Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The first principle of salesmanship...

From Harvey Firestone in Men and Rubber: The Story of Business:
Thereby, quite unconsciously, I turned up the first principle of salesmanship--which is, that you must thoroughly believe in what you have to sell. Then selling becomes merely a matter of showing how your product will help a prospect. I have always been more of a salesman than a manufacturer--it has been hard for me to learn factory methods. But selling has always come easy to me, simply because, since those patent medicines, I have never attempted to sell anything which I did not thoroughly believe in. Therefore, