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152 SELLING THINGS
and introduce yourself, telling just what ser
vice 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 finan
cially, 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 confi
dence. 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, cover
ing the biggest amount of territory in the short
est 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 mat
ters over the telephone. Experience and
native ability must guide the salesman in the
use of the telephone.
FINDING CUSTOMERS 153
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
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 hap
pen 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 per
sonal visits, so as to get the orders. To be
sure, we have the department stores and spe
cialty 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
From the collection of the
San Francisco, California
ORISON SWETT HARDEN
AUTHOR or "PUSHING TO THE FRONT," "PEACE, POWER AND
PLENTY," "THE VICTORIOUS ATTITUDE," ETC.
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF
JOSEPH F. MAcGRAIL
INSTRUCTOR IN SALESMANSHIP AND EFFICIENCY FOR MANY
LARGE SALES AND INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY
BY THOMAS Y. CEOWBLL COMPANY
TO MT FKIEND
CHARLES M. SCHWAB
THE MASTER EXECUTIVE, PRODUCER, SALESMAN.
I THE MAN WHO CAN SELL THINGS . 1
II TRAINING THE SALESMAN .... 6
III THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECTS OF
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
IX TACT AS A FRIEND-WINNER AND BUSI
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
XVI THE GREATEST SALESMAN ENTHUSIASM 112
XVII THE MAN AT THE OTHER END OF THE
XVIII MEETING AND FORESTALLING OBJECTIONS 125
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
XXIV MEETING COMPETITION: "KNOW YOUR
XXV THE SALESMAN AND THE SALES MANAGER 184
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
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 em
ployees 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
THE MAN WHO CAN SELL THINGS S
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 salesman
ship or business building, and this was sup
posed 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 sales
women, but they feel they have not this natural
aptitude to insure permanent success.
4 SELLING THINGS
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 anti
septic methods in surgery; and the inventor
THE MAN WHO CAN SELL THINGS 5
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 apti
tude 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 reen-
forced by this special training.
The untrained man may get results here and
there because he has natural ability and uncon
sciously uses the right methods. The trained
man is getting results regularly because he is
consistently using the right methods.
Business men no longer attribute a lost sale,
where it should have been made, to "hard
luck," but to ignorance of the science of sales
The "born" salesman is not as much in vogue
as formerly. Business is becoming a science,
and almost any honest, dead-in-earnest, deter
mined 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.
TRAINING THE SALESMAN
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 years!'
One of the highest-paid women workers in
the world, the foreign buyer for a big depart
ment 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.
TRAINING THE SALESMAN
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 em
ployee; 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
The term "salesmanship" is a very broad
one; it covers many fields, The drummer for
8 SELLING THINGS
a boot and shoe house, the insurance agent and
manager, the banker and broker, whose busi
ness 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
There are three essentials which must be
considered in deciding on salesmanship or any
other vocation, namely : taste, talent, and train
ing. 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
TRAINING THE SALESMAN 9
either natural or acquired. By proper train
ing 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
The basic requirements for successful sales
manship are good health, a cheerful disposition,
courtesy, tact, resourcefulness, facility of ex
pression, honesty, a firm and unshakable con
fidence in one's self, a thorough knowledge of,
and confidence in, the goods which one is sell
ing, and ability to close. True cordiality of
manner must be reenforced 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
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 means.
10 SELLING THINGS
Fortunate is the young man who has re
ceived 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 experi
ence 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
TRAINING THE SALESMAN 11
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 prepara
tion 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 facil
ities 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 coun
try 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 prepar
ation. You want to be known as an expert, as
a man of standing, a man who would be looked
12 SELLING THINGS
up to as an authority, a specialist in his line.
To enter on your life work indifferently pre
pared, 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 igno
rance. He would be at the mercy of his
bookkeeper and other employees, and of un
scrupulous 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 sales
man who would become a giant in his line,
must combine with the art of salesmanship a
number of the highest intellectual qualities.
Yet in salesmanship, as in every other voca
tion, 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
TRAINING THE SALESMAN 13
the triumph of the common virtues and ordi
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 con
tained within the covers of this book has for its
object the most effective offensive and defen
sive methods in selling.
THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECTS OF STUDY
"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
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 per
taining 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
MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECTS OP STUDY 15
identical classification, treating the subject
under the four general divisions: 1, The Sales
man; 2, The Goods; 3, The Customer; 4, Ser
vice. Mr. Charles L. Huff has added to the
valuable data on salesmanship a book in which
he gives the following five factors as the head
ings under which the subject of salesmanship
should be covered, namely: 1, Price; 2,
Quality; 3, Service; 4, Friendship; 5, Presen
Every salesman is really teaching the custo
mer 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 salesman
ship "System," a business magazine, gives
great emphasis to the value of dwelling on five
buying motives 1, Money; 2, Utility; 3, Cau
tion ; 4, Pride ; 5, Self-indulgence, or Yielding
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
HABITS OF WORK
a. Understanding of business
2. Intelligence b> Selectin S P olic r to suit a S e and
condition of applicant
fa. To clients
5. Uniform courtesy -I b. To office force
[c. To fellow agents
6. Number of daily inter
7. Concentration or eifectiveness of work, as to waste of time
MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECTS OF STUDY 17
fa. To company
8. Loyalty -| b. To organization
[c. To fellow agents
9. Attention to old policy
A final and very vital point to consider is
this: Why do salesmen meet opposition?
Mr. Huff, in his very practical and interest
ing book on salesmanship, has classified under
six general heads the causes of opposition.
These are: First, Prior Dissatisfaction; Sec
ond, 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 cus
tomer 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 busi
ness which may seem at first absolutely beyond
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
18 SELLING THINGS
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.
MAKING A FAVORABLE IMPRESSION
Go boldly; go serenely, go augustly;
Who can withstand thee then!
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 im
portance, 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 dig
nity of his bearing and manner commanded
my instant respect and attention.
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 embarrass
ment in trying to right yourself in your pros-
20 SELLING THINGS
pect's estimation, because he will not do busi
ness with you until you have made a favorable
impression on him.
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 confi
dence in the firm they represent or the mer
chandise 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
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 cring
ing knd over-boldness. If you approach a
man with your hat on, and a cigar or cigarette
MAKING A FAVORABLE IMPEESSXOW 21
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 sell.
A salesman once entered a business man's
office holding a toothpick in his mouth. You
may think it was a little thing, but it so preju
diced 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 partic
ular in regard to little points of manners, and
was himself a model of deportment.
I know of another salesman who makes a
22 SELLING THINGS
most unfortunate first impression because he
has no presence whatever, not a particle of
dignity; he is timid and morbidly self-con
scious, and it takes him some minutes after he
has met a stranger to regain his self-posses
sion. 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 pro
posed to represent it at commencement. He
was defeated, however, on the plea that he
would make such a bad impression on the pub
lic that he would not properly represent the
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 ap
pearance 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 pros-
MAKING A FAVORABLE IMPRESSION 23
pect. In approaching a prospect, walk, talk
and act not only like a man who believes in
himself, but one who also believes in and thor
oughly knows his business. When a physician
is called into a home in an emergency, no mat
ter 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. Every
body 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, confi
dence 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
24 SELLING THINGS
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 audi
ence with the mistress. In short, the carry
ing 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 pal
pitating 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
MAKING A FAVORABLE IMPRESSION 25
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 ex
pected, if not to get kicked out, at least a polite
invitation to get out.
I was in the office of a business man re
cently, when a man of this stamp came in and
crept up to him with a sort of a sheepish ex
pression 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
"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
26 SELLING THINGS
which despises this self-depreciating spirit, this
false self-effacement, this creeping, cringing,
apologizing attitude, which robs one of all dig
nity 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 invita
tion 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 pic
ture 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, com
pel him to respect you, to admire you for your
dignified, virile bearing. No one cares to do
business with a person he cannot help despis
ing, while a man who creates a favorable im
pression will at least get a hearing.
