever want to be the best salesperson you can be. Today on the Authorpreneur show, I want to welcome Sean D’Souza, author of the book The Brain Audit and owner of the site Thanks for coming on the show, Sean.

Sean D’Souza: It’s a pleasure, Jim.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, it’s great to have you on the show. You’ve been somebody that I’ve been following for a really long time but have never connected with in person or on any events or anything like that. And I’ve been following your stuff for a long time because it’s just so fascinating to me what you do. Can you just give us a brief outline quickly about what it is that you do?

Sean D’Souza: I run a website called, and it’s about why customers do what they do, why they back away. Why do they say they want to buy something and then back away? Why do they say, “I’m going to buy something at a specific price,” and then decide to buy something more expensive instead?

Customer behavior seems to be very irrational, but I don’t think it is. It’s one thing to think it and another thing to prove it, so that’s what we went about doing. We went about trying to figure out how anyone, not just someone with a huge number of people or whatever, but anyone can take the steps and apply them and then get predictable results every single time. But the most important part of this is that there is no necessity for salesmanship or sleaziness or any of that stuff.

It is just in the way that the brain understands things, and you present that information to the customer in that sequence. And when you do that, they buy.

Jim Kukral: We’re going to get to that part, because there’s a lot of authors and a lot of people who sell things who are worried about the way they sell, and they don’t want to go. So we’ll get to that.

But I do want to just talk about — since this is the show about being an authorpreneur — The Brain Audit. That’s your main book. I found it very interesting that you told me people can’t even work with you unless they’ve read that book first, right? They can’t even order a workshop or buy a course or do anything unless they’ve read that book. Is that true?

Why Sean’s Book ‘The Brain Audit’ Is (Literally) Required Reading

Sean D’Souza: That’s absolutely true. In fact, we have stories. At one point in time, say in 2006, I started up a protégé program. The program cost $10,000, and someone signed up for the program. There were only 15 spots, and they hadn’t bought The Brain Audit, so we emailed them and said, “Have you bought The Brain Audit? Have you read The Brain Audit?” They said ‘no,’ and we said, “Well that’s the criterion. You have to buy it. You have to read it.” And they thought we were bluffing, so Friday came along, and the money got refunded. You’ve never seen a buyer buy The Brain Audit faster than they did.

Jim Kukral: That’s a really interesting story. How do you convince, though, someone to read the book first? I get why you want them to read the book, because they’ll get hooked. They’ll understand. That’s all part of your process. But there’s a lot of people who just aren’t going to do that, and you’re just fine without having them as customers, then?

Sean D’Souza: Not everything off our website requires The Brain Audit, so you can buy, say, The Secret Life of Testimonials, or you can buy Website Components. These are all smaller books, and they don’t require me to be there, me to be part of your whole thing. You can buy them. You can use it, and you can get whatever you want from it. That’s fine.

The moment you decide, “Okay, now we’re getting into a more serious relationship,” or you’re going to be on a course. You’re going to come to a workshop. Every time we have broken the rule, every time we have said, “Oh no, it’s okay. This is The Brain Audit workshop. What’s the problem?”

Even if you are coming to The Brain Audit workshop, you have to read The Brain Audit in advance. The point is that we’ve ignored that rule that we put in place. We sometimes go, “Okay, forget it.” Every time, it comes to bite us. That person, among 35 people at the workshop, one person is disruptive. Which person is that? This person who hasn’t bought into The Brain Audit.

It’s not just how to do things, but it also contains our philosophy, how we go about doing stuff, how we treat the customers. It becomes a huge barrier, and for those who want to go ahead and have a relationship with us on a deeper level, well, we’re okay if they walk away.

Jim Kukral: I did something similar when I used to own an agency. When I was hiring employees, I would always ask them first, “Have you read this one book?” The book was called Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. I would ask people who I was interviewing and say, “Have you read that book?” If they had read the book, I would just hire them on the spot, because that book made such a profound impact on my career.

And then if I did have to hire somebody who hadn’t read the book, the first thing, on the first day of the job, is I sat them down, and I said, “Okay, I’m going to give you this book. Come back in two hours, and then you’re going to continue on with your job.” Because it was that important to me. It sounds like that’s the same thing going on here.

Sean D’Souza: Also, customers complain, because when you’re doing a course, there are certain things that are already in the book: the way you approach your marketing, the philosophy, the methodology. If you have someone who hasn’t read the book, then they start asking random, silly questions. I don’t consider most questions to be silly, but if the answer is already out there, it’s already been explained, you’re wasting the time of everyone else, and that’s not on.

The book becomes the barrier, and it’s critical. I’ve spoken at events, and one person heard me speak, and he said, “I want to buy your information products course,” and I said, “Have you read The Brain Audit?” He said, “No,” and he said, “You’re kidding me, right? I’m going to pay you $2,500 right now.” I said, “I’m sorry. We don’t do this.” He walked away, and we’re okay with that.

Jim Kukral: I love that. Let’s talk about your business here. How successful is your business? I know you’re not going to give us your financial numbers, but talk a little bit about how long you’ve been doing this and how the business has grown.

Sean D’Souza: First, let me tell you that I’m embarrassed at how successful we’ve become. Every time I sit down with my accountant and he gets me to sign the papers, I go, “Oh really? So much?” But it’s been extremely successful. I missed your question. Can you repeat the question please?

Jim Kukral: The concept of the question is just talking about how successful your business is, because I’m going to tie this into the book as being part of that. I just want the audience to understand what you’re doing here.

Sean D’Souza: The answer depends on your benchmark of what ‘success’ is, and for some people, success is having a million listeners or readers. Some people, success is totally different.

For us, our benchmark is, can we take three months off every year? We’ve done that since 2004. We’ve taken three months off. We’ve traveled the world. We don’t do it at one go. We work for three months and take a month off. Let’s say that it has enabled us to stay at the best hotels, travel well, and have a very, very big surplus so that if we stopped working today, we could go for the next 30 years living as we are today.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, and that’s really where I was going with this is, I’ve written a book called Business Around a Lifestyle, and I share your belief that success is determined by what lifestyle you want to have and whatever that number or however many hours you want to work. That makes a lot of sense to me, and that’s where I was going with that.

On your website, you say you’re not a psychologist, but how did you get into the business of figuring out what people think and why they buy things?

Why People Make Decisions on What to Buy and How Much to Pay

Sean D’Souza: The point is that I started out when the Internet just started to take off, and this was way before Facebook and blogs and all that stuff. It was interesting, because we could not necessarily test, but we could see what was happening. A lot of people send out an email, and they say, “Oh, we had so many opens.” We started to look at other things. We started to look at what causes people to buy. So people would buy into a workshop. They would buy into a $1,500 course or into a $3,000 course or into a $500 course.

We started playing around because we could, and we would sell the same course for $100, $500, $800, $1,500, and what we saw was that people were buying the same thing, and the price didn’t matter. What the Internet allowed us to do is to actually figure out what customers really wanted. In many cases, it’s like an expensive car. People want to buy a $1,500 car so that they actually feel good about it, rather than a $200 car, which they feel crap about.

Jim Kukral: I have a friend, who will remain nameless and doesn’t listen to this show, who is exactly that person. He will only buy something that is of higher value because of the perception of it. For example, you could put two exact products in a box, and I could tell him that Product A is $3 and Product B is $300. And I could say to him, “They are exactly the same,” but in his brain, because the product is $300, it’s worth more money. Explain that a little bit. Why do people do those types of things?

Sean D’Souza: Well there is obviously the perception that more expensive is more interesting. For instance, when I first started out, I ran into a guy called Jay Abraham. You have obviously heard of him. Jay used to sell his workshops at $25,000 apiece. So the question changes. When you have to sign up for a workshop that is $25,000, the question is “Why? Why am I doing this?” When you say, “I’m going to sign up for a workshop that’s $200,” that ‘why’ question is not that interesting.

I’m not saying that people are necessarily going to buy the more expensive thing. I think that people go, when they buy stuff, they go in the sequence of a dinner. They start off with the starters, and then they go up to the main meal, and once they’ve had the main meal, they come down to dessert. There are not a lot of people — in fact, I’ve never heard anyone speak about this before. But they go in this sequence.

So if you took, say, a skill like article writing, your article writing course, which lasted three months, that would be the main meal. Something like outlining would be the starter, and there would be all this buildup — the wine — all this buildup to the main meal. But once they have finished off with that whole main meal, it’s impossible for them to do a second course, so now they want to go down to dessert.

What we do is, over the years, we’ve figured out that this is what clients want. They want a sequence. They want a system. They want all of this stuff, and therefore, that pricing model makes sense. It’s not just, “Throw a $15,000 product at someone.” The chances are that they’re not going to buy. It’s not true that they will buy. The opposite is true, because if you look at anything to do with marketing, and if you took everything into consideration, what would be the one thing that you could boil it down to? And that would be risk.

Jim Kukral: Interestingly enough, you have books that sell at much higher prices than most of the people I interview. You even have a book, I believe, at over $100. Let’s play on that same concept. People will pay for books at that higher level because of what you just talked about.

Sean D’Souza: Correct. When I buy a book in Amazon, it might be $2.99, but now I have to spend three days or five days or seven days reading that book, and at the end of it, am I going to get a result?

The point is that when you buy a book at $119 or $139, which The Brain Audit is, you are guaranteed to get the result. This is not like ‘if’ and ‘but’ and conditions involved. You are guaranteed. You take those concepts. You apply them. They work.

What we’ve trained our customers to do is to understand that our courses are going to be $3,000, and you can get the same course, or you can get not the same but similar courses for $200, but they will still pay $3,000. Because at the end of their three months, that success is guaranteed. If you join the cartooning course, you are guaranteed in three months to become a pretty good cartoonist. In six months, people ask you if you’re a professional cartoonist. This is for someone who says, “I can’t draw a straight line.”

People are willing to pay for guaranteed results, and they’re willing to pay a very high price for that.

How to Structure Your Products, Services, and Books So That People Will Buy

Jim Kukral: What really fascinates me even more — and I find this whole conversation very fascinating, by the way, if you can’t tell — is that I’m looking at The Brain Audit on Amazon. I know you sell it directly, but you also have it on Amazon, and there are not any bad reviews of an expensive book. That blows my mind that not one person — because you know there’s always that one person out of 1,000 that just doesn’t like you for some reason. Why is that so?

Sean D’Souza: Well, in fact, if you go through some of the reviews, you’ll find that people said that they’d pay an even higher price than you’re paying on Amazon, and the reason why is that we follow a concept of consumption. What most people do is create books and information, and they do it like a preacher does.

I’ll just get to consumption shortly, but first, we have to understand this concept of ‘preacher versus teacher,’ and when you preach, you can throw anything into your sermon. Twenty different concepts, everyone goes out, and they feel, “Wow, that was so great. I felt so wonderful.” What are you going to do with the end of it? The teacher on the other hand, just handles two or three things, and they handle it so that at the end of it, when you leave that church, that book, that whatever, that course, you are able to implement it and implement it successfully.

To do that, you have to understand how consumption works. So when you look at, say, how we go through a sales cycle, we have three parts. Most entrepreneurs only know of two parts. That is attraction and conversion. But the third part is consumption. That is like, you order a beer. You are attracted towards the beer. You convert: you pay for the beer. I can’t make you drink it, yet you finish your beer. Why is it that you finish your beer?

Well, here’s the thing. The beer is constructed in a way that you can finish it. If I give you a two-liter bottle of beer, or like a big can of Coke or whatever, you’re not going to finish it.

Consumption is based on three elements. We’re digging a little deep here.

Jim Kukral: I like it. Keep going.

Sean D’Souza: It’s based on, the first thing is intimidation. The second element is isolation, and the third part is implementation. The goal of any entrepreneur is to get the person to the third part, which is implementation, but there are those two barriers in the way — or rather the first barrier, which is intimidation.

Whenever you’re learning a new skill or you’re in a new place — say you go to Rome, and you’re going to Rome for the first time. You walk in the street, and you’ve done all your homework, but it doesn’t matter. When you land there, you’re intimidated, and you don’t know where to go, where to get pizza from, should you speak to order — all these kinds of intimidation factors.

How do you solve that problem? This is what a guidebook does. A guidebook says, “Go to Gianni’s, and Gianni will give you the best pizza.” They isolate. Then you go to Gianni’s, and you get your pizza, and you are happy in Rome. This is not what a lot of information does. Information ends up being like the preacher. They’ll take one piece of information, put it on top of the other, the other, the other, and now you’ve got this massive book or this massive course, and at the end of it, it’s like, “What am I going to do?” You don’t get to this point of isolation.

What we do is we work very, very hard to give less but to go deeper, and that enables the person to work.

