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Title: Selling Things
Author: Marden, Orison Swett, MacGrail, Joseph F.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Selling Things" ***

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[Illustration: Orison S. Marden]

                             SELLING THINGS



                         WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
                           JOSEPH F. MACGRAIL



                                NEW YORK
                        THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY

                            COPYRIGHT, 1916,
                      BY THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY

                           Thirteenth Thousand




    CHAPTER                                               PAGE

         I THE MAN WHO CAN SELL THINGS                       1

        II TRAINING THE SALESMAN                             6


        IV MAKING A FAVORABLE IMPRESSION                    19

         V THE SELLING TALK OR “PRESENTATION”               28

        VI THE APPROACH AND EXPRESSION                      33

       VII THE ABILITY TO TALK WELL                         37

      VIII HOW TO GET ATTENTION                             42


         X SIZING UP THE PROSPECT                           62

        XI HOW SUGGESTION HELPS IN SELLING                  71

       XII THE FORCE OF CHEERFUL EXPECTANCY                 79

      XIII THE GENTLE ART OF PERSUASION                     86

       XIV HELPING THE CUSTOMER TO BUY                      94

        XV CLOSING THE DEAL                                105




       XIX QUALITY AS A SALESMAN                           133

        XX A SALESMAN’S CLOTHES                            139

       XXI FINDING CUSTOMERS                               148

      XXII WHEN YOU ARE DISCOURAGED                        155

     XXIII THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS                         163



      XXVI ARE YOU A GOOD MIXER?                           189

     XXVII CHARACTER IS CAPITAL                            207

    XXVIII THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP                         213

      XXIX KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP                    226

           APPENDIX—SALES POINTERS                         250




    Cultivate all the arts and all the helps to mastership.

    The world always listens to a man with a will in him.

Soon after Henry Ward Beecher went to Plymouth Church he received a
letter from a Western parish, asking him to send them a new pastor.
After describing the sort of man they wanted, the letter closed with
the following injunction: “BE SURE TO SEND US A MAN WHO CAN SWIM. Our
last pastor was drowned while fording the river, on a visit to his

Now, this is the sort of a man that is wanted everywhere, in every line
of human activity, _the man who can swim_, the salesman who can swim,
who can sell things, who can go out and get business, the man who can
take a message to Garcia, who can bring back the order, the man who can
“deliver the goods.”

The whole business world to-day is hunting for the man who can sell
things; there is a sign up at every manufacturing establishment, every
producing establishment for the man who can market products. There is
nobody in greater demand than the efficient salesman, and he is rarely if
ever out of a job.

Only a short while ago two companies actually went to law about a
salesman who transferred his connection from one to the other, his
original employers holding that he had no right to do so, as he was under
contract (at a $50,000 salary) to them.

In spite of the fact that thousands of employees are looking for
positions, on every hand we see employers looking for somebody who can
“deliver the goods”; a salesman who will not say that if conditions were
right, if everything were favorable, if it were not for the panic, or
some other stumbling block, he could sell the goods. Everywhere employers
are looking for some one who can do things, no matter what the conditions
may be.

There is no place in salesmanship for the man who waits for orders to
come to him. He is simply an order taker, not a salesman. Live men, men
with vigorous initiative and lots of pluck and grit, men who can go out
and get business are wanted.

It should not be necessary to prove that training is needed for success
in salesmanship or in any business. Yet, because men have been compelled
for centuries “to learn by their mistakes,” to pick up here and there,
by hard knocks, a little knowledge about their work, there has been a
prejudice against trying to teach business by sane, scientific methods.
Besides, in former times, the working man and the mere merchant were
supposed to belong to a low class of society, apart from the noble and
the learned, and little attention was given to their needs. A man, too,
was believed to be born with a natural aptitude for salesmanship or
business building, and this was supposed to be all-sufficient.

To-day there are many men and women attracted by the big profits in
salesmanship, who would like to become salesmen and saleswomen, but they
feel they have not this natural aptitude to insure permanent success.

It is true that, just as certain men and women are born with natural
gifts for music and for art, so certain men and women have, in a high
degree, the natural qualities which enable them to succeed in selling
either their brain power or merchandise. But while it is true that some
people have more natural capacity than others, it is not true to-day,
and it was never true in the fine arts, in athletics, or in commercial
pursuits, that the untrained man is the equal of the trained man.

Man is always improving Nature, or, if you prefer, he is always helping
Nature. Central Park, New York, is more beautiful because the landscape
gardener has been helping Nature; the farmer is the reaper of bigger and
better crops because he is following the advice of the chemist, who tells
him how to fertilize the soil; the Delaware River and Hell Gate have
become more easily navigable, because the engineer has removed obstacles
which Nature had placed in those waters; Colorado’s arid lands are
irrigated, thanks to the skill of the civil engineer; the horticulturist
aids Nature by grafting and pruning; the scientist comes to the help of
human nature with antiseptic methods in surgery; and the inventor shows
Nature how electricity can be put to numberless practical uses.

Let us not fool ourselves; we need to study, we need to be trained for
every business in life. And in these days the training by which natural
defects are overcome and natural aptitude is developed into effective
ability can be obtained by every youth. No matter how great your natural
ability in any direction, in order to get the best results, it must be
reënforced by this special training.

The untrained man may get results here and there because he has natural
ability and unconsciously uses the right methods. The trained man is
getting results regularly because he is consistently using the right

Business men no longer attribute a lost sale, where it should have been
made, to “hard luck,” but to ignorance of the science of salesmanship.

The “born” salesman is not as much in vogue as formerly. Business is
becoming a science, and almost any honest, dead-in-earnest, determined
youth can become an expert in it, if he is willing to pay the price.

It is scientific salesmanship to-day, and not luck, that gets the order.



    The consciousness of being superbly equipped for your work
    brings untold satisfaction.

    Efficiency is the watchword of to-day. The half-prepared man,
    the man who is ignorant, the man who doesn’t know his lines, is
    placed at a tremendous disadvantage.

A student seeking admission to Oberlin College asked its famous president
if there was not some way of taking a sort of homeopathic college course,
some short-cut by which he could get all the essentials in a few months.

This was the president’s reply: “_When the Creator wanted a squash, he
created it in six months, but when he wanted an oak, he took a hundred

One of the highest-paid women workers in the world, the foreign buyer for
a big department store, owes her position more to thorough training for
her work than to any other thing. Between salary and commissions, her
income amounts to thirty thousand dollars a year. Speaking of her place
in the firm, one of its highest members said to a writer: “We regard
Miss Blank as more of a friend than an employee; and she came to us just
twenty years ago with her hair in pig-tails, tied with a shoe string; and
she was so ill fed and ill clothed we had to pass her over to our house
nurse to get her currycombed and scrubbed before we could put her on as a
cash girl. Without training, she would probably have dropped back in the
gutter as an unfit and a failure. With training, she has become one of
the ablest business women in the country.”

There are a thousand pigmy salesmen to one Napoleon salesman; but if you
have natural ability for the marketing of any of the great products of
the world, all you need to make you a Napoleon salesman is sound training
and willingness to work faithfully. With such a foundation for success
you will not long be out of a job, or remain in obscurity, for wherever
you go, no matter how hard the times, you will see an advertisement for
just such a man.

The term “salesmanship” is a very broad one; it covers many fields. The
drummer for a boot and shoe house, the insurance agent and manager, the
banker and broker, whose business is to dispose of millions of dollars’
worth of stocks and bonds—all these are “salesmen,” trafficking in one
kind of goods or another—all form a part of the world’s great system of
organized barter.

There are three essentials which must be considered in deciding on
salesmanship or any other vocation, namely: taste, talent, and training.
The first is, by far, the most important of these essentials, for
whatever we have a taste for, we will be interested in; what we really
become interested in, we are bound to love, sooner or later, and success
comes from loving our work.

To find out whether or not you are cut out for a salesman, you must first
analyze the question of your taste and your talent. In this matter,
however, it should be borne in mind that human nature, especially in
youth, is plastic, and that we can be molded by others, or we can mold
ourselves. Even though one has not a strong taste, naturally, or a
decided talent for salesmanship, he can acquire both, for even talent,
like taste, may be either natural or acquired. By proper training in
salesmanship, which means the right kind of reading, observing and
listening, and right practicing, we can develop our taste and ability so
as to become good salesmen or good saleswomen.

The basic requirements for successful salesmanship are good health,
a cheerful disposition, courtesy, tact, resourcefulness, facility of
expression, honesty, a firm and unshakable confidence in one’s self, a
thorough knowledge of, and confidence in, the goods which one is selling,
and ability to close. True cordiality of manner must be reënforced by
intelligence and by a ready command of information in regard to the
matters in hand. It will be seen that all these things make the _man_ as
well as the salesman—when coupled with sincerity and highmindedness, they
can’t but bring success in any career.

The foundation for salesmanship can hardly be laid too early. The youth
who uses his spare time when at school, in vacation season, and out of
business hours, in acquiring the art of salesmanship will gain power to
climb up in the world that cannot be obtained so readily by any other

Fortunate is the young man who has received the right kind of business
training. No matter what his occupation or profession, such training
will make him a more efficient worker. Many youths have had fathers
whose experience and advice have been valuable to them. Others have been
favored by getting into firms of high caliber. As a result they have been
in a splendid environment during their most formative years, and in so
far have had an inestimable advantage in success training.

Many people have the impression that almost anybody can be a salesman,
and that salesmanship doesn’t require much, if any, special training. The
young man who starts out to sell things on this supposition will soon
find out his mistake. If salesmanship is to be your vocation you cannot
afford to take any such superficial view of its requirements. You cannot
afford to botch your life. You cannot afford a little, picayune career
as a salesman, with a little salary and no outlook. If salesmanship is
worth giving your life to, it is worth very serious and very profound and
scientific preparation and training.

I know a physician, a splendid fellow, who studied medicine in a small,
country medical school, where there was very little material, and
practically no opportunity for hospital work. In fact, during his years
of preparation his experience outside of medical books was very meager.
Since getting his M. D. diploma this man has been a very hard worker
and has managed to get a fair living, but he is much handicapped in his
chance to make a name in his profession. He has a fine mind, however, and
if he had gone to the Harvard Medical School in Boston, or to one of the
other great medical schools where there is an abundance of material for
observation and facilities for practice in the hospitals and clinics, he
would have learned more in six months, outside of what he gathered from
books and lectures, than he learned in all of his course in the country
medical schools. His poor training has condemned him to a mediocre
success, when his natural ability, with a thorough preparation, would
have made him a noted physician.

You cannot afford to carry on your life work as an amateur, with improper
preparation. You want to be known as an expert, as a man of standing, a
man who would be looked up to as an authority, a specialist in his line.
To enter on your life work indifferently prepared, half trained, would be
like a man going into business without even a common school education,
knowing nothing about figures. No matter how naturally able such a man
might be, people would take advantage of his ignorance. He would be at
the mercy of his bookkeeper and other employees, and of unscrupulous
business men. And if he should try to make up for his lack of early
training or education, he must do it at a great cost in time and energy.

Successful salesmanship of the highest order requires not only a fine
special training, but also a good education and a keen insight into human
nature; it also requires resourcefulness, inventiveness and originality.
In fact, a salesman who would become a giant in his line, must combine
with the art of salesmanship a number of the highest intellectual

Yet in salesmanship, as in every other vocation, there is not one
qualification needed that can not be cultivated by any youth of average
ability and intelligence. Success in it, as in every other business and
profession, is merely the triumph of the common virtues and ordinary

In salesmanship, as in war, there is offensive and defensive. The trained
salesman knows how to attack, and he knows how to defend himself when he
is attacked. Everything contained within the covers of this book has for
its object the most effective offensive and defensive methods in selling.



    “Salesmanship is knowing yourself, your company, your prospect
    and your product, and applying your knowledge.”

    The qualities which make a great business man also enter into
    the making of a great salesman.

    Salesmanship is fast becoming a profession, and only the
    salesman who is superbly equipped can hope to win out in any
    large way.

Different authorities agree pretty much on the subjects which must be
studied or understood in the making of good salesmen, although they
classify in somewhat different ways the headings under which salesmanship
should be studied.

Mr. Arthur F. Sheldon, for instance, in his able Course, has divided the
knowledge pertaining to scientific salesmanship under four heads: 1,
The Salesman; 2, The Goods; 3, The Customer; 4, The Sale. The “Drygoods
Economist” has some excellent courses on salesmanship, in which they
use almost this identical classification, treating the subject under
the four general divisions: 1, The Salesman; 2, The Goods; 3, The
Customer; 4, Service. Mr. Charles L. Huff has added to the valuable data
on salesmanship a book in which he gives the following five factors as
the headings under which the subject of salesmanship should be covered,
namely: 1, Price; 2, Quality; 3, Service; 4, Friendship; 5, Presentation.

Every salesman is really teaching the customer something about the goods.
He is, so to speak, a teacher of values, or if you prefer, “a business
missionary.” In order to teach well he should have these most valuable
assets: first, right methods of meeting customer; second, thorough
knowledge of self, of goods, of customer and conditions; third, ability
to meet competition, both real and imaginary; fourth, helpful habits;
fifth, good powers of originating and planning; sixth, a selling talk, or
something worth while saying; seventh, properly developed feelings, which
will add force to what he says.

In a brief and helpful course on salesmanship “System,” a business
magazine, gives great emphasis to the value of dwelling on five buying
motives—1, Money; 2, Utility; 3, Caution; 4, Pride; 5, Self-indulgence,
or Yielding to Weakness.

If a salesman will keep before his mind these five points, and if he
appeals to the human traits they indicate he will become a master in
closing deals.

A great many methods are used to-day for rating employees, just as Dun
and Bradstreet rate firms. According to Roger W. Babson, there is a Mr.
Horner, of Minneapolis, who rates his salesmen and trains them along
these lines:


     1. Idealism

                       { a. Understanding of business
     2. Intelligence   { b. Selecting Policy to suit age and
                              condition of applicant
                       { c. Self-culture.

     3. Hopefulness

     4. Optimism

                             { a. To clients
     5. Uniform courtesy     { b. To office force
                             { c. To fellow agents

     6. Number of daily interviews

     7. Concentration or effectiveness of work, as to waste of
        time or energy.

                 { a. To company
     8. Loyalty  { b. To organization
                 { c. To fellow agents

     9. Attention to old policy holders

    10. Enthusiasm.

A final and very vital point to consider is this: Why do salesmen meet

Mr. Huff, in his very practical and interesting book on salesmanship, has
classified under six general heads the causes of opposition. These are:
First, Prior Dissatisfaction; Second, General Prejudice; Third, Buyer’s
Mood; Fourth, Conservatism; Fifth, Bad Business; Sixth, Personal Dislike
for Salesman.

It is up to the salesman to analyze the customer and decide just which of
these six points of opposition is causing him to lose business.

Just in the degree that he can locate the exact trouble, and then
overcome it in the proper way, will he be able to get the business which
may seem at first absolutely beyond him.

Any or all of these six causes of opposition will not overwhelm the
master salesman, but the mediocre or indifferent salesman is bound to
collapse when confronted with any one of them. And if he does not train
himself to meet and overcome opposition he is doomed to failure, or at
least to a very poor grade of success—not worthy the name.

Remember, Mr. Salesman, it is always up to you. Develop your brain power,
and then use that power for all it is worth.



    Go boldly; go serenely, go augustly;
      Who can withstand thee then!—BROWNING.

    The personality of a salesman is his greatest asset.

A Washington government official called on me some time ago, and before
he had reached my desk I knew he was a man of importance, on an important
mission. He had that assured bearing which indicated that he was backed
by authority—in this instance the authority of the United States—and
the dignity of his bearing and manner commanded my instant respect and

The impression you make as you enter a prospect’s office will greatly
influence the manner of your reception. It is imperative to make a
favorable first impression, otherwise you will have to spend much
valuable time and energy and suffer a great deal of embarrassment in
trying to right yourself in your prospect’s estimation, because he will
not do business with you until you have made a favorable impression on

Some salesmen approach their prospect with such an apologetic, cringing,
“excuse me for taking up your valuable time” air, that they give him the
idea they are not on a very important mission, and that they are not
sure of themselves, that they have not much confidence in the firm they
represent or the merchandise they are trying to sell.

Approach the one with whom you expect to do business like a man, without
any doubts, without any earmarks of a cringing, crawling or craven
disposition. Enter his office as the Washington official entered mine,
like a high-class man meeting a high-class man. You will compel attention
and respect instantly, as he did.

Your introduction is an entering wedge, your first chance to score a
point. If you present a pleasing picture as you enter you will score
a strong point. Here is where you must choose the golden mean between
cringing and over-boldness. If you approach a man with your hat on, and a
cigar or cigarette in your mouth, or still smoking in your fingers; if
your breath smells of liquor; if you show that you are not up to physical
standard; if there is any evidence of dissipation in your appearance;
if you swagger or show any lack of respect, all these things will count
against you. If you present an unpleasing picture, if there is anything
about you which your prospect does not like; if you bluster, or if you
lack dignity; if you do not look him straight in the eye; if there is any
evidence of doubt or fear or lack of confidence in yourself, you will
at once arouse a prejudice in his mind that will cause him to doubt the
story you tell and to look with suspicion at the goods you are trying to

A salesman once entered a business man’s office holding a tooth-pick in
his mouth. You may think it was a little thing, but it so prejudiced
the would-be customer against him at the start that it made it much
more difficult for him even to get a chance to show his samples. The
business man in question was very particular in regard to little points
of manners, and was himself a model of deportment.

I know of another salesman who makes a most unfortunate first impression
because he has no presence whatever, not a particle of dignity; he is
timid and morbidly self-conscious, and it takes him some minutes after
he has met a stranger to regain his self-possession. To those who know
him he is a kindly and genuinely lovable man, but he does not appear to
advantage at a first introduction. He is a college graduate, and was so
popular and stood so high in his class that he was proposed to represent
it at commencement. He was defeated, however, on the plea that he would
make such a bad impression on the public that he would not properly
represent the class.

Self-possession is an indispensable quality in a salesman. It is natural
to the man who has confidence in himself, and without self-confidence it
is hard to make a dignified appearance or to make others believe in you.

What you think of yourself will have a great deal to do with what a
prospect will think of you, because you will radiate your estimate of
yourself. If you have a little seven-by-nine model of a man in your mind
you will etch that picture on the mind of your prospect. In approaching
a prospect, walk, talk and act not only like a man who believes in
himself, but one who also believes in and thoroughly knows his business.
When a physician is called into a home in an emergency, no matter how
able a man may be at the head of the house, no matter how well educated
the mother and children may be, everybody stands aside when he enters.
They feel that the doctor is the master of the situation, that he alone
knows what to do, and they all defer to him. Everybody follows his
directions implicitly.

You should approach a possible customer with something of this
professional air, an air of supreme assurance, of confidence in your
ability, in your honesty and integrity, confidence in your knowledge
of your business. Your professional dignity alone will help to make a
good impression, and will win courtesy. It will insure you at least a
respectful hearing, and there is your chance to play your part in a
masterful manner.

A publisher who has a large number of book agents in the field, advises
his men to act, when the servant answers the door bell, as though they
were expected and welcome. He tells them, if it is raining to take off
their rubbers, if it is muddy or dusty to wipe off their shoes and act as
though they expected to go in.

The idea is to make a favorable impression upon the servant first of
all, for if they were to behave as though they were not sure they would
be admitted, apologizing for making so much trouble and assuming the
attitude of asking a favor, they would communicate their doubt to the
servant, and would not be likely to gain admittance, not to speak of
an audience with the mistress. In short, the carrying of a positive,
victorious mental attitude, the radiating of a vigorous expectation of
getting a hearing will get you one.

The agent who rings a door bell with a palpitating heart, with a great
big doubt in his mind as to whether he ought to do it, and who, when the
door is opened, acts as though he were stealing somebody’s valuable time,
and had no right to be there at all, will create a prejudice against him
before he opens his mouth. And before he gets a chance to plead his cause
he will probably find the door closed in his face.

You should seek admission to a house as though you were the bearer of
glad tidings, as though you had good news for the family, as though you
were conferring a real favor on them by calling their attention to what
you have to sell.

Whatever you are selling, whether books or pianos, hardware or drygoods,
your manner will largely determine the amount of your sales. There are
salesmen who approach prospective customers just as though they not only
did not expect an order, but rather expected, if not to get kicked out,
at least a polite invitation to get out.

I was in the office of a business man recently, when a man of this stamp
came in and crept up to him with a sort of a sheepish expression on his
face, as much as to say, “I know I haven’t any right here, but I have
come in to ask for a favor, which I feel sure you won’t grant.”

“I don’t suppose you have an order for me to-day, have you?” he said.
Of course, the man, without a moment’s hesitation, said, “No.” And the
salesman crept out as though he had almost committed a sin by entering at

Now, there is something in every manly man which despises this
self-depreciating spirit, this false self-effacement, this creeping,
cringing, apologizing attitude, which robs one of all dignity and power.
If you approach people as though you expected a kick, you are pretty sure
to get it. It may come in the form of a gruff refusal, of a snub, or of a
polite invitation to get out, but you are likely to get what you invite—a
rebuff of some kind.

If you approach a man at all, do it in a brave, vigorous, manly way.
Do not ruin your cause by giving him a contemptible picture of you at
the very outset. At least let him see that you are self-respecting,
manly, that there is nothing of the coward in you. Even if he declines
to give you an order, compel him to respect you, to admire you for your
dignified, virile bearing. No one cares to do business with a person he
cannot help despising, while a man who creates a favorable impression
will at least get a hearing.

We recently asked a representative of a big concern how he managed to do
so much business with people whom very few salesmen can approach.

“Well,” he said, “I will tell you. One reason is that I never go to a man
as though I had no right to. I do not creep into his office and look as
though I expected a kick or a rebuff. I walk right straight up to him
in the most manly and commanding way possible, for I am bound to make a
good impression on him, so that he will remember me pleasantly, even if
I do not get an order. The result is that men who are very difficult to
approach often give me business they refuse to others because I am not
afraid to approach them and to say what I want to say pleasantly, without
mincing or cringing or apologizing.”

This man says he has little difficulty in getting into the private
offices of the most exclusive business men, presidents of banks, great
financiers, high officials of railroads and other representatives of “big
business,” and that they are his best customers.

To sum up, your attitude, the spirit you radiate, your personality, will
have everything to do with your salesmanship. The impression you make
will be a tremendous factor in your sales. For this reason you should
never approach a prospect until you feel that you are master of the
situation. Then you will carry the conviction and give the impression of
mastership, and that is half the battle.



    Talk to the point; talk with reason; talk with force; talk with

    Let your selling talk be direct, natural, and as brief as

Much has been written on the question of a selling talk, and there is
no little misunderstanding on this all-important subject. Every one who
has “a story to tell” has what may be called “a selling talk”; that is
to say, a best way of setting forth what he has in his mind. Some prefer
to call it the “presentation.” A “presentation” may consist of a few
sentences, or it may consist of a half hour’s talk. Salesmen in many
lines cannot prepare a fixed story or address, such as would be given
by a statesman addressing a legislative body, or by a clergyman in a
sermon, or by an actor giving a monologue, and yet, large numbers of
salesmen, through failing to have a simple, clear, carefully worded talk,
fail to get a customer interested in their merchandise. The question
of a selling talk should be left to the judgment of the sales manager.
He will be well qualified, ordinarily, to tell just what this should
consist of, and, also, when to make exceptions to the use of a selling
talk. Inspiration will not come just when the salesman wants it. Many
points get lost in the convolutions of the brain. Too much or too little
talk may be indulged in, unless a salesman knows just what he is going to
say and how to say it. Do not be misled, however; there are many men who
speak poor English, and who do not have what would properly be called a
“selling talk,” yet they succeed as salesmen. These men do, however, know
the merits of their goods, and they have a peculiar way of putting it up
to the customer to judge for himself.

I once saw nearly a thousand dollars’ worth of underwear sold, with
scarcely a word spoken. The salesman spread out his goods, and the buyer
examined them hastily, but carefully, and made the selection, simply
asking by what number the goods were known, and the price. I saw not long
ago, about five thousand dollars’ worth of furs (muffs and neck-pieces)
bought, with very few words spoken. In both these cases it must be
remembered that buyers and sellers were well known to each other; there
was mutual confidence; the houses were reliable, and unsatisfactory goods
would mean loss of future business, as well as a return of the goods.

There are certain main selling points which can be selected and should
be selected for every line of goods. Some of these selling points will
be more effective with one class of customers than with another. Here is
where the salesman’s judgment comes into play. Let us take the single
example of the white goods business. In this line, there are five main
selling points which I once heard given by Charles A. Sherman, of Sherman
& Sons, leading merchants, of New York. These five points are:

1. Artistic merit of goods, beauty of design, etc.;

2. Intrinsic value;

3. Comparison with rival goods;

4. Degree of conformity to prevailing modes or fashions.

5. Adaptability to buyers’ needs, price, etc.

Around these may be woven a brief or a lengthy talk, according to the
needs and the disposition of the customer with whom the salesman is
talking. Let your selling talk be direct, natural, and as brief as

The presentation of your proposition involves, principally, a clear,
simple and suitable description of your goods. The cleverest salesmen
arrange the points in a logical order, working up from the least
importance to the strongest.

Always put the question of price off just as long as possible, unless
the price is so low that this point alone adds much to the other selling
points, as for instance, setting forth the prices in a 5 & 10 cent store,
or giving the prices of special bargains.

Be willing to answer all questions and objections made by your customer,
but forestall, as far as you can, the objections he is likely to make.
You can do this by exerting the power of a strong personality, especially
by showing much enthusiasm, which tends to burn up the objections a
customer is inclined to make. No matter how positive or how graphic you
are in your descriptions, always be natural, otherwise your mannerisms
will detract from the effectiveness of your talk.

The best authorities consider it a decided handicap if the customer
“turned you down” at the start by a negative answer, or a negative
attitude. When you foresee that the customer is about to say, “No,”
or to turn away, strive to keep his mind in the balance until you can
attract his attention to some new features of your goods, or to some old
features, in a new way.

The length of time given to a presentation, will vary with the goods and
with the customer. Experience with each particular line, and the advice
of your sales manager always should be followed.

On the floor of the Stock Exchange there is no such thing as a
presentation, or the getting of favorable attention, in the strict
interpretation we give to these words. Men are there alert to give
favorable attention to certain securities. They know in advance the
strong points of these securities, and when the right price is quoted
the decision to buy will come quickly. This holds true in many instances
where staple goods are offered at current prices.



    No matter how well posted a man may be in the science and
    technique of salesmanship, his actual sales will depend very
    largely upon his personality.

“The man or woman wishing to present to me a business proposition,” said
a high class, successful merchant, “must have a good address and an
agreeable manner and appearance, or he will not get a hearing. The reason
is, it would be impossible for me to see half the people who approach me
with schemes; therefore, I reject without a hearing all those that are
not presented by people who have an agreeable manner and good address. I
take it for granted that a first-class proposition will be presented by a
first-class man, and _vice versa_.”

Whether the customer comes to you, or you go to the customer, there are
certain very simple things to keep in mind. The first is the important
part personality plays in selling. The appearance and the manner of
a salesman, together with the tactful enthusiasm which he manifests,
and the concentration which he puts into his work, all tend to inspire
confidence. The salesman must consider his customer’s business, and
sometimes his social position. The temperament, also, of the customer,
as well as the best time and place to see him, must be taken into
consideration. One of the things so often neglected by salesmen is to get
points of contact from the surroundings, such as pictures on the wall,
books and papers on the desk, as well as from the prospect’s attire. Keep
in mind these four aids to a right approach:

First: Entertain a feeling of equality with your customer.

