IN 1966, when I was just 19 years old, I made more money than anyone else in my family did by selling pots and pans.

These were very expensive pots and pans; they sold for nearly $300. This was over 35 years ago, when you could buy a decent used car for that amount.

For my first sale, I sold a friend our "Golden Opportunity" package. Not only did she get pots and pans, but she also plunked down several hundred dollars extra to get some china, crystal, flatware and cutlery.

These were all nice items, but she did not really want so much stuff. She just did not have the power to say "No". My offer and my close were too strong for her to resist. Sounds good, right? Not so fast. Let's look deeper.

When I delivered the cookware, I asked her to get out her address book. I wanted a list of referrals from this satisfied customer. She refused.

"Why not?" I asked. "I don't understand."

"I don't want you to do to my friends what you did to me," she replied.

"What's that?"

She looked at me and said: "Tony, you sold me."

The statement made me feel terrible. It was a crushing blow.

Sure, I had made the sale. However, I paid the ultimate price: my short-term victory was my long-term loss. I made the sale, but lost the customer.

I paid for this mistake emotionally, financially and - worst of all - spiritually. Though it did not happen all at once, my sales eventually began dropping off.

I also did not feel so hot about the way my customers saw me. I used to practically pray that I would not see my customers at the store, walking downtown or standing in line at the movies.

However, I continue to sell today. I have come a long way since those early years of door-to-door selling. Since the late 1980s, I have consistently generated seven-figure sales.

Please understand: I am not telling you this to brag; I think it is important for you to know I am not just talking theory here. I have used both methods - the "hard sell" and the "non-manipulative sell" - and I have experienced the difference first-hand.

Using the hard sell, you struggle to pay the bills. Using non-manipulative selling, you live by the ocean in California and have more time to be with your family. I prefer the latter, and I would bet you do, too.

Non-manipulative selling uses strategies and techniques that allow you to become partners with your customers. You spend more time building a strong foundation where you get yourself customers for life. This breeds long-term success, not just short-term victories.

I believe that is the way you should lead your entire life, not just your business life. It will bring much more personal fulfilment and happiness, not just to you, but also to everyone around you.