Let me give you an example. Say in a course, we have 20 things that we’re going to cover. What we’ll do is start off with skill one. Say you’re in a cartooning course, and you have to learn about thick and thin lines. Then for two weeks, that’s what we do. We just do thick and thin lines, and at the end of two weeks, they’ve got really good at thick and thin lines. Now we’ll do another layer.

The whole point is that intimidation comes in many forms. So when you do a course, for instance when you’re writing a book, the introduction could be helpful or intimidating. When you’re doing a course, the fact that someone has to get into a forum, that could be very intimidating. So we spend a whole week teaching them how to use a forum. You have to actually break it down into these little bits.

Jim Kukral: Why can’t other nonfiction authors be charging these higher rates for books, and why don’t they? My analysis is that your content tends to more of like a textbook because typically, people are okay with paying more for textbooks. See what I’m trying to say? Is that why the books can be sold at a higher rate than everyone else’s?

Sean D’Souza: No, it’s not. Mine is just as much a business book as anybody else’s, but the point is that I’m actually saving your time.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, but I guess my point is this. I know a lot of authors who save time and write great books, and they don’t charge a lot. They don’t charge more. I’ve never seen a traditionally published book that was charging more than $30. Why couldn’t an author who writes a nonfiction book charge more money? I guess my point is, couldn’t anyone do this?

Sean D’Souza: Anyone could do it. Anyone could do it. It depends on where you’re doing it. So for instance, if you’re on Amazon, it is going to be much harder to do it. You look at Amazon. There are some books there that are $250, and they’re out of stock, and people want them.

When you’re in Amazon, you’re going to be bound by Amazon’s rules. When you’re in iTunes, you’re going to be bound by those rules. You can break those rules, but if you really want to sell something that is a completely different price, you have to move out of that sphere. You have to move into your own sphere, because eventually, all pricing is comparison. So when someone goes to Amazon and they see 16 or 20 books at $10, and yours is $39, it is much harder to sell in that kind of sphere. But when they come to, say, the Psychotactics site, and there is a book there at $450 and there’s a book at $39, now $39 is very cheap.

The ‘Yes-Yes’ Strategy of Presenting Products and Creating Value

Jim Kukral: I do want to talk about that, because pricing and how you sell products is very smart. I’m reading this article you wrote on Copyblogger, and in the article, you say, “Clients are always looking at the value. They’re always looking to get more bang for their buck.” Then you talk about the ‘yes-yes’ system. Can you talk about that a little?

Sean D’Souza: The ‘yes-yes’ system is based — I mean, I didn’t know it was based on research. We just put it into place because that’s how we bought stuff. But now, Harvard Business Review, in one of their recent magazines, they had people check out a DVD, and they said, “Okay, here’s a DVD. Do you want to buy it?” They found that only 10 percent of the people wanted to buy it at a specific price. Then they showed them two DVDs, and their rate went up to 34 percent wanted to buy one of the DVDs.

Just by having a factor of a choice, the whole sequence in the customer’s brain, because people want choice. How we describe the ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ is that you’re choosing between regular and premium, and when you have regular and premium, that becomes a comparison factor. And when you have comparison, then automatically, your friend comes into play, and now we want the premium.

What we have here is, what makes it premium? What makes it premium is the bonus. The bonus is probably, or should be, more interesting than the product itself. The first thing you have to understand is that when you just give a price, which is just a ‘Buy Now’ button, what you’re saying is ‘take it or leave it,’ ‘yes or no.’ When you have a ‘yes and yes,’ you have a regular and a premium, but then you have to identify what makes it premium. What makes it premium is the bonus. Not 20 bonuses, but one bonus.

There’s a whole science to it and steps which we’ve covered in this book called Dartboard Pricing, but that’s the gist of it.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, I’ve been using that concept forever for things that I do, for the products that I sell, and you’re absolutely right. Everything you said there does work, but I’m always learning as well. I’m learning new ways to do it and expanding.

There is, however, a problem when it comes to selling a book on Amazon, because you are limited to their system, as you mentioned earlier. You can’t have Book A, and then Book B. I guess what you could do is have the single book and then have the boxed set book, but you can’t offer a bonus. That’s why I always say it’s better to sell things directly off your own website, so you can do those types of things, right?

Sean D’Souza: You could do stuff. Amazon has this, by the way. They have, when you go to buy some technology, and they say “this is the old version, and there is a newer version,” and immediately you’re off to the newer version. Technically, you could do it if you wanted to.

Jim Kukral: Okay, give me an example how you could do it.

Sean D’Souza: Well, that’s exactly what you do. You treat your book like software. You’d call it The Brain Audit version 3.1, and you say, “This is an older version, but 3.2 is available as well,” and that’s it. Everyone’s going to go to the 3.2.

Jim Kukral: Oh my God, I never thought of that before. That is so smart. You could do that. Such a great idea. Take your nonfiction book — and I don’t think it will work very well in fiction, but it will work in a nonfiction book — say “This is the latest one,” and leave the older one up. That’s so smart.

Sean D’Souza: Thank you.

Jim Kukral: Look at that. You’re getting great tips on this show today. That is a really smart idea, and it’s something I think everybody should try out. You would recommend with this ‘yes-yes’ system, then, for example, if you did that, you’d take your first book or the one that’s been up, and you call it version 1.0, and then you make that a lower price, and then you put the version 2.0 at a much higher price.

Let’s talk about pricing there. How do you know how much more to charge? I guess it’s obviously based upon your audience, but is there some kind of formula or something that you do and teach people in terms of what to price things at when you’re putting that in motion?

The Tactics for Pricing to Maximize Sales

Sean D’Souza: You’re asking how much to charge, or how much more to charge?

Jim Kukral: Not exactly how much, because that varies on the genre and everything, but how much typically do you sell the premium version for more than the regular version?

Sean D’Souza: Let me just answer this, even though you’re not asking the question. The first thing is that it doesn’t depend on the genre. That’s why the book that I’ve written is called Dartboard Pricing. It is literally, you pick up a dartboard, put up some prices, and then take a dart, throw it. That’s how we decide all our prices, by the way.

It doesn’t depend on that, because eventually, what people are buying is value. You have to understand what their want factor is. When you look at, say, Weight Watchers. Now Weight Watchers is probably one of hundreds of weight places, but why do people go to Weight Watchers? This is what people don’t understand. They’re not selling weight reduction alone. That is this message that you’re getting, but if you look at their slogan — I don’t know if there are changes now — they said, “Eat all the food you want.”

Just think about it. Who gets in trouble? Who’s going to Weight Watchers? Not the skinny people who can manage or the disciplined people. It’s the people who love their food. So what they’re doing is they can charge a premium, because they’re actually selling to you what you won’t admit but what you want, and that is to eat the bread and the pasta and all that stuff. They are saying “Eat all the food you want,” and that is what they are selling. That is the value, and that is what people are buying.

When you’re selling just the product, then that’s not how it works. With The Brain Audit, we’re not selling a book on sales. We’re selling the problem that you have, which is at the very last minute, the customer backs away for no explicable reason, and it frustrates you, because you’ve gone through 99 percent of the deal, and for this 1 percent, they’re driving you crazy. But people won’t admit that they’re losing sales.

You’ve got to understand that the pricing depends on the value that you bring. Now to answer your second question, or the question that you actually asked, how much more should it be between regular and premium? It should never be more than 15 percent, because the moment it goes above 15 percent, it’s a completely different product.

Jim Kukral: Okay, that’s fascinating. So 15 percent.

Sean D’Souza: Or lower.

Jim Kukral: Or lower, okay. I had this question written down, and you kind of led me into it, which is you run into people from time to time. They’re usually artists. They’re usually people who say they’re not business people. They write books, or they create art, whatever, and they have this whole problem with selling, and then somebody like you comes along, or me, even. I teach things like this in the past. “Look, you need to think about why people buy.”

And in your Weight Watchers example, a person like that may look at that and go, “Well that’s a disingenuous statement, because you really can’t eat all the food that you want,” and they say unto themselves, “Well I’m not going to do marketing like that because I consider that sleazy.”

I’m going to preface this by saying that what you’re teaching, you don’t teach people ‘get rich quick’ stuff. You don’t teach people to do sleazy marketing. That’s not your thing. My question to you is, what do you say to people like that, who just say, “Well, I never want to do any type of marketing like that ever, because that’s just not who I am?” It’s just a very hard question to answer.

Sean D’Souza: This is a very easy question, actually.

Jim Kukral: Okay, great. That’s why you’re on the show.

How to Get to the Root of What Your Customer Really Wants, and Then Give It to Them

Sean D’Souza: The point is that your brain follows a sequence, and this is what we outline in The Brain Audit. The brain actually, when you stand up right now, or maybe you’re sitting down and you stand up, the first thing the brain is going to do is identify all the obstacles in the room. It’s not going to slam into the door. It’s not going to trip over the heater or the cooler or whatever. The brain is always looking at the problem, and then once it knows the problem, it can identify a solution. And from there on, it goes on down the line.

When we’re buying a television, for instance, we’re looking at, “Am I the right audience for this?” and “What problem is this solving for me?”

If I’m buying the biggest TV in the room, maybe it’s because I want to show who I am. I’m popular, or I’m rich, or whatever. The brain follows this sequence, and if you say that “I’m not going to do this. I am going to just put my products on the market and hope that someone buys it,” then you’re violating how the brain thinks.

To understand this, you can go through everyday exercises. Like you can go on the street, and you can walk down, and there are flowers and men and women and lots of things to look at, but you notice dog poo, and the reason why you notice it is because the brain is identifying the problem.

The same thing applies to marketing. You have to identify the problem, because if you don’t identify the problem, then the customer doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Once you identify the problem, then you still have to identify what is that in a problem.

When you look at Weight Watchers, they’re literally saying to you, “We know your problem. Your real problem isn’t weight. Your real problem is that you just struggle with food. Every time you see food, you want to eat it, so we’ll show you how to eat it, but we’ll show you how to eat it with a different system, and that’s how you’re going to lose your weight. You don’t care about the weight. You actually care about the food. We understand that.”

A lot of people come and say, “I don’t want to harbor. I don’t want to stick to the problem, and I don’t want to do this, and I don’t want to do that.” I used to be a cartoonist, a professional cartoonist, so I know where they’re coming from. But if you violate how the brain thinks, then good luck to you.

Jim Kukral: That’s a great answer, and it’s one of the best ways, probably the best way, I’ve ever heard that explained. In my experience dealing with people like that, I think people confuse strategies and tactics. The strategy is what you’re teaching of how to solve that problem, and then the tactic is a long-page sales letter or a misleading headline or something. And they blame the tactic, not the long-term strategy. I think the way you explained it makes a lot of sense. Would you agree with what I said there?

Sean D’Souza: Yes, and it’s not like there isn’t hype out there. I know someone who says they will give you a report that that shows you how to get 100,000 subscribers, just like they did. Now, that’s what you want. You really don’t want marketing. You don’t care about marketing. You want 100,000 subscribers, but then you subscribe, and then you download the report, and there’s nothing about how they went about it. There’s all this philosophy and things like that, very vague but not specifically the steps you should take.

That’s when it becomes this whole manipulation, and this is what people don’t like. But at the very core, every business is solving a problem, but they’re solving two problems, and they’re solving what is called … Don Miller, he has this company called Story Brand, and he’s identified it really well. He says, “Solving an external problem and an internal problem. If you don’t get to the internal problem,” which is what Weight Watcher does, which is what The Brain Audit does, “then it becomes very difficult to sell.”

Because the external problem, it’s not that I want deodorant. It’s that I don’t want to be made the butt of all jokes or I want to attract someone else, and that’s what is interesting.

Jim Kukral: I’ve never succumbed to this temptation — and I don’t believe you have as well, based upon what I know about your products and what you do — to sell that ‘get rich quick’ button, what you just talked about, which is “I’m going to solve all the world’s problems if you just click ‘Buy’ right now.” I see that as a big problem in the space.

When people talk to people like you and me, they lump us in with, “We’re just going to give you this quick-hit ‘get rich quick overnight in your underwear’ thing, and I have a big problem with such products because I don’t create businesses and products like that. I don’t think you do either.

Sean D’Souza: No, in fact we go completely the opposite way. For instance, the article writing course is called ‘The Toughest Writing Course in the World.’

Jim Kukral: If you were going to name that something spammy, it would have been ‘How to Get Thousands of New Readers With the Click of a Button by Writing Articles.’ It’s such a great approach to your title there.

Sean D’Souza: The point is that the moment we changed it — it had no title, and we changed it to ‘The Toughest Writing Course in the World,’ which is the absolute truth — we can get people to sign up. I mean, we have a waiting list. We’ve had a waiting list for years. Truth works.