Second: Remember that you have a favor to bestow. Assume the rôle of a

Third: Show friendliness. There should be the heart-touch in every real

Fourth: Be observing. Look for suggestions in your surroundings, for a
point of contact.

We express ourselves not only through the words we utter, but by the tone
of the voice, the expression of the face, our gestures, and our bearing.
All five of these elements should be carefully considered, because the
salesman who would have the greatest success not only must be understood,
but he must be felt. It is important to be clear and forceful in our
language, and for this purpose a thorough knowledge of English grammar
and rhetoric will aid the salesman.

The accompanying chart should prove helpful.


    “When all is said and done, it is the _choice and use of words_
    that determines whether or not we succeed in expressing our
    thoughts and feelings clearly and adequately.”—“Manual of
    Composition and Rhetoric,” by Gardiner, Kittredge and Arnold.

    The five elements affecting expression of ideas are:

                 { Rich,
                 { Refined,
    1. Voice     { Deep,
                 { Modulated,
                 { Full, distinct articulation.

                 { Before sale,
    2. Bearing   { During  ”
                 { After   ”

                 { In talking,
    3. Gestures  { ”  displaying samples,
                 { ”  presenting reading matter or contracts.

    4. Facial expression.

                                              {    Violated by
                                              {  1. Slang;
                             {  a. Purity     {  2. Obsolete words;
                             {                {  3. Provincialisms;
                             {                {  4. Foreign words;
                 {           {                {  5. Newly coined words.
                 {  simple   {
                 {_Diction_  {                {     Results from
                 {  suitable {                {  1. Thorough knowledge
                 {           {                {     of subject;
                 {           {                {  2. Extensive vocabulary;
                 {           {  b. Precision  {  3. Power to discriminate;
                 {                            {  4. Use of specific for
                 {                            {     general, or general
    5. Language  {                            {     for specific term, as
                 {                            {     idea requires.
                 {           {  a. Unity      {  One idea at a time;
                 {           {                {  Stick to subject.
                 {           {
                 {           {                {  Have clear ideas and use
                 {           {                {    appropriate words.
                 {           {  b. Clearness  {  Use  good  grammar.
                 {           {                {    Beware of technical
                 {           {                {    words.
                 {  simple   {
                 {_Style_    {  c. Energy     { Results from brevity,
                 {  suitable {       or       {    clearness, directness
                             {     Force      {    and judicious use of
                             {                {    figurative language.
                             {  d. Elegance   {  Smooth, euphonious
                             {       or       {    speech; Alliteration.
                             {     Harmony    {  Read best authors.



    “Words have worth, only when properly expressed.”

    It is the conquest, the conquest of the heart, by words that
    speak kindliness and assure confidence, which distinguishes the
    prosperous salesman, justly proud and progressive.—HENRY FRANK.

Many a man with a good brain fails as a salesman, or remains a mediocre
one, because he has never learned to express himself with ease and
fluency. A lame, hesitating, poverty-stricken speech is fatal.

The ability to talk well is to a man what cutting and polishing are to
the rough diamond. The grinding does not add anything to the diamond. It
merely reveals its wealth.

It is an excellent thing to cultivate readiness in conversation, for this
will incidentally develop other powers.

Every salesman should have a good broad working vocabulary. To hesitate
and feel one’s way for words in trying to make a sale is fatal. The
salesman must express himself easily, clearly, and forcefully, otherwise
he will be placed at a certain disadvantage. He must be not only a fluent
talker, but also a convincing one.

The ability to talk well is a great aid to success in any line of
endeavor, but if our heads are empty, mere facility in words will not
help us much. Not “words, words, words,” but “points, points, points”
win. This is especially true in salesmanship.

A good salesman should be well read on general topics as well as in
his special line. There is no other way in which a person will reveal
a shallow or a full mind, a narrow or a broad one, a well-read or a
poverty-stricken mentality so quickly as in his speech.

To be a good conversationalist, able to interest people, to rivet their
attention, to draw them to you naturally, is to be the possessor of a
very great and valuable accomplishment. It not only helps you to make
a good impression upon strangers, it also helps you to make and keep
friends. It opens doors and softens hearts. It makes you interesting in
all sorts of company. It helps you marvelously to get on in the world.
It sends you customers, it attracts business.

It is a deplorable fact that indifference of speech is one of
the characteristics of the American people. We are not only poor
conversationalists, but we are poor listeners as well. We are too
impatient to listen. Instead of being attentive and eager to drink in
the story or the information, we have not enough respect for the talker
to keep quiet. We look about impatiently, perhaps snap our watch, play a
tattoo with our fingers on a chair or a table, twitch about as if we were
bored and were anxious to get away, and frequently interrupt the speaker
before he reaches his conclusion. In fact, we are such an impatient
people that we have no time for anything except to push ahead, to elbow
our way through the crowd, to get the position or the money we desire.

Poor conversationalists excuse themselves for not trying to improve by
saying that “good talkers are born, not made.” We might as well say that
good lawyers, good physicians, good merchants or good salesmen are born,
not made. None of these would ever get very far without hard work. This
is the price of all achievement that is of value.

To be a good talker one must be a good observer, a good listener, a good
reader, a good thinker, and a clear speaker. It will not do to mumble or
to slur over your words. You should speak distinctly, plainly, and not
too rapidly. Don’t talk like a drone or a parrot. Put force, thought and
feeling into your words; fill them full of meaning, so that people will
want to hear what you say.

You know what an impression a great orator makes upon an audience when he
measures his words and sends them out with deliberation, with feeling and
force. They are infinitely more impressive than the excited, impassioned
shouting, which comes from an over-wrought mind.

Readiness in conversation is largely a matter of practice. But the voice,
especially the American voice, needs to be trained.

There is nothing more disagreeable than a harsh, discordant voice, unless
it be the high-pitched, nasal intonation so characteristic of our people,
or the whine which is frequently heard from those who are narrow-minded
and discontented. A low, clear, well-modulated voice indicates
refinement and should be carefully cultivated by the salesman who wishes
to express himself forcefully.

It is very difficult to convince a prospect that he should buy your
merchandise when you are pleading your cause either in high-pitched,
sharp, shrill tones, or in mumbling or nasal ones which have no
magnetism, no attractiveness in them.

A clear, deep, melodious voice tends to unlock minds and to win
confidence, while a harsh, shrill, discordant voice antagonizes us.

The ability to talk well, to interest and hold others, increases our
self-respect, our confidence, and gains us a ready entrance to places
from which we would otherwise be excluded. If you expect to be a
first-class salesman, a man of power in any line of endeavor you should
cultivate your voice and practice the art of conversation.



    You must interest your customer before you can hope to
    influence him.

    “Shape your argument in harmony with conditions; don’t try to
    force a square block into a round hole.”

There are three principal ways in which to get the favorable attention
of a prospect; the first is “affording pleasure;” the second, “exciting
admiration,” and the third, “arousing curiosity.” As often as possible we
should combine all three.

If our words and our expression radiate genuine, cheerful good-will, then
the customer is pleased to meet us. We can cause him to be still more
pleased, if we praise, in a very tactful way, some of the good qualities
which we quickly observe in him.

Our appearance, from head to foot, is what causes admiration. We should
always be well groomed; hair properly cut and carefully arranged; teeth
well cared for; eyes bright; linen immaculate; clothes well pressed;
cuffs and collar free from frayed edges. Loud colors and loud jewelry
always detract from the power of the salesman. Heels that are not run
down, and shoes that are well polished, are final factors to consider.

We arouse a customer’s curiosity by asking him suitable questions. It is
a good idea to prepare him for the kind of an answer you expect, by some
positive suggestion, before you ask the question. For instance, a man who
wishes to sell a beautiful piece of jewelry can say: “I consider this a
very beautiful stone, which has been set most artistically.” Then he can
say to the customer; “What do you think of that jewel?” Invariably, the
customer will tend to agree with him, and this helps to get their minds

The late Elbert Hubbard used to say that he always began an advertisement
with the statement of an incontrovertible fact. The public read it and
agreed. It could give rise to no antagonistic or opposing train of
thought. It established a coördinate bond between the writer of the ad.
and the reader. Then Hubbard followed with statements concerning the
article advertised. With these the reader might not agree, but at least
he started reading the ad. in a friendly spirit.

Remember this: it is never best to begin to talk much about your goods
until you have secured real attention, not simply a civil attention, for
courtesy’s sake, but the genuine thing. Real attention is “a thought
spiller and a thought filler.” The customer “spills” his thoughts, and
“fills” in the salesman’s thoughts.

Some salesmen have found it a big advantage to get the customer to do
some little thing for them, such as holding a sample, loaning a pencil,
getting a piece of paper on which to figure, etc. Requests for favors of
this kind, however, must be made in a tactful way. The idea back of this
ingenious method is to start the will of the customer acting according to
the salesmen’s will.

If the moment seems favorable you should take the order at once and
dispense with all salesman’s art; but after taking the order, proceed to
strengthen the customer in his decision by calling attention to certain
strong points of merit in your goods, and certain strong reasons which
you believe will make the customer glad he has made his purchase. Be
careful, however, to avoid over-talking. This is a blunder that has cost
many a man dear.

The art of a salesman shows itself in his ability to focus his energies
quickly and to size up his prospect in many respects at a glance. He must
see what kind of a temperament he has to deal with. He must know what
to do and what to say to each particular man. Before entering a strange
office he has no idea what sort of a man will confront him, whether one
who is fat or lean, of a nervous or a phlegmatic temperament, whether
vigorous or in delicate health, whether a thin-skinned, sensitive man or
one of a coarse type with a rhinoceros hide.

In calling on regular customers, the salesman must be alert for passing
whims that modify their disposition. He must take in a man’s mood at a
glance. If he is in a bad mood, he cannot approach him as if he were in a
happy mood, as though he had just had some good news. He must be able to
tell by his appearance whether he is pleased because business is booming,
or whether he is disgruntled, his mind clouded either by business or
domestic troubles. In fact, a salesman must be able to recognize quickly
and deal adequately with all sorts of men and moods, and business
conditions, or he will fail at the start to get the sort of attention on
which his sales depend.



    Tact eases the jolts, oils the bearings, opens doors barred
    to others, sits in the drawing-room when others wait in the
    reception hall, gets into the private office when others are
    turned down.

    Whether you get an order or not, leave a good taste in your
    prospect’s mouth so that he will always have a pleasant
    recollection of you.

Some time ago a man and his wife went into a large store in an eastern
city to buy a chandelier. The man, in a rather querulous tone, asked
to be shown a Renaissance chandelier. “Now, be sure,” he said to the
salesman, “to show me a real Renaissance, small and not too expensive.”
The salesman perceived he had a difficult customer to deal with, but one
who appeared to have a fixed idea in mind. Being extremely tactful, he
knew his first task was to humor his customer, and then try to find out
exactly what type of fixture had been pictured in his mind. By cordiality
and an exchange of remarks on general subjects, the salesman eased
the man’s mind, and by skillful questions found out exactly what sort
of chandelier he wanted. Then he expressed himself pleased at having a
customer with clear ideas about the sort of article he wished, as it made
it so much easier for the salesman to suit him.

Only tact could ever have won over that man and satisfied his whim.

Blessed are they who possess tact! Let them rejoice and be glad in the
possession of an inestimable gift, and let those who have it not bend all
their energies to its acquisition.

Tact is one of the greatest aids to success in life. As a friend-winner
and business-getter it is invaluable. One prominent business man puts
tact at the head of the list in his success recipe, the other three
things being; enthusiasm, knowledge of business, dress.

I know a man who solicits subscriptions for a periodical, who has such
an exquisite way of ingratiating himself into others’ favor that he gets
nine subscriptions, on an average, out of every ten people he solicits.
His tactful approach has won you over before you realize it, and it is
much harder for you to refuse even the thing you do not want than to take

Tact enables you to pass sentinels, gates and bars, gain an entrance to
the very sanctum sanctorum where the tactless man never enters. Tact gets
a hearing where genius cannot; it is admitted when talent is denied; it
is listened to when ability without it cannot get a hearing.

As “every fish has its fly,” so every person can be reached, no matter
how odd, peculiar or cranky by the one who has tact enough to touch him
in the right place.

What is this miracle worker called Tact?

Tact is variously defined as “Peculiar skill or adroitness in doing
or saying exactly that which is required by or is suited to the
circumstances”; “It is the gift of bringing into action all the mental
powers in the nick of time”; “It is a combination of quickness, firmness,
readiness, good-nature and facility.” Webster’s dictionary gets at the
kernel of this wonderful quality. Tact, it says, is “adroitness in
managing the feelings of persons dealt with; nice perception in seeing
and doing exactly what is best in the circumstances.”

It is in “managing the feelings” of his customer that the tactful man
scores his strongest point. It is in sensing his moods, in being able to
put himself in his place that he is always equal to the situation, that
he always exercises that “nice perception in seeing and doing exactly
what is best in the circumstances.”

One of the best means of acquiring a tactful manner is to try to put
yourself in your prospect’s place, and then act toward him as you would
like to have some one act toward you in like circumstances.

You are very busy, troubled about a lot of things. You may be short of
capital, you may have big notes coming due, business may be dull, many
things may have been going wrong with you. You may have come to your
office upset by domestic troubles, you may not feel well, however well
you look. Perhaps yesterday was broken up by all sorts of interruptions.
You started out this morning resolved to do a splendid day’s work, and
hoping that you would not be bothered with callers. Perhaps you do not
feel like talking business. You may have a lot of things on your mind
which are perplexing you, hard problems to solve; the reports of business
put on your desk this morning may have been anything but encouraging.

In fact, you feel “out of sorts” and wish you did not have to see anybody
all day. You are longing for a little time to yourself to think things
over, to get your bearings, when in comes a salesman’s card. You do not
want to see him and would give most anything to get rid of him, although
there may be a possibility that he has something that you would like, but
you do not want to see him at that particular time.

“Why couldn’t the man have come some other time?” you ask yourself.
Against your will you say: “Well, tell him to come in.” You feel grouchy,
grumpy, you do not even feel like greeting him pleasantly, and you growl
out a “good morning.”

The salesman sits down. Your whole mind is braced against him. You do not
care to see him, to talk with him. Everybody braces against a salesman.
He is usually put in an unfortunate position. Instead of trying to make
it easy for your visitor you make it hard for him. You make no concession
if you can help it. You make him fight every inch of his way for your

The tactful salesman sees your mood at once, and he knows he has a hard
fight ahead of him; he has to win you over inch by inch. You begin to
make all sorts of excuses; you do not need new stock at present, business
has been dull, your shelves are loaded down with goods, and you tell him
that times are bad, the outlook is anything but promising. He does not
oppose or contradict you. On the contrary, he sympathizes with you; he
is patient, courteous, affable, but all the time he is trying to get the
thin edge of his wedge into your mind. He knows what would win him over
if he were in such a mood; his wife or mother probably knows. He has to
be won over; force, argument, reason, logic will not do it, only tact
will do the trick.

If you have made a study of human nature, learned to size up people
quickly, you will sense a prospect’s mood, even though he should try to
conceal it, and you will have no difficulty in imagining yourself in his
place. He has the same human qualities and the same fundamental passions
as yourself. You must always be ready to pour oil on his wounds, not

A salesman must not only use all his resourcefulness in business logic,
but he must bring into play all his powers of pleasing. He should always
come to his customers in a cheerful mood. No matter how upset he feels;
no matter what unfortunate news he has had in the morning’s mail about
his sick wife, or the children lying almost at death’s door, he must not
show any sign of his troubles. A salesman may be in just as unfortunate a
plight as his customer is, and even worse, yet he is forced to hide his
feelings, and must try to “make good” under all circumstances.

The tactful salesman is “all things to all men.” Not that he is deceitful
or insincere, but he understands different temperaments, different
dispositions, different moods, and readily adapts himself to all. He
keeps his finger on the mental pulse of his prospect, and keeps track of
his mental attitude. He knows, for instance, that the moment a prospect
shows signs of being bored the salesman should quit, and try later, or
otherwise he will prejudice his case fatally, so that the next time he
calls this bored suggestion will come to the mind of the prospect, who
will refuse to see him.

I was recently talking with a man who said that a salesman who did not
know his business had just taken a half hour of his valuable time, trying
to sell him a bill of goods that he really did not want. He said the
man did not know enough to see that he was making no impression, that
he was not convincing him. And although he took out his watch several
times, turned around nervously in his chair, kept taking up letters from
his desk, making all sorts of hints and suggestions for the salesman to
get out, yet he still kept on trying to make a sale. The only redeeming
quality about him, he said, was his persistency.

Now, ill-timed persistency is simply lack of tact; there is nothing
praiseworthy in it. You should be able to tell by the look in your
prospect’s eye whether you are really interesting him or not, and if you
are not you cannot convince him that he needs what you have to sell.

Getting solid with a prospect, making a favorable impression upon him,
unlocking his mind, is very much like making love to a girl. You cannot
browbeat, you cannot be arbitrary or disagreeable; only the gentle,
attractive, tactful methods will win. The least little slip on your part
may close the door forever. No force will answer, it is all a matter of
attraction and conviction. No level-headed man is going to buy until he
is convinced, and tact is the most powerful convincer in the world.

Tact is never offensive. It is always a balm, allaying suspicion, and
soothing and pleasing. It is appreciative. It is plausible without being
dishonest, apparently consults the welfare of the second party and does
not manifest any selfishness. It is never antagonistic; it never opposes,
never strokes the fur the wrong way, and never irritates.

Little seven-by-nine salesmen are constantly putting stumbling blocks
in their own path. They are always “putting their foot in it.” They
persist when persistency is ill timed. They make some unfortunate remark
or allusion. They are not good students of human nature; they put up a
poor sort of an argument, the same sort of talk to every man, to men
of different prejudices, different ages, different dispositions. In
other words, they are not tactful, and they are all the time tripping
themselves up, getting into snarls, and making blunders which lose them

Some one says: “The kindly element of humor almost always enters into
the use of tact, and sweetens its mild coercion. We cannot help smiling,
oftentimes, at the deft way in which we have been induced to do what
we afterwards recognized as altogether right and best.” There need be
no deception in the use of tact, only such a presentation of rightful
inducements as shall most effectively appeal to a hesitating mind.

A public school teacher reproved a little eight-year-old Irish boy for
some mischief. The boy was about to deny the fault when the teacher
said, “I saw you, Jerry.” “Yes,” replied the boy as quick as a flash, “I
tells them there ain’t much you don’t see with them purty black eyes of
yours.” The native wit of that youngster would make him a good salesman.
We do not know whether it appeased the teacher, but it certainly showed a
readiness to size up and deal with a delicate situation that would have
done credit to an older head.

The following paragraph, in a letter which a merchant sent out to his
customers, is an example of shrewd business tact:

“We should be thankful for any information of any dissatisfaction with
any former transactions with us, and we will take immediate steps to
remedy it.”

Think of the wealthy customers that have been driven away from big
concerns, by the lack of tact on the part of a salesman. A successful
business man recently told me his experience in buying a suit of clothes
at one of the leading clothiers in New York City. “The salesman who
waited on me,” he said, “showed me various suits of all colors and
styles. He did not interest me in any particular one. He distracted my
attention, being plainly indifferent and showing that he did not care
whether I bought or not. After spending an hour’s time, I left the place
in disgust. I said to myself, ‘A house carrying thousands of suits, and
a good salesman, should certainly sell me one suit.’ I went to another
house. Then the purchase became to me more than anything else a study of
salesmanship, how various salesmen handle customers. The salesman at this
other place gained my confidence right at the start, showed me only three
suits, interested me in a particular one, showed me why I should buy that
one, and within eighteen minutes’ actual time I paid the price, and now
I am enjoying the wearing of that suit.”

This shows how even the best quality of merchandise will go back to the
shelf unless handled by a conscientious, tactful salesman.

It is true that there are always certain customers in every large
establishment who are very hard to convince. They are suspicious, and
often very disagreeable and difficult to get on with, but their patronage
is valuable, and every employer prizes the salesman who can handle these
difficult customers, who can please them and send them away friends
instead of enemies of the house.

It must be remembered that the real test of salesmanship is the ability
to handle difficult customers. Most people don’t realize what is best for
them to buy; they can’t make up their minds without the salesman’s help,
or they are peculiar in their nature and require tactful management.

Many women make a business of going about among the department stores,
perhaps without the slightest idea of buying anything. It becomes a
sort of fixed habit with them. Some of them have a chronic habit of
indecision. They will run about the stores for weeks before they make up
their minds to buy a thing that they need. They are so afraid that they
will see something cheaper and much better suited to their needs after
they have purchased that they postpone purchasing as long as possible. If
they want a pair of shoes, a dress, a hat, or some other article, they
will go round all the stores in town looking, or “shopping,” as they call
it, before they buy.

I know of a very clever saleswoman in a big store who has marvelous skill
and tact in approaching these “lookers” or “shoppers” and turning them
into customers. She begins by asking if the lady has been waited upon,
and if there is anything she can do for her? With a pleasant smile, in
a very sweet voice, she gets into conversation with her, and before the
habitual “looker” realizes it she has become a purchaser.

To know what to do, what to say, at just the right moment is capital a
thousand times more valuable than money capital, for a man with rare tact
will start in business without a dollar and make a greater success than
the tactless man who starts with a fortune. How many people in this
country to-day owe their success and fortune more to the possession of
tact than to ability? Tact will distance ability without it every time.

A man who with a party of friends had been fishing a long time became
quite disgusted because he did not get a bite when everybody else was
pulling in the speckled trout. After awhile he discovered that he had no
bait on his hook. He might have been fishing there yet and never have had
a bite.

Everywhere in society and in the business world we find men fishing with
baitless hooks. They have no use for people with fine manners. They
are gruff, uncouth. They do not believe in catering to the feelings of
others. They have never learned the art of baiting things. They call a
spade a spade. They have no use for frills, for decorations. They believe
in striking out straight from the shoulder every time, no matter what the

Many tactless people go through life trailing bare hooks and they wonder
why the fish do not bite. They do not know how to adjust themselves to
conditions. They are misfits. They appear to have been fitted for some
rougher sphere and to have been dropped by accident to the earth amid
conditions totally unsuited to them.

The tactless salesman is a misfit. He must either learn how to bait his
hook properly, or else go into some other business for which he is better



    The art of all arts for the leader is his ability to measure
    men, to weigh them, to “size them up.”

A great authority on salesmanship said: “Any one can call upon a
prospective buyer and go away without an order.” It is up to the salesman
to get what he goes after. If he knows how to size people up readily,
he will be far more likely to get what he goes after than the man who
can not do this. The ability to read people at sight is a great business

Marshall Field was an adept in character reading. He was always studying
his employees and gauging their possibilities. Nothing escaped his keen
eye. Even when those about him did not know that he was thinking of them,
he was taking their measure at every opportunity. His ability to place
men, to weigh and measure them, to detect almost at a glance their weak
and their strong points, amounted to genius.

If General Grant had had the same ability to read politicians and
to estimate men for government positions that he had for judging of
military ability, he would have made a great President. Unfortunately,
he was obliged to depend too much upon the advice of friends in those
matters. The result was that, as President, he did not maintain the high
reputation he had made as a general.

The salesman ought to make a study of his power of penetration, of his
character-reading ability. He ought to make it a business to study men
and the motives which actuate them.

To be an expert in reading human nature is just as valuable to a salesman
as a knowledge of law is to a lawyer, or as a knowledge of medicine is
to a physician. The man who can read human nature, who can “size up” a
person quickly, who can arrive at an accurate estimate of character, no
matter what his vocation or profession, has a great advantage over others.

The ability to read human nature is a cultivatable quality, and we have
a great opportunity in this country, with its conglomerate population,
to study the various types of character. It is an education in itself to
form the habit of measuring, weighing, estimating the different people
we meet, for in this way we are improving our own powers of observation,
sharpening our perceptive faculties, improving our judgment.

The salesman who knows anything about human nature, for instance, doesn’t
need to be told it won’t do to approach a big business man, the head of a
great establishment, as one would approach a small dealer. He will follow
a different method with each, according to their different standing and

No two mentalities are exactly alike, and you must approach each one
through the avenue of the least resistance. One man you can approach
through his fads. If he is passionately fond of music or crazy about
golf; or if he is a connoisseur in art, in sculpture, or in any other
line, this may give you a hint as to the right line of approach.

If you see by a man’s head and face that he has a strong mentality, that
he is, perhaps, “from Missouri,” you must approach him through argument,
through reason. You cannot approach him in the same way you would an
impressionable, fat, jolly-natured man. Then the man who is selfish,
domineering, imperious, who thinks he knows it all, the man to whom you
never can tell anything, must be handled in quite a different manner from
any of these.

Some men will take a joke, others will consider it an impertinence. One
man is only convinced by logical argument; another by the judicious
use of flattery. The frigid mental temperament will not respond to
pleasantry; nothing but cold logic will appeal to him; the expansive,
good-natured man is often reached through his fad or hobby. Sometimes
you get a point of contact with your prospective customer by finding
that you belong to the same lodge. Of course, it is always a good thing
to find out as much as possible about a man before you call on him. Such
knowledge often gives a great advantage in sizing him up properly.

If you are a good reader of character, however, you get at a glance
an impression of your prospect that is fairly reliable. You can tell
whether you are facing a little, weazened, dried-up soul, a man who is
stingy, selfish, grasping, or whether he is a man of generous impulses,
magnanimous, open-minded, kind-hearted. You can tell whether he is
good-natured, jolly; whether it will do to crack a joke with him, or
whether he is austere and stern; whether you can approach him in an easy,
friendly manner, or whether you must keep your distance and approach him
with a proper sense of his dignity and importance. Even if your prospect
only assumes a stiff, stand-off demeanor you must treat him as though it
were perfectly natural, otherwise he will be offended.

In sizing up a man the first thing to do is to make up your mind what
kind of a heart he has. If you conclude that he has a good heart,
and that he is honest and above board, even though he may be cold in
appearance, and may prove a bit close-fisted, you will stand a much
better chance in doing business with him than you would with a man with
small shifty eyes, and the earmarks of shrewd, sharp characteristics
apparent in every feature and every look.

You can read a man by his facial expression much better than you can
by the bumps on his head, because the muscles of the face respond to
the passing thought and reflect the idea, the emotion, every phase of
the mental state. You know how quickly a joke, something funny, is
expressed in the facial muscles; how quickly they respond to any mental
state-disappointment, bad news, discouragement, sorrow, anger. The
muscles of the face, its varying expressions, change with the thought.
In other words, the facial expression indicates the condition of a man’s
mind. By this you can tell whether your prospect is in a good or a bad
humor, whether he is a human icicle, cold, unfeeling, or a human magnet,
tender, kind, sympathetic.

Salesmen who are poor judges of human nature, who cannot size people
up, often have to batter away a long time at a wrong approach when,
otherwise, they could sail right into a man’s mind through the right
avenue. By making head study, face study, man study, an art, you can very
quickly get your line of approach. Then you will not blunder and lose
time in trying to set yourself right. Many a man calls upon a prospective
buyer and goes away without an order because he didn’t know how to size
him up. He had never studied this important side of his business.

Remember that if you make a wrong approach you may have hard work to get
a hearing at all; your prospect may close his mind against you at the
start, and you may not be able to get into it, no matter how earnestly
you try, when, if you had approached him along the line of least
resistance, you could have sailed right in. In fact, the man would have
invited you in.