We recently asked a representative of a big
concern how he managed to do so much busi
ness with people whom very few salesmen can
"Well," he said, "I will tell you. One
reason is that I never go to a man as though
MAKING A FAVORABLE IMPRESSION 27
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 possi-
ble, for I am bound to make a good impression
on him, so that he will remember me pleas
antly, even if I do not get an order. The
result is that men who are very difficult to ap
proach 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 impres
sion 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
Let your selling talk be direct, natural, and as brief as pos
MUCH has been written on the question of
a selling talk, and there is no little misun
derstanding 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 "presenta
tion." 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 num
bers of salesmen, through failing to have a sim
ple, clear, carefully worded talk, fail to get a
SELLING TALK OR "PRESENTATION" 29
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 sales
man wants it. Many points get lost in the
convolutions of the brain. Too much or too
little talk may be indulged in, unless a sales
man 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
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 ask
ing by what number the goods were known,
and the price. I saw not long ago, about five
30 SELLING THINGS
thousand dollars' worth of furs (muffs and
neck-pieces) bought, with very few words
spoken. In both these cases it must be re
membered that buyers and sellers were well
known to each other; there was mutual confi
dence; the houses were reliable, and unsatis
factory goods would mean loss of future busi
ness, 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 cus
tomers 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
1. Artistic merit of goods, beauty of design,
2. Intrinsic value ;
3. Comparison with rival goods;
4. Degree of conformity to prevailing
modes or fashions.
5. Adaptability to buyers' needs, price, etc.
SELLING TALK OB "PRESENTATION" 81
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 possible.
The presentation of your proposition
involves, principally, a clear, simple and suit
able description of your goods. The cleverest
salesmen arrange the points in a logical order,
working up from the least importance to the
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
Be willing to answer all questions and ob
jections 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,
32 SELLING THINGS
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 nega
tive attitude. When you foresee that the cus
tomer 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 fea
tures 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 cus
tomer. 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
THE APPROACH AND EXPRESSION
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 appear
ance, 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; there
fore, 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
Whether the customer comes to you, or you
go to the customer, there are certain very sim
ple things to keep in mind. The first is the
important part personality plays in selling.
34 SELLING THINGS
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
First: Entertain a feeling of equality with
Second: Remember that you have a favor
to bestow. Assume the role of a benefactor.
Third: Show friendliness. There should
be the heart-touch in every real approach.
Fourth: Be observing. Look for sugges
tions in your surroundings, for a point of con
We express ourselves not only through the
words we utter, but by the tone of the voice,
THE APPROACH AND EXPRESSION 35
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 help
"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
The five elements affecting expression of ideas are:
1. Voice -JDeep,
Full, distinct articulation.
3. Gestures^ " displaying samples,
I " presenting reading matter or contracts.
4. Facial expression.
5. Language -<
2. Obsolete words;
4. Foreign words;
5. Newly coined words.
1. Thorough knowledge
2. Extensive vocabulary ;
3. Power to discrimin
4t. Use of specific for
general, or general
for specific term, as
One idea at a time;
j Stick to subject.
rHave clear ideas and use
b. Clearness JUse good grammar.
Beware of technical
Results from brevity,
and judicious use of
d. Elegance fSmooth, euphonious
or ^ speech; Alliteration.
Harmony Read best authors.
c. Energy or
THE ABILITY TO TALK WELL
"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.
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 dia
mond. 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
88 SELLING THINGS
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
The ability to talk well is a great aid to suc
cess 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 es
pecially true in salesmanship.
A good salesman should be well read on gen
eral 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 men
tality so quickly as in his speech.
To be a good conversationalist, able to in
terest 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 impres
sion 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
THE ABILITY TO TALK WELL 39
on in the world. It sends you customers, it
It is a deplorable fact that indifference of
speech is one of the characteristics of the
American people. We are not only poor con
versationalists, but we are poor listeners as
well. We are too impatient to listen. In
stead 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 inter
rupt the speaker before he reaches his conclu
sion. 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 de
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
40 SELLING THINGS
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, arid 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
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
THE ABILITY TO TALK WELL, 41
discontented. A low, clear, well-modulated
voice indicates refinement and should be care
fully 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 attractive
ness 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 confi
dence, 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 con
HOW TO GET ATTENTION
You must interest your customer before you can hope to in
"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, "ex
citing 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;
How TO GET ATTENTION 48
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 together.
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 coordinate bond be
tween the writer of the ad. and the reader.
Then Hubbard followed with statements con-
44 SELLING THINGS
cerning 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 atten
tion, 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
Some salesmen have found it a big advan
tage 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 de
cision by calling attention to certain strong
points of merit in your goods, and certain
How TO GET ATTENTION 45
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-skirmed, sen
sitive man or one of a coarse type with a rhi
In calling on regular customers, the sales
man 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 dis-
46 SELLING THINGS
gruntled, 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
TACT AS A FRIEND-WINNER AND BUSINESS-
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
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 chan
delier. 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 pic
tured in his mind. By cordiality and an ex-
48 SELLING THINGS
change of remarks on general subjects, the
salesman eased the man's mind, and by skill
ful 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 busi
ness 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
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 49
it, and it is much harder for you to refuse even
the thing you do not want than to take it.
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 circum
stances"; "It is the gift of bringing into
action all the mental powers in the nick of
time" ; "It is a combination of quickness, firm
ness, readiness, good-nature and facility."
Webster's dictionary gets at the kernel of this
wonderful quality. Tact, it says, is "adroit
ness 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 cus-
50 SELLING THINGS
tomer 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 pros
pect's place, and then act toward him as you
would like to have some one act toward you in
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 yester
day was broken up by all sorts of interrup
tions. You started out this morning resolved
to do a splendid day's work, and hoping that
you would not be bothered with callers. Per
haps 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
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 51
morning may have been anything but encour
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 possi
bility that he has something that you would
like, but you do not want to see him at that
"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 favor.
52 SELLING THINGS
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 out
look is anything but promising. He does not
oppose or contradict you. On the contrary,
he sympathizes with you; he is patient, cour
teous, 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, argu
ment, 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 fundamen
tal passions as yourself. You must always
be ready to pour oil on his wounds, not vine
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 58
A salesman must not only use all his re
sourcefulness 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.
54 SELLING THINGS
> L _
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 impres
sion, 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 pros
pect's eye whether you are really interesting
him or not, and if you are not you cannot con
vince him that he needs what you have to sell.
Getting solid with a prospect, making a fa
vorable 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
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 55
on your part may close the door forever. No
force will answer, it is all a matter of attrac
tion 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 antago
nistic; 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 trip
ping themselves up, getting into snarls, and
making blunders which lose them business.
56 SELLING THINGS
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," re
plied 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
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 57
of any dissatisfaction with any former trans
actions 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 suc
cessful business man recently told me his ex
perience 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 indif
ferent 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 my
self, '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
58 SELLING THINGS
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 cus
tomers 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
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 inde-
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 59
cision. 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 ap
proaching 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
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
60 SELLING THINGS
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 be
cause 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 busi
ness world we find men fishing with bait-
less hooks. They have no use for people
with fine manners. They are gruff, un
couth. 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 mat
ter what the conditions.
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 them
selves to conditions. They are misfits. They
TACT AS A BUSINESS-GETTER 61
appear to have been fitted for some rougher
sphere and to have been dropped by accident
to the earth amid conditions totally unsuited
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
SIZING UP THE PROSPECT
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 asset,
Marshall Field was an adept in character
reading. He was always studying his em
ployees and gauging their possibilities. Noth
ing 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 gov
ernment 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 Presi
dent, 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
studv 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 culti-
vatable quality, and we have a great oppor
tunity in this country, with its conglomerate
population, to study the various types of char
acter. It is an education in itself to form the
64 SELLING THINGS
habit of measuring, weighing, estimating the
different people we meet, for in this way \\
are improving our own powers of observation,
sharpening our perceptive faculties, improv
ing 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 temperament.
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 can
not approach him in the same way you
would an impressionable, fat, jolly-natured
SIZING UP THE PROSPECT 65
man. Then the man who is selfish, dom
ineering, imperious, who thinks he knows
it all, the man to whom you never can tell any
thing, must be handled in quite a different
manner from any of these.
Some men will take a joke, others will con
sider it an impertinence. One man is only con
vinced 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
If you are a good reader of character, how
ever, 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
66 SELLING THINGS
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 char
acteristics apparent in every feature and every
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
SIZING UP THE PROSPECT 67
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 disappoint
ment, 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, un
feeling, or a human magnet, tender, kind,
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.
68 SELLING THINGS
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 some
thing. In other words, read all the earmarks
or character labels on a man, get in all the evi
dence 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 man
ner, the language, the look of the eye, are let-
SIZING UP THE PROSPECT 69
ters of the character alphabet which spell out
the man. Everything that is natural, spon
taneous, unpremeditated, is indicative of cer
tain 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 posi
tions. 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
70 SELLING THINGS
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
HOW SUGGESTION HELPS IN SELLING
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 some
thing he needs but doesn't know it."