Jim Kukral: We’re getting close to being out of time. We have a couple more questions for you. Let’s swing back to helping authors, here. Besides writing a better book, what can an author do to convince more people to buy their book beyond writing a better book, and better covers, and things like that that we’ve already talked about a million times on this show?

Sean D’Souza: I think that they need to seriously think of consumption, which is the intimidation, isolation, and implementation, because what happens is that the reason why people come back and buy several of our books is because that’s precisely what we do. We show them. We isolate one thing or two things, and we drive it so that they can implement it.

When you implement it, you think it’s a drug, because you have to come back for the next hit and the next hit and the next hit. You win, and we win, but it’s a lot of hard work to say, “I’m going to leave out 80 percent of my work and focus on 20 percent and then give you that 20 percent so you can implement it.”

Sean’s ‘Trust the Chef’ Policy and Why His Website Still Looks ‘Old’

Jim Kukral: Last question here, I’m kind of fascinated by this. I said ‘fascinated’ a million times on this show, but I really am. I’m looking at your website, and the best way to say it that it’s old-looking. And it’s not an insult, and I know you’re going to give me a real good reason why it is not some really fancy modern-looking site. I guess that’s the question. Why are you able continue on what you’re doing without increasing the fanciness of the website?

Sean D’Souza: The truth is that we’ve actually got a new website in the works. Here’s the point. The point is, I was listening to Dave Ramsey this morning, and he says, “The customer wants the package in the way they want it.” You can have the greatest content on VHS, and it won’t work. We are going to change the website.

Our website has been quite popular since we started out, and we’ve had a lot of hacking in previous years. We have several websites. Let’s say we had difficult times last year with all the hacking in terms of security, but we’re back, and now we’re working on fixing the website. I’m not suggesting to anyone that they should keep the old website or for us that we should keep it, but it’s an exercise. It’s an exercise that a website like ours, which has thousands of pages, could take three months to work through.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, but I guess there is something about having something that is not always new and flashy that sometimes can work in a person’s brain as well. It doesn’t always have to be the big, fresh thing that everyone else is doing.

Sean D’Souza: No. In fact, we often sell products like books and courses without any sales letter. We’ll just send an email, and this is the point that you have to get through: that eventually, people are buying, not because they have any loyalty towards you. They’re buying because of what you can do for them, and they’re buying for that value.

We have something called ‘trust the chef,’ and we’ll say, “We’re selling this book on presentations. It costs $200, and we don’t have a sales page, and we’ll send it to you two months from now,” and we’ll get 300 people that will buy it. That’s $60,000 just off an email because of what we’ve delivered in the past, and that’s the whole point. So we put in cartoons. We put in recipes, and we keep it down so that they can implement it.

That’s the thing. Yes, you need a better website. Yes, you need to keep updating stuff, but at the very core of it, when the customer buys the ice cream, they want it to taste good so that they can come back for more.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, that’s great stuff. Well, look I want to thank you very much for coming on the show. This was great topic. Before we roll out here, please tell people where they can find out more information about you.

Sean D’Souza: You can learn more about pricing. We give away booklet, an excerpt from the pricing book, and it’s at, so that’s just letters C and B. You can go there and have a look. There’s also the podcast. If you’re a podcast listener, we have a podcast called The 3-Month Vacation. Some people call it binge-worthy because it has this amazing music, and you’ll love it because of the music, and of course I get to speak.

Jim Kukral: All right, Sean. Well, thank you so much for being on the Authorpreneur show.

Sean D’Souza: You’re welcome, and it’s been a pleasure, Jim.

Jim Kukral: Yes, and thanks everyone for listening. Please check out Sean’s website at

After you do that, I’d like you to go over to my website. It’s Learn more about the business of writing and marketing your books. We’ve got a free video course there called How to Sell the First 100 Copies of Your Book. Sean, give me a better title for that book. I should take one of his courses. That’s

All right, guys, cue the music. It’s time for all of us to get back to work writing books and building businesses. I’m Jim Kukral, and I’ll be back soon with another Authorpreneur show guest who will help you on your journey to becoming an authorpreneur yourself.

Thank you for listening, and as always, I can always use more reviews on iTunes and shares of the shows to your author friends and people who want to write books and all that. Thanks, everybody, and we’ll see you next time. Bye bye.