Do not be hasty in your judgment or make up your mind too quickly in
sizing up people. Hold your decision in abeyance until you have read off
the character hieroglyphics written on the face and person, and in the
manner, for all these are significant, and each means something. In other
words, read all the earmarks or character labels on a man, get in all the
evidence you can before acting on your first quick impression, because a
great deal depends on the accuracy of your judgment.

Every man’s face is a bulletin board; it is a program of the performance
going on inside, and the important thing is to learn to read it not only
quickly, but accurately.

The facial expression, the attitude, the manner, the language, the look
of the eye, are letters of the character alphabet which spell out
the man. Everything that is natural, spontaneous, unpremeditated, is
indicative of certain qualities he possesses; and if the man is putting
on, if he is posing, you can pierce the mask of pretense and discount it.

If you are a good reader of character, after a few minutes study you can
put together the letters of the impressions you have received and spell
out the sort of a man you have to deal with, for he is covered all over
with tags visible to those who have learned to read them.

Some people judge character largely by a particular feature—the mouth,
the chin, the eye, the nose, etc. Napoleon used to depend a great deal
upon the size of a man’s nose. “Give me a man with a big nose,” he
used to say when choosing men for important positions. A large nose is
supposed to indicate great force of character. It is said that every one
resembles in greater or less degree some particular animal. Many people
base their reading of character on this animal clue. Look out for the fox
face; beware of the wolf face, the bird-of-prey face, for it is believed
that the man who bears a strong resemblance to some animal will also
usually have many of that animal’s characteristics.

The main point for the salesman is to get the right start in approaching
the buyer. If he makes a close study of human nature he will seldom if
ever make a mistake in sizing up his man.



    The ability to influence or induce people to purchase what you
    have to sell is a mental art that will repay cultivation.

    “Salesmanship is the art of selling to the other fellow
    something he needs but doesn’t know it.”

    “A sale is a mental thing. It results from harmonizing certain
    mental elements which enter into all common agreements between

A sharp-witted lawyer after successfully defending a man accused of
horse-stealing, asked him in confidence, after the trial, if he were
really guilty.

“Well, Mister,” replied the man, “I thought at first I had took the
critter, but after listening to your speech I concluded I hadn’t.”

The power of suggestion may be used for base and illegitimate ends or for
honorable and legitimate ones. It is his suggestive power which makes the
smooth, long-headed promoter dangerous. He uses it to make people buy
what they do not need, or to palm off on them fraudulent or spurious
goods. The victims of these unscrupulous promoters, when under the
influence of a suggestive anæsthetic, will mortgage their homes, their
furniture, draw their last dollar from the savings-bank, borrow every
dollar they can, to obtain the thing which is made to appear so desirable
that they cannot see how they can get along without it.

Now, suggestion is just as effective when used for a lawful and honorable
purpose as for an unlawful and dishonorable one. One salesman succeeds
where others fail, largely because of his greater suggestive power. He
draws such a vivid description of the merchandise he is selling, makes
it seem so very desirable, that his prospect feels he must give him an
order. The salesman knows he is selling a good thing that it is to his
customer’s advantage to buy. The transaction is therefore of mutual
benefit to both parties, the buyer as well as the seller.

Suggestion has been defined as “whatever creates or inspires thought.”
As a science, suggestion “shows us how to start and steer thought.” The
five senses are the channels which bring us impressions from without.
“An act of the will or some association of ideas” brings impressions from
_within_; this latter is auto-suggestion.

Suggestion can help you to upbuild and develop yourself, to educate and
train yourself in spirit, mind, and body. “In building up character a man
must have spiritual and moral backing.” “As a man thinketh in his heart,
so is he.” This is the essence of auto-suggestion. “Thought is a creative
force.” It is a “motive, impelling, sustaining” force. Hence, when
auto-suggestion keeps thought “working in the right direction” we have
a powerful backing in all our undertakings. By thinking _definitely_,
_steadily_ and _strongly_ on useful and exalted sentiments we come into
the realization of our thought aspirations. Briefly, we create within
what we mentally desired steadily and intently. Thus we may build our
character, ever “improving, developing, and adorning.” Suggestion is our
“working force.”

“It (suggestion) can also help you to shape the desires and direct the
will of the customers you seek to influence.” In the first place, we
direct the will of our customers by our very personality, which has been
developed through auto-suggestion. Then the various steps of attention,
interest, desire, and, finally, resolve, in the customer, must be induced
by suggestion. He must forget himself and his own senses, ultimately;
or at least, he must have had all his faculties so brought into harmony
with those of the salesman that he readily accepts the salesman’s ideas.
“If you remember that suggestion is merely the working of the subjective
mental force,” says Mr. Sheldon, “and if you consider that the activity
of the subjective mind is in ratio to the strength and depth of the
suggestion, you have a pretty clear idea of the use that may be made of
suggestion in the progress of a sale.”

I have heard the story of a preacher, in Washington, who told his
congregation so dramatically and so convincingly that all humanity was
hanging over hell by the single thread of a cobweb, that, when the climax
was reached, one man, a very learned one too, was clinging frantically to
a pillar.

The simple study of psychology reveals that the activities of the will
must be stirred up by approaching and capturing the outlying sentinels,
namely the intellect and feelings. We get attention through the senses,
increase attention to interest through the intellect, change interest to
desire through the feelings, and finally, in decision we have induced
the will to act. To be sure, there is no mathematical dividing line,
no architecturally apparent flights of steps; nevertheless, the true
salesman is perfectly conscious of the different stages of progress of
the customer’s mind, and he leads him easily and naturally from one to
the other. The importance of this point in selling is emphasized by a
writer in “Business Philosopher,” who says: “It is just as reasonable to
expect your prospect to reach a favorable decision without first having
been brought through the three earlier stages—attention, interest and
desire—as to expect water to run up hill.”

A sale is a mental process, and depends largely upon the quality and the
intensity of the mental suggestion, and the confidence communicated to
the would-be purchaser’s mind.

Suggestion is properly used in the conduct of a sale when it is
unobtrusive, and in no way savors of the pompous, swaggering, hypnotic
methods of the impertinent intruder. Suggestion should be “honest and
well aimed.” It should help the customer’s mind and inspire confidence.
Suggestions to the customer should have for their object “not to overcome
or dethrone the will, but simply to guide and influence it.” Hypnotism,
consisting in dethroning a man’s will, is “the complete setting aside of
the objective mind.” Every salesman should study psychology. He should
be able to understand the mental laws by which the mind of his prospect
acts, so as to be able to read his mental operations.

Character is largely made up of suggestion; life is largely based upon
it. Salesmanship is pretty nearly all suggestion.

The salesman should always keep in mind this great truth,—“The greatest
art is to conceal art.”

Suggestion, by its very nature, is subtle, if rightly used.

The salesman who has great skill in the use of suggestion helps the mind
of the customer, without making him feel that any influence is being
exerted. He leads his customer to buy after the same method by which Pope
suggests men should be taught:

    “Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
    And things unknown proposed as things forgot.”

Let the customer feel that he is buying, not that you are selling to him.

Professor Hugo Münsterberg, in an article on the psychology of
salesmanship, said: “If the customer knows exactly what he wants, and has
made up his mind, no suggestion is needed.” It is then a case of letting
well enough alone. An ill-timed or negative suggestion may spoil a sale,
as in the following instance.

A farmer once went to town to buy a self-binder. He looked at one binder
and was so well satisfied that he was about to buy it. At this point
the salesman said: “I’ll tell you, this binder has given us very little

Now, this farmer wasn’t looking for a binder that was going to give him
even a little trouble. He had troubles of his own. That one suggestion
scared him away. He went out and bought a binder from a salesman who
said, “This binder has given us excellent satisfaction.”

In the offices of a New York business house there is a quotation framed,
which serves the purpose of a very effective suggestion. This house is
in the paper business, and, naturally, they wish to impress upon all
buyers the value of using good quality paper. Here is the quotation
which, I am sure, has suggested to many customers the advisability of
buying good quality paper: “A printer recently uttered this truth:
‘Printing doesn’t improve the paper any, but, for a certainty, good paper
adds considerably to the appearance and worth of printing.’”

Psychology in selling is in reality only a new name for the principles
which good business men, expert salesmen, have used in all times.
Diplomacy, tact, cheerfulness, the good-will habit, and the suggestion of
confidence—all these form an important part of business psychology.



    The habit of expecting great things of ourselves, expecting the
    best things to come to us, calls out the best that is in us and
    brings the best to us.

    Anybody can get “no” for an answer. A negative attitude
    attracts a negative response—and most people become negative
    without realizing it.

    If I had a school of salesmanship I would make a specialty of
    the philosophy of expectancy. I would never lose an opportunity
    of driving home this philosophy of expecting to make good. I
    would drive home this lesson of expecting success, expecting
    to win out, until it should become a dominant note in the
    salesman’s life.

When a boy I used to go trout fishing in a rough New Hampshire stream
with a noted fisherman. He understood the trout and their habits; he knew
where the good holes were and the rocks behind which the big trout were
waiting. I would fish on one side of the stream and he on the other, and
he would catch as many trout as he could carry, while I caught very few.

When this man started out to fish he would say he knew that he was going
to get a big string of trout. Whenever he threw in his line he expected
to get a trout. I, on the other hand, had no such hope or confidence, I
did not know trout and their habits as he did, and I did not expect to
catch any. The consequence was I hardly ever got a bite, while the trout
nearly always went to his hook.

This is just the difference between a cracker-jack salesman and a poor
one. The former knows his business thoroughly and expects to succeed.
He approaches his prospect with the air of a conqueror, as a man in the
habit of winning. The latter is not well posted, or he fears he won’t
succeed. He goes to his prospect in fear and trembling, with doubt in his
mind. He doesn’t believe he will get an order, and, of course, he doesn’t.

You should approach every prospect courageously, confidently, not only at
the top of your physical condition, but also at the top of your mental
condition. You positively must be hopeful, you must expect to take an
order. Doubt, fear, or anxiety will queer your sale, because you will
communicate whatever is in your own mind to your prospective customer.
We radiate our moods. Our doubts and fears are very contagious.

If you carry your goods in a hearse you will not sell them. Do not
approach a customer with a long, sad, disappointed countenance, as though
you had just returned from a funeral. Remember you are a salesman, not
an undertaker. Go to him with a face filled with hope and cheer, with
confidence and assurance.

If you are a winner, your whole canvass will be conducted as though you
expected to change the prospect’s mind before you get through with him,
no matter how antagonistic he may be, or how determined at the outset not
to purchase.

There is a good deal of truth in the remark, “If you cannot learn to
smile, you cannot learn to sell.” The best salesmen are cheerful,
optimistic, hopeful. They appreciate the commercial value of a smile, of
always looking pleasant. Optimism is contagious. Everybody likes a sunny

I knew a young man who would not impress people as having any marked
ability, and yet this young man got fifteen thousand dollars salary, and
did business enough to warrant it. He had a perfect genius for making
friends. People seemed to be drawn to him as naturally as iron filings
are attracted to a magnet. Everywhere he went he was the center of a
circle, whether on a train, in a store, or in a hotel corridor. Everybody
wanted to get near him. He seemed to radiate a hearty good cheer and
good-will towards everybody. There was nothing mean or narrow about him.
He was generous to a fault. He was always ready to jump up and grip you
by the hand and shake it as if he was really delighted to see you—and
he was. There was nothing put on. He loved everybody and wanted to help
them. He was in some ways not a good business man, but his customers
always anticipated his visits, and would say, “Isn’t it about time for
Charlie to be around? It does one good to see that fellow. He is all
sunshine.” Everybody knew him on his Western route, which he traveled for
years. The hotel clerks all liked him and they tried to give him the best
room possible whenever he came, often saving one for him for days. He
was always given the best seat in the dining-room and the best waiter,
and when the orders were called off in the kitchen the waiter would say,
“Give me an Al steak for Charlie, for he is such a good fellow.” Wherever
he went the door flew open to him. He did not have to push hard, as
others do, to get in, for everybody knew that when he came it meant a
good laugh and pleasant memories.

A strong determination and tenacious persistence will sometimes
enable a man to become a fair salesman, even when he lacks a pleasing
personality or a persuasive manner. He conquers from sheer force of
continual pounding, until he wears his would-be customer out. But a
pleasing personality, charm of manner, a sunny disposition, an optimistic
outlook upon life, genuineness, honesty of purpose, and simplicity, when
accompanied by a positive mentality and robust determination, are the
qualities which win out in a big way.

Everything depends upon the attitude of mind with which you approach a
difficulty. If you are cowed before you begin, if you start out with an
admission of weakness, a tacit acknowledgment of your inability to meet
the emergency that confronts you, you are foredoomed to failure. Your
whole attitude lacks the magnetism that attracts success.

A book agent sometimes comes into my office, and I know by the way he
enters that he does not expect to make a sale. Instead of walking with
his head up, with an air of confidence and assurance, he sneaks in,
apologizes, and asks me to please do him the honor to give him two or
three minutes of my valuable time. He has lost his first chance by making
a bad impression upon me, and it takes more time than I can give him to
overcome it. He is beaten before he begins.

Quite another sort of agent calls on me occasionally, and I always buy
from him whether I want what he has for sale or not. He enters with
such an air of modest assurance, such confidence and expectancy in his
bearing; he is so cheerful and interesting, that I positively cannot turn
him down. He wins at the very outset by making a good, quick impression
upon me, and getting my confidence.

Dr. Frank Crane, in an article on “A Consumer’s Views on Salesmanship,”
gives the salesmen among other valuable points, these:

“First of all, be good-natured. I here and now confess that nine-tenths
of what induces me to buy, is the ability of the seller to jolly me
along. Cheerfulness and signs that you feel good, enjoy life, and are
full of glee inside, are better than a letter of introduction from Mr.
Rockefeller. Avoid personal intimacies. Let me talk about myself, and
look interested while I am explaining, but don’t speak of yourself any
more than you can help. Take an ax and chop the pronoun ‘I’ out of your
vocabulary. What do you care?—Jolly me along.”

When Dr. Crane says to “jolly” him along, he does not mean that a
salesman should be frivolous, or deceitful. He simply means that he ought
to make a customer feel good, make him realize his importance. Show your
customer that you are interested in his needs and his problems.

If you really believe in your heart, and expect, that you are going
to sell, you will communicate your faith to your prospect. This faith
suggestion, if vigorously backed by the magic of polite persistence, and
consistent cheerfulness, will tend to produce results like itself, just
as the doubt, the failure suggestion, produces a failure result.



    He is great who can alter my state of mind.—EMERSON.

    “Don’t struggle up hill when you can work on the level.”

When I was editor of a big magazine I sent an assistant to interview
a young man who had had most remarkable success in the life insurance
business, to get from him the secret of his rapid rise.

When my assistant returned I asked him if he had succeeded in getting his
interview. “No,” he said, “but the insurance manager got me to take out
quite a large insurance policy.”

This was a triumph of the art of salesmanship. The insurance man actually
made his would-be interviewer forget what he had gone after, and induced
him to buy something he had not before thought of buying, yet something
which, undoubtedly, it was to his advantage to buy.

Why is it that one man will so easily change our whole mental attitude
and make us do voluntarily the very thing that we had no idea of doing
an hour before, and thought we never could do, when another might have
talked to us until doomsday about the same thing, and never changed our
mind a particle regarding it? Why is it that one man will convince us
that we ought to buy an article which we were sure a few minutes before
that we not only did not need or desire, but under no circumstances would

Because he is a past master of the gentle art of persuasion.

How little we realize what a large part persuasion plays in our life. The
clergyman, the teacher, the lawyer, the business man, the salesman, the
parent, each is trying to persuade, to influence, to win over others to
his way of thinking, to his principles, to accept his ideas.

Some characters are so tactful, so sunny, so bright, cheerful, and
attractive that they never have to force or even to request an entrance
anywhere. The door is flung wide open and they are invited to enter, just
as we invite beauty, loveliness and sunshine to enter our mind. Their
very presence has a subtle influence in soothing and pleasing. They know
how to persuade almost without uttering a word.

Of the many elements which enter into scientific salesmanship, none is
more essential than that of persuasion.

A salesman often finds a would-be customer’s mind absolutely opposed to
his. He does not want the merchandise, or at least he thinks he does
not, and is determined not to buy it. He braces himself against all
possibility of persuasion, of being influenced to do what he has decided
not to do. A little later, however, he cheerfully buys the article, pays
for it, and feels sure he really wants it. His entire attitude has been
changed by the art of persuasion, of winning over, which was all done
by successive logical steps, each of which had to be taken in order, or
failure would have resulted.

The first step was to get the man’s attention,—otherwise the salesman
could have done nothing with him. This of itself is often a difficult
matter—to get the attention of a man who is determined not to look at
your goods, who had made up his mind not to buy, and is braced against
you. But a good salesman does not try to persuade a man to buy until he
has not only secured his attention, but also thoroughly interested him in
his proposition. Then he arouses his desire to possess the thing he has
for sale, and when this is done, the sale is practically over.

I was talking recently with some friends about the rapid rise of a
young salesman which surprised everybody who knew him. One of my
friends said that the whole secret was his marvelous power to persuade
people, to change their mind, to make a prospect see things from his
point of view. He said he had never before met another man who had such
remarkable success in changing another’s mind to his way of thinking.
“And this,” he added, “is the essence, the quintessence, if you will, of
salesmanship—the power to make another see things as we see them.”

Persuasive power, the ability to win others over to our way of thinking,
our way of looking at things, is not a simple quality. It is in reality
made up of many admirable qualities which have more to do with the heart
than the head. It is one of the lovable traits of human nature, which
enables one to win out in many instances where head qualities would be of
no avail.

The best and most successful teachers are not always the most learned,
but those who get hold of the hearts of their pupils, whose kindness,
personal interest, and sympathy inspire them to do their best. The
same qualities which, apart from scholarship, make the best teachers,
also make the best salesmen. While education and intelligence are
indispensable, it is not so much smartness, long-headedness, cunning,
as the warm human heart qualities which make a salesman popular and

There is a sort of hypnotic power which passes for persuasiveness,
and enables a man to get orders at the outset, but it is not based on
honesty, and in the long run seriously hurts a man’s business.

A magnetic, spellbinding salesman will often bring to his house larger
orders than some other salesman, but in the end will lose customers and
injure himself and his concern, while the one who does not sell nearly
as much to start with will make many more friends, and will hold his
customers, because he looks out for their interest, and only tries to
sell them what is to their advantage to buy. He will not work off a large
bill of goods upon them which he knows in his heart they should not buy.
He studies their needs, and so wins their confidence and good-will.

The ability to make others think as you do is a tremendous power, and
carries great responsibility. If it is not kindly and honestly used it
will prove a boomerang and injure most the one who uses it. He will soon
become known as a “spellbinder,” and people will not do business with him.

Mere “palaver and soft soap” do not cut nearly so much of a figure in
salesmanship as formerly. The time has gone by forever when a salesman is
chiefly measured by his ability to tell good yarns and crack jokes with
his prospects. Honesty first, is the business slogan to-day. Spellbinding
methods are not in demand. While you may, and should, be as affable as
you please, you must be thoroughly sincere.

Even in trying to approach a man through his hobby, great caution must
be used. If he is a shrewd, long-headed man he is going to see through
any subterfuge, and if he gets the slightest idea that you are trying
to “string” him, or if he sees the slightest evidence of insincerity or
cunning, if he sees any plot back of your eye, your game is up. We must
first believe in a man’s integrity, even though he may deceive us, before
he can persuade us to do what we thought we would not do.

To-day it is the clean, straight-from-the-shoulder talk, cold facts that
the average business man wants. Yet the men of persuasive powers can
present those facts in such a way that the prospect will be made to feel
that the salesman is his friend and acting entirely in his interest. No
man relishes the idea of being “managed,” and, no matter how much he
loves flattery, he will question your motive if you attempt it.

Very tactful and just praise, however, will help your cause considerably
with the average man. Remember that your prospect will be always on
his guard against any sort of deceit. He will be looking for evidences
of insincerity. He has no intention of allowing himself to be duped or
gulled. Above all, remember that there is no substitute for sincerity in
any field. There is nothing that will take the place in our lives of
absolute transparency, simplicity, honesty, kindness. The Golden Rule is
the only rule of conduct that will bring true success in any business.



    Satisfied customers are a perpetual lip-to-lip advertisement.

    “Help your customer to buy. Don’t merely sell to him.”

A Quaker merchant who had made a fortune in Liverpool, when asked how he
had made it, replied, “By a single article of trade in which every one
may deal who pleases—civility.”

This self-same “article of trade” has been the making of the celebrated
Bon Marché in Paris. The clerks in this famous establishment are
instructed to show people, whether customers or not, every possible
consideration. Strangers in Paris are invited to visit the Bon Marché,
and are taken in hand the moment they enter the store by those who can
speak their language, are shown over the whole place, and every possible
attention paid to them, without the slightest influence being brought
upon them to purchase. A similar courtesy is shown visitors in many
well-known American concerns.

It is the service we are not obliged to give that people value most.
Everybody knows that the salesman is supposed, at least, to treat a
customer decently; but the over-plus of service, the extra courtesy
and kindness, the spirit of accommodation, the desire to be obliging,
the patience and helpfulness in trying to render the greatest possible
service—these are the things customers appreciate most highly, and these
are just the things that tie customers to certain houses.

Whether you are a traveling salesman or selling things behind a counter,
nothing will add more to your success than the practice of that helpful
courtesy which is dictated by the heart rather than the head, or by mere

Doing a customer a good turn has proved the turning point in many a
career. Nothing will make such a good impression upon an employer as the
courtesy of an employee who has so ingratiated himself into the hearts
of his customers, and so endeared himself to them, that they will always
seek him out and wait to buy from him even at great inconvenience to
themselves. Every employer knows that a clerk who attracts trade is worth
ten times as much as one who drives it away.

It is said that when John Wanamaker went into business, he paid a
salesman thirteen hundred dollars the first year, which was equal to
all the rest of his capital. He did this because of the man’s wonderful
personality, his ability to attract trade, to please and hold customers
so that they would come again.

I know a man who has built up a big business largely because he is always
trying to accommodate his customers, to save them expense, or to assist
them in buying things which he does not carry.

To-day our large business houses make a great point of pleasing
customers, of obliging them and catering to their comfort in every
possible way. Waiting-rooms, reading-rooms, with stationery, attendants,
and even music and other forms of entertainment, are furnished by many of

There is a premium everywhere upon courtesy and good manners. They are
taken into consideration in hiring employees just as much as general
ability. Great business firms find it is impossible to carry on extensive
trade without the practice of courtesy, and they vie with one another in
securing the most affable, and most obliging employees possible in all
departments. They look upon their employees as ambassadors representing
them in their business. They know that they cannot afford to have their
interests jeopardized by objectionable, indifferent clerks. They know
that it will not pay to build attractive stores, to advertise and display
their goods, to do everything possible to bring customers to them, and
then have them turned away by disagreeable, repellent clerks.

Many young men going into business seem to think that price and quality
are the only elements that enter into competition. There may be a score
of other reasons why customers flock to one store and pass by a dozen
half-empty stores on their way. Many people never learn to depend upon
themselves in their buying. They do not trust their own judgment, but
depend upon the clerk who waits on them. A clerk who knows his business
can assist a customer wonderfully in a very delicate way, by suggestion,
by his knowledge of goods, of qualities, of fabrics, of durability.

The courtesy and affability of clerks in one store pull thousands of
customers right past the doors of rival establishments where the clerks
are not so agreeable or accommodating. Everybody appreciates courtesy
and an obliging disposition, and a personal interest goes a great way in
attracting and holding customers. Most of us are willing to put ourselves
to some trouble to patronize those who show a disposition to help us, to
render us real service.

What is true in regard to the man or woman who sells in a store applies
with equal or even greater force to the man who goes on the road to sell.

The motto of a well-known salesman, “Help your customer to buy, don’t
merely sell to him,” is one that it would pay every salesman to adopt.
Put yourself in your customer’s place, help him with your knowledge of
what he really needs; mix sympathy, kindliness, helpfulness with your
sales; you can give him a lot of valuable points. You are traveling
all the time and constantly coming in contact with new ideas; give him
suggestions from other merchants in his line.

A wide-awake, progressive salesman, without violating confidences,
can help his customers wonderfully by keeping them posted on what his
competitors are doing, on the latest ideas in his line, the new and
original methods. You may know of some novel and striking methods of
reaching the public, of displaying merchandise and arranging store
windows, or of reaching customers through unique local advertising. Give
your customer every suggestion you can. You may see that he is a good
business man in many respects, but seriously lacks something which you
could help him to supply. If he finds you are always trying to help him,
that every time you come round you give him some good suggestions, it
will be pretty hard for your competitor to get his order. He will prize a
man who gives him helpful suggestions.

For instance, a salesman I know, who travels for a cutlery and hardware
concern, makes a specialty of keeping his customers posted as to the
arrangement of goods to the best advantage in window display. He
keeps track of the latest ideas, new wrinkles in his line, and gives
his customers the benefit of them. If he sees that any of them are
getting into ruts, or that they do not have good business systems, very
tactfully, without offending them, he suggests certain new devices, say,
for saving expense, little short-cuts in business methods, new ideas in
filing cabinets, or some other labor or time-saving device which it will
be to their advantage to adopt. In his kindly, unobtrusive way the man
binds his customers to him by bands of steel so that no other salesman
would have any show whatever in getting them away from him. He has built
up such a large patronage for his house that rival houses have made him
most tempting offers for his services.

The extra service for which he is not paid does more in helping this man
to get and hold customers than the actual routine for which he receives
his salary. Business men who are at a distance from the big centers of
trade fully realize what this extra service means to them, and are glad
to keep in touch with a helpful, up-to-date salesman.

I know a successful merchant who is so afraid that his business will get
into a rut, that his standards will deteriorate through familiarity with
his surroundings, that every little while he invites friends to go all
through his establishment in order to get the advantage of their fresh
impressions, their criticisms and suggestions.

The salesman should always remember that he has an opportunity to pick
up a great many new, progressive ideas which customers, who are closely
confined to their business or who do not have the time to go about much,
would not be likely to know about, and he can render them, as well as
himself, a very great service by keeping them posted and up-to-date.
Traveling salesmen are also traveling business teachers.

I know of no one quality which will help a salesman so much as an
obliging spirit, the desire to be helpful, to accommodate, and to assist

Large jobbing concerns are finding that it is to their own interest
to look after the interests of their customers, to aid them in every
possible way, such as suggesting attractive ways of advertising, giving
them new ideas and suggestions as to the best arrangement of their
merchandise and advising them on other important points.

Many large concerns aid their customers financially. Mr. H. N.
Higinbotham, Marshall Field’s well-known credit man, was noted for
helping customers, especially when they were financially embarrassed. He
often assisted them to get mortgages and loans, and, in fact, frequently
made personal loans to the customers of his house. Of course affairs of
this sort must go to the credit man, but at the same time a salesman
often leads up to them, and thus relieves the embarrassment of customers.

Some time ago a manager of a large concern told me that he helped a
customer to get a thirty-thousand-dollar mortgage on his property, an
accommodation he was not able to get at the bank on a strictly business
basis. Many small houses, especially in the West, have come to look upon
the jobbing and wholesale houses they trade with as real friends, and
whenever they are hard pushed for money they are the first places they go
to for help.

Hundreds of Western concerns, through the initiative of the salesman,
owe their prosperity to-day to the assistance of the jobbing house which
carried them through hard times. When they could not have secured the
ready cash they needed upon purely business grounds, firms accommodated
through the efforts of a salesman become life customers and a perpetual
advertisement for the concern which has helped them, always saying a good
word for it whenever possible.