"A sale is a mental thing. It results from harmonizing cer
tain mental elements which enter into all common agreements
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 listen
ing 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 pro
moter dangerous. He uses it to make people
buy what they do not need, or to palm off on
72 SELLING THINGS
them fraudulent or spurious goods. The vic
tims of these unscrupulous promoters, when
under the influence of a suggestive anaesthetic,
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
Now, suggestion is just as effective when
used for a lawful and honorable purpose as for
an unlawful and dishonorable one. One sales
man 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.
How SUGGESTION HELPS IN SELLING 73
"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 de
velop 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-sugges
tion,. "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 charac
ter, ever "improving, developing, and adorn
ing." 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
74 SELLING THINGS
auto-suggestion. Then the various steps of
attention, interest, desire, and, finally, resolve,
in the customer, must be induced by sugges
tion. 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 sub
jective mental force," says Mr. Sheldon, "and
if you consider that the activity of the subjec
tive 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 sen
tinels, namely the intellect and feelings. We
How SUGGESTION HELPS IN SELLING 75
get attention through the senses, increase atten
tion 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 Philoso
pher," who says: "It is just as reasonable to
expect your prospect to reach a favorable de
cision without first having been brought
through the three earlier stages attention, in
terest and desire as to expect water to run up
A sale is a mental process, and depends
largely upon the quality and the intensity of
the mental suggestion, and the confidence com
municated 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. Sugges-
76 SELLING THINGS
tion 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 de
throning 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 con
Suggestion, by its very nature, is subtle, if
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:
How SUGGESTION HELPS IN SELLING 77
"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 Miinsterberg, 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 sug
gestion may spoil a sale, as in the following in
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 trouble."
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 sugges
tion scared him away. He went out and
bought a binder from a salesman who said,
"This binder has given us excellent satisfac
In the offices of a New York business house
there is a quotation framed, which serves the
78 SELLING THINGS
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 quo
tation which, I am sure, has suggested to many
customers the advisability of buying good qual
ity paper: "A printer recently uttered this
truth: 'Printing doesn't improve the paper
any, but, for a certainty, good paper adds con
siderably to the appearance and worth of print-
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 psy
THE FORCE OF CHEERFUL EXPECTANCY
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 nega
tive 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 op
portunity 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 wait
ing. 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
80 SELLING THINGS
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 pros
pect 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 cour
ageously, 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
FORCE OF CHEERFUL EXPECTANCY 81
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 under
taker. 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 pur
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, op
timistic, hopeful. They appreciate the com
mercial value of a smile, of always looking
pleasant. Optimism is contagious. Every
body likes a sunny soul.
I knew a young man who would not impress
people as having any marked ability, and yet
this young man got fifteen thousand dollars
82 SELLING THINGS
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 busi
ness 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." Every
body 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
FORCE OF CHEERFUL EXPECTANCY 83
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 fel
low." 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 pleas
A strong determination and tenacious per
sistence will sometimes enable a man to become
a fair salesman, even when he lacks a pleasing
personality or a persuasive manner. He con
quers 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 sim
plicity, when accompanied by a positive men
tality and robust determination, are the quali
ties 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 ac
knowledgment of your inability to meet the
emergency that confronts you, you are fore-
84 SELLING THINGS
doomed to failure. Your whole attitude lacks
the magnetism that attracts success.
A book agent sometimes comes into my of
fice, 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 confi
dence 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 occa
sionally, 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 con
fidence and expectancy in his bearing; he is so
cheerful and interesting, that I positively can
not turn him down. He wins at the very out
set by making a good, quick impression upon
me, and getting my confidence.
Dr. Frank Crane, in an article on "A Con
sumer's Views on Salesmanship," gives the
salesmen among other valuable points, these:
"First of all, be good-natured. I here and
FORCE OF CHEERFUL, EXPECTANCY 85
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 your
self any more than you can help. Take an ax
and chop the pronoun T out of your vocabu
lary. 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 cus
tomer that you are interested in his needs and
If you really believe in your heart, and ex
pect, that you are going to sell, you will com
municate 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.
"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 insur
ance business, to get from him the secret of his
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 salesman
ship. 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
THE GENTLE ART OF PERSUASION 87
Why is it that one man will so easily change
our whole mental attitude and make us do vol
untarily 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
Because he is a past master of the gentle art
How little we realize what a large part per
suasion plays in our life. The clergyman, the
teacher, the lawyer, the business man, the sales
man, 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
88 SELLING THINGS
mind. Their very presence has a subtle in
fluence in soothing and pleasing. They know
how to persuade almost without uttering a
Of the many elements which enter into
scientific salesmanship, none is more essential
than that of persuasion.
A salesman often finds a would-be cus
tomer'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 possi
bility 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 re
The first step was to get the man's attention,
otherwise the salesman could have done noth
ing 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
THE GENTLE ART OF PERSUASION 89
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 prac
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 suc
cess in changing another's mind to his way of
thinking. "And this," he added, "is the es
sence, the quintessence, if you will, of sales
manship 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 real
ity made up of many admirable qualities which
have more to do with the heart than the head.
90 SELLING THINGS
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 kind
ness, 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 successful.
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
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
THE GENTLE ART OF PERSUASION 91
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
The ability to make others think as you do is
a tremendous power, and carries great respon
sibility. 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 busi
ness 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 pros
pects. Honesty first, is the business slogan to
day. Spellbinding methods are not in de
mand. While you may, and should, be as
affable as you please, you must be thoroughly
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
92 SELLING THINGS
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 in
sincerity 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 busi
ness 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
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.
THE GENTLE ART OF PERSUASION 93
There is nothing that will take the place in our
lives of absolute transparency, simplicity, hon
esty, kindness. The Golden Rule is the only
rule of conduct that will bring true success in
HELPING THE CUSTOMER TO BUY
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 for
tune in Liverpool, when asked how he had
made it, replied, "By a single article of trade
in which every one may deal who pleases
This self-same "article of trade" has been
the making of the celebrated Bon Marche in
Paris. The clerks in this famous establish
ment are instructed to show people, whether
customers or not, every possible consideration.
Strangers in Paris are invited to visit the Bon
Marche, 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, with
out the slightest influence being brought up
on them to purchase. A similar courtesy is
HELPING THE CUSTOMER TO BUY 95
shown visitors in many well-known American
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 ser
vice, the extra courtesy and kindness, the spirit
of accommodation, the desire to be obliging,
the patience and helpfulness in trying to ren
der the greatest possible service these are the
things customers appreciate most highly, and
these are just the things that tie customers to
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 conven
Doing a customer a good turn has proved
the turning point in many a career. Nothing
will make such a good impression upon an em
ployer as the courtesy of an employee who has
so ingratiated himself into the hearts of his cus
tomers, and so endeared himself to them, that
they will always seek him out and wait to buy
96 SELLING THINGS
from him even at great inconvenience to them
selves. 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 hun
dred 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 busi
ness largely because he is always trying to ac
commodate his customers, to save them ex
pense, 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 them.
There is a premium everywhere upon cour
tesy and good manners. They are taken into
consideration in hiring employees just as much
HELPING THE CUSTOMER TO BUY 97
as general ability. Great business firms find
it is impossible to carry on extensive trade with
out the practice of courtesy, and they vie with
one another in securing the most affable, and
most obliging employees possible in all de
partments. They look upon their employees
as ambassadors representing them in their busi
ness. They know that they cannot afford to
have their interests jeopardized by objection
able, indifferent clerks. They know that it will
not pay to build attractive stores, to advertise
and display their goods, to do everything possi
ble to bring customers to them, and then have
hem turned away by disagreeable, repellent
Many young men going into business seem
to think that price and quality are the only ele
ments 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 de
pend upon the clerk who waits on them. A
clerk who knows his business can assist a cus
tomer wonderfully in a very delicate way, by
98 SELLING THINGS
suggestion, by his knowledge of goods, of quali
ties, 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 oblig
ing disposition, and a personal interest goes
a great way in attracting and holding custo
mers. 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
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 val
uable points. You are traveling all the time
and constantly coming in contact with new
ideas; give him suggestions from other mer
chants in his line.
HELPING THE CUSTOMER TO BUY 99
A wide-awake, progressive salesman, with
out violating confidences, can help his custo
mers 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 ad
vertising. Give your customer every sugges
tion 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 or
der. He will prize a man who gives him help
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 ad
vantage 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
100 SELLING THINGS
sees that any of them are getting into ruts, or
that they do not have good business sys
tems, very tactfully, without offending them,
he suggests certain new devices, say, for
saving expense, little short-cuts in busi
ness 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,
I know a successful merchant who is so afraid
that his business will get into a rut, that his
standards will deteriorate through familiarity
HELPING THE CUSTOMER TO BUY 101
with his surroundings, that every little while
he invites friends to go all through his estab
lishment in order to get the advantage of their
fresh impressions, their criticisms and sugges
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. Travel
ing salesmen are also traveling business
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
Large jobbing concerns are finding that it
is to their own interest to look after the in
terests 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 im
102 SELLING THINGS
Many large concerns aid their customers
financially. Mr. H. N. Higinbotham, Mar
shall Field's well-known credit man, was noted
for helping customers, especially when they
were financially embarrassed. He often as
sisted 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 custom
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 prop
erty, 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.
HELPING CUSTOMER TO BUY 103
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 perpet
ual advertisement for the concern which has
helped them, always saying a good word for it
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 thought fulness.
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
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;
104 SELLING THINGS
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.
CLOSING THE DEAL
Don't talk yourself out of a deal.
There are many men trying to sell merchandise who are al
most 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 stop
ping 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 appre
ciates in a caller it is a regard for the value of
106 SELLING THINGS
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
"When you get what you went after, quit,"
said one big selling agent of a national con
cern. "Many a sale has been queered because
the salesman 'stuck ground' after he had signed
"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 head
quarters. Evidently the president of the con
cern was advising his representative to econ
omize, 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 him
self out of that deal. He felt sure that if he
had not been there, the buyer would have kept
CLOSING THE DEAL 107
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 pros
pect 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 intro
duction, 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 mar
row 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 im
portant in any business transaction. There
108 SELLING THINGS
are plenty of salesmen who can conduct the
progress of a sale clear up to the point of clos
ing the deal quite as well as infinitely better
salesmen, but here they fall down. They can
not gather up their threads of persuasive argu
ment and reasoning to make a successful close,
and when they become panicky they communi
cate 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 sales
man who can set forth the strongest reasons
CLOSING THE DEAL 109
why, will have the least trouble in closing his
deals. The goods may be all right in them
selves, but the sale will not be made unless you
can make the customer see why he, personally,
A shrewd salesman will let his prospect or
customer handle the samples as much as possi
ble, 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 some
thing 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 cer
tain piece of goods follow it up. If it is re
garding the color, or shade, do not go too much
into the quality of the texture. Let him take
In closing, always look for a peaceful and
cheerful surrender of the will. If the stand
ards of the house are high, and if the goods are
110 SELLING THINGS
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 pros
pect, 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 cus
tomer 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
CLOSING THE DEAI; 111
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 freedom.
In closing a deal, have all minor points made
clear, such as time of delivery, method of pack
ing, method of delivery, the way payment is to
be made, and all similar details.
THE GREATEST SALESMAN ENTHUSIASM
"What are hardships, ridicule, persecution, toil, sickness, to
a soul throbbing with an overmastering enthusiasm?"
Enthusiasm is the best salesman. Cultivate it; it is con
You can't built a fire with the fuel all wet.
WHY is it that one salesman can often ac
complish 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 splen
did 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
THE GREATEST SALESMAN 113
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, de
termination, and enthusiasm, by his very bear
ing gives assurance that the thing he under
takes 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 con
structed, 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
114 SELLING THINGS
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
THE GREATEST SALESMAN 115
accomplished more than ten talents without it.
Enthusiasm is the powder that drives the bul
let home to its mark.
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 accom
plishes wonders, but the moment it ebbs he is
good for nothing. And his enthusiasm often
ebbs ; it is very uncertain. One day he will im
press you as a powerful man, a man with great
determination, vigor and push he makes ev
erything 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 cour
age 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
116 SELLING THINGS
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-headed-
ness or it may defeat its object. Some people
allow their enthusiasm to run away with them
and thus greatly weaken their power and possi
bilities. 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
I have known over-enthusiastic young sales
men to be so completely carried away with the
possibilities of what they were selling, to ex
hibit so little judgment and so much fervor in
their canvass, that they aroused suspicion in
the minds of their prospects as to their good
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.
THE GREATEST SALESMAN 117
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 Al salesman knows how to steer his course
between the enthusiasm that excites suspicion,
arouses distrust, and the enthusiasm that per
suades 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 sales-
'men who put so little of themselves into their
sale, so little enthusiasm and zest, so little mag
netism, 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 ener
getic, enthusiastic man makes a fortune.
The salesman or other worker who gives
only his second best instead of his best, who
118 SELLING THINGS
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.
THE MAN AT THE OTHER END OF THE BARGAIN
A Golden Rule for every salesman: "Put yourself in your
When you are in doubt as to how your acts will affect an
other, 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 remark
able 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
120 SELLING THINGS
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 feel
ing that they will be swindled in some way;
that the lower price only covers up poor qual
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 fur
nish 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 custom
ers 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
THE MAN AT THE OTHER END 121
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 policy.
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
Remember, Mr. Brilliant Salesman, that
stuffed, forced orders are dangerous. They
are boomerangs. When, by hypnotic over-
persuasion, you work off goods upon a custom
er 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 disas-
122 SELLING THINGS
trous 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 unprin
cipled salesmen. Especially is this true of
colored people in the South, whose simple, un
trained 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 pro
tect 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 re
sort. His clean record, his straightforward
methods, his reputation for reliability, mean in-
THE MAN AT THE OTHER END 123
finitely more to him than to get an order by
driving a sharp bargain, deceiving, taking ad
vantage of, or hypnotizing his customer. His
honesty, his character, is dearer to him than
any gain, temporary or permanent, however
Nor is there any great demand for the man
whose sole aim is to "deliver the goods," re
gardless 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
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
124 SELLING THINGS
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 infin
itely 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
MEETING AND FORESTALLING OBJECTIONS
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
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. Nat
urally, it is impossible to overcome valid objec
tions. 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 ob
jection. Do not come out bluntly and tell
the customer that he is merely making an ex
cuse, or that he is hedging, but, rather, switch
126 SELLING THINGS
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 af
ford to buy now." But in some cases, objec
tions 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 con
stantly 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.
FORESTALLING OBJECTIONS 127
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 inexper
ienced 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
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 mat
ter 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
128 SELLING THINGS
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 invar
iably, 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
Some say that you should never risk antag
onizing 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 atti
tude of "take it or leave it" will be most effec
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 sales
man will meet at least temporary defeat.
FORESTALLING OBJECTIONS 129
By the time you have exchanged a few sen
tences 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 grad
ually change the prospect's opposition to in
difference, his indifference to interest and his
interest to desire to possess what you have to
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, how
ever, make a customer feel "cheap," or humili
ated, or anger him by opposition, especially in
matters outside of your business.
I have in mind a salesman who had practi-
180 SELLING THINGS
cally closed a big order with a prospect when
some allusion was made to the political situa
tion. The salesman reflected upon the admin
istration, and the prospect jumped on him with
both feet and became so angered that he posi
tively 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 poli
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. Other
wise when you return the association of a dis
agreeable experience may bar you out.
Some sales managers do not believe in pay
ing 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
FORESTALLING OBJECTIONS 131
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 confi
dence in himself, and will be better equipped
for many emergencies, if he has been thor
oughly coached in the most commonly met ob
jections, 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 preju
dice 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 con
tradiction, 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 de
stroy confidence at the start by price cutting.
Remember, objections are, generally, mere
excuses. More than half the time they are not
132 SELLING THINGS
sound reasons for not buying. Therefore, do
not take objections too much to heart. Know
how to answer them satisfactorily, but be care
ful not to magnify their importance.
QUALITY AS A SALESMAN
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 represents."
An unqualified confidence in the value of
what you are selling will multiply your selling
ability tremendously, just as a lack of confi
dence 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.
184 SELLING THINGS
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 se
cretly, 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 con
trary. 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
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 try-
QUALITY AS A SALESMAN 135
ing 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 ar
ticle 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 cus
tomer, and only a satisfied customer will come
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
f 'tricks of the trade"; nor does he have to hang
136 SELLING THINGS
his head or apologize when he approaches his
prospect, for he knows that he is backed by
quality and that there will be no disappoint
ment 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 rep
resent 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 compara
tively 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
QUALITY AS A SALESMAN 137
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 be.
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
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 what
ever 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-
138 SELLING THINGS
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
A SALESMAN'S CLOTHES
The apparel oft proclaims the man.
The consciousness of being well and fittingly dressed has a
magic power in unlocking the tongue and increasing the power
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
"When I first started canvassing I tried to
140 SELLING THINGS
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
A SALESMAN'S CLOTHES 141
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 indi
cates 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
A. T. Stewart was one of the first great mer
chants 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 em
ploy who did not present an attractive appear
ance. He knew and appreciated the import
ance 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
142 SELLING THINGS
only make a bad impression, but will drive
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 per
mit, 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 be
neath 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 any
thing in him, if he is made of the material busi
ness men want in their employ, he will keep
himself in a presentable condition. At all
events, he does not want to have such an un
attractive 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
A SALESMAN'S CLOTHES 143
he wears. You may also say that a customer
should not allow himself to be prejudiced
against a man, or the house he represents, be
cause 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 profes
sional 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
144 SELLING THINGS
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 un
founded, but it acts powerfully against you.
You may know perfectly well that you would
make a better mayor for your town than any
body 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 profes
sion 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 advertise
ments, 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 per
sonal appearance. Most business men regard
a neat, attractive appearance as evidence of
A SALESMAN'S CLOTHES 145
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
Remember that the world takes you largely
at your own valuation; your prospective cus
tomer will be repelled or attracted by your ap
pearance, 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 con
sciousness 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
146 SELLING THINGS
have defeated him." Our clothes have a subtle
mental influence from which there is no escape.
The consciousness of shabbiness, incomplete
ness, or slipshodness tends to destroy self-re
spect, to lessen energy and to detract from
one's general ability.
In order to dress properly, you must study
the colors and the styles that are most becom
ing 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 impression.
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 representa
tive of the court of Denmark.
The salesman is the representative of his
A SALESMAN'S CLOTHES 147
firm, and to a great extent both he and his firm
will he judged by his general appearance, in
cluding 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. CABLYLE.
THE hardest problem with any business man
is to find customers, that is to say, desirable and
profitable customers. Identical with the prob
lem 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, unpre
possessing 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
FINDING CUSTOMERS 149
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 espe
cially interested. Next day the salesman went
to this hospital, and asked to be shown through
it, after which he called on his prospective cus
tomer, 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 cus
tomers. Some say it is just a matter of "plan
150 SELLING THINGS
and push," as illustrated in the above instance.
The Sheldon Course in Salesmanship gives
five ways for finding a customer, namely ; Ad
vertising, 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 busi
ness 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 cam
paigns 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 impor
tant to be always alert, so as not to miss any
FINDING CUSTOMERS 151
possible customers, and so as to learn well in
advance about new firms who may want your
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 val
uable 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 cur
iosity 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
If you have something to sell, do not be
afraid to walk into a man's place of business
152 SELLING THINGS
and introduce yourself, telling just what ser
vice 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 finan
cially, 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 confi
dence. 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, cover
ing the biggest amount of territory in the short
est 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 mat
ters over the telephone. Experience and
native ability must guide the salesman in the
use of the telephone.
FINDING CUSTOMERS 153
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
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 hap
pen 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 per
sonal visits, so as to get the orders. To be
sure, we have the department stores and spe
cialty 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
154 SELLING THINGS
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 impor
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 customers.
WHEN YOU ARE DISCOURAGED
The man who has acquired the power of keeping his mind
filled with the thoughts which uplift and encourage, the opti
mistic 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 him
self 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
156 SELLING THINGS
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 resolu
tion that saved the day, for I took fifteen or
ders 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
"Many a time such a resolution has saved me 1
when, otherwise, I would have made a misera
ble 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
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.
WHEN You ARE DISCOURAGED 157
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
"One man afterwards told me," he said, "that
I overwhelmed him with my dead-in-earnest-
ness, 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 misfor
tune, poverty and failure. He attracts those
things, for it is a psychological law that failure
attracts failure, discouragement more discour-
158 SELLING THINGS
agement, poverty more poverty. To a sales
man 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 confi
dence in himself but his fellow men also lose
confidence in him. You will find it next to im
possible to make a sale with a mind filled with
discouragement, pessimistic, failure thoughts.
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 hys
When inclined to be blue and discouraged,
men and women are like children. The temp
tation 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
WHEN You ABE DISCOURAGED
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 imagina
tion, 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 Sourse and Sustainer of all
160 SELLING THINGS
things which nothing can sever. Therefore I
have nothing to fear. I have strength and
ability to clo 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. / 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, up
lifting thoughts and you will find that your
feeling will quickly correspond with your men
tal 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 distress
ing, 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,
WHEN You ARE DISCOURAGED 161
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 commun
ity has come from his attitude toward life,
toward his fellowmen, toward his vocation,
toward himself. Above all else, it is the out
come 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 wiell as a real interest, in what
is going on around you. Associate with peo
ple. Be glad and happy, and interest your
self in others. Keep your mind off yourself.
Get away from yourself by entering with zest
into the family plans, or the plans and pleas
ures of others about you.
162 SELLING THINGS
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
I know of a woman who was prone to fits of
of the "blues," who conquered them by forcing
herself to sing bright, joyous songs, and to
play lively, inspiring airs on the piano when
ever 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 pyschol-
ogy 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 neutral
ize the evil, depressing one. It is just a ques
tion of holding in the mind the antidote of the
thought that is torturing us, robbing us of our
birthright, of success and happiness.
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS
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. HEXRY 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 sales
man 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
164 SELLING THINGS
he should. His defect is his inability to con
tinue a conversation with a party who abruptly
tells him that he is not interested in life insur
ance. 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 van
ish? 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 ob-
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS 165
stacks that we find ourselves and develop our
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 suc
cess. 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 or
dinary 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 impossible.
166 SELLING THINGS
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 oppo
sition or discouragement.
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 antago
nism. 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 pres-
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS 167
ence of a prospect with a strong, vigorous men
tality. He will annihilate their arguments in
a twinkle. They fall down before his on
slaught 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 argu
ments, 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 dif
ferent 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 deter
mination 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 of tener 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 can-
not 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
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS 169
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, won
dering 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 handi
cap 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 cus
tomer, 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 anti
dote and neutralize the prospect's thrusts, how
ever 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 situation.
This is where the timid or over-sensitive
salesman falls short. He is thrown com
pletely 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, when
ever his sensitive, sore spots are touched. He
lacks that masterfulness and superb confidence
in himself which make a salesman proof against
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS 171
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 inter
fere 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 in
sulted where in reality no insult is intended.
Another point that works to the great dis
advantage of the timid or sensitive salesman is
this: he is afraid to make what is called the
"cold" or "straight" canvass; that is, to ap
proach 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, ignor
ance 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
172 SELLING THINGS
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 to
ward yourself, nothing can keep you from suc
Throw off your shyness, your morbid sensi
tiveness, your timidity. Get rid of your lack
of faith and courage. Confidently expect that
you are going to be a great salesman, a distinc
tive one, a salesman with individuality, with
originality, with inventiveness, a man of re
source 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 con
stantly destroying our building by shifting our
model. One day we have confidence in our
selves, 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 discour-
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS 173
aged, 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, confi
dent in yourself and in the power of your Cre
ator to make you what you long to be, and no
body, 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 under
take, 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 ex
perience. We lose nothing of what we
achieve. It is all added to the life-ball.
174 SELLING THINGS
Not long ago I asked a very successful man,
really a "born salesman," what he considered
the essential qualifications for good salesman
ship. He put in the first category of quali
fications: confidence in your goods, confidence
in your firm, and confidence in yourself, plus
enthusiasm, plus earnestness, plus persever
ance, 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 na
Now, there is nothing in this list of quali
fications that is not within the reach of every
honest intelligent youth who has enough
stamina and will power to make his life a suc
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
THE STIMULUS OF REBUFFS 175
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
pusuit. 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 im
portance 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 go
ing to be downed by an obstacle."
You will find it a wonderful help in over
coming obstacles in every phase of your work
to assume a victorious mental attitude, and to
176 SELLING THINGS
carry yourself like a conqueror. If you go
about among your fellows with a defeated ex
pression 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 to
ward victory. Nothing can keep you from
winning out, because and don't forget this
Success begins in the mind.
MEETING COMPETITION: "KNOW YOUR GOODS"
"This is the age of push, struggle and fierce competition."
"Study your competitor his manner and method of doing
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, unfor
tunately, is often unscrupulous, will, if pos
sible, lead the salesman to think that competi
tors have given better prices or better terms,
and that their goods are superior. The sales
man who is not armed at every point to meet
his tactics runs the risk of being imposed on.
One superlatively good rule is this:
178 SELLING THINGS
"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. Sales
men need to keep themselves fresh and enthus
iastic 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
MEETING COMPETITION 179
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 in
volves 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 business.
Some believe that three-quarters of all busi
ness is done on a friendship basis. But it is a
different friendship than that meant by the
accepted term. It is business friendship, not
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 to
gether occasionally. But such friendship is in
nowise like that bestowed on your old neigh
bors, your college classmates, or your club
Many a man who has started out to do busi
ness on a real friendship basis has found out to
his sorrow that it can't be done.
180 SELLING THINGS
"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 "knock
ing" is bad. When giving the rule, "Don't
knock" as a good one for every salesman, I
mean simply that a salesman should not criti
cise unfairly or bitterly the goods of another.
There is no harm in pointing out the real de
fects 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 neces-
MEETING COMPETITION 181
sary to protect a man from buying what is go
ing 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 "sore
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 prod
ucts in his own line. At the present time he
is selling automobiles, and is constantly com
paring his car with others, diverting the cus
tomer's attention, by enlarging on the advan
tages and disadvantages, the good and bad
points, of rival cars, confusing a man by bring
ing into his mind so many things at the same
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 de
sirability of some other than the one the sales-
182 SELLING THINGS
man is selling, and will in many instances post
pone purchasing until he investigates the rival
The best salesmen say very little about a
competitor's goods. They simply explain and
emphasize the advantages and good points of
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 seri
ous mistake to spend a lot of time talking about
competitors' goods, when you ought to be stick
ing 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 serv
ice is the main consideration. Show what your
house can do in the matter of prompt deliv
eries, careful packing, dependability as regards
uniform quality, correct count, liberal terms,
MEETING COMPETITION 183
etc., and do not forget that the general reputa
tion 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
Not the least important of the methods to
meet competition is for the salesman to ana
lyze 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 adver
tising, which always can be used to advantage
Above all, a salesman can meet competition
most effectively by a strong personality. Re
member that your goods are judged by your
self, 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."
THE SALESMAN AND THE SALES MANAGER
Every salesman should feel that he is a partner in the busi
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 con
ditions of the trade are best known to those who
have reached the position of sales manager or
general manager, and their advice should al
ways be sought with an open and receptive
In many lines of business, treating and en
tertaining 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
SALESMAN AND SALES MANAGE* 185
"land" a large contract. There is far less en
tertaining done nowadays, however, than for
merly. 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 cus
tomer, but of getting him in a friendly attitude
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 sugges
tions, 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.
186 SELLING THINGS
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 bul
letin. Half a page of typewritten ideas, con
taining 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 crit
icisms 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
SALESMAN AND SALES MANAGER 187
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 what
ever 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 ambi
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 cus
tomer 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 pres
ents. Be very discreet in such matters.
As a scientific salesman, do not forget to con
sider the buyer. He is buying scientifically.
He is suspicious. Every one is trying to drive
188 SELLING THINGS
a very close bargain. He tries to make you
yield on price, to make some concessions on
payments, to give special privileges about re
turning 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."
ARE YOU A GOOD MIXER?
Charm of personality is a divine gift that sways the strong
est 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
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 draw
ing-room or ball-room than any other news
paper 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.
190 SELLING THINGS
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 advance
ment from a dollar-a-day job to the position of
millionaire steel manufacturer. It was his so
cial 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 sing
ing of Scottish ballads, and the iron master was
always in better spirits after a visit from the
There is no other one thing in such universal
demand everywhere, in social life and in busi
ness, as the power to attract and please. A
magnetic personality often commands a much
bigger salary than great ability with a dis
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
ABE You A GOOD MIXER? 191
attract us. If we could analyze cracker- jack
salesmen in this country, we should find that
they are men who have a fine magnetic per
sonality. They are great "mixers," they un
derstand 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.
192 SELLING THINGS
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 1
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 Kos-
suth'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 posi
tion they are going to occupy from the fact that
we are apt to take account merely of their abil
ity, and do not reckon this personal atmosphere
ARE You A GOOD MIXER? 193
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 con
stantly 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
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
194 SELLING THINGS
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 popu
lar 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 peo
ple to him; on the contrary, he keeps them at a
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 fellow
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
ABE You A GOOD MIXER? 195
than he can help. The other traveling sales
men do not like him. His distant, dignified
personality repels them. In a word, his ex-
clusiveness and his lack of magnetism fyave
largely strangled his effectiveness as a sales
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 con
nection 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
196 SELLING THINGS
largely into success in business, in social, and
in professional life, as does personality.
There is nothing else which has such an influ
ence 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
It is not always the man of the greatest abil
ity, 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
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.
ARE You A GOOD MIXER? 197
It is a very difficult thing to resist that mag
netic 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 impalpa
ble 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 per
sonal magnetism steps in and without apparent
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, unenthus-
iastic, 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 be
tween 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,
198 SELLING THINGS
indeed he may try much harder; he may have
had a better training in the technique of sales
manship, but because he lacks the warm, sym
pathetic, 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 in
stinctively felt from the first that he was in the
presence of a great, a superb specimen of hu
manity. He had such tremendous magnetic
power that when he wanted money for any
charitable or philanthropic purpose, he did not
ARE You A GOOD MIXER? 199
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, be
cause we radiate our atmosphere, our personal
ity; and this is cold or warm, attractive or re
pellent, according to our dominant traits and
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 selfish
ness, indifference, avarice and greed are domi
nant in one's nature, this is the kind of an
atmosphere he will radiate and it will repel be
cause 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 mush about
200 SELLING THINGS
selves; 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 cor
diality, 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 in
stinctively admire, the qualities which attract
every human being, such as generosity, mag
nanimity, 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
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 in
ferior in many respects. And this not because
of graft or pull on their opponents' side, but
ABE You A GOOD MIXER? 201
because the latter are good mixers. They
know how to meet people, how to be good fel
lows, 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 cus
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 de
velop 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. Know
ing the qualities and characteristics that dis
tinguish 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
202 SELLING THINGS
we shall find ourselves becoming more inter
ested 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 at
tractive to others. Just in proportion as you
become imbued with these qualities so that they
shall characterize you, will you acquire a mag
netic, 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 equip
ment 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
ARE You A GOOD MIXER? 203
The first step toward making yourself mag
netic is to build up your health. Vigorous
health, coupled with a right mental attitude, an
optimistic, hopeful, cheerful, happy mind, will
increase your magnetism wonderfully.
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 per
sonality. 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 physically.
To be magnetic you must face life in the
right way. Pessimism, selfishness, a sour dis
position, lack of sympathy and enthusiasm
all of these tend to destroy personal magnet
ism. 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.
204 SELLING THINGS
Above all if you want to have a magnetic,
attractive personality, cultivate the heart quali
ties. Intellect, brain power, has little, if any
thing to do with personal magnetism. It is
the lovable, not the intellectual, qualities that
draw and hold people. You must make peo
ple 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 feel
ing, 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
ARE You A GOOD MIXER? 205
seem to reserve it for some special occasion or
for intimate friends. They think it is too pre
cious to give out to everybody.
Do not be afraid to open your heart; fling
the door of it wide open. Get rid of all re
serve ; 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 him
self, "Well, there is really an interesting per
sonality. 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?
206 SELLING THINGS
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 him."
Cultivate the habit of being cordial, of meet
ing 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 every
body 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 be
fore 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 CAPITAL
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, train
ing cannot. The reputation of heing abso
lutely square and clean and straight, of being a
man whose word is his bond, is the finest rec
Simple genuineness, transparency of charac
ter, will win the confidence of a customer
whether he is prejudiced or not, and the confi
dence 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 sales-
208 SELLING THINGS
men in inferior positions. Take the average
salesman in a retail clothing store. A cus
tomer 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 buy.
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 wa
vering, no shuffling, no sneaking, no apologiz
ing, no streak of any kind in his honesty ; you
can always rely on his word. There is a young
CHARACTER Is CAPITAL 209
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 ex
planation. His character is transparent.
One doesn't need to throw up guards against
We all know what a comfort it is to do busi
ness 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 any
thing grander than the man who stands four
square 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 repu
tation, 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.
210 SELLING THINGS
How much more comfortable and satisfac
tory 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 haye 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 charac
ter is unalloyed you will establish a friendly
relation with him which will be of very great
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 unfor
tunate experiences, that possibly they have
bought many gold bricks, that their confidence
CHARACTER Is CAPITAL 211
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 im
pression 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
212 SELLING THINGS
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 abso
lutely upon its doing the square thing by him
or not. "A company is judged by the men it
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 busi
ness 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.
THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP
"Three things are necessary, first, backbone; second, back
bone; third, backbone." CHARLES STJMXER.
"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
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 ex-
214 SELLING THINGS
cuse 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 mak
ing 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 job.
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 ob
jections with my arguments. I make the peo
ple 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 hun
dreds of careers. I have made them feel that it
THE PRICE or MASTERSHIP 215
will be cheap at almost any price, and that I
am doing them a great favor in making it pos
sible for them to secure this ambition-arousing
This young man sold, on the average, to
eight people out of ten he called upon during
A traveling salesman for a big concern got
it into his head that his territory out through
the West was played oat. 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, ambi
tion 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
216 SELLING THINGS
not willing to forego his comforts, his pleas
ures, to hustle for business. He was not will
ing 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 Pull
man 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, be
cause he had no taste for hustling. His suc
cessor 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 dis
cussing 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 busi
ness it is always a question of the sort of a
man behind the proposition. It is the slope of
THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP 217
the man, his grit, his stick-to-it-iveness, that
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, per
severance; if you lack determination and that
bulldog 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 no
body 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
218 SELLING THINGS
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
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 any
where from ten thousand dollars to one hun
dred 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 suc
cess without effort, an easy job at the highest
market price, like the cook pictured in a re
cent 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 employee.
THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP 219
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 cul
tivation 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
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 him."
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 some
thing 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
220 SELLING THINGS
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 unani
mous in their agreement as to two cardinal
points in the achievement of success Work
The Honorable Thomas Pryor Gore, the
blind Senator of Oklahoma, who raised him
self 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 dyna-
THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP 221
mics of the human will can overcome any diffi
Here, indeed, is encouragement for every
youth in this land of opportunity. Think of
a poor, blind boy, unaided, achieving such dis
tinction as Mr. Gore has won! Think of a
blind Milton writing the greatest epic in the
world's literature! Think of & 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 keep
ing 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 cour
age to get up and press on after repeated fail
ures, the historic achievers of the world would
never have won out in their undertakings.
222 SELLING THINGS
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 capi
tal 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 accomplish
ments 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
THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP 223
far in the world. Grit is a quality which stays
by a man when every other quality retreats and
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
As we look around at other men, enjoying
224 SELLING THINGS
the good things of life, basking in the sun
shine 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
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.
THE PRICE OF MASTERSHIP 225
With our constantly widening national in
terests, our enormously expanding trade, the
demand for Al salesmen is ever on the in
crease. The young man who is not satisfied
with the ordinary required equipments for
salesmanship, but who will add to this a thor
ough knowledge of modern languages, espe
cially those most used in commercial inter
course 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 any
thing and to everybody at a fair price." Suc
cess 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."
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP
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 fel
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
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 227
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 de
termined 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 im
pression of great reserve force on his antagon
ist that he never had to put forth much
strength in wrestling. He won as much by
the impression of confident power which he
228 SELLING THINGS
radiated, as by the degree of strength he ex
In other words, if you do not back up your
general ability and special training with ro
bust health you will be forever at a disadvan
tage 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
It is the law of life that the "weakest shall
go to the wall." Frailness of body is an in
evitable handicap in life. Physical weakness
largely discounts the possibilities of achieve
ment. 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 at
tained. 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 ex
ceptions that prove the rule. Alexander
Pope, "the gallant cripple of Twickenham,"
sewed up in canvas ; St. Paul, short in stature,
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 229
of inferior presence and almost blind, are types
of the men whose great souls overcame their
bodily weakness. Csesar, Pascal, Nelson,
were other types of the indomitable spirit
which can not be limited by sickness or in
firmity. 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 ma
chinery 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 machin
ery 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
230 SELLING THINGS
the motor power for all your mental machin
ery. That engine is your body.
The physical soil is the soil in which your
faculties are nourished. If this soil is impov
erished, 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 pursu
ing 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 arti
ficial stimulus to his brain was like a whip to a
tired horse, and that it was only a question of
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 231
time until he would be a physical and mental
It is amazing how ignorant many otherwise
intelligent people are when it comes to a ques
tion of body and health building. Young peo
ple 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 pos
session for that is really what it is. Vigor
ous, abounding health will emphasize, reinforce
and multiply the forcefulness of all the facul
ties, and the sum of these faculties constitutes
your ability, the force that achieves, that cre
It will make a tremendous difference to you
what sort of a man you take to your prospect.
I say "y u take," because you are the master
of the salesman. There is something bigger
back of the salesman, than the salesman him
self, You are the salesman's manager, his
232 SELLING THINGS
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, be
cause he will be the sort of a man you make
him. To be a whole man, mentally, physi
cally, 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 seri
ously 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
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 protest-
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 233
ing, 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 har
monious 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 success.
Do you realize what goes into every sale
you make? Did it ever occur to you that your
brains, your education, your training, your ex
perience, your skill, your ingenuity, your re
sourcefulness, your originality, your person
ality about all your life capital is flung into
every selling transaction?
The result of every canvass you make will
depend very largely upon how much of your
self you fling into it, and how intensely, how
enthusiastically, cheerfully, and tactfully you
fling yourself in. You cannot bring the whole
234 SELLING THINGS
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 pros
pect 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 abil
ity away in bad food, or in a too rich and com
plicated 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 heart
ily of dinner, or by a fit of indigestion brought
on by some indiscretion in eating.
Multitudes of people go through life work-
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 235
ing 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 deterio
rate 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 physi
cal 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 living.
236 SELLING THINGS
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
How often we hear the remark: "Poor fel
low ! 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, mor
tifying, condemning, convicting you. Every
indiscretion or vicious indulgence simply opens
a leak which drains off your success and happi
ness 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 igno
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 237
Nor can one plead mere weakness or lack
of energy as a handicap, an excuse for fail
ure. 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 apol
Whatever your work in life, the secret of
your success and happiness is locked up in your
health, in your brain, your nerves, your mus
cles, 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 capa
ble of real mastership in a mediocre posi
tion. You cannot do a master's work with a
muddy brain which was not renewed, re
freshed, by plenty of guad sleep, healthful
238 SELLING THINGS
recreation, and vigorous exercise in the open
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 suc
cess. 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 vitality.
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.
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 239
Formerly, he said, he always approached a cus
tomer with the expectation of getting an or
der, but latterly he was in great doubt; he
could not get on full steam, a resolute deter
mination to win. Now, when a man gets into
this condition he is not fit to solicit business.
Nature is calling to him: "Stop, Look, Lis
ten." 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 feel
ing" 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 warn
ings, 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
240 SELLING THINGS
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 dys
peptic to be any of these to be kind, gentle,
generous, cheerful, obliging. His natural dis
position may not be at fault, for the tendency
of ill health is to make a man cross, crabbed,
fault-finding, fretful, hard, pessimistic.
"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 de
pleted 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 suf
fering 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 man
ners! How easy to be courteous and accom
modating when one feels the thrill of health
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 241
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 conversa
tion when all of one's physical standards are
Then again, how the health affects the judg
ment! The judgment is really a combination
of a great many other faculties, and the condi
tion of each seriously affects the quality of the
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 physi
cal 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. Cour
age, poise, masterfulness, resourcefulness,
physical vigor go together. Nervousness, tim
idity, uncertainty, doubt, hesitation, usually ac
company depleted vitality.
The bull-dog tenacity which plays such a
part in every life worth while has a physical
242 SELLING THINGS
basis. The will power, which is a leader in the
mental kingdom, depends very largely upon
the health. How different, for example, ob
stacles 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 ob
stacles 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 insurmount
able. There is confusion all through his men
tal kingdom, and his faculties will not work
harmoniously. There is a tremendous wear
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 243
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 in
tended 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 appre
ciate 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, reconsid
ers. 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
Again, the quality of health has a great deal
to do with the quality of thought. You can
not get healthy thinking from diseased brain
cells or nerve cells. If the vitality is below
par the thought will drop to its level.
244 SELLING THINGS
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 him
self 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 be
fore. 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 pos
sessed. The business man returns with a firmer
grip upon 1 his business, a new faculty for im
proving 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,
Many a salesman could add twenty-five or
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 245
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, tri
umphant thinking, holding the victorious atti
tude 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 sales
man better than putting it in practice every
246 SELLING THINGS
day. Keeping himself in superb physical con
dition will not only give a wonderful flavor to
life, but it will add great interest and charm
to his personality. Good health is the founda
tion 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 con
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 hab
its, or to eat foods which are not body builders,
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 247
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 con
trast 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
w r hich 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 in
duced 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.
248 SELLING THINGS
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 ad
justment 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
When you approach a prospect be sure you
are "in tune with the Infinite," (with the high
est 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.