There are a hundred and one small ways in which both wholesale and retail
salesmen can accommodate their trade. Be alert to do all these trifling
personal favors, which mean so much and cost only a little thoughtfulness.

A word of caution in regard to promises. Guard carefully against making
promises you can’t fulfill. In your zeal to help the customer do not, for
instance, promise deliveries that are next to impossible or very hard for
your house. You thereby hurt yourself, your customer and your firm. Be
accommodating, but always use common sense.

Your customer may forget a lot of things which you say to him, but he
will not forget how you spent your time and energy in trying to show
him that which would be a real benefit to him; your effort to give him
new ideas, to show him how he could be a little more up-to-date; your
explaining to him how other progressive men in his own line were doing
things. There is nothing which makes a better impression on a man or
woman than the unselfish effort to please, to be of service, and the
demand for salesmen and all sorts of employees who will put themselves
out to do this is constantly growing. There was a time when human hogs
could do business, provided they had the goods and could deliver them,
but all this has changed; to-day the art of getting on in the world is
largely the art of pleasing.



    Don’t talk yourself out of a deal.

    There are many men trying to sell merchandise who are almost
    salesmen. They seem to have about every qualification excepting
    the ability to close a sale.

    “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

A man who was waiting impatiently outside the church for his family,
asked the janitor if the pastor was not through with his sermon. “Yes,”
said the janitor, “he is through, but he hasn’t stopped yet.”

Many a salesman queers a sale by not stopping when he is through—his
tongue outlasts his brain. He has not tact enough to see that when he has
convinced his prospect it is time to close the deal. Others again make
the mistake of lingering after their object is accomplished, squandering
their own and their prospect’s time to no purpose.

If there is anything a business man appreciates in a caller it is a
regard for the value of his time. Every minute is precious with a busy
man, and directness, conciseness of statement, saying a lot in a few
words, always makes a favorable impression.

“When you get what you went after, quit,” said one big selling agent of
a national concern. “Many a sale has been queered because the salesman
‘stuck ground’ after he had signed his man.”

“I knew a salesman who put over a big deal one afternoon. Then he lighted
a cigar and sat talking with the man to whom he had sold. Presently the
telephone rang. It was a long-distance call from the buyer’s financial
headquarters. Evidently the president of the concern was advising his
representative to economize, to cut expenses everywhere he could, to lay
off men, and to buy only necessities.

“I’m glad you didn’t go,” said the buyer to the salesman, after he had
hung up the receiver; “I find my appropriation has been decreased and
I won’t be able to take those goods now. This saves my writing you to
cancel the order.”

“That salesman always said he talked himself out of that deal. He felt
sure that if he had not been there, the buyer would have kept the goods
and would have started his economy on the next salesman.”

Some salesmen with many splendid qualities talk themselves out of
business. They tire out their prospect, bore him, disgust him. They do
not have tact enough to see that when a prospect begins to move about
uneasily in his chair and to look around the room that he wishes they
would get out. Now, when a man feels pressed for time, or when you no
longer interest him, it is a great mistake to try to hold him or to
recover his lost interest. It is high time to stop and close the deal.

Brevity and directness are the very soul of business, and make a good
impression on a business man. The roundabout talker, the man who prefaces
everything with a long introduction, the man who goes around and around
half a dozen times before he gets to the point, tires and irritates a
busy man. Good business men are direct. They drive right to the marrow of
things at the first plunge; and when a deal is put through, they want to
close and go on to the next thing.

The closing step is one of the most important in any business
transaction. There are plenty of salesmen who can conduct the progress
of a sale clear up to the point of closing the deal quite as well
as infinitely better salesmen, but here they fall down. They cannot
gather up their threads of persuasive argument and reasoning to make a
successful close, and when they become panicky they communicate their
fear to the coveted customer, and then the game is up.

Like all other points of salesmanship, the quickest and the simplest way
of taking the final step is the best. Closing a deal is the result of
having created an earnest wish on the part of the customer for what you
have to sell. He must have the “I want it” feeling or you are likely to
have trouble. If you have made your customer _want_ your goods, made him
see the profit and the pleasure that will accrue to him in buying, then
the question of closing the deal becomes very much simplified.

There is a school of experts strongly inclined to what they call “Reason
Why” advertising. I think the “Reason Why” school is strongly entrenched.
We buy things because there are reasons why we should buy them, and
the salesman who can set forth the strongest reasons why, will have
the least trouble in closing his deals. The goods may be all right
in themselves, but the sale will not be made unless you can make the
customer see why he, personally, should buy.

A shrewd salesman will let his prospect or customer handle the samples
as much as possible, and let him do the talking. You watch him. You will
learn a great deal about the operation of the man’s mind. If he shrugs
his shoulders and shakes his head when he picks up a particular sample
you had better not talk too much about that; it will not pay to try to
convince him; you had better try something else, at least for the moment.
If you see that he is anxious to make an impression upon you by his skill
and his knowledge of goods, don’t try to switch him to something else. If
he expresses an admiration for a certain piece of goods follow it up. If
it is regarding the color, or shade, do not go too much into the quality
of the texture. Let him take the lead.

In closing, always look for a peaceful and cheerful surrender of the
will. If the standards of the house are high, and if the goods are of a
high quality, the customer will feel quite reassured in surrendering his
will to that of the salesman. He really thinks his will is deciding. Very
often he is right, but it is the duty of the salesman to guide the will
of the customer, so that the right decision will be made with the least
loss of time and energy.

The “winner” salesman does not wait for his prospect to say, “You can put
me down for so and so. Yes, I’ll take that.” He uses his own positive
mind to guide and bring to a focus the vacillating, almost-decided mind
of the prospect, for he knows from experience that the temptation of most
buyers is to hang off, to wait. Knowing the processes through which his
prospect’s mind is passing, he seizes upon the psychological moment to
close up the thing, to bring the man’s mind to a decision.

Always be ready to close. Have plenty of _well-sharpened_ pencils, a
fountain pen in _good working order_, _clean_ order blanks, and every
facility at hand for signing orders. The customer should not be expected
to fill in name, facts or figures any more than is absolutely necessary.
When asked to sign his name, the salesman should indicate clearly the
exact line on which the name should be written. The idea is to make
everything so simple and easy that the mind of the customer does not have
a chance to balk. Human nature is peculiar. Very often men are contrary.
They will act against their own best interests, just because they think
some one is trying to compel them to do a particular thing. We all love

In closing a deal, have all minor points made clear, such as time of
delivery, method of packing, method of delivery, the way payment is to be
made, and all similar details.



    “What are hardships, ridicule, persecution, toil, sickness, to
    a soul throbbing with an overmastering enthusiasm?”

    Enthusiasm is the best salesman. Cultivate it; it is contagious.

    You can’t build a fire with the fuel all wet.

Why is it that one salesman can often accomplish three or four times as
much as another? The difference is not always that of ability. It is
often a difference in the effort—in the character of the effort. One
salesman tries harder. He adds enthusiasm and a splendid zest to his
work, which increases the quality as well as the quantity of the result.

Joyous zeal, dead-in-earnestness, will sell more goods than all the
technical training in the world, minus enthusiasm.

How often have I heard salesmen say in the morning that they fairly
dreaded the day’s work, that the hours dragged and that they were glad
when the ordeal was over. They felt no enthusiasm for their employment.

Can any one hope to succeed in life who considers a day’s work an ordeal,
who goes to it as a slave lashed to his task?

An employer measures his employees largely by the spirit in which they do
their work. The salesman who goes to his task with energy, determination,
and enthusiasm, by his very bearing gives assurance that the thing he
undertakes will not only be done, but will be done as well as it can be
done. On the other hand, when a salesman drags himself about as though
existence were a burden, when he takes hold of his work with repugnance,
as though he dreaded it, it does not take an expert judge of human nature
to know that he will never amount to anything.

No matter how strongly and perfectly constructed, or how powerful a
locomotive may be, unless the water is heated to two hundred and twelve
degrees, the train will not move an inch. Warm water, water at two
hundred and eleven degrees will not answer. The water must be at the
boiling point.

No matter how fine a brain or how good an education a salesman may have,
without the steam of enthusiasm, which propels the human machine, his
work will be ineffective. It is the enthusiastic man in every trade or
profession, the man with fire and iron in his blood, whose enthusiasm
is at the boiling point, who makes things move in this world. The
half-hearted, indifferent, aimless worker, who is never aroused to the
two-hundred-and-twelve degree of live interest and enthusiasm in his
especial task, is headed for failure. He will never be his own manager.
He is lucky if he succeeds in holding down even a poor job.

The prizes of life are for the dead-in-earnest and enthusiastic. The
world has ever made way for enthusiasm. It compels men to listen. It
convinces the most skeptical. As Bulwer-Lytton once said: “Nothing is so
contagious as enthusiasm; it is a real allegory of the Lute of Orpheus;
it moves stones; it charms brutes. Enthusiasm is the genius of sincerity;
and truth accomplishes no victories without it.”

Knowledge and skill have never been a match for enthusiasm. It multiplies
a man’s power, raises whatever ability he has to its highest. One talent
with enthusiasm back of it has ever accomplished more than ten talents
without it. Enthusiasm is the powder that drives the bullet home to its

To produce the best results, enthusiasm must be steady, continuous, not
fitful or uncertain.

I know a man who is a valuable solicitor if his employers can only keep
him keyed up to the right point, supplied with enthusiasm. When his
enthusiasm is at high tide he accomplishes wonders, but the moment it
ebbs he is good for nothing. And his enthusiasm often ebbs; it is very
uncertain. One day he will impress you as a powerful man, a man with
great determination, vigor and push—he makes everything move; then you
meet him on one of his off days, when the tide is out, and scarcely know
him. His mentality is flabby, his courage is down. He goes about with a
blue and discouraged look, and is practically good for nothing. But when
he rallies and his courage and enthusiasm come back, he is a regular

If this man would learn to control his moods and get complete possession
of himself; if he would strengthen his will so that he should always be
ruler in his mental kingdom, instead of abdicating every now and then
and allowing his pessimism, his blue moods to take control and rule him,
he would be invaluable—a king in his line.

Enthusiasm must be guided by level-headedness or it may defeat its
object. Some people allow their enthusiasm to run away with them and
thus greatly weaken their power and possibilities. While it is an
indispensable factor in salesmanship, too much enthusiasm develops
weakness, destroys one’s good sense and good judgment and one’s ability
to convince people. And the power of carrying conviction to the mind of a
prospective buyer is the very marrow of salesmanship.

I have known over-enthusiastic young salesmen to be so completely carried
away with the possibilities of what they were selling, to exhibit so
little judgment and so much fervor in their canvass, that they aroused
suspicion in the minds of their prospects as to their good judgment.

In cases of this sort a level-headed man will say to himself: “This young
fellow is too wrought up over this article; he is hypnotized by it and
has an exaggerated idea of its merits. No man in this state of mind
is reliable; his judgment is warped. He is honest enough, but I cannot
afford to rely on what he says. He is too enthused to be trustworthy.”

You can be as enthusiastic as you please without overstepping the bounds
of reason. The A1 salesman knows how to steer his course between the
enthusiasm that excites suspicion, arouses distrust, and the enthusiasm
that persuades and convinces. There is now and then one who with
abounding enthusiasm, guided by good judgment and horse-sense, pours his
very life into his sale, just as a great advocate flings his life into
his pleading. He is the sort of man who will win out in any proposition
he attempts to put through.

On the other hand, there are lukewarm salesmen who put so little of
themselves into their sale, so little enthusiasm and zest, so little
magnetism, so little diplomacy and tact, and so little of the art of
persuasion, that they remain third or fourth rate all their lives. They
barely get a living in a field where the energetic, enthusiastic man
makes a fortune.

The salesman or other worker who gives only his second best instead
of his best, who gives indifference instead of enthusiasm, who
doesn’t think it worth while to fling his soul into his work, never
amounts to much. In an age when increasing stress is everywhere placed
on efficiency, and yet more efficiency, there is no future for the
indifferent. Give to the world the best you have and the best will come
back to you.



    A Golden Rule for every salesman: “Put yourself in your
    customer’s place.”

    When you are in doubt as to how your acts will affect another,
    you must ask yourself this question, “Would I like to have some
    one else do this to me?”

Nathan Strauss, when asked what had contributed most to the success of
his remarkable career, replied, “I always looked out for the man at the
other end of the bargain.” He said that if he got a bad bargain himself
he could stand it, even if his losses were heavy, but he could never
afford to have the man who dealt with him get a bad bargain.

There is no one thing that has so much to do with a business man’s
success as the absolute confidence of the public. Confidence has
everything to do with patronage. We like to patronize the firm which
has a good reputation, and many prefer to pay more for articles in a
reliable store that guarantees their quality than to buy similar articles
at a much lower price in an unreliable store. People are afraid to go
into unreliable places. They have a feeling that they will be swindled in
some way; that the lower price only covers up poor quality.

You may bring customers to your store once by shrewd schemes and
advertising, but you cannot hold them by this means alone. Unless
you satisfy them, give them good value for their money, you cannot
induce them to come again. But the satisfied customer is a perpetual
advertisement. He not only comes again, but he sends his friends, and
they furnish a perpetual lip-to-lip advertisement which gives stability
and permanence to a business.

The man who thinks he is going to make a fortune without considering the
man at the other end of the bargain is very short-sighted. In the long
run, the customer’s best good is the seller’s best good also; and, other
things equal, the man succeeds best who satisfies his customers best,
who gains their confidence, so that they will not only come back, but
always bring others with them. In the same way, the ideal salesman must
impress his customers with his honesty, sincerity and frankness. He must
be shrewd and sagacious without being deceptive. Trickiness, dishonest
methods, may procure a man’s orders at the start, but before long he will
find that in selling goods, as in everything else, honesty is the best

A little while ago I heard a salesman say to a friend, “I don’t care
whether a man sells my goods or not, I sell him every dollar’s worth
I can, just the same. If he is overstocking the store, that is his
business. I push my sales just as far as I can.”

Now, when this young salesman’s customers find that out, as, sooner or
later, they will, they will distrust him. They will be on their guard
against him, and ultimately he will lose their patronage.

Remember, Mr. Brilliant Salesman, that stuffed, forced orders are
dangerous. They are boomerangs. When, by hypnotic over-persuasion, you
work off goods upon a customer which he does not need, you are likely to
hear from him again. The profits of a single such sale have often lost a
salesman the profits of a life customer. There is nothing so disastrous
as a disappointed or a deceived customer.

Many people are beguiled into buying what they do not need and cannot
afford, because they do not know how to protect themselves from the
expertness or hypnotism of unprincipled salesmen. Especially is this true
of colored people in the South, whose simple, untrained minds are the
easy victims of the smooth oily promoter or salesman.

I have known of negro families who did not have a whole plate, or a knife
and fork in the house, to buy from unscrupulous agents plush autograph
albums, books which they could not read or understand, pictures, picture
frames, organs, pianos, etc., when they were so poor that every member of
the family was ragged, and apparently only half nourished.

Many such agents and solicitors, who travel through the country, live
upon the gullibility of people who are not mentally equipped to protect
themselves against their dishonest wiles.

Every salesman is familiar with the “tricks of the trade” which the
unscrupulous practice, but to which the conscientious man will not
resort. His clean record, his straightforward methods, his reputation
for reliability, mean infinitely more to him than to get an order by
driving a sharp bargain, deceiving, taking advantage of, or hypnotizing
his customer. His honesty, his character, is dearer to him than any gain,
temporary or permanent, however great.

Nor is there any great demand for the man whose sole aim is to “deliver
the goods,” regardless of the methods employed. They may be hired by
cheap-John concerns which have no reputation to sustain, but high-class
houses will have nothing to do with them. They know very well that men
who practice real dishonesty in their mental methods, who use unfair
means in winning confidence, only to abuse it, who make a business of
overcoming weak minds for the purpose of deceiving them—they know that
such men would hurt their house, injure their reputation. They know very
well that the tricky, dishonest man who deceives or who over-sells his
customer, is not a good man for his house.

The high-class salesman, like the high-class house, thinks too much
of his good name, too much of his customers’ good opinion of him, to
attempt to practice the slightest deception in his dealings with them.
Their implicit faith in him, their belief that they can absolutely
depend upon what he tells them, that it will not be the near-truth,
but the exact truth, his real desire to serve them, these things mean
infinitely more to him than the taking of an order. His reputation for
straightforwardness, for reliability, his reputation as a man, is his
chief capital. He is doing business without money; his only assets are
his ability and his character, and he cannot afford to throw these away
or vitiate them by dishonest mental practices.

Aside from the vital question of character, he is a very poor salesman
who does not study the interest of the man at the other end of the



    Opposition is the physical culture of determination.

    You must have the courage of your convictions, and if you have
    theories you should be able to put them to a practical test.

    Don’t canvass too much with your legs—use your brains.

There are two kinds of objections which are met by all salesmen—valid and
invalid. Naturally, it is impossible to overcome valid objections. It
would be a mistake on the part of the salesman to try to overcome them.
The important thing is for him to recognize that they are valid, and to
abide by the decision of the prospective customer.

Very frequently, however, what appear on the surface to be valid
objections, are merely excuses. Never accept an excuse as a real
objection. Do not come out bluntly and tell the customer that he is
merely making an excuse, or that he is hedging, but, rather, switch the
selling talk on to a little different track, so that he will see there is
no real, good reason for the stand he is taking.

It is not so easy to meet such objections as—“The goods are not suitable
for our needs,”—“The price is exorbitant,” or “We cannot afford to buy
now.” But in some cases, objections of this sort may not be really valid;
often they are merely excuses to put off buying. Here is where the
salesman must show his power of reasoning and persuasion. He should make
clear to the customer that, at first thought, these may seem to be valid
objections, but that, in reality, if he will only think of such and such
points and reasons, he will see, after all, he should buy.

No doubt there is far more trouble constantly arising on this score than
there should, because the salesman cannot gently guide the mind of the
customer to where all objections are forgotten. It is human nature to
object, find fault, and pick flaws, and the salesman must be prepared
both for the real or valid, and for the unreal, or invalid objections.
Above all he must be prepared beforehand to answer, and to answer clearly
and logically, the many very common objections which are brought up in
connection with his line of goods.

The older, more experienced salesmen and the sales managers, usually,
have thought out the most effective answers to the objections that are
ordinarily made. The young inexperienced salesman must go to them for
advice. He must be posted, if possible at the start, on the right answers
to, let us say, the ten most ordinary objections that are heard in his
line of business.

One of the most successful life insurance managers in the United States
has given to his men a standard answer to this very common objection, met
by salesmen when trying to sell life insurance,—“I would like to take the
matter up with my wife.”

The salesman is taught to use the law of non-resistance, and to say:
“That’s a very good idea, Mr. Blank. This is such an important matter you
certainly ought to have your wife’s opinion about it; but, allow me to
suggest that before you take the matter up with her, it would be best to
have our doctor examine you, to make sure that you can pass the physical
examination, because, if you told your wife that you were going to take
life insurance, and you then failed to pass the examination, she would
be very much worried about you as long as she lives.” The prospect will,
almost invariably, say—“Yes, you’re right about that—I think I ought to
take that precaution.” It is needless to say that nine times out of ten,
after the doctor has made the examination, it is quite easy to close the
sale, whereas it would have been impossible, or very difficult, had the
matter first been taken up at home, and a lot of objections brought up in
the absence of the salesman.

Some say that you should never risk antagonizing a customer by departing
from the law of non-resistance. Ordinarily, this is sound logic; but just
as there are exceptions to every rule, so there are certain types of men,
with whom at least _seeming opposition_ or an attitude of “take it or
leave it” will be most effective.

There are men and moods and times when only a good knowledge of human
nature and a thorough sizing up of a customer will enable the salesman
to get what he goes after. Also there are occasions when the most expert
salesman will meet at least temporary defeat.

By the time you have exchanged a few sentences with your prospect, you
can size him up fairly well and can get a pretty good idea of what
you are up against, and how difficult a task is before you in order
to interest him, to change his thought, to neutralize his natural
prejudice against every one who has anything to sell, and against you in
particular. There is a natural barrier, at first, between two people who
meet under such conditions, and it depends largely upon you as a man,
upon your talk, your ability to open up your nature, to show the best
side of yourself, the attractive, the popular, magnanimous side, whether
you gradually change the prospect’s opposition to indifference, his
indifference to interest and his interest to desire to possess what you
have to sell.

You should never argue with a customer in the sense of quarreling or
disputing with him, but there are times when you must reason with him, to
show him he is wrong. Do not, however, make a customer feel “cheap,” or
humiliated, or anger him by opposition, especially in matters outside of
your business.

I have in mind a salesman who had practically closed a big order with
a prospect when some allusion was made to the political situation. The
salesman reflected upon the administration, and the prospect jumped on
him with both feet and became so angered that he positively refused to
give him the order.

Now, this salesman was not there to discuss politics or to convince his
prospect that he was on the wrong side of any public question. He was
there to sell his goods and not to talk politics.

No matter what happens never lose your head and never, under any
circumstances, show resentment or disappointment or allow yourself to be
drawn into an argument. There is always a temptation to have the last
word, and it is of the utmost importance that you should leave a pleasing
picture of your call. Otherwise when you return the association of a
disagreeable experience may bar you out.

Some sales managers do not believe in paying any attention to objections.
They say it is best to make the salesman so familiar with his goods, and
so enthusiastic about them, that he will forestall all objections, or
overcome them by ignoring them, in the sense that he will not try to
answer objections if they are made, and he will not talk or act as if he
expected any to be made. There is a certain amount of sound philosophy
in this attitude, but it is my opinion that a salesman will have more
confidence in himself, and will be better equipped for many emergencies,
if he has been thoroughly coached in the most commonly met objections, by
having good, sound answers right at the tip of his tongue.

Never meet objections by cutting prices.

It is the easiest thing in the world to prejudice a prospect’s mind by
offering to cut prices. He will think you are doing it to get his first
order, and that you will make it up the next time. He is watching you
with “all his eyes.” His perceptive faculties are on the alert, ready to
catch any unguarded word, the slightest contradiction, measuring up the
improbabilities in your argument. In other words, he is trying to find
holes in your proposition. It is human nature to brace up against a new
salesman and to try to down him with objections. Don’t destroy confidence
at the start by price cutting.

Remember, objections are, generally, mere excuses. More than half the
time they are not sound reasons for not buying. Therefore, do not take
objections too much to heart. Know how to answer them satisfactorily, but
be careful not to magnify their importance.



    Integrity is the ground of mutual confidence.

    Never misrepresent your goods; when it becomes necessary to do
    so it is time to quit the business.

A.J. Lauver, General Manager Burroughs’ Adding Machine, says, “The ideal
salesman is one who is making an honest and determined effort to render
a real service to his customers. He believes thoroughly in the value
of his goods and has faith in the honesty and ability of the house he

An unqualified confidence in the value of what you are selling will
multiply your selling ability tremendously, just as a lack of confidence
in its merit will greatly diminish your power to make a sale. All of your
mental operations follow confidence. Your faculties will not give out
their best unless they are led by the honest faith in your house and in
your goods which generates enthusiasm.

The salesman communicates his faith, or lack of it, to the experienced
buyer. Whatever passes through your mind will be telegraphed with
lightning rapidity to your prospect’s mind. He will feel what you feel.
He will sense mentally what you are picturing secretly, as you imagine,
in your own mind. If doubt is there, if unbelief is there, he will feel
them no matter what you may say to the contrary. He can tell very quickly
whether you really believe what you are saying or whether you are just
talking for a sale. He can tell whether you honestly believe that what
you are trying to sell would be good for him to buy or not.

The consciousness that you are representing an absolutely reliable firm,
and that you are selling a superb thing, something which you really
believe it would be as advantageous for your prospect to buy as it would
be for you to sell, will not only increase your self-confidence, but will
also lend wonderful dignity and power to your bearing and your manner,
and greater force to your presentation and persuasion.

On the other hand, if you are conscious that you are selling shams, that
you are merely trying to get a person to buy that which you know will
not be of much value to him, you are immediately shorn of power. The
conviction that you are not doing your fellow-man a good turn, that, on
the contrary, you are trying to deceive him, trying to palm off on him an
article which you would not buy yourself, will make you contemptible in
your own eyes and also in the eyes of the man who is shrewd enough to see
through you.

Nothing can take the place of confidence in the quality of what you are
selling. Quality is really the best salesman in the world. The article
that is a little better than others of the same kind—that is the best,
even if the price is higher—“carries in its first sale the possibilities
of many sales, because it makes a satisfied customer, and only a
satisfied customer will come again.”

The salesman thinks more of himself when he is conscious that he is
giving his customer the best that can be had. The assurance that it is
not possible for another to beat what he offers is a wonderful tonic
and encourager to the seller. He does not need to resort to “tricks of
the trade”; nor does he have to hang his head or apologize when he
approaches his prospect, for he knows that he is backed by quality and
that there will be no disappointment or “come backs.”

A superb quality, like good things to eat, always leaves a good taste in
the mouth, and the salesman who deals in the best knows that he will be
welcome when he goes back for another order to a buyer who has once had a
taste of the quality of his goods.

The reputation of a house noted for its square dealing is of itself a
powerful salesman, and representatives of such a house have a tremendous
advantage over those who represent tricky, sharp-dealing, shoddy houses,
where the buyer knows that he has got to look out for himself, to drive a
sharp bargain or get taken in—and he knows that he is liable to be taken
in anyway.

Quality is the best possible advertisement. The salesmen of a house
thoroughly established in the confidence of the public have a
comparatively easy time of it, because they do not have to do nearly as
much talking and convincing as those who represent unreliable concerns.
The high reputation of a house is a great business asset, and a
salesman’s best argument. It is not so difficult a matter to persuade men
to buy what they know from experience to be all that it is represented to

When a customer has been in the habit of buying the best, dealing with a
quality house, and has acquired a taste for the best, he does not like
the second-best—only the best is good enough for him.

International sales experts tell us that is where American salesmen fall
down, especially in seeking foreign trade—in South America for instance.
They dwell at too great length on price, and skim over quality. They
dilate on cheapness, and the inference is that the goods must be low
grade to be marketed at such a low price.

No matter how hard pushed you may be, never undertake to sell
questionable goods; never taint your reputation, or smirch your character
by becoming the representative of a shifty, dishonest concern. Resolve
that whatever comes you will not cheapen yourself by stooping to low-down
methods, that you will not sell shabby goods, or deal in cheap-John
commodities. Resolve that you will be a high-class man or nothing, that
you are not going to do another’s lying for him, that you are not going
to deceive for a salary, that you are not going to do anything which will
make you think less of yourself, which will make you less of a man.



    The apparel oft proclaims the man.—SHAKESPEARE.

    The consciousness of being well and fittingly dressed has a
    magic power in unlocking the tongue and increasing the power of

In differentiating the essentials of success in selling, a specialty
expert said: “I find that when I am in prime condition physically, and am
well dressed, so that I do not have to think about myself or my clothing,
I can put up a much better canvass, because I can concentrate my mind
with greater force.”

In a letter to his home office, a rising young salesman wrote: “To me
there is a great mystery in the influence of good clothes. Somehow I
think more of myself when I am conscious that I am well groomed, well
dressed, and I can approach people with much more confidence.

“When I first started canvassing I tried to economize too much on my
clothing. Some stormy mornings I would start out wearing shabby old
clothes and without fixing up as I should, and somehow I felt cheap all
day. I could not approach a prospect with the same air of victory; I did
not feel quite right; I could not put up as good a canvass, and of course
did not make as many sales as when I was up to the mark in clothes and
general appearance.

“I thought at the start I could not afford to dress well, but I soon
found that this was a very great mistake, and that a good appearance is
a big asset in canvassing. I was going through college then, and, as I
had to pay all of my expenses, a dollar meant a good deal to me; but I
actually borrowed money to buy a good suit of clothes, and I found it
paid. I felt better when I had that suit on. I could take more orders,
and in a short time returned the amount I had borrowed. This influence of
good clothes is a curious thing, but it is certainly a power.”

Whatever one’s business, it is worth while to try to ascertain as nearly
as possible the paying point of your clothes. You cannot afford to go
much below or above this point. In some cases it pays to dress superbly,
right up to the mark in every detail, because people judge our business
standing by our appearance, and we cannot afford to give the impression
of poverty, especially if we are representing a prosperous line of
business. If a man’s appearance indicates lack of prosperity, people
naturally get a poor impression not only of his own success, but also of
the quality and success of the firm he represents.

A. T. Stewart was one of the first great merchants to appreciate the
tremendous influence upon customers, especially women customers, of
good-looking, well-dressed young men clerks. He would not have a clerk
in his employ who did not present an attractive appearance. He knew and
appreciated the importance of putting up a good front as an asset. He did
not care much for human diamonds in the rough. He preferred a cheaper
stone, polished, to a pure gem, unpolished.

Every progressive merchant knows that a first unfavorable impression on
a customer is a costly thing. He knows that soiled collar or cuffs, a
frayed tie, unpolished shoes, uncared-for finger nails, grease spots on a
suit, will not only make a bad impression, but will drive away trade.

Most large business houses make it a rule not to employ any one who looks
shabby or careless, who does not at least try to make a good appearance,
the best his means will permit, when he applies for a position.

Neatness of dress, cleanliness of person and the manner of the applicant
are the first things an employer notices in a would-be employee. If
his clothes are unbrushed, his trousers baggy, his shoes unblacked,
his tie shabby, his hands soiled or his hair unkempt, the employer is
prejudiced at once, and he does not look beneath this repellent exterior
to see whether it conceals merit or not. He is a busy man and takes it
for granted that if the youth has anything in him, if he is made of the
material business men want in their employ, he will keep himself in a
presentable condition. At all events, he does not want to have such an
unattractive looking person about his premises.

You may say that an employer ought to be a reader of real merit, real
character, and that it is not fair to estimate an applicant for a
position by such superficial things as the clothes he wears. You may
also say that a customer should not allow himself to be prejudiced
against a man, or the house he represents, because he is not a fine
dresser. But that doesn’t help matters or alter facts. We go through life
tagged all over, labeled with other people’s estimate of us, and it is
pretty difficult to get away from that, even if it is unjust.

Say what we will, our position in life, our success, our place in the
business or professional world, or in society, depends very much upon
what other people think of us, and our clothes, at first especially,
while we are making our way in the world, play an important part in their
judgment of us. They have a great deal to do with locating us.

In a way our lives are largely influenced by other people’s opinion of
us, and we should not be indifferent to it. This does not mean that we
cannot be independent and exercise our own will, but that we cannot
afford to create a bad impression. Suppose, for example, you are a
young business man and that every bank official in your town is so
prejudiced against you that they will not give you credit. You need it
very much, but while the fact that you know you are absolutely honest
and absolutely reliable gives you great inward satisfaction, it does not
give you the needed money. The prejudice of the bank officials may be
unfounded, but it acts powerfully against you.

You may know perfectly well that you would make a better mayor for your
town than anybody else in it, but if the majority of the voters are
prejudiced against you, no matter how worthy of their confidence, you
will not be elected. Whatever your business or profession the impression
you create will make a tremendous difference in the degree of your

“Every man has a letter of credit written on his face.” We are our own
best advertisements, and if we appear to disadvantage in any particular
we are rated accordingly.

You cannot estimate the influence of your personal appearance upon your
future. Other things equal, it is the young man who dresses well, puts up
a good front, who gets the order or position, though often he may have
less ability than the one who is careless in his personal appearance.
Most business men regard a neat, attractive appearance as evidence of
good mental qualities. We express ourselves first of all in our bodies. A
young man who is slovenly in appearance and who neglects his bath will,
as a rule, neglect his mind.

To save money at the cost of cleanliness and self-respect is the worst
sort of extravagance. It is the point at which economy ceases to be a
virtue and becomes a vice. In this age of competition, when the law of
the survival of the fittest acts with seemingly merciless rigor, no one
can afford to be indifferent to the smallest detail of dress, or manner,
or appearance, that will add to his chances of making a success in life.

Remember that the world takes you largely at your own valuation; your
prospective customer will be repelled or attracted by your appearance,
and your clothes are as important as your bearing and manners. In fact
they will to a great extent determine your bearing and manner. It has
been well said that “the consciousness of clean linen is in and of itself
a source of moral strength, second only to that of a clean conscience.
A well ironed collar or a fresh glove has carried many a man through an
emergency in which a wrinkle or a rip would have defeated him.” Our
clothes have a subtle mental influence from which there is no escape.

The consciousness of shabbiness, incompleteness, or slipshodness tends to
destroy self-respect, to lessen energy and to detract from one’s general

In order to dress properly, you must study the colors and the styles that
are most becoming to you, that add most to your appearance. Don’t wear a
profusion of rings or flashy jewelry; don’t indulge in “loud” neckties
or anything that would make you conspicuous. All these things make a bad

An excellent rule for dress is found in the advice of Polonius to his son
Laertes, when he is about to start for the royal court of France.

    “Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy
    But not express’d in fancy; rich not gaudy;
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man.”

Polonius did not mean that Laertes should be extravagant in the matter of
clothes. Far from it; he simply meant that he should dress in a manner
befitting his rank as a representative of the court of Denmark.

The salesman is the representative of his firm, and to a great extent
both he and his firm will be judged by his general appearance, including
his clothes,

    “For the apparel oft proclaims the man.”



    “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

    The King is the man who can.—CARLYLE.

The hardest problem with any business man is to find customers, that is
to say, desirable and profitable customers. Identical with the problem of
finding customers, is the more difficult one of finding the men who can
find the right kind of customers.

There’s the rub—“To find _the man who can swim_.” The right kind of
salesman will solve for himself this problem of getting customers as
he will most others connected with selling. How, you ask? This is how
the question was answered recently by a little, short, unprepossessing
salesman who is said to have written the largest amount of life insurance
in one of the largest insurance companies in the world.

Some time ago this salesman went to Canada and at an influential
gathering saw a man whom he sized up as a good prospect. He got his
name and address, found out all about him, his habits and hobbies, one
of which was the success of a big hospital in which he was especially
interested. Next day the salesman went to this hospital, and asked to
be shown through it, after which he called on his prospective customer,
told him he had heard of his interest in —— Hospital, and said, “I have
been studying this hospital, also; it is doing splendid work, and I
would like to make a little contribution to its funds.” He thereupon
wrote out a check for $250.00 and handed it to this man. _This check was
the entering wedge for a $250,000.00 life insurance policy_, which this
resourceful salesman soon after wrote for the man whose pet hobby was the
big hospital in question.

The main trouble with most salesmen is that they put the problem of
finding customers up to the sales manager or heads of the company. They
want them to do all the thinking in the matter of where to go, and how to
proceed in this difficult business. Let me say right at the start; there
is no iron-clad rule for finding customers. Some say it is just a matter
of “plan and push,” as illustrated in the above instance.

The Sheldon Course in Salesmanship gives five ways for finding a
customer, namely; Advertising, Window Display, General or Door to Door
Canvass, Selected List Canvass, and Following Up “Leads” or Inquiries.

Many books have been written on the various forms and values of
advertising. It is a well-known fact that much money is wasted through
injudicious advertising, but no successful business man can dispense
with the right kind of publicity. Whether he uses the newspapers, or the
magazines, bill-boards, or cards in street-cars, or novelties, will all
depend on the goods and the various conditions which have to be met in
the marketing of his particular product. Different kinds of advertising
should be adapted to each particular territory.

A salesman quickly becomes familiar with such conditions as affect
different places and different seasons, so that he plans his campaigns
accordingly. Where a man has a fixed territory and is handling goods
which are used by a restricted class of people, then the matter becomes
relatively simple, although it is important to be always alert, so as not
to miss any possible customers, and so as to learn well in advance about
new firms who may want your goods.

A specialty salesman will have to use more originality in finding
customers than would have to be used, ordinarily, in the wholesale or
retail business, where the home office, or the head of the firm, can map
out pretty well just what people should be reached, and how to reach
them. Many salesmen lose a lot of valuable time, and waste much money
chasing from one town to another, or from one part of a city to another,
following up so-called “leads.” Unfortunately, the majority of these
“leads” are answers to advertisements which were so alluring, and seemed
to promise so much for nothing, that a large number of curiosity seekers
have written to the home office, with little thought of buying, and more
often with little ability to buy, what was advertised.

The salesman who has the courage “_to go to it_,” without any “lead” or
point of contact, is the one who will ultimately make the biggest success.

If you have something to sell, do not be afraid to walk into a man’s
place of business and introduce yourself, telling just what service
you are prepared to render. The only good reason for being in business
is because you can render service. You should feel that you are the
benefactor of the man whom you approach. He may be your superior
financially, but in the matter of your particular article or articles
for sale, you should feel that you are his superior, and therefore you
should approach him with the utmost ease and confidence. The big winners
in salesmanship are those who possess the initiative, the originality,
and the poise, which enable them to go out and find customers quickly and
intelligently, covering the biggest amount of territory in the shortest
time, and concentrating their energies.

The use of the telephone in finding customers and making appointments is
a method that requires considerable skill. There are those who believe
that it is too easy for a man to “turn you down” on the telephone. There
are others who believe that it is foolish to waste carfare and time, when
you can quickly arrange matters over the telephone. Experience and native
ability must guide the salesman in the use of the telephone.

So, in the matter of letter-writing,—often where a letter would be thrown
in the waste-basket, or receive a negative reply, a personal call from
the salesman might get a big order. Yet, in many cases the right kind
of letters would get the business and save the salesman much useless
expenditure of time, money and energy.

The day may come when, if our goods are exactly as represented, customers
will make a beaten track to our door, but this will not happen until
human nature has changed very much. The human element enters so much into
sales that it is still quite an important part of salesmanship for the
salesman to make personal visits, so as to get the orders. To be sure,
we have the department stores and specialty houses which have built up
a well-known reputation for merchandise of high quality and reasonable
price. These will continue to draw customers, with the help of wise
advertising, but they must employ the right kind of sales-force to handle
properly the customers who visit their places of business.

Finding a customer does not mean simply inducing him to look over what
you have to sell. It means actually inducing him to make a purchase,
and satisfying him so thoroughly that he will continue to do business
with you. It is because finding the customer is so vitally important that
the selling end of a business continues to be, by long odds, the most
important department.

No better advice can be given, to sum up, than this: If you would find
customers, study all the means and ways in your power; keep thinking,
thinking, thinking, and the right thoughts will come, then act, act, act.
Never wait for to-morrow. “To-morrow” is a loser. It will never find



    The man who has acquired the power of keeping his mind filled
    with the thoughts which uplift and encourage, the optimistic
    thought, the cheerful, hopeful thought, has solved one of the
    great riddles of life.

    “Don’t hunt after trouble, but look for success,
    You’ll find what you look for, don’t look for distress;
    If you see but your shadow, remember, I pray,
    That the sun is still shining, but you’re in the way;

    “Don’t grumble, don’t bluster, don’t dream and don’t shirk,
    Don’t think of your worries, but think of your work.
    The worries will vanish, the work will be done,
    No man sees his shadow who faces the sun.”

A young salesman who has mastered himself and also the secret of success
recently wrote from the field:

“Yesterday it seemed as though everything was going against me. There
appeared to be something the matter everywhere I called, and although I
put up a most determined fight failure after failure met me, until very
late in the evening. I had not then taken a single order, but I made up
my mind that I could not go back to my boarding place until I had done a
decent day’s work. It was this resolution that saved the day, for I took
fifteen orders before I got home at nine o’clock. If I had given up to my
discouragement I should simply have said to myself, ‘What’s the use? This
day is gone and I might as well go home, take it easy, and make the best
of it.’ But I said, ‘No, young man, you are not going to bed to-night
until you have done a good day’s work.’

“Many a time such a resolution has saved me when, otherwise, I would have
made a miserable showing. I just make up my mind that no matter what
attractions come in my way, no matter what discouragements I meet, I will
conquer before the night or I will stay up all night. I find that victory
usually follows such a resolution.”

The prospect feels the influence of such a determination on the part of
the salesman. We radiate our moods, our discouragement, or our courage.
The man we approach feels what we feel, and when we approach him with the
spirit of a conqueror, when we go to him with victory in our face, we
generally win out.

A notably successful salesman says that he made his first great hit after
overcoming a fit of deep discouragement, consequent on the loss of his
position. When he got another place he said he started out the first
morning with one word ringing in his mind, “Determination.” He resolved
not to return without an order. He was determined to make that day a
red letter day in his life, to show his new employer what was in him,
to convince his prospects. He approached every one that day with the
determination of victory uppermost in his mind.

“One man afterwards told me,” he said, “that I overwhelmed him with my
dead-in-earnestness, won him by my determination.”

The power of the mind, whether favorable or unfavorable, is tremendous.
When a man gives way to discouragement he loses his grip and begins
to go down. The bottom seems to drop out of things, and everything
helps him the way he is going. His thought connects him with all the
thought currents of misfortune, poverty and failure. He attracts those
things, for it is a psychological law that failure attracts failure,
discouragement more discouragement, poverty more poverty. To a salesman
discouragement is fatal, for when a man assumes the discouraged, failure
attitude, he loses power and magnetism, there is nothing inspiring in
him, and he not only loses confidence in himself but his fellow men also
lose confidence in him. You will find it next to impossible to make
a sale with a mind filled with discouragement, pessimistic, failure

The exercise of a little will power is all that is necessary for the
control of our moods, to change discouragement and depression into
courage and hope.

We all know how quickly a child will work itself into a fearful spasm
simply by beginning to pity itself. The more he indulges in self-pity,
the louder and louder will he cry, until he completely upsets his mind
and becomes hysterical.

When inclined to be blue and discouraged, men and women are like
children. The temptation is to begin to pity ourselves, then we go on
hanging up more dark pictures on the walls of the mind, until we have
our whole mentality dressed in mourning. It is not very difficult at the
beginning of a discouraged mood to shut it off by resolutely turning our
minds in the opposite direction. Instead of adding to our depression by
pitying ourselves the thing to do is to tear down the black flags, the
hideous pictures, the gloomy visions of our imagination, to clear them
all out of the mind, and let in sunlight and joy, peace and happiness.
These will very quickly drive away the gloom and discouragement, and
they are just as ready to enter our minds and to stay with us as their
opposites, if we will only make room for them.

When you feel downhearted and mentally depressed; when, perhaps,
business is dull and you begin to fear you won’t make any sales this
trip, go somewhere where you can be alone and give yourself an audible
self-treatment. If this is not possible, then give yourself a silent
or mental one, the form in both cases may be the same. But the audible
treatment is apt to be more effective, since the spoken word makes a
deeper impression than that which is merely thought or passed through the

Say to yourself something like this: “I am a child of God, I have a
living, vital connection with the great Source and Sustainer of all
things which nothing can sever. Therefore I have nothing to fear. I have
strength and ability to do whatever it is necessary for me to do. I was
made to be successful, to be happy. This is my birthright and nothing
can rob me of it. I will succeed in everything I undertake to-day. I
will be cheerful and happy. _I am happy_, because I was made for joy and
gladness, not for gloom and sadness. They are foreign to my nature, and I
will have nothing more to do with them.”

Just fill your mind with good, cheerful, uplifting thoughts and you
will find that your feeling will quickly correspond with your mental
attitude. After a few minutes of this auto-suggestive treatment you
will be surprised at the complete transformation of your outlook. It is
astonishing how we can brace ourselves up by auto-suggestion, replacing
the distressing, blue, discouraging thoughts with cheerful, hopeful,
optimistic thoughts.

There are men who are usually quite level-headed but who do the most
foolish things when discouraged or suffering from the “blues,” acting
under the influence of their moods, when the brain is clouded, inexact,
uncertain in its processes, instead of clear, active, and well balanced.

Discouragement colors the judgment.

Whenever you see a person who has been unusually successful in any field,
remember that he has usually thought himself into his position; his
mental attitude and energy have created it; what he stands for in his
community has come from his attitude toward life, toward his fellowmen,
toward his vocation, toward himself. Above all else, it is the outcome
of his self-faith, of his inward vision of himself; the result of his
estimate of his powers and possibilities.

Self-depreciation is one of the characteristics of those suffering from
the “blues.” Most of us do not encourage ourselves enough by optimistic
thinking, by auto-suggestion.

If you are a victim of your moods, push right into the swim of things,
and take an active part, as well as a real interest, in what is going
on around you. Associate with people. Be glad and happy, and interest
yourself in others. Keep your mind off yourself. Get away from yourself
by entering with zest into the family plans, or the plans and pleasures
of others about you.

The expelling power of a contrary emotion has a wonderful effect upon the
mind. The cure for bad moods is to summon good ones to take their places
in the thought and thus force them out.

I know of a woman who was prone to fits of the “blues,” who conquered
them by forcing herself to sing bright, joyous songs, and to play lively,
inspiring airs on the piano whenever she felt an “attack” coming on.

Do not let anybody or anything shake your faith that you can conquer
all these enemies of your peace and happiness, and that you inherit an
abundance of all that is good.

If we were properly trained in the psychology of mental chemistry, we
could change the state of our mind as quickly as we can change our
clothing. The simple fact, however, that _two opposite thoughts or
emotions cannot live together an instant_ gives us the key to the whole
matter. Every sane person can control and guide his mind. He can choose
his thoughts, and the good encouraging thought will neutralize the evil,
depressing one. It is just a question of holding in the mind the antidote
of the thought that is torturing us, robbing us of our birthright, of
success and happiness.



    It is defeat that turns bone to flint, and gristle to muscle,
    and makes men invincible, and formed those heroic natures that
    are now in ascendancy in the world. Do not, then, be afraid of
    defeat. You are never so near to victory as when defeated in a
    good cause.—HENRY WARD BEECHER.

    He only is beaten who admits it.

    Do not allow yourself to think that you are weak.

    The man who has never formed the victory habit is timid,
    because he does not know that he can conquer; he doesn’t know
    his strength, because he has never tested it sufficiently to
    know that it will win.

The manager of a big insurance company not long since asked me what books
I would recommend for putting stamina into a salesman who wilted under a
direct “No.”

“We have in our employ,” he wrote, “a fine mannered, well-educated
and very intelligent man. We have thoroughly educated him in the
technical part of our business and have done our best to perfect him in
salesmanship, but he is not attaining the success we believe he should.
His defect is his inability to continue a conversation with a party who
abruptly tells him that he is not interested in life insurance. He states
that in a number of such instances he has been unable to say a word, his
throat becoming dry. From the above description it might appear to you
that the man was wanting in courage. We, however, do not believe this to
be the case as his record in the past does not justify that conclusion.”

How do _you_ stand up under a “No”? Do you lose heart? Does your
cheerfulness vanish? Are you conquered then and there? Or does it only
act as a stimulant to more determined effort? Does it brace you to meet
opposition, put you on your mettle, or do you wilt under it?

A salesman who is made of the right stuff thrives upon opposition. He
braces up under rebuffs, rises to the occasion in proportion to the
difficulties to be overcome.

Socrates said, “If the Almighty should come to me with complete success
in His right hand, and an eternal struggle for success in His left, I
would take the left.” It is through struggle, through bravely meeting and
overcoming obstacles that we find ourselves and develop our strength.

A successful business man tells me that every victory he has gained in
a long career has been the result of hard fighting, so that now he is
actually afraid of an easily-won success. He feels that there must be
something wrong when anything worth while can be obtained without a
struggle. Fighting his way to triumph, overcoming obstacles, gives this
man pleasure. Difficulties are a tonic to him. He enjoys doing hard
things, because it tests his strength, his ability. He does not like
doing easy things, because it does not give him the exhilaration, the
joy, that is felt after a victorious struggle.

Some natures never come to themselves, never discover their real
strength, until they meet with opposition or failure. Their reserve of
power lies so deep within them that any ordinary stimulus does not arouse
it. But when they are confronted with obstacles, when they are ridiculed,
“sat down upon,” or when they are abused and insulted, a new force seems
to be born in them, and they do things which before would have seemed

Whenever a motive is great enough, an emergency large enough, a
responsibility heavy enough, to call out the hidden reserve in our
nature, latent energies spring forth which astonish us. The thin-skinned,
sensitive salesman succumbs to the first breath of opposition or

It is unfortunate to allow the customer ever to say “No,” but do not let
a “No” overwhelm you. Remember this is your test. If you stick to your
guns and don’t show the white feather a “No” will bring out the best that
is in you. Whenever you hear “No,” call to mind men like Napoleon and
Grant, who thrived on opposition and rebuffs.

It is not an easy matter to find salesmen who are capable of coping with
all sorts of antagonism. But they are the ones in demand. Such men are
not easily argued down—they can put up a stiff fight against every kind
of opposition. Where the weak salesman retires from the field beaten, the
man with grit and stamina is only taking his second breath. He does not
let a rebuff or two phase him. Some salesmen are so weak that they cannot
even maintain their own individuality in the presence of a prospect
with a strong, vigorous mentality. He will annihilate their arguments in
a twinkle. They fall down before his onslaught and say, “Yes, I guess
you’re about right, Mr. Blank. I hadn’t thought of that before. But I
guess you know best.” They cannot hold their ground, maintain their
arguments, because they allow themselves to be drawn out of their current
of mental vibration, to be overcome by the current of the stronger

I know two salesmen who go out from different houses over similar
territory with the same line of goods. One of them sells four or five
times as much in a year as the other. One man _starts out with the
expectation, the determination to sell_, and, of course, he gets a very
large salary on account of his great ability to sell. The other man
gets a very small salary, just barely enough to enable him to hold on
to his job, because obstacles seem so great to him. He returns oftener
with excuses for not selling than with orders. He has not the ability to
annihilate difficulties, to overcome obstacles, which the other man has.
He brings back to his house small orders, or none, because he cannot
overcome the objections of his customers, cannot convince them that they
want what he has to sell.

I once saw an advertisement of a big firm for a manager, which, after
describing the sort of man wanted, and saying that no other need apply,
closed with, “_The man must be able to cope with antagonism._” Now, the
trouble with the unsuccessful salesman I speak of is: he is not able
to cope with antagonism. He hoists the white flag the moment the enemy
confronts him. He has no fight in him, and surrenders before a shot is
fired. When a prospect or customer puts up an objection he is done.
“Well, I guess perhaps you are right,” he says, “it may be better for you
not to buy now.” This salesman lacks stamina. There is not enough lime in
his backbone, not enough iron in his blood. He is a good honest soul, but
he lacks the virility that characterizes the great salesman.

Remember that every weak strand in your character, every hindering
peculiarity, every unfortunate habit, will cripple your sales and mar
your success. Sensitiveness, timidity, shyness, lack of grit or courage,
all of these weaknesses are virtually cutters-down of your ability to
sell. Timid, shy or sensitive people are often morbidly self-conscious.
They are always analyzing, dissecting themselves, wondering how they
appear, what people think of them. These things keep the mind diverted
from its real object and are all destroyers of concentration and power.

Over-sensitiveness is a very serious handicap in salesmanship. The man
who is not able to take his medicine with a smile, who is not able to
cope with a surly, a cantankerous, a quick-tempered or a sharp-tongued
customer, has no place in salesmanship. In other words, a great salesman
must be able to carry on his selling campaign at the points where the
ordinary salesman falls down. To do this he must not be thin-skinned.
He must be able to stand all sorts of abusive talk under which the
sensitive, over-refined salesman quails. He must be ready to push on
vigorously at the point where the salesman who lacks grit will quit and
turn back. He must be able to stand having pepper and salt sprinkled on
his sore spots without wincing. He should keep one thing continually in
mind: that his business is, at all costs, to make a sale.

This does not mean that a good salesman must have a rhinoceros hide; that
would make him unfeeling, unsympathetic, and he would lack the human
quality which is so essential in salesmanship. Nor does it mean that he
should be pugnacious or over-aggressive. It simply means that he must be
able to antidote and neutralize the prospect’s thrusts, however cruel
or aggravating. In short, while keeping perfect control of himself,
remaining pleasant and agreeable throughout, he must be able to put up a
stiff fight, a dignified, manly fight that will leave him master of the

This is where the timid or over-sensitive salesman falls short. He is
thrown completely off his base by the vigorous thrusts and arguments of
the rough, energetic business man who doesn’t stop to choose his words.
He feels injured at the slightest reflection upon his ability, his
truthfulness, the character of his goods, or his house. I know a salesman
of this sort who will never make his mark, who flares up, “gets up on
his ear,” as they say, whenever his sensitive, sore spots are touched.
He lacks that masterfulness and superb confidence in himself which make
a salesman proof against abuse or opposition. The self-confident man is
impervious to the slights or slurs that make the sensitive man shrink
into himself. He is too sensible of his own dignity to let them interfere
with his business. When the small man, the peppery or morbidly sensitive
man, feels that he must protect his “honor,” even if he lose a sale, the
big, broad man knows that no one can hurt his honor but himself, and that
it is best served by refusing to feel hurt or insulted where in reality
no insult is intended.

Another point that works to the great disadvantage of the timid or
sensitive salesman is this: he is afraid to make what is called the
“cold” or “straight” canvass; that is, to approach people without having
a “lead” or an introduction. This is a great weakness, and very often
false pride is at the bottom of it. The man feels above his task. Again,
ignorance of goods or of selling principles will cause a man to lack
confidence in himself, and then, naturally, he is timid, fearful, for
he foresees the failure that awaits him when he calls on a customer.
Ignorance is timid; knowledge is bold, courageous. It is not enough to
have possession of yourself if you don’t also have possession of your
business, that is, if you are not thoroughly grounded in the principles
of salesmanship. Thus grounded, if you adopt the right attitude toward
your business and toward yourself, nothing can keep you from success.

Throw off your shyness, your morbid sensitiveness, your timidity. Get rid
of your lack of faith and courage. Confidently expect that you are going
to be a great salesman, a distinctive one, a salesman with individuality,
with originality, with inventiveness, a man of resource and power. Never
allow yourself to think that anything is true about you that you wish to
be otherwise, because the thought you hold in mind is the model of your
life building. Think faith, think courage, think strength, and you will
develop those qualities.

The reason why so many of us build so slowly and so poorly is because we
are constantly destroying our building by shifting our model. One day we
have confidence in ourselves, and our mental model is full of courage,
hope and expectancy, and the life forces build accordingly. The next
day we are in the dumps, have no faith in ourselves, are discouraged,
and of course these are the models for that day’s building, destroying
the building of the previous day, and thus many of us go through life,
building up and tearing down.

Be consistently courageous, hopeful, confident in yourself and in the
power of your Creator to make you what you long to be, and nobody,
nothing on this earth, can down you.

There is everything in flinging out a superb confidence in yourself,
a firm belief that you are going to win. Expel all doubt and fear,
all uneasiness, from your mind and approach every prospect with the
expectation of success.

“Courage,” says Emerson, “comes from having done the thing before.” Your
first success will give you the momentum that will push you on to the
next. Every achievement adds to our self-confidence, the great leader
of all our other faculties. If confidence does not go ahead, the other
faculties refuse to go on.