KEEPING FIT AND SALESMANSHIP 249
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 vital
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 as
surance 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 en
thusiasm 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 persuasion.
: 'You will not find it so necessary to con
vince their reasons. Give them the best evi
dence you have, but mix it with something
"Be careful of their prejudices, watch out
for the revelation of their likes and dislikes,
SALES POINTERS 251
discover their enthusiasm, suit yourself to their
"Sooner or later, if you know your business,
you will uncover the vulnerable spot in an emo
tional 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 TO BE A LITTLE FELLOW.
4- 4^ $
No matter how much you know about sales
manship your personality, your character, will
be the chief factors in your success.
While the technique of salesmanship is im
portant, 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.
252 SELLING THINGS
THREE KINDS OF SALESMEN
The Featherweight, and
Just plain WAIT. Selected.
$ 4- $
"Some salesmen are not always successful
salesmen BUT, successful salesmen are always
$. $. ^
"A master salesman is a self-made salesman
BUT a self-made salesman isn't always a
4^ $ 4 1
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.
$. 4. +
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.
^ 4=> *
THE SALESMAN'S CREED
To be a man whose word carries weight at
my home office, to be a booster, not a knocker,
SALES POINTERS 253
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 pres
ence of possible customers ; to dispel ill temper
with cheerfulness, kill doubts with strong con
victions and reduce active friction with an
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, in
creased 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 weak
ness and to endeavor to grow as a salesman and
254 SELLING THINGS
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 increas
ing quantity of goods, to get the greatest pos
sible 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.
$. 4. $.
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 ad
vantage, the superior position. Many sales
men can do better standing while the prospect
$. $. 41
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.
SALES POINTERS 255
Establish confidence as quickly as possible.
Business men are constantly dealing with
mean, tricky men, unscrupulous men, hypno-
tizers, bull-dozers, but when they strike the
real article, the genuine man, they will give
him their confidence.
^ 4^ $
Remember your whole success will often turn
on the first two or three minutes of your inter
view. Just here your knowledge of human na
ture 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.
4- $. 4:
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 tactful.
256 SELLING THINGS
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-re
spect. 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
4; 4i $.
ANOTHER "SALESMAN'S CREED"
"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 methods.
"I believe in working, not weeping; in boost
ing, not knocking, and in the pleasure of my
"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 do
ing; in to-morrow and the work I hope to do,
SALES POINTERS 257
and in the sure reward which the future holds.
"I believe in courtesy, in kindness, in gen
erosity, in good cheer, in friendship, and in hon
"I believe there is something doing some
where for every man ready to do it.
"I believe I am ready right now."
Do you ever go to see a prospect expecting
to be turned down to meet unanswerable ar
guments 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.
This is one business man's motto: "Noth
ing pays like quality." There is a whole ser
mon 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 sales
man tries to convert his prospect from a lower
to a higher grade, for there is not only greater
258 SELLING THINGS
satisfaction but also larger profit both for seller
and buyer in the high grade article.
4- 4- 4-
Did you ever realize that when you are work
ing 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
4- & 4-
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 hin
drance 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.
^ 4. 4.
How true it is, as some one says, that true
salesmanship consists in selling goods that
SALES POINTERS 259
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 pleas
ant taste in the customer's mouth, pleasant pic
tures 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
Winning back a customer who had quit buy
ing 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 con
ceal 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.
260 SELLING THINGS
"We broke all output records to-day." This
was the message Andrew Carnegie's superin
tendent 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.
^ 45- $
"The salesman that tries to sell, without
using his upper story, has a lot of good loft
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,
SALES POINTERS 261
and that you would not take the slightest ad
vantage of him in any way. A man's friend
ship should be worth a great deal to you,
whether you get the particular order you are
after or not.
4=- $ $
The "selling sense" is to the salesman what
the "nose for news" is to the journalist. No
knowledge, however profound, of mere tech
nical salesmanship will make a salesman of
you if you lack selling sense, into which many
factors enter, such as tact, spirit of kindli
ness, good fellowship, good judgment, level
headedness, horse sense, initiative, courage.
4. 4f. $.
Like the good things you eat, a superb qual
ity 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."
$ 4& $
Staying power is the final test of ability.
The real caliber of a man is measured by the
262 SELLING THINGS
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 break
ing point, your turning back point? This will
determine everything in your career.
$. $. $.
If you represent a large house, make a care
ful 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 reach
ing out, that you have no idea of getting into a
rut or becoming petrified in your methods.
SALES POINTERS 263
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.
$ 4^ 4^
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 pleas
ing personality is all suggestion. Suggestion
is the soul of advertising, and to sell you must
advertise. A salesman must be his own adver
264 SELLING THINGS
=^ ----- j ------------ __ ^
"JUST KEEP ON, KEEPIN' ON."
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 fol
lowing advice on promises, printed by Gimbel
Brothers, for the benefit of all employees of
their New York store.
SALES POINTERS 265
"MAKE no promises which you cannot ful
"Every individual connected with this estab
lishment is hereby instructed not to make
promises which cannot be absolutely satisfied.
"You must fulfil at all costs those promises
you do make, in behalf of this business"
& 4- $
"He who is content to rest upon his laurels,
will soon have laurels resting upon him."
$. 4; 4i
"A sour clerk will turn the sweetest cus
$. 4i $.
"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
4; 4& 4&
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 culti
vating a genuinely friendly disposition. It is
hard to fake sincerity. Many salesmen think
they can, but they only fool themselves.
266 SELLING THINGS
Learn to love mankind as a whole, and you will
then be able to be genuinely sincere with each
unit in humanity.
yp. 4^ 4* 1
"Never explain the nature of your business
on the door-step that is, before you are advan
tageously placed in the presence of your pros
pect. Expect to get in, and you will." These
are the words of an expert in salesmanship.
Every expert realizes how full of truth they
A salesman must be self-possessed, which
means that he should have no fears. Keep be
fore 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.
$ 4- 4^
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 sell-
SALES POINTERS 267
ing, 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 al
ways 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 handi
caps 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! 9 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
268 SELLING THINGS
emergency. Cultivate patience, calmness, and
celerity, for they give a powerful advantage to
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 mo
ment. He can, likewise, and should, stop
"firing" and close the deal at the right moment.
It is all psychological a matter of mind meet
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 mis
take 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"
SALES POINTERS 269
Many a salesman has been ruined or ser
iously injured by carrying a side line. All of
the great things of the world have been accom
plished 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 cer
tain 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.
$. 4: $.
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 ad-
270 SELLING THINGS
dresses 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 every
thing 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.
THE SALESMAN'S IDEAL
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.
SALES POINTERS 271
To contain Wit only as that conforms to
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 others.
To prove of such real value to patrons that
my goods shall be always to the fore rather
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.
4; $ $.
WHY THIS SALESMAN DID NOT SUCCEED
He was too anxious.
He could not read human nature.
He did not know how to approach his pros
There was not a real man back of the solici
He scattered too much; could not concen
trate his talk.
He knew enough, but could not tell it in an
272 SELLING THINGS
He tired the prospect out before he got down
to business, and could not see when he was
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
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
He did not thoroughly believe in the thing
he was trying to sell, and of course could not
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 overccne objections. He lacked resource
SALES POINTERS 273
He had to spend most of his time trying to
overcome a bad first impression.
He gave the impression that he was a beggar
instead of the representative of a reliable
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 in
telligence, 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,
274 SELLING THINGS
He introduced politics and his fads in busi
He didn't realize that every sale is an adver
tisement for or against the house.
He was always gloomy and despondent. He
carried his samples in a hearse.
He did not believe it paid to be accommo
4s. 41 $.
WHY THIS SALESMAN SUCCEEDED
He thoroughly believed in the things he was
trying to sell.
He was tactful and knew how to approach
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 merchandise.
He approached a customer with the convic
tion that he would win his order and he usually
He worked hard.
SALES POINTERS 275
He was always looking out for the man at
the other end of the bargain.
He stopped when he had convinced his pros
pect and did not raise doubts by boring him.
Be Good to Yourself
Every Man a King
He Can Who Thinks He Can
How to Get What You Want
Joys of Living
Making Life a Masterpiece
Miracle of Right Thought
Peace, Power, and Plenty
Progressive Business Man
Pushing to the Front
Rising in the World
Secret of Achievement
Training for Efficiency
Woman and the Home
Young Man Entering Business
An Iron Will Ambition Cheerfulness
Gocd Manners Do it to a Finish Character
Economy Opportunity Thrift
Power of Personality
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