Every time you conquer what you undertake, you add so much to the power
of all the faculties you possess. Just as a snowball grows larger and
larger as it rolls down hill, so our lives grow larger, richer, with each
experience. We lose nothing of what we achieve. It is all added to the

Not long ago I asked a very successful man, really a “born salesman,”
what he considered the essential qualifications for good salesmanship. He
put in the first category of qualifications: confidence in your goods,
confidence in your firm, and confidence in yourself, plus enthusiasm,
plus earnestness, plus perseverance, plus hard work, plus enjoyment of
your work. In the second place he put: general knowledge of merchandise.
In the third place he put: personality, and under this heading he
included, honesty, neatness of appearance, poise, courtesy, sincerity,
and temperance. The natural born salesman, he said, possesses all of
these things, and in addition, tact, shrewdness, and understanding of
human nature.

Now, there is nothing in this list of qualifications that is not within
the reach of every honest intelligent youth who has enough stamina and
will power to make his life a success.

You are a child of the Infinite; you bear the stamp of the Creator, and
you must partake of His qualities. It is up to you, then, to make good;
it is your duty as a man to show your origin, to stand your ground, to
maintain your independence, your self-reliance, your dignity, against all
attacks. It is up to you to stand for something in your life work, to be
counted as one to be reckoned with in any transaction. It is your own
fault if you are sucked out of your own plane of vibrations by a bully,
a fighter, by any one, be he great or small. Selling honest goods is an
honorable pursuit. Bring out your God-given powers. Improve the qualities
He has given you and make your work, make your life significant. Don’t be
apologetic; don’t be afraid; don’t cringe or wilt under opposition. Feel
the importance and dignity of your work and let others feel that you feel
it. Say to yourself, “I too am a son of God, the equal of this or any
other man. I am going to maintain my poise, my individuality, my faith
in myself, no matter what he says. I am as self-reliant, as independent,
as forceful as any other man. I shall not be cowed by any one. I am not
going to be downed by an obstacle.”

You will find it a wonderful help in overcoming obstacles in every phase
of your work to assume a victorious mental attitude, and to carry
yourself like a conqueror. If you go about among your fellows with a
defeated expression in your face, giving the impression that you are
not much of a man anyway, that life has been mostly a defeat, and that
you don’t look forward to any success worth while, you certainly cannot
hope to, and never will, inspire confidence in others; if your face, on
the other hand, glows with the expression of victory, if you carry a
victorious attitude, if you walk about the earth like a conqueror, a man
victory-organized, you are _headed toward victory_. Nothing can keep you
from winning out, because—and don’t forget this—_Success begins in the



    “This is the age of push, struggle and fierce competition.”

    “Study your competitor—his manner and method of doing things.”

There are certain lines of business in which the salesman has no
competition; this, however, is the exception. There are many lines in
which the competition is more imaginary than real; that is to say, the
quality of the goods of the so-called competitor is so much inferior
to that of the goods carried by a first-rate house that there is no
real competition. The buyer, however, who is usually shrewd, and,
unfortunately, is often unscrupulous, will, if possible, lead the
salesman to think that competitors have given better prices or better
terms, and that their goods are superior. The salesman who is not armed
at every point to meet his tactics runs the risk of being imposed on.

One superlatively good rule is this:—“Know Your Goods.” That will
enable you to meet both real and imaginary competition. By this we mean,
be familiar with the intrinsic merits of the goods you are selling,
and know the market conditions which surround the trade. Read very
carefully all the literature and advertisements put out by your house.
Nothing will destroy a buyer’s confidence more quickly than to find a
salesman ignorant of the claims made by his own house, or of the specific
qualities of the goods offered for sale. Salesmen need to keep themselves
fresh and enthusiastic in regard to their goods, not only by thorough
reading of their house organs, and all literature issued with the view of
creating patronage, but also by getting information from every possible
source that will help them in their special line. Outside of what a man
can learn from the printed matter furnished by his own house, he may
learn much additional from leading trade journals and by talking with
men who are familiar, in a practical way, with his line. In getting
information from the salesmen of a competing house it is best not to
exchange confidences. Learn all you can in an open, fair way, but do not
resort to trickery, or to any methods which you would be unwilling to
have a competitor use with your house.

The second rule for meeting competition is “Know Competitors’ Goods.”
This again involves not only being familiar with the quality and uses of
the goods, but with the reputation of the manufacturer and his selling
agents, as well as the class of trade to which competitors cater, the
class of salesmen they employ, and the ethics they observe in doing

Some believe that three-quarters of all business is done on a friendship
basis. But it is a different friendship than that meant by the accepted
term. It is business friendship, not social friendship.

Naturally, if you do business amicably with a man for a long time you are
“friendly.” You call each other Smith and Brown, possibly “Charlie” and
“Eddie”; maybe you lunch together occasionally. But such friendship is in
nowise like that bestowed on your old neighbors, your college classmates,
or your club brothers.

Many a man who has started out to do business on a real friendship basis
has found out to his sorrow that it can’t be done.

“Friendship and business don’t mix” is an old adage and a true one. You
can’t presume on your intimacy with a man to sell him goods; and it is
seldom you can get his trade away from a successful salesman, even if you
have identical goods and quote the same price. The salesman has become
the buyer’s friend too, in a different way to what you are, but still a
friend and deserving of consideration. No doubt business friendship plays
a very large part in business getting with all salesmen. You know how
hard it often is, to break in on the trade of another man, simply because
he has won the friendship of his customers. Keep this in mind, and do
everything to win the friendship and merit the continued confidence of
your trade.

In this connection, remember that “knocking” is bad. When giving the
rule, “_Don’t knock_,” as a good one for every salesman, I mean simply
that a salesman should not criticise unfairly or bitterly the goods of
another. There is no harm in pointing out the real defects or inferiority
of rival merchandise, but it is a great mistake to show ill-will or to
make unkind, uncalled-for criticisms. If it is necessary to protect a
man from buying what is going to cause him a loss, we should not hesitate
in criticizing and pointing out defects, but our criticisms should be
made in a tactful way, so as not to leave the impression that we are

In the next place, avoid the great mistake of young salesmen, and of
many experienced men, who talk their competitors’ goods far too much. I
know a salesman of very pleasing personality who frequently hurts his
sales in this way. He has a way of scattering his customer’s attention
by introducing the possibilities of rival products in his own line. At
the present time he is selling automobiles, and is constantly comparing
his car with others, diverting the customer’s attention, by enlarging on
the advantages and disadvantages, the good and bad points, of rival cars,
confusing a man by bringing into his mind so many things at the same time.

He seems to take delight in exhibiting his thorough knowledge of the
points of those other cars, and, in doing so, he often raises a question
in the customer’s mind as to the desirability of some other than the one
the salesman is selling, and will in many instances postpone purchasing
until he investigates the rival cars.

The best salesmen say very little about a competitor’s goods. They simply
explain and emphasize the advantages and good points of their own.

Don’t ignore questions about competitors, and don’t fail to banish from
the customer’s mind all doubts and prejudices, but it is a serious
mistake to spend a lot of time talking about competitors’ goods, when
you ought to be sticking to the merits of your own. Answer quickly
all questions, and then switch back to the excellence of what you are
selling. Be so enthusiastic about your own selling points that rivalry
will be forgotten.

In meeting competition, do not be fooled by the question of price. At
present, very many staple lines are of about the same quality and the
same price, so that you must bring out, as a high-grade salesman should,
the fact that _service is the main consideration_. Show what your house
can do in the matter of prompt deliveries, careful packing, dependability
as regards uniform quality, correct count, liberal terms, etc., and do
not forget that the general reputation of your house is a selling point.
The facilities which you have for keeping abreast of the times, like the
employing of experts to do experimental work, thereby improving your
product all the time, is a point of service well worth consideration.

Not the least important of the methods to meet competition is for the
salesman to analyze both the conditions of the people on whom he calls
and the territory in which he works. Any suggestions that he may make
to his house will help in the matter of educational advertising, which
always can be used to advantage in selling.

Above all, a salesman can meet competition most effectively by a strong
personality. Remember that your goods are judged by yourself, sometimes,
even, unfairly; and remember that we are always judged by our weakest
points; hence, in order to hold your old trade from competitors, and to
get new trade, you must possess “business magnetism,” which is another
way of saying “a strong personality.”



    Every salesman should feel that he is a partner in the business.

    The man who thinks he knows it all is taking a header for

It is of the utmost importance that every salesman should have full
confidence in his sales manager. There are many peculiar conditions which
exist in all lines of business. The conditions of the trade are best
known to those who have reached the position of sales manager or general
manager, and their advice should always be sought with an open and
receptive mind.

In many lines of business, treating and entertaining play an important
part. Often, business can be procured through taking your customer to
the theater, or taking him to your club for lunch or dinner, and quite
often an afternoon playing golf may be the best way to “land” a large
contract. There is far less entertaining done nowadays, however, than
formerly. Entertaining is always so agreeable for the entertainer, as
well as for the customer, that many salesmen are likely to overdo in this
respect. They attach too much importance to social meetings outside of
the actual getting of orders; hence, it is wise to abide by what the head
of the firm, or the sales manager, may think in the matter of just how
far to go when expending money, even for cigars that are to be given with
the view, not of bribing the customer, but of getting him in a friendly
attitude of mind.

Always be open-minded at the weekly or daily meetings, when instructions
are given by the sales manager. Do not refer to his words as “hot
air” and “bunk.” If you have suggestions, do not hesitate to call his
attention to what you think would be helpful to the other men. Remember
that if you really _know_ more than the sales manager does, it is not
going to be long before you will have _his_ job. If you only _think you
know_ more than he does, and you persist in showing this, either by words
or actions, you will soon lose _your_ job.

Written instructions from a sales manager are the best kind. He would
always do well to sum up briefly the main points of his advice, and get
them out in the form of a letter or bulletin. Half a page of typewritten
ideas, containing a few words of inspiration, will work wonders, both for
the discouraged and for the enthusiastic members of his force.

To get the best results, sales managers should always be friendly and
sympathetic with their men. Harsh criticisms upset a man, sometimes, to
the extent that he will be worried and nervous for several days. Positive
and emphatic reprimands are often called for, but they should always be
courteous and tactful.

And the salesman, when listening to the criticisms of his sales manager,
should remember this old quotation, “Better the wounds of a friend than
the kisses of an enemy.”

Sales managers of the old school believe that finding fault and harsh,
driving methods will get the best results. They are mistaken. “You can
get more flies with molasses, than you can with vinegar,” is a saying
perfectly true in its application alike to the salesman and the sales
manager. This does not mean that the weak-kneed, spineless manager can
get good results. Being friendly does not mean losing dignity. Different
men must receive different treatment. There are lazy men, untidy men,
those who do not try to make the most of whatever ability they have,
and men with other more or less grave faults. In dealing with these, it
is necessary to “lay down the law” much more emphatically than with the
timid but ambitious ones.

Marshall Field was in the habit of saying to his employees, “Remember
that the customer is always right.” I would advise every salesman to keep
in mind these words: “Remember, your sales manager is always right.”

A matter you must invariably refer to your sales manager is that of
swaying your customer by gifts. Many people want something for nothing,
and a salesman often thinks that the easiest way to get an order is to
use one or another kind of bribery. This may take the form of rebates, or
cash on the spot, or presents. Be very discreet in such matters.

As a scientific salesman, do not forget to consider the buyer. He is
buying scientifically. He is suspicious. Every one is trying to drive
a very close bargain. He tries to make you yield on price, to make some
concessions on payments, to give special privileges about returning
goods, etc. Beware of all these tactics. Here, again, you must consult
frequently, and with confidence, your sales manager. He knows the tricks
of your particular trade, and he will be able to give you proper coaching.

Be sure, above all things, that if your sales manager had a chance to put
an epitaph on your tombstone it would not be this: “He meant well, tried
a little, and failed much.”



    Charm of personality is a divine gift that sways the strongest
    characters, and sometimes even controls the destinies of

    The art of the salesman is akin to that of the orator. Both
    seek the mastery of the mind, the sympathy of the soul, the
    compulsion of the heart.

    Personal magnetism in a man corresponds to charm in a woman.

    An attractive, pleasing personality makes a striking first

“Getting what you want from kings or statesmen,” De Blowitz said, “is
all a matter of dining with the right people.” Through the power of
his charming presence, his gracious manner, this famous journalist
accomplished greater things at the dinner table, in the drawing-room or
ball-room than any other newspaper man in Europe accomplished through
letters of introduction, influence and special “pulls.” His popularity,
his power to interest and please others, was his strongest asset.

The ability of Charles M. Schwab to make friends, his strong social
qualities, his faculty for entertaining, for making himself agreeable,
played a powerful part in his rapid advancement from a dollar-a-day job
to the position of millionaire steel manufacturer. It was his social
qualities which first drew Mr. Carnegie so strongly to him.

During the Homestead troubles, according to reports, young Schwab used
to cheer Mr. Carnegie with humorous stories and the singing of Scottish
ballads, and the iron master was always in better spirits after a visit
from the young man.

There is no other one thing in such universal demand everywhere, in
social life and in business, as the power to attract and please. A
magnetic personality often commands a much bigger salary than great
ability with a disagreeable personality.

I have in mind a young business man, with such a captivating manner, with
such power to interest and please, that there are many firms in this
country which would pay him a fabulous salary for his services.

We all like to do business, with people who attract us. If we could
analyze cracker-jack salesmen in this country, we should find that they
are men who have a fine magnetic personality. They are great “mixers,”
they understand human nature. They are usually men of broad sympathies,
are large-hearted, and of magnanimous natures.

“Diamond Jim” Brady—James Buchanan, he was christened,—is a shining
example of the ultimate salesman. Mr. Brady has advanced himself to
the position of selling rolling stock and supplies to railroads, and
occasionally he sells entire railroads, making enormous fees as broker.
He is perhaps the personification of “personality” and as a “mixer” he
has no peer. His name is synonymous with “good fellow,” and his list of
acquaintances is said to be as large as that of any other one man in New

There is something about one’s personality which eludes the photographer,
which the painter cannot reproduce, which the sculptor cannot chisel.
This subtle something which every one feels, but which no one can
describe, which no biographer ever put down in a book, has a great deal
to do with one’s success in life.

It is this indescribable quality, which some persons have in a remarkable
degree, which sets an audience wild at the mention of the name of a
Lincoln or a Blaine,—which makes people applaud beyond the bounds of
enthusiasm. It was this peculiar atmosphere which made Clay the idol of
his constituents. Although, perhaps, Calhoun was a greater man, he never
aroused any such enthusiasm as “the mill-boy of the slashes.” Webster and
Sumner were great men, but they did not arouse a tithe of the spontaneous
enthusiasm evoked by men like Blaine and Clay.

A historian says that in measuring Kossuth’s influence over the masses,
“we must first reckon with the orator’s physical bulk, and then carry
the measuring line above his atmosphere.” If we had discernment fine
enough and tests delicate enough, we could not only measure the personal
atmosphere of individuals, but could make more accurate estimates
concerning the future possibilities of schoolmates and young friends.
We are often misled as to the position they are going to occupy from
the fact that we are apt to take account merely of their ability, and
do not reckon this personal atmosphere or magnetic power as a part of
their success capital. Yet this individual atmosphere has quite as much
to do with one’s advancement as brain-power or education. Indeed, we
constantly see men of mediocre ability, but with fine personal presence,
being rapidly advanced over the heads of those who are infinitely their
superiors in mental endowments.

Walt Whitman used to say that a man is not all included between his hat
and his boots. This is but another way of putting the fact, proved by
science, that our personality extends beyond our bodies. It is not who
we are, how we are dressed, or how we look, whether we are homely or
handsome, educated or uneducated, so much as what we are that creates
that subtle mysterious atmosphere of personality which either draws
people to us or drives them from us.

If you are exclusive; if you always want to keep by yourself and read,
even though it be for self-improvement; if you love to get in a seat by
yourself when you travel; if you shrink from mixing or getting acquainted
with others on the road or in hotel lobbies; if people bore or irritate
instead of interest you, you will never make a great salesman. You must
be a good mixer, a “good fellow” in the highest sense of the word (not a
dissipater); you must be popular because of your lovable human qualities,
or you will not have that peculiar drawing power which invites confidence
and attracts business. No matter what other excellent qualities he may
possess, the exclusive man is rarely, if ever, magnetic; he doesn’t draw
people to him; on the contrary, he keeps them at a distance.

I know of an exclusive salesman of this sort who for lack of this
drawing quality is making a very poor showing in his business. Although
a splendid fellow in many respects, a man of high ideals and sterling
honesty, he is not popular, because he has never learned to be a mixer,
never learned to be a good fellow, to approach people with a smile and a
cheery greeting, to hold out the glad hand of fellowship.

When he registers in a hotel, even if he has been there many times, he
just bows to the clerk, secures his room, and retires to it at once.
He loves books, is quite a student, but he does not care to be with
people any more than he can help. The other traveling salesmen do not
like him. His distant, dignified personality repels them. In a word,
his exclusiveness and his lack of magnetism have largely strangled his
effectiveness as a salesman.

It takes warm human qualities to make a good salesman. You cannot sell
things by the use of mere cold technique, however perfect. You must
establish sympathetic, wireless connection with the prospect’s mind by
making him feel that you are not only very much of a man to start with,
but that you have a lot of human sympathy, and are really anxious to
serve him, to put a good thing in his way.

Some salesmen have no more real sympathy for their prospect than they
would have for a Hindoo image. Their voices carry no more sympathy, no
more real human feeling than a talking machine. The house that employs
them might as well send out phonographs to repeat their mechanical
salesman story. They may hold customers who know that the firm they
represent has an excellent reputation, but they have no power to attract
new ones.

There is no other factor which enters so largely into success in
business, in social, and in professional life, as does personality. There
is nothing else which has such an influence in our dealings with others.

It is one of the salesman’s greatest assets. It will make all the
difference in the world to him whether he is sociable, magnetic, with an
attractive, agreeable, cheerful temperament, or whether he is grouchy,
cranky, disagreeable and arouses antagonism in those with whom he deals.

It is not always the man of the greatest ability, the greatest mental
power, by any means, who makes the great salesman. A man may be a mental
giant; he may have a Websterian brain and yet be a pigmy of a salesman. A
pleasing, attractive personality is a tremendous drawing power.

It has the same advantage a sweet, beautiful girl has when you first
meet her. The girl doesn’t have to try to make a good impression; her
personality, her charm, her grace do this without any effort on her part.
I have heard merchants say they looked forward with keen pleasure to the
coming of a certain salesman because he was such a good fellow; he was so
sociable, cheery and agreeable.

It is a very difficult thing to resist that magnetic charm of personality
which has swayed judges and juries from justice, and has even changed
the destinies of nations. We have not the heart to deny or refuse, to
say “No” to the man or woman who grips us with the impalpable force of a
magnetic personality.

When logic and argument fail, when genius says “impossible,” when pluck
and persistency give up, when influence has done its best and quits, when
all the mental qualities have tried in vain, the subtle something which
we call personal magnetism steps in and without apparent effort wins.

It makes a tremendous difference whether you bring a personality to
your prospect which makes a striking, pleasing first impression, or
whether you bring a cold, clammy, unenthusiastic, unresponsive nature,
which makes an indifferent or an unfavorable impression, one that you
must endeavor to overcome with a lot of long, tedious arguments. It is
the personal element which makes the chief difference between the great
salesman with a big salary and the little fellow with a little salary.
The little fellow may try just as hard as the big fellow, indeed he may
try much harder; he may have had a better training in the technique of
salesmanship, but because he lacks the warm, sympathetic, human, sociable
qualities, his industry and hard work are largely neutralized.

I know a man who through the force of his personality is a colossal power
in attracting business. Men follow him, are attracted to him, just as
needles are attracted to a magnet. They can’t very well help dealing with
him, he gets such a magnetic grip upon them. He does not need to make a
very strong appeal; his personality speaks for him.

Phillips Brooks had such a personality. Strangers who passed him on the
street felt his power to such a degree that they would turn and look
after him. In his presence none could resist the pull of his magnetism,
of his most wonderful personality. I was once a member of his Sunday
School class in Trinity Church, Boston, and every one in the class
instinctively felt from the first that he was in the presence of a great,
a superb specimen of humanity. He had such tremendous magnetic power
that when he wanted money for any charitable or philanthropic purpose,
he did not have to beg for it, he merely suggested the need of it, and
the closest pocketbooks would fly open. Everybody believed in Phillips
Brooks because of the power of his superb character, the magnetism of his
remarkable personality.

Emerson says, “What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you
say.” We cannot conceal what we are, how we feel, because we radiate our
atmosphere, our personality; and this is cold or warm, attractive or
repellent, according to our dominant traits and qualities.

A person who is selfish, always thinking of himself and looking out for
his own advantage, who is cold, unsympathetic, greedy, cannot radiate a
warm, mellow atmosphere because one’s atmosphere is a composite and takes
on the flavor of all of one’s qualities. If selfishness, indifference,
avarice and greed are dominant in one’s nature, this is the kind of an
atmosphere he will radiate and it will repel because these qualities we
instinctively detest.

The qualities that attract are out-flowing, buoyant; the qualities
that repel are in-flowing; that is, people who have no magnetism are
self-centered, they think too much about themselves; they do not give
out enough; they are always after something, absorbing, receiving some
benefit, trying to get some advantage for themselves. They lack sympathy,
lack cordiality, good fellowship; they are bad mixers.

Some people are naturally magnetic, but when you analyze their character
you will find they possess certain qualities which we all instinctively
admire, the qualities which attract every human being, such as
generosity, magnanimity, cordiality, broad sympathies, large views of
life, helpfulness, optimism.

There is not one of these qualities that the salesman can not cultivate
and strengthen a great deal. If he does so he will get a hearing where
others have thrown back at them the fatal words, “No time to see you
to-day—very busy.”

Many upright, honorable young men with political aspirations have been
thwarted in their election campaign because they did not know how to make
themselves popular. Splendid young men, striving for political honors,
are constantly being beaten by men much their inferior in many respects.
And this not because of graft or pull on their opponents’ side, but
because the latter are good mixers. They know how to meet people, how to
be good fellows, how to mix with others; in short they know how to make
themselves popular.

We all know what a great demand there is in every line of business
for traveling salesmen who are good mixers, men who have a genius for
interesting, attracting and holding customers.

Whatever your business, your reputation and your success will depend in
a great degree upon the quality of the impression you make upon others.
It means everything, therefore, to young men, and to young women also, to
develop a magnetic, forceful personality.

This is not a very difficult thing to do. Every one can cultivate the
ability to please and the strength of character that will make him felt
as a real force in the world. Knowing the qualities and characteristics
that distinguish the magnetic and the unmagnetic, it is comparatively
easy for us to cultivate the one and to eliminate the other. That is,
we can cultivate the generous, magnanimous, cheerful, helpful mental
qualities and crush their opposites; and in proportion as we do this
we shall find ourselves becoming more interested in others, and they in
turn becoming more interested in us. We shall find ourselves more welcome
wherever we go, more sought after; we shall attract people to us more and
more, as we make ourselves personal magnets by fashioning our aura of the
kindly thoughts and words and deeds that day by day go to the making of a
rich, magnetic personality.

In other words, if you cultivate the qualities which you admire so
much in others, the very qualities which attract you, you will become
attractive to others. Just in proportion as you become imbued with
these qualities so that they shall characterize you, will you acquire a
magnetic, attractive personality.

A good education is a great advantage to a man or a woman, but most of
us put too great emphasis upon education, upon mental equipment and
training. We seem to think that this is everything, but our personal
atmosphere may have more to do with our success in life, more to do with
determining our place in the world, our social or business advancement,
our standing in our community, than our mere mental equipment.

The first step toward making yourself magnetic is to build up your
health. Vigorous health, coupled with a right mental attitude, an
optimistic, hopeful, cheerful, happy mind, will increase your magnetism

A person having robust health radiates an atmosphere of strength, a
suggestion of vigor and courage, while one who lacks vitality drains from
others instead of giving to them. Physical force and abounding joyousness
of health help to create a magnetic, forceful personality. The man with
buoyant, alert mind, with a sparkle in his eye and elasticity in his
step, the man who is bubbling over with abundant physical vitality,
has a tremendous advantage over those who are devitalized and are weak

To be magnetic you must face life in the right way. Pessimism,
selfishness, a sour disposition, lack of sympathy and enthusiasm—all of
these tend to destroy personal magnetism. It is a hopeful, optimistic,
sunny, sane, large-hearted person who radiates the kind of personal
magnetism we all admire, the kind that commands attention, that attracts
and holds all sorts of people.

Above all if you want to have a magnetic, attractive personality,
cultivate the heart qualities. Intellect, brain power, has little, if
anything to do with personal magnetism. It is the lovable, not the
intellectual, qualities that draw and hold people. You must make people
feel your sympathy, feel that they have met a real man or a real woman.
Don’t greet people with a stiff, conventional, “How do you do?” or “Glad
to meet you,” without any feeling, any sentiment in it. Be a good mixer
and adapt yourself to different dispositions. Look every person you meet
squarely in the eye and make him feel your personality. Give him a glad
hand, with a smile and a kind word which will make him remember that he
has come in contact with a real force, which will make him glad to meet
you again.

If you would be popular, you must cultivate cordiality. You must fling
the door of your heart wide open, and not, as many do, just leave it
ajar a little, as much as to say to people you meet, “You may peep in a
bit, but you cannot come in until I know whether you will be a desirable
acquaintance.” A great many people are stingy of their cordiality. They
seem to reserve it for some special occasion or for intimate friends.
They think it is too precious to give out to everybody.

Do not be afraid to open your heart; fling the door of it wide open. Get
rid of all reserve; do not meet a person as though you were afraid of
making a mistake and doing what you would be glad to recall.

You will be surprised to see what this warm, glad handshake and cordial
greeting will do in creating a bond of good-will between you and
the person you meet. He will say to himself, “Well, there is really
an interesting personality. I want to know more about this lady or
gentleman. This is an unusual greeting. This person sees something in me,
evidently, which most people do not see.”

Some people give you a shudder, and you feel cold chills creep over you
when they take hold of your hand. There is no warmth in their grasp,
no generosity, no friendliness, no real interest in you. It is all a
cold-blooded proceeding, and you can imagine you hear one of these
chilling individuals say to himself, “Well, what is there in this person
for me? Can he send me clients, patients or customers? If he does not
possess money, has he influence or a pull with influential people? Can he
help or interest me in any way? If not, I can not afford to bother with

Cultivate the habit of being cordial, of meeting people with a warm,
sincere greeting, with an open heart; it will do wonders for you. You
will find that the stiffness, diffidence and indifference, the cold lack
of interest in everybody which now so troubles you will disappear. People
will see that you really take an interest in them, that you really want
to know, please and interest them. _The practice of cordiality will
revolutionize your social power._ You will develop attractive qualities
which you never before dreamed you possessed.

If you cultivate a magnetic personality you will increase your sales and
lessen your work, besides getting a lot more enjoyment out of life than
you otherwise would.

Remember, customers are drawn, not pushed. Trade to-day is largely a
question of attraction, and the salesman who is the most magnetic, who
has the most affable manners, who is a good mixer, will attract the
largest amount of orders.



    Character is greater than any career.

    Manhood overtops all titles.

Character is the greatest power in the world. Nothing can take its place;
talents cannot, genius cannot, education cannot, training cannot. The
reputation of being absolutely square and clean and straight, of being a
man whose word is his bond, is the finest recommendation.

Simple genuineness, transparency of character, will win the confidence
of a customer whether he is prejudiced or not, and the confidence of the
purchaser is half the sale, for no matter how pleasing the speech or the
manner of the salesman, if he isn’t genuine, if he doesn’t ring true, if
he doesn’t inspire confidence, if the customer sees a muddy streak back
of his eye, he is not likely to purchase.

Lack of absolute integrity often keeps salesmen in inferior positions.
Take the average salesman in a retail clothing store. A customer tries on
a coat. “How does it look?” he asks the salesman in a pleased tone.

“Perfect, fine,” answers that worthy.

Then a garment of totally different cut is put on. If the customer seems
to like it, the salesman echoes his view. It is just the coat he should

Pretty soon the customer realizes that the salesman’s advice is
worthless; he won’t tell him the truth as to how the garment looks, fits
and hangs; he is intent only on making a sale. When the customer sees
this, naturally he will not buy there. He will go to another house or to
a salesman who will tell him the truth, who will be honest with him.

Sincerity, genuineness, transparency, carry great weight with us all.
Just think what it means to have everybody believe in you, to have
everybody that has ever had any dealings with you feel that, there is a
man as clean as a hound’s tooth and as straight as a die; no wavering,
no shuffling, no sneaking, no apologizing, no streak of any kind in his
honesty; you can always rely on his word. There is a young man who has
nothing to cover up; he has no motive but to tell the truth; he doesn’t
have to cover up his tracks because he has lied once and must make his
future conduct correspond; he knows that honesty needs no defense, no
explanation. His character is transparent. One doesn’t need to throw up
guards against him.

We all know what a comfort it is to do business with such a man, a man
who cannot be bought, who would feel insulted at the mere suggestion
that any influence could swerve him a hair’s breadth from the right. Is
there anything grander than the man who stands foursquare to the world,
who does not love money or influence as he loves his reputation, and who
would rather be right than be President?

The salesman who has made such a reputation, a reputation of
never misrepresenting, never deceiving, never trying to cajole or
over-influence, who never tries to sell a man what he knows he does not
want or what would not be good for him, who does not try to palm off
“out of season” goods or cover up defects, is certainly a comfort and a
treasure both to his employer and his customers.

How much more comfortable and satisfactory it is for oneself not to have
to watch every step and to guard every statement for fear one will let
out some previous deception! How much easier and how much better it is to
be honest than always to have to be on the lookout for discrepancies in
one’s statements, to be obliged continually to cover one’s tracks!

No training, no bluffing, no tricks, will take the place of genuine
sterling character; your prospect’s instinct, if he is a sharp student
of human nature,—and most business men are,—will very quickly tell him
whether you are shamming an interest in him or whether it is genuine. He
can tell whether you are pure gold or a base counterfeit; and if your
character is unalloyed you will establish a friendly relation with him
which will be of very great value.

A good salesman will not fail to realize that the men he approaches have
been swindled many times, and that a hooked trout is shy of new bait.
He will not forget that his would-be customers probably have had many
unfortunate experiences, that possibly they have bought many gold bricks,
that their confidence has been shaken many times by violated pledges,
so that they will be on their guard, and at the outset will look upon
every salesman who approaches them as a smooth-tongued swindler. The
experienced man knows that business chickens come home to roost, that a
dishonest policy, any underhand business, any effort to take advantage
will surely be a boomerang for the firm. It is only a question of time.
Every misrepresentation, every mean transaction will sooner or later cost
the firm very dear.

Remember that every sale you make is an advertisement that will either
help or hinder your business. It is an advertisement of the character and
general policy of your firm. It advertises the squareness, the honesty,
or the cunning, the trickery of the whole concern; in other words, the
man you approach will get a pretty good idea of your firm,—their policy
and methods of doing business,—by the impression which you make on him.
He can tell pretty well whether he is dealing with high-class men,
whether he can absolutely depend upon the word of the house, whether he
can rely upon their statements, whether he will be protected, or whether
he will have to protect himself by watching and guarding every little
step in every business transaction with the house. He can tell whether
he can rely absolutely upon its doing the square thing by him or not. “A
company is judged by the men it keeps.”

The best salesmen to-day, besides making a study of their business, make
a study of their customers and their wants. Many customers regard such
salesmen as their business advisers, and they give them their confidence,
knowing they will receive from them “white” treatment, that they will
only sell them the merchandise which it is to their advantage to buy.

After he has gained their confidence it would be easy enough for the
salesman to violate it and sell a much larger bill of goods than is to
the advantage of the customer, but the modern salesman knows that this
is a poor sort of business policy. The old-time method of holding up a
customer when you get him for every dollar you can squeeze out of him,
and piling onto him just as many goods as he can be induced to take, and
at the biggest possible price, has gone by forever.



    “Three things are necessary, first, backbone; second, backbone;
    third, backbone.”—CHARLES SUMNER.

    “When other people are ready to give up we are just getting our
    second wind,” is the motto of a New York business house. A good
    one for the success aspirant.

    “Ships sail west and ships sail east,
    By the very same winds that blow;
    It is the set of the sails, and not the gales,
    That determines where they go.”

“Wrecks of the world are of two kinds,” said Elbert Hubbard. “Those who
have nothing that society wants, and those who do not know how to get
their goods into the front window.”

The way to succeed in salesmanship is to get your goods into the front
window and hustle for all you are worth. Hard work and grit open the door
to the Success firm.

Two college students started out to sell copies of the same book. After
some weeks in the field one wrote to headquarters as an excuse for his
poor business that “everything had been trying to keep him down of late.”
The weather had been so bad he could not get out a great deal of the
time; then everybody was talking “hard times,” and no money, and making
all sorts of excuses for not buying. He said he was so disgusted and
discouraged that he saw nothing for it but to give up canvassing as a bad

The other young man, canvassing in similar territory, sent in his report
about the same time. This is what he wrote: “In spite of bad weather
and the fact that everybody is trying to hedge on account of the war
scare and the general business depression I have had a banner week, and
my commissions were over eighty dollars. I get used to this ‘hard times
and no money,’ and ‘can’t afford it’ talk, and I just sail right in and
overwhelm all these objections with my arguments. I make the people I
talk to feel that it would be almost wicked to let the opportunity pass
for securing a book, the reading of which has doubled and trebled the
efficiency of a multitude of men and women and has been the turning point
in hundreds of careers. I have made them feel that it will be cheap at
almost any price, and that I am doing them a great favor in making it
possible for them to secure this ambition-arousing book.”

This young man sold, on the average, to eight people out of ten he called
upon during the week.

A traveling salesman for a big concern got it into his head that his
territory out through the West was played out. His orders were shrinking,
and he told his employers that the territory had simply been worked to
a finish, that there was no use in staying in it any longer. His sales
manager, however, knew the section well, and doubted the man’s glib
statement. He put a young fellow in his place who had had very little
experience, but who was a born hustler, full of energy, ambition and
enthusiasm. On his first trip he more than doubled his predecessor’s
record. He said he saw nothing to indicate a played-out route, and was
confident that business would increase as he became better acquainted
with the territory.

The fact was that, not the territory, but the man was played out. The
older salesman was not willing to forego his comforts, his pleasures,
to hustle for business. He was not willing to travel across the country
in bad weather on the chance of getting an order in a small town. He
preferred to remain in the Pullman cars, to go to the larger towns and
sit around in hotel lobbys, to take things easy, to go to the theaters
instead of hunting up new customers and making friends for the house.
He wanted his “dead” territory changed, because he had no taste for
hustling. His successor did not see any lack of life in that “played-out”
route because he was “a live wire.” The trouble was not in the territory;
it was in the man.

At an agricultural convention while discussing the slope of land which
was best suited to a certain kind of fruit tree, an old farmer was called
upon to express his opinion. He got up and said, “_the slope of the land
don’t make so much difference as the slope of the man_.” It isn’t the
slope of the territory that counts so much in selling as the slope of the
salesman; that is everything. In every business it is always a question
of the sort of a man behind the proposition. It is the slope of the man,
his grit, his stick-to-it-iveness, that count most.

No matter how letter perfect you may be in the technique of salesmanship,
or how well posted on all the rules of effective procedure, if you lack
certain qualities you never will make a first-class salesman.

If you lack grit, industry, application, perseverance; if you lack
determination and that bull-dog grip which never lets go or knows when it
is beaten; if you lack sand, you will peter out. Having these qualities
you will overcome many handicaps.

I have known a little sawed-off dwarf of a salesman to wade into a
prospect and, through sheer grit, get an order where the ordinary
salesman, with good physical appearance, would have failed.

This fellow said that grit had been his only capital in life; that when
he found he was so handicapped by his size and his ugly features that he
would probably be a failure and a nobody in the world, he just made up
his mind he would not only overcome every one of his handicaps, but that
he would be a big success in his line. He did everything he had resolved
to do, and through sheer force of grit “made good.” He had paid the price
of success, and won out, as will every one who is willing to pay the

Only the weakling prates about “luck,” a “pull,” or “favoritism,” or any
other backstairs to success. Your success and your luck are determined
by yourself and by no other. We are the masters of our destiny. We get
just what _we want_. To be sure, all of us _wish_ for a lot of things;
we would like very much to have them, but we don’t really want them, or
we would straightway set to work and try very hard by every means in our
power to get them. Many of us wish for a position worth anywhere from ten
thousand dollars to one hundred thousand dollars a year, but we want to
get it without much effort, and to hold it with still less effort. What
we really want is success without effort, an easy job at the highest
market price, like the cook pictured in a recent cartoon, applying for a
place. Her first question is: “And what’s the wages, mum?” “Oh, I always
pay whatever a person’s worth,” answers the employer. “No, thank ye, mum.
I never works for as little as that,” replies the disgusted would-be

Let us remember that there is no easiest way to success in any business
or profession. We are here to develop ourselves to the highest point
of our ability; to be the broadest, ablest, most helpful men and women
we can be, and this is only possible through the assiduous cultivation
of our highest faculties. We can only grow and progress through
self-development. No patent method has yet been discovered by which a man
or woman can be developed from the outside.

Abraham Lincoln tells us, “The way for a young man to rise, is to improve
himself every way he can, never suspecting that any one wishes to hinder

Hudson Maxim, the famous inventor, has formulated ten success rules, the
essence of which are, study and work. He makes two vital assertions:
1. “Never look for something for nothing; make up your mind to earn
everything, and remember that opportunity is the only thing that any one
can donate you without demoralizing you and doing you an injury.” 2.
“Man must eliminate from his mind any belief that the world owes him a

Now, some people differ with Mr. Maxim on this last point. They believe
the world does owe each one of us a living. If they are right, it is
pleasant to think that the world is very ready to pay this debt, when we
come around to collect it in the right way. If we can do any one thing
superbly, no matter how humble it may be, we shall find ourselves in
demand. The world will most willingly pay its indebtedness to us.

Men and women who have won distinction in every business and profession
are unanimous in their agreement as to two cardinal points in the
achievement of success—Work and Grit.

The Honorable Thomas Pryor Gore, the blind Senator of Oklahoma, who
raised himself from a poor, blind boy to be an influential member of
the United States Senate, has this to say on the secret of pushing
to the front: “A fixed and unalterable purpose, pursued under all
circumstances, in season and out of season, with no shadow of turning,
is the best motive power a man can have. I have sat in physical darkness
for twenty-seven years, and if I have learned anything it is that _the
dynamics of the human will can overcome any difficulty_.”

Here, indeed, is encouragement for every youth in this land of
opportunity. Think of a poor, blind boy, unaided, achieving such
distinction as Mr. Gore has won! Think of a blind Milton writing the
greatest epic in the world’s literature! Think of a Beethoven, stone
deaf, overcoming the greatest handicap a composer could have, and raising
himself to the distinction of being one of the greatest composers the
world has known! One of this wonderful man’s sayings is well worth
keeping in mind by every young man struggling with difficulties: “I will
grapple with fate; it shall never drag me down.”

It is well also to remember this truth: “Usually the work that is
required to develop talent is ten times that necessary for ordinary
commonplace success.” Men naturally brainy, or with some great gift,
have to work most assiduously to achieve big results. Without untiring
perseverance, industry, grit, the courage to get up and press on after
repeated failures, the historic achievers of the world would never have
won out in their undertakings.

Columbus said that it was holding on three days more that discovered the
New World; that is, it was holding on three days after even the stoutest
hearts would have turned back that brought him in sight of land.

Tenacity of purpose is characteristic of all men who have accomplished
great things. They may lack other desirable traits, may have all sorts of
peculiarities, weaknesses, but the quality of persistence, clear grit, is
never absent from the man who does things. Drudgery cannot disgust him,
labor cannot weary him, hardships cannot discourage him. He will persist
no matter what comes or goes, because persistence is part of his nature.

More young men have achieved success in life with grit as capital, than
with money capital to start with. The whole history of achievement shows
that grit has overcome the direst poverty; it has been more than a match
for lifelong invalidism.

After all, what do all the other accomplishments and personal decorations
amount to if a man lacks the driving wheel, grit, which moves the human
machine. A man has got to have this projectile force or he will never get
very far in the world. Grit is a quality which stays by a man when every
other quality retreats and gives up.

For the gritless every defeat is a Waterloo, but there is no Waterloo for
the man who has clear grit, for the man who persists, who never knows
when he is beaten. Those who are bound to win never think of defeat
as final. They get up after each failure with new resolution, more
determination than ever to go on until they win.

Have you ever seen a man who had no give-up in him, who could never let
go his grip whatever happened, who, every time he failed, would come
up with greater determination than ever to push ahead? Have you ever
seen a man who did not know the meaning of the word failure, who, like
Grant, never knew when he was beaten, who cut the words “can’t,” and
“impossible,” from his vocabulary, the man whom no obstacles could down,
no difficulty phase, who was not disheartened by any misfortune, any
calamity? If you have, you have seen a real man, a conqueror, a king
among men.

As we look around at other men, enjoying the good things of life,
basking in the sunshine of success, let us remember that they didn’t get
their place in the sun by wishing and longing for it. They didn’t get to
Easy Street by the road of Inertia. When you are tempted to envy those
people, and long to have a “pull” or some one to give you a “boost,” just
call to mind this jingle:

    “You must jump in, and fight and work, nor care for one defeat;
    For if you take things easy, you won’t reach Easy Street.
    Don’t waste time in envy, and never say you’re ‘beat,’
    For if you take things easy, you won’t reach Easy Street.”

There is no royal road to anything that is worth having. Only work and
grit will do the trick. As J. Pierpont Morgan says, “Hard, honest,
intelligent work will land any young man at the top.”

The great business world is always on the hunt for the man who can do
things a little better than they have been done before, the man who can
deliver the goods, the man who can manage a little better, the man who is
a little shrewder, a little more scientific, a little more accurate, a
little more thorough; it is always after the man who can bring a little
better brain, a little better training to his job.

With our constantly widening national interests, our enormously expanding
trade, the demand for A1 salesmen is ever on the increase. The young
man who is not satisfied with the ordinary required equipments for
salesmanship, but who will add to this a thorough knowledge of modern
languages, especially those most used in commercial intercourse—German,
French and Spanish—will not have very great difficulty in finding his
place in the sun.

The making—or the marring—of your life is in your own hands. “The gods
sell anything and to everybody at a fair price.” Success is on sale in
the world market place. All who are willing to pay the price can buy it.
In the final analysis, success in salesmanship, as in everything else, is
simply a matter of “paying the price.”



    To keep fit is to maintain perfect health; and perfect health
    depends upon a perfect balance of mind and body, unimpaired
    physical vigor and absolute inner harmony, a mental poise which
    nothing can disturb.

    There is a vast amount of ability lost to the world through
    poor health, through not keeping in condition to give out the
    best that is infolded in us.

“I want you,” said Philip D. Armour to one of his employees, “to grow
into a man so strong and big that you will force me to see that you are
out of place among the little fellows.”

If you want to be a salesman “so strong and big” that you will be “out
of place among the little fellows,” you must be as physically fit as was
John L. Sullivan in his prime. At that time the mere sight of Sullivan
entering the ring struck such terror into the heart of his opponent
that the fight was half won before a blow was struck. It seemed to the
small man like a desperate venture to tackle a giant with such a superb
physical presence. The famous pugilist’s appearance had as much to do
with his success as had his knowledge of the technique of the ring.

If you want to win out (and who does not?) you must enter the ring—the
arena of life—with all the power you can muster, in superb health, at the
top of your condition, capable of putting up your biggest fight. You can
do this and come out with your flag flying if you are good to yourself,
if you keep fit. But if you allow all sorts of leaks of power to drain
away your energy, your brain force, your will power, you will be in no
condition to make the fight of your life.

You should be as well prepared physically for the contest as the prize
fighter who is determined to keep his record. Or, like the Greek god
Hercules, you should be able to win largely by the force of your reserve
power. It was said that Hercules made such an impression of great reserve
force on his antagonist that he never had to put forth much strength in
wrestling. He won as much by the impression of confident power which he
radiated, as by the degree of strength he exerted.

In other words, if you do not back up your general ability and special
training with robust health you will be forever at a disadvantage in
the game of life. You must keep yourself fit for your job, always in a
condition to do your best or you will be handicapped in the game.

It is the law of life that the “weakest shall go to the wall.” Frailness
of body is an inevitable handicap in life. Physical weakness largely
discounts the possibilities of achievement. The slow but striving
tortoise may beat out the hare in the race. The steadfast, plodding
student may take the prizes of life which his more brilliant competitor
never attained. But the tortoise, though slow, is sound of body. Cripple
him and all his plodding will avail him little.

True, there have been weak men who have done wonders in life in spite of
frailness and physical infirmity. But they are only the exceptions that
prove the rule. Alexander Pope, “the gallant cripple of Twickenham,”
sewed up in canvas; St. Paul, short in stature, of inferior presence
and almost blind, are types of the men whose great souls overcame
their bodily weakness. Cæsar, Pascal, Nelson, were other types of the
indomitable spirit which can not be limited by sickness or infirmity.
But, in the main, the man who “makes good” has good health.

As a salesman you carry all your capital with you. You are in business,
but you carry everything connected with it, your factory, your sales
department with you. Your machinery assets are mental, and if you don’t
do your best to keep them in fine condition you will show about as
much sense as a farmer who would leave all his valuable farm machinery
out-doors in all sorts of weather, to be ruined by wind and dew, rain
and snow. Your skill, your expertness, your facility of expression, your
tact, your discretion, your power of discrimination, your knowledge of
human nature, your courage, your initiative, your resourcefulness, your
cheerfulness, your magnetism, in fact, every one of your mental faculties
is a part of your business capital, is an asset, and its condition
depends entirely on the care you take of the engine which furnishes the
motor power for all your mental machinery. That engine is your body.

The physical soil is the soil in which your faculties are nourished. If
this soil is impoverished, if your vitality is low, if you are sapping
your energies by vicious, ignorant, or foolish habits, your faculties
will not thrive.

Some time ago an ambitious young fellow came to me and asked me to tell
him how to increase his ability and his power to achieve things. He was
pale and emaciated, with something like signs of dissipation in his
face. The young man seemed very anxious to get along in the world but,
evidently, he had taken the wrong path. A few questions brought out the
fact that although not dissipating in the ordinary sense, the course
he was pursuing was almost as disastrous to his health. He was sitting
up till one or two o’clock at night, studying, while working very hard
in the day-time, and to brace up his depleted strength he was not only
drinking coffee and tea to excess, but he was also taking whiskey, and
even drugs. He did not seem to know that this artificial stimulus to his
brain was like a whip to a tired horse, and that it was only a question
of time until he would be a physical and mental wreck.

It is amazing how ignorant many otherwise intelligent people are when it
comes to a question of body and health building. Young people often ask
me to tell them how they can increase their ability, and in nine cases
out of ten I find that, like the young man above, they are doing some
fool things that defeat the very object they have in view.

Now, the surest way to increase your ability, to multiply and strengthen
your faculties, is to lay a good foundation of health, and to guard it
as you would your most precious possession—for that is really what it
is. Vigorous, abounding health will emphasize, reinforce and multiply
the forcefulness of all the faculties, and the sum of these faculties
constitutes your ability, the force that achieves, that creates.

It will make a tremendous difference to you what sort of a man you
take to your prospect. I say “you take,” because you are the master of
the salesman. There is something bigger back of the salesman, than the
salesman himself. You are the salesman’s manager, his trainer, his
educator. There is a master in you, who, to a very large extent, dictates
the sort of a man “you take” to your prospect, because he will be the
sort of a man _you_ make him. To be a whole man, mentally, physically,
and spiritually is your business. To be deficient on any of these planes
is to be only two parts a man. To be one hundred per cent. a man—that is
your problem.

The human machine is very complicated, and even a little thing may
seriously impair its harmony and efficiency. A bad fitting shoe may
cut down your effectiveness temporarily, or as long as you wear it,
twenty-five per cent. A speck of dirt in the eye would cripple a
Napoleon, as a hair in the works would seriously injure the best
timepiece in the world. A hasty, bolted lunch, of poor, adulterated
food, may impair your digestion, cut down your brain power and make you
ineffective when it is of the utmost importance that you be effective.

Efficiency lies in the symmetry and perfect functioning of all of your
organs. If they are not trying to help you make a sale; if you have
treated them badly and they are protesting, they will beat you. You may
think that, no matter how you feel, you can put a deal over by sheer will
power, but remember that your will power is dependent upon the harmonious
action of all your bodily functions. It will weaken just as soon as any
one of these is impaired. If not one, but several of them—your digestive
organs, your liver, your heart, your kidneys, your brain, are fighting
against you, trying to defeat your purpose, you will not win out no
matter how hard a fight you put up. Many a superb salesman has finally
lost out by making an enemy of all the organs which make for health and

Do you realize what goes into every sale you make? Did it ever occur to
you that your brains, your education, your training, your experience,
your skill, your ingenuity, your resourcefulness, your originality, your
personality—about all your life capital is flung into every selling

The result of every canvass you make will depend very largely upon
how much of yourself you fling into it, and how intensely, how
enthusiastically, cheerfully, and tactfully you fling yourself in. You
cannot bring the whole of yourself to the sale unless every function of
your body gives its consent. Your physical organism must be in perfect
harmony or your vitality will be lowered, and you will be robbed of a
certain percentage of your possible power.

The great thing when you approach a prospect is to be all there, not to
leave ten, fifteen, twenty or twenty-five per cent. of yourself in the
bar-room or in some other vicious resort the night before. Do not fling
a lot of your ability away in bad food, or in a too rich and complicated
diet, viciously taken. Be sure when you call on a prospect that you take
a good digestion along with you; it is the best friend of your brain.
If your digestion is ruined by over-eating, or if your brain is not
well fed, no amount of will power, or cocktail or whiskey braces, will
compensate for the loss you suffer.

Many a promising salesman has failed to make good because he made a habit
of turning night into day and could take only about half of himself to
his work. Many a cracker-jack salesman has lost a sale by partaking
too heartily of dinner, or by a fit of indigestion brought on by some
indiscretion in eating.

Multitudes of people go through life working hard, trying desperately
to succeed, but are terribly disappointed by the meagerness of their
achievement, simply because they did not take care of their health. They
are all the time devitalized; they lack blood, or it is of poor quality;
it lacks fire and force, and, of course, the brain and all the faculties
deteriorate to correspond with the blood.

The achievement follows the vitality, and this in turn depends on the
general care of the body. The kind of food, its quality and amount,
the manner in which we partake of it, our physical habits, work, rest,
recreation, sleep,—these are the things on which health and vitality
depend. These furnish our physical energy and achievement depends upon
energy. It would be impossible even for the brain of a Webster to focus
with power, if fed with poor ill-nourished blood.

Everywhere we see bright, educated young men and women, with good brains,
crippled by poor health, mocked by great ambitions which they can never
realize. A large part of their ability is lost to the world because of
some physical weakness which might be remedied by careful, scientific

Just glance over the young men you know and see what a small part of
their ability goes into their life work, because of their impaired
assets, through foolish or vicious living habits. They are selling their
integrity, squandering their life capital in all sorts of dissipation,
bringing perhaps not more than twenty-five per cent. of their actual
ability to their life work.

How often we hear the remark: “Poor fellow! he was always a victim of bad
health, but for that he would have accomplished great things.” “Mentally
able but physically weak” would make a good epitaph for thousands of

A weakness anywhere in you will mar your career. It will rise up as a
ghost all through your life work, at unexpected moments, mortifying,
condemning, convicting you. Every indiscretion or vicious indulgence
simply opens a leak which drains off your success and happiness
possibilities. There is no compensation for waste of health capital.
Health raises the power of every faculty and every possibility of
the man, and there is no excuse for losing it through carelessness,
dissipation or ignorance.

Nor can one plead mere weakness or lack of energy as a handicap, an
excuse for failure. Nature is no sentimentalist. If you violate her law
you must pay the penalty though you sit on a throne. She demands that you
be at the top of your condition, always at your best, and will accept no
excuse or apology.

Whatever your work in life, the secret of your success and happiness
is locked up in your health, in your brain, your nerves, your muscles,
your ambition, your ideal, your resolution. It is up to you to be a
whole man. You cannot afford to be less. You cannot afford to dwarf your
career or botch it by going to your task with stale brains. You cannot do
first-class work with second-class brain power, with a brain that is fed
by poison,—blood vitiated by abnormal living or dissipation. You cannot
afford to go to your work used up, played out. Trying to sell merchandise
with stale brains keeps many a salesman capable of real mastership in
a mediocre position. You cannot do a master’s work with a muddy brain
which was not renewed, refreshed, by plenty of sound sleep, healthful
recreation, and vigorous exercise in the open air.

In other words, if you expect to make the most of yourself you must be
good to yourself. Strangled health means strangled ability. If you murder
your health you murder all your chances in life.

No man ever does a great thing in this world who does not protect the
faculties he is using with jealous care. Watch your generating power.
Remember that you see the world largely through your stomach. Its
condition will determine the condition of your brain. Poor digestion
gives you poor blood, and poor blood a poor brain. Few people realize
what a tremendous factor health plays in their success. Men give the
brain credit for a large amount of their success which is due to the
stomach, which has everything to do with physical health and robust

Not long ago I was talking to a salesman who said he guessed he was
losing his grip; didn’t know how it was, but he was not making sales as
he used to. He didn’t have the same grit and enthusiasm; guessed he was
sliding down hill, going backward instead of forward. Formerly, he said,
he always approached a customer with the expectation of getting an order,
but latterly he was in great doubt; he could not get on full steam, a
resolute determination to win. Now, when a man gets into this condition
he is not fit to solicit business. Nature is calling to him: “Stop, Look,
Listen.” It is time for him to call a halt, and see what is the trouble
with his engine.

If you would be a master in your specialty heed Nature’s danger signals,
which she puts up all through your body. That “tired feeling” is one of
them; brain fag, headache, is one of them; indigestion is one of them;
apathy, “don’t feel like it,” poor appetite,—all these things are signals
to slow down. But instead of slowing down and repairing, most of us
try to speed up with all sorts of stimulants and run past these danger
signals, with the result that we either wreck our life train or very
seriously injure it.

No man can afford to ignore Nature’s warnings, but least of all can the
salesman, on whose physical condition everything depends. Other men can
depute their work, at least for a time, to those under them; but the
salesman cannot do this, for he is strictly a one-man concern, and
everything depends on his health. He must always be at the top of his
condition; and every quality needed in his work is sharpened and braced
by vigorous health.

How comparatively easy it is, for instance, for a healthy man to be
hopeful, optimistic, enthusiastic. How difficult for a chronic dyspeptic
to be any of these—to be kind, gentle, generous, cheerful, obliging.
His natural disposition may not be at fault, for the tendency of ill
health is to make a man cross, crabbed, fault-finding, fretful, hard,

“Touchiness,” a defect which makes so many men and women unbearable,
usually comes from some weakness or physical ailment. A great many
so-called “sins” are due to a depleted physical condition. It is so much
easier for a man to control himself when he is well, to say “No” with
emphasis, when, if he were suffering from some physical disability, he
might say “Yes,”—anything to get rid of annoyance and to get into a more
comfortable condition.

How much health has to do with one’s manners! How easy to be courteous
and accommodating when one feels the thrill of health surging through
his whole being; but how hard to be polite, gentle, amiable, when one
feels ill, weak, and nervous, and wants to be let alone! How hard to
carry on an interesting conversation when all of one’s physical standards
are down!

Then again, how the health affects the judgment! The judgment is really
a combination of a great many other faculties, and the condition of each
seriously affects the quality of the combination.

One’s courage is largely a matter of physical health. How quickly
the ailing man, to whom everything looks blue, becomes discouraged!
Everything looks black to people whose physical standards are demoralized.

Horse trainers know that a horse’s courage during the contest depends
a great deal upon its being in a superb physical condition. It is
the same with the horse’s master—man. Courage, poise, masterfulness,
resourcefulness, physical vigor go together. Nervousness, timidity,
uncertainty, doubt, hesitation, usually accompany depleted vitality.

The bull-dog tenacity which plays such a part in every life worth while
has a physical basis. The will power, which is a leader in the mental
kingdom, depends very largely upon the health. How different, for
example, obstacles look to the man who is ailing all the time, suffering
pain, compared with the way they look to a man who is full of vigor
and energy. The man who is well plans great things to-day, because he
feels strong and vigorous. Obstacles are nothing to him; he feels within
himself the power to annihilate them. But to-morrow he is ill, and the
obstacles which were only molehills yesterday, loom up like mountains,
and he does not see how he can possibly conquer them.

We look at things through our moods, and moods are largely a question
of physical health. The man who is strong and full of the courage of
abounding vitality wants something hard to wrestle with; he feels the
need of vigorous exercise. But the man whose vitality is low has no
surplus to spare. Slight difficulties look formidable to him; trifles
are exaggerated into serious obstacles, which seem insurmountable. There
is confusion all through his mental kingdom, and his faculties will not
work harmoniously. There is a tremendous wear and tear on the physical
economy of the man in poor health.

The faculty of humor was given man to ease him over the jolts, to oil the
bearings of life’s machinery; but ill health often crushes out the sense
of humor, and makes life, which was intended to be bright and cheerful,
sad and gloomy. Loss of good red blood corpuscles has much to do with
one’s sense of humor as well as one’s manners and disposition. The man in
poor health is in no condition to appreciate the joys of life. Everything
loses its flavor in proportion to his lowered vitality.

Ill health very materially weakens the power of decision. A man who,
when in vigorous health, decides quickly, finally and firmly, when in
poor health, wobbles, wavers, reconsiders. His purpose, which was once a
mighty force in his life, lacks virility, has lost much of its strength.
In fact, all of his life standards drop in proportion to the decline in
physical vigor.

Again, the quality of health has a great deal to do with the quality of
thought. You cannot get healthy thinking from diseased brain cells or
nerve cells. If the vitality is below par the thought will drop to its

What magic a trip to Europe or a vacation in the country often produces
in the quality of one’s thought and work. The writer, the clergyman, the
orator, the statesman, who was disgusted with what his brain produced
comes back to his work after a vacation and finds himself a new man. He
can not only do infinitely more work with greater ease, but his work
has a finer quality. The writer is often surprised at his grip upon
his subject and his power to see things which he could not get hold of
before. There is a freshness about his style which he could not before
squeeze from his jaded brain. The singer who broke down comes back from a
vacation with a power of voice which she did not even know she possessed.
The business man returns with a firmer grip upon his business, a new
faculty for improving methods, and a brighter outlook on the world. The
brain ash has been blown off the brain cells which were clogged before;
the blood is pure; the pulse bounding, and, of course, the brain cells
throw off a finer quality of thought, keener, sharper, more penetrating,
more gripping.

Many a salesman could add twenty-five or fifty per cent. to his power by
easing the strain of life now and then, especially when Nature hangs out
any of her warning signals.

Supposing an Edison or some other great inventor should discover a secret
for doubling one’s ability, what would we not all do or give to get this
secret? Yet every one knows a process for doubling ability which never
fails. It is health-building, vitality-building, by simply exercising
common sense in the matter of living. There is nothing complicated in
this; it means eating just enough, not too much or too little, of the
foods that give force and power, scientific eating of these foods;
scientific care of ourselves, exercise, recreation, play; getting out of
doors whenever possible and absorbing power from the sun and air; getting
plenty of sleep in a well-ventilated bedroom; regular systematic habits;
right thinking, triumphant thinking, holding the victorious attitude
toward life, toward our work, toward our health, toward everything. Now
here is the secret of doubling ability. We all have it; all that is
necessary is to put it in practice.

There is no other thing that will pay a salesman better than putting it
in practice every day. Keeping himself in superb physical condition will
not only give a wonderful flavor to life, but it will add great interest
and charm to his personality. Good health is the foundation of personal
magnetism; it is the secret of the sparkle in the eye, the buoyant
spirit, the keen whip to the intellect which sharpens all the wits.
Many a sale has been clinched by the pleasing appearance of a salesman,
the charm of a bright, flashing eye, a clear skin, a firm step, and a
straight pair of shoulders.

How quickly we can tell by the appearance of horses on the street what
sort of care they get. How fine a carefully groomed horse looks and
how well he feels. He seems to have a sense of pride in his personal
appearance, whereas the horse which is seldom if ever groomed, shows his
neglect by the sharp contrast.

The same thing is true of individuals. I have a friend who takes infinite
pains to keep himself in prime condition. He says his human machine
is his most precious asset and that he cannot afford to neglect his
exercise; he cannot afford to be irregular in his eating habits, or to
eat foods which are not body builders, health and force producers; he
cannot afford to lose sleep, or to do anything which will lower his
vitality. He is equally careful about his grooming, and always looks fit,
in the pink of condition. Another friend of mine is just the opposite. He
will take a hot bath in about ten minutes; he dresses in a hurry; never
bothers about his exercise or his food, and the result is the two men
present as great a contrast as the well-groomed, well-cared for horse and
the ill-groomed, ill-cared for one.

It is of little use to have all the qualities which make a good salesman
if these qualities are not kept in prime condition. Yet there are a
great many salesmen who do not take time enough to care for themselves
properly, to keep their wonderful machine in fine trim, in superb
physical and mental condition.

It was said that Ole Bull could never be induced to go on playing unless
his violin was in perfect tune. If a string stretched the least bit,
no matter how many thousands were waiting for him, he would stop until
he had put his violin in perfect tune again. Ole Bull would not allow
himself even for a moment to be anything but a master.

You cannot go to your prospect with the brain of a master salesman,
victory-organized, if your instrument is out of tune. If you do not keep
yourself tuned to concert pitch; if you do not take the trouble to make
a fine adjustment of your wonderful human instrument each day; if you do
not put yourself in tune each morning for the day’s work; if there is the
least inharmony in any of the marvelous mechanism of your body, you will
go on all day producing discord instead of harmony. In other words, you
will be a failure instead of a success.

When you approach a prospect be sure you are “in tune with the Infinite,”
(with the highest law of your being) that you are all there, that you are
not sixty, seventy-five, eighty, ninety or ninety-nine per cent. present,
but that you are all there, that you are a hundred per cent. present, and
that this hundred per cent. is ready to strike the blow. More will depend
upon your body and mind being in complete harmony, in perfect tune than
on all of your special training in salesmanship.

In this age of fierce competition physical vigor plays a tremendous part.
It is an age of efficiency force, an age which requires masterfulness.
The victors in the great life game to-day, as a rule, are men with
powerful vitality, tremendous staying power. Whether you win out or lose
in the game will depend largely on your reserve power, your plus vitality.

Keep yourself always fit so that you can do your best, _the highest thing
possible to you_, with ease and dignity, without struggle or strain, and
you will be a master salesman. Always be at the top of your condition,
and you can approach your prospect with the assurance of victory, the air
of a conqueror, with the superb confidence that wins. Keep your human
machine in perfect tune, and you will radiate power, masterfulness; you
will exhale force and magnetism from every pore; you will be the sort of
salesman that every customer is glad to see—A MASTER SALESMAN.



“There are two chief classes of men that you will approach.

“One class is ruled chiefly by reason, the other by
impulses—emotion—prejudices—enthusiasm—likes and dislikes.

“The first class can be convinced only by hard matter-of-fact,
mathematical arguments—the kind of evidence that will pass a judge in
court. The minds of these men are clear, cold, logic engines. They
are impressed only by facts and figures, and will do no business with
salesmen who offer them anything else.

“The other class—of impulsive or emotional men—is amenable to heart sway

“You will not find it so necessary to convince their reasons. Give them
the best evidence you have, but mix it with something more.

“Be careful of their prejudices, watch out for the revelation of their
likes and dislikes, discover their enthusiasm, suit yourself to their

“Sooner or later, if you know your business, you will uncover the
vulnerable spot in an emotional man and he is yours. Strike him with the
right kind of persuasion and you can walk out with his order.

“Study your prospects. Learn to read the book of human nature. The
formulas for success in selling are written on its pages.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Don’t be a slave of precedent. It is an enemy of progress. Know the
technique of salesmanship, but don’t be its slave. Study men at the top
and then ask yourself, “Why can’t I do what they have done?” RESOLVE NOT

       *       *       *       *       *

No matter how much you know about salesmanship your personality, your
character, will be the chief factors in your success.

While the technique of salesmanship is important, yet it is the man
behind the salesman that does the business. It is the human power back of
the mere technique that makes the sale.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Heavyweight,

The Featherweight, and

Just plain WAIT.—Selected.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Some salesmen are not always successful salesmen—BUT, successful
salesmen are always SOME salesmen.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A master salesman is a self-made salesman—BUT a self-made salesman isn’t
always a master salesman.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Always keep in mind the man at the other end of the bargain. If he does
not make a good bargain you will lose in the end, no matter how much you
may sell him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Follow your prospect’s mind. Let him do much of the talking. If he sees
you are trying to push him and expecting to change his mind he will brace
up against you.

       *       *       *       *       *


To be a man whose word carries weight at my home office, to be a booster,
not a knocker, a pusher, not a kicker; a motor, not a clog.

To believe in my proposition heart and soul; to carry an air of optimism
into the presence of possible customers; to dispel ill temper with
cheerfulness, kill doubts with strong convictions and reduce active
friction with an agreeable personality.

To make a study of my business or line; to know my profession in every
detail from the ground up; to mix brains with my effort and use method
and system in my work. To find time to do everything needful by never
letting time find me doing nothing. To hoard days as a miser hoards
dollars; to make every hour bring me dividends in commissions, increased
knowledge or healthful recreation.

To keep my future unmortgaged with debt; to save money as well as earn
it; to cut out expensive amusements until I can afford them; to steer
clear of dissipation and guard my health of body and peace of mind as my
most precious stock in trade.

Finally, to take a good grip on the joy of life; to play the game like
a gentleman; to fight against nothing so hard as my own weakness and to
endeavor to grow as a salesman and as a man with the passage of every
day of time. THIS IS MY CREED.—W. C. HOLMAN.

       *       *       *       *       *

Salesmanship is the ability to sell the largest possible quantity of
goods, to sell an increasing quantity of goods, to get the greatest
possible results from the advertising done by his house, to make a
regular customer of a new buyer, and to hold the friendship of a regular
customer.—H. E. BOWMAN.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never sit down or stand, if you can possibly avoid it, below where your
prospect is seated. The man who is the highest always has the advantage,
the superior position. Many salesmen can do better standing while the
prospect is sitting.

       *       *       *       *       *

Approach your prospect as a professional, not as an amateur, not as a
little fellow, or _almost_ a salesman, but approach him with the air of a
professional. Give him to understand that you are no third-rate salesman.
Your manner will have everything to do with the impression you make.

Establish confidence as quickly as possible. Business men are constantly
dealing with mean, tricky men, unscrupulous men, hypnotizers,
bull-dozers, but when they strike the real article, the genuine man, they
will give him their confidence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Remember your whole success will often turn on the first two or three
minutes of your interview. Just here your knowledge of human nature is a
tremendous factor. You must size up your man quickly and find the line of
least resistance, the best approach to his mind. Not only his temperament
but his health, the frame of mind he happens to be in, all must be taken
in at a glance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Be a tactful salesman. You will often be told that tact cannot be
cultivated, that it is a quality that is born in one, but remember that
every man is tactful when he is courting the girl he is dead in love
with. If you are dead in love with your work and bound to win you will be

       *       *       *       *       *

Make it an invariable rule never to use any influence or to say anything
in the presence of a prospect which will lessen your self-respect. If you
do, you lose power. _You are not paid for being less than a man._

       *       *       *       *       *

A real salesman sells goods. Fakers sell customers. Don’t be a mere
order-taker; be a salesman.

       *       *       *       *       *


“I believe in the goods I am handling, in the company I am working for,
and in my ability to get results.

“I believe that honest stuff can be passed out to honest men, by honest

“I believe in working, not weeping; in boosting, not knocking, and in the
pleasure of my job.

“I believe that a man gets what he goes after; that one deed done to-day
is worth two deeds to-morrow, and that no man is down and out until he
has lost faith in himself.

“I believe in to-day and the work I am doing; in to-morrow and the work I
hope to do, and in the sure reward which the future holds.

“I believe in courtesy, in kindness, in generosity, in good cheer, in
friendship, and in honest competition.

“I believe there is something doing somewhere for every man ready to do

“I believe I am ready right now.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Do you ever go to see a prospect expecting to be turned down—to meet
unanswerable arguments or deep-rooted prejudices that you can’t overcome?
If you do, it’s pretty likely that that’s what happens.

       *       *       *       *       *

Half-knowledge is worse than ignorance.—MACAULAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is one business man’s motto: “Nothing pays like quality.” There is
a whole sermon in this motto, for what is there that pays like quality?
There is no advertisement like it. Quality needs no advertisement, for it
has been tried. Talk quality. A high-class salesman tries to convert his
prospect from a lower to a higher grade, for there is not only greater
satisfaction but also larger profit both for seller and buyer in the high
grade article.

       *       *       *       *       *

Did you ever realize that when you are working for another you are
really selling yourself to him, that your ability, your education, your
personality, your influence, your atmosphere—everything about you is sold
for a price? Every time you sell goods you are selling part of yourself,
your character, your reputation, what you stand for—it is all included in
the sale.

       *       *       *       *       *

Progress depends upon what we are, rather than upon what we may
encounter. One man is stopped by a sapling lying across the road;
another, passing that way picks up the hindrance and converts it into a
help in crossing the brook just ahead.—TRUMBULL.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fate does not fling her great prizes to the idle, the indifferent, but to
the determined, the enthusiastic, the man who is bound to win.

       *       *       *       *       *

How true it is, as some one says, that true salesmanship consists in
_selling goods that don’t come back to people who do_. This is the whole
story. Selling goods that give perfect satisfaction in such a pleasing,
attractive way that the customer comes back; leaving a pleasant taste
in the customer’s mouth, pleasant pictures in his memory of the way you
treated him, so that he will put himself out to look you up the next
time, this is the salesmanship which every one can cultivate. One doesn’t
need to be a born salesman to do this. Every one can treat a customer
kindly, pleasantly, with a cheerful, helpful manner, in an accommodating
spirit. The best part of salesmanship can be acquired.

       *       *       *       *       *

Winning back a customer who had quit buying of your house because
you have offended him, or because he thinks the house did not treat
him right, is a tough proposition. It is not every salesman who can
successfully tackle such a job as this. It takes great tact and a lot
of diplomacy, and yet a diplomacy that does not show itself. The art of
arts is to conceal art. A great diplomat leaves no visible trace of his
diplomacy. It will pay to acquire the art of the diplomats. It will pay
better to avoid offending customers.

“We broke all output records to-day.” This was the message Andrew
Carnegie’s superintendent sent him one day. “_Why not do it every day?_”
wired back the ironmaster. Why not beat your sales record every day? You
don’t know what you can do until you try.

       *       *       *       *       *

“The salesman that tries to sell, without using his upper story, has a
lot of good loft space unoccupied.”

       *       *       *       *       *

To be a conqueror in appearance, in one’s bearing, is the first step
toward success.

Walk, talk and act as though you were a somebody. Let victory speak from
your face and express itself in your manner.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every dishonest trick, every deception, every unfair transaction, is a
boomerang which comes back to hit the thrower.

       *       *       *       *       *

You should make your prospect feel that you are a real friend, that you
are something more than an ordinary seller of merchandise, that you are
trying to be of real service to him, and that you would not take the
slightest advantage of him in any way. A man’s friendship should be worth
a great deal to you, whether you get the particular order you are after
or not.

       *       *       *       *       *

The “selling sense” is to the salesman what the “nose for news” is
to the journalist. No knowledge, however profound, of mere technical
salesmanship will make a salesman of you if you lack selling sense,
into which many factors enter,—such as tact, spirit of kindliness, good
fellowship, good judgment, level-headedness, horse sense, initiative,

       *       *       *       *       *

Like the good things you eat, a superb quality leaves a good taste in
the mouth. The article that is a little better than others of the same
kind, the article that is best, even though the price is higher, “carries
in its first sale the possibilities of many sales, because it makes a
satisfied customer, and only a satisfied customer will come again.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Staying power is the final test of ability. The real caliber of a man is
measured by the amount of opposition that it would take to down him.
The world measures a man largely by his breaking down point. Where does
he give up? How much punishment can he stand? How long can he take his
medicine without running up the white flag? How much resisting power is
there in him? What does the man do after he has been knocked down? This
is the test.

Where is _your_ giving up point, _your_ breaking point, _your_ turning
back point? This will determine everything in your career.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you represent a large house, make a careful study of the top-notchers
and cracker-jack salesmen in your firm. Study their history, their
methods; get at the secret of their great success and their big salaries.
The study of men above you will whet your ambition, will sharpen your
perceptions and will make you more ambitious, more determined to win out,
and this will enable you to make an impression of progressiveness upon
your firm. They will see that you are growing, that you are reaching out,
that you have no idea of getting into a rut or becoming petrified in your

       *       *       *       *       *

Thomas Brackett Reed, the famous Speaker of the House of Representatives
for many years, used to say that one-half of the battle in Congress is to
get the speaker’s eye. Get your prospect’s eye first of all, and then you
will not only get his attention, but you will interest and hold him. No
other feature has such power to command and hold as the eye.

It is said that the moment a wild beast tamer shows the slightest signs
of fear when he enters a cage of wild animals his game is up. They will
leap upon him and kill him. The animals watch the trainer’s eye and they
can very quickly tell when he has lost his courage or shows the slightest
sign of fear.

       *       *       *       *       *

Remember that suggestion is the soul of salesmanship. The first thing you
should do when you go into a prospect’s office is to suggest harmony,
good will. Antidote all possible antagonism, kill prejudice. A pleasing
personality is all suggestion. Suggestion is the soul of advertising, and
to sell you must advertise. A salesman must be his own advertisement.

       *       *       *       *       *


    If the day looks kinder gloomy
      And your chances kinder slim;
    If the situation’s puzzlin’,
      And the prospects awful grim;
    And the prospects keep pressin’
      Till all hope is nearly gone,
    Just bristle up and grit your teeth,
      And keep on, keepin’ on.

    Fumin’ never wins a fight,
      And frettin’ never pays;
    There ain’t no use in broodin’
      In these pessimistic ways.
    Smile just kinder cheerfully,
      When hope is nearly gone,
    And bristle up and grit your teeth,
      And keep on, keepin’ on.

    There ain’t no use of growlin’,
      And grumblin’ all the time,
    When music’s ringing everywhere,
      And everything’s a rhyme.
    Just keep on smiling cheerfully,
      If hope is nearly gone,
    And bristle up and grit your teeth,
      And keep on, keepin’ on.—SELECTED.

       *       *       *       *       *

All salesmen may take to themselves the following advice on promises,
printed by Gimbel Brothers, for the benefit of all employees of their New
York store.—

“MAKE no promises which you cannot fulfill.”

“Every individual connected with this establishment is hereby instructed
not to make promises which cannot be absolutely satisfied.

“_You must fulfill at all costs those promises you do make; in behalf of
this business._”

       *       *       *       *       *

“He who is content to rest upon his laurels, will soon have laurels
resting upon him.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A sour clerk will turn the sweetest customer.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“A real salesman is one part talk and nine parts judgment; and he uses
the nine parts of judgment to tell when to use the one part of talk.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Whenever you say “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Good evening,”
let your words be not only cheerful, but sincere. The only was to
be genuinely sincere is through cultivating a genuinely friendly
disposition. It is hard to fake sincerity. Many salesmen think they can,
but they only fool themselves. Learn to love mankind as a whole, and you
will then be able to be genuinely sincere with each unit in humanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Never explain the nature of your business on the door-step—that
is, before you are advantageously placed in the presence of your
prospect.—Expect to get in, and you will.” These are the words of an
expert in salesmanship. Every expert realizes how full of truth they are.

       *       *       *       *       *

A salesman must be self-possessed, which means that he should have no
fears. Keep before your mind constantly these facts: You are all right;
your goods are all right, and your house is all right; therefore you have
no cause for fear; you have every reason to be serene.

       *       *       *       *       *

Keep your samples out of sight as much as possible, even for your regular
trade. Many salesmen leave their samples at the hotel, and call first on
prospective customers, making an appointment for a certain hour. This is
very effective, where possible. The display of goods is, unquestionably,
very helpful in selling, but it is a decided advantage to have part of
the stock out of sight. The element of curiosity comes in, and, as we
have explained, this helps to get the right kind of attention.

       *       *       *       *       *

Carrying a cigar or a cigarette, even though freshly lighted, usually
detracts from a man’s appearance. A tooth-pick in evidence is always very
bad taste, and often it has been fatal to sales. Newspapers stuck into
pockets, or carried in one’s hand, suggest that a man is not all there,
that he is thinking more of the topics of the day than of his business.
They are evidence of lack of concentration, and more often than the
salesman may think he handicaps himself by having these in sight.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jake Daubert, the well known authority in baseball, has concluded an
article on his specialty with these strong words of advice: “_Always
know ahead of time what you must do with the ball after you get it._”
To a salesman I would say—think out all possible difficulties that may
arise during the progress of a prospective sale. Be prepared for every
emergency. Cultivate patience, calmness, and celerity, for they give a
powerful advantage to their possessor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Seizing the psychological moment is of great importance. Admiral Dewey
seized it very effectively when he gave the command, “You may fire when
you are ready, Gridley.” A salesman can win by “_firing_” at the right
moment. He can, likewise, and should, stop “_firing_” and close the deal
at the right moment. It is all psychological—a matter of mind meeting

       *       *       *       *       *

Avoid as much as possible technical terms, unless you are talking to
customers who, you are sure, understand them. For instance, a Life
Insurance salesman makes a great mistake ordinarily, to talk about “legal
reserve,” “accrued dividends,” “extended insurance,” “paid-up values,”
“accelerative endowments,” “expense ratios,” “percentages of increase,”
etc. As a matter of fact, it is quite probable that a large number of
those to whom he talks will not understand even the words “liabilities”
and “assets.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Many a salesman has been ruined or seriously injured by carrying a side
line. All of the great things of the world have been accomplished by
concentration upon a specialty.

       *       *       *       *       *

A good tip to both young and old salesmen is, to study the business
producers both in your firm and out of your firm. Examine their methods;
learn to do what they have found effective; benefit by their strong
points; but beware of their weaknesses, for even the most successful
salesman will be found to have certain weak points, at times. You can
quickly and conclusively recognize these. Guard against them. While you
can learn much from older and more experienced salesmen, never be a
slavish copy of any one. Whatever you do be yourself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every time a man who is trying to hold an audience turns his eye from
it he cuts the magnetic current which is flowing between them and if he
does this often the people will get uneasy; they will begin to move in
their seats and he will lose his power over them.—His magnetic connection
with those he addresses is made through the eye. The trained speaker
knows this, and unlike the amateur who, from sheer nervousness, often
looks down to the floor, or refers to his notes when it is not absolutely
necessary to do so, he avoids everything that would tend to break the
magnetic current between himself and his audience.

Just here is a hint for the salesman. It is imperative that you should
keep this current between yourself and your prospect flowing freely. An
attractive personality added to the constant flow of magnetism through
your eye will rivet his attention and add immensely to your selling power.

       *       *       *       *       *


I want my Selling Talk to be a Service Talk—one that will be worth
others’ time whether they buy my goods or not.

I want it to tell only the truth, and that as fully as may be.

To be a perfectly human statement easily understood by others.

To show simply and plainly how both I and my goods can serve.

To contain Wit only as that conforms to Wisdom.

To be presented in full view of the fact that every man’s time is his
property—only to be secured by honest methods.

To result from personal self-persuasion, as I would wish to persuade

To prove of such real value to patrons that my goods shall be always to
the fore rather than myself.

To so demonstrate the Merits of my goods and service, that others will
crave them when in need of either.

This is my ideal.—SELECTED.

       *       *       *       *       *


He was too anxious.

He could not read human nature.

He did not know how to approach his prospect.

There was not a real man back of the solicitor.

He scattered too much; could not concentrate his talk.

He knew enough, but could not tell it in an interesting way.

He tired the prospect out before he got down to business, and could not
see when he was boring him.

He went to his prospective customer in the spirit of “I will try” instead
of “I will.”

He could not take a rebuff good-naturedly.

He ran down his competitor and disgusted his prospect.

He did not believe he could get an order when he went for it.

He tried to make circulars and letters do the work of a personal canvass.

He unloaded cheap lines and off-style goods on one customer and then
bragged about it to the next.

He did not thoroughly believe in the thing he was trying to sell, and of
course could not convince others.

He was too easily discouraged; if he did not secure orders from the first
man he solicited, he lost heart and gave up.

He did not concentrate on one line. He carried side lines. He thought if
he could not sell one thing, he could another.

He did not have enough reserve argument to overcome objections. He lacked

He had to spend most of his time trying to overcome a bad first

He gave the impression that he was a beggar instead of the representative
of a reliable house.

He did not look out for the man at the other end of the bargain.

He overcanvassed. He said so many good things about the article he was
selling that the prospect did not believe they were true.

He was polite only while he thought he was going to get an order, but
when turned down, got mad and said disagreeable, cutting things.

He lacked tact or the power of adaptability; he always used the same line
of argument, no matter what the man’s position, degree of intelligence,
temperament or mood might be.

He did not have a proper appreciation of the dignity of his work. He
thought people would look upon him as a peddler.

He did not like the business; his heart was not in it; and he intended
working at it only until he could get a better job.

He never liked to mix with people, and therefore was not popular.

He did not organize himself, could not work to a plan, had no program.

He introduced politics and his fads in business.

He didn’t realize that every sale is an advertisement for or against the

He was always gloomy and despondent. He carried his samples in a hearse.

He did not believe it paid to be accommodating.

       *       *       *       *       *


He thoroughly believed in the things he was trying to sell.

He was tactful and knew how to approach people.

He did not waste a customer’s time but was quick to the point.

He concentrated on what he was selling.

He was reliable and gave one the impression that he stood for good

He approached a customer with the conviction that he would win his order
and he usually did.

He worked hard.

He was always looking out for the man at the other end of the bargain.

He stopped when he had convinced his prospect and did not raise doubts by
boring him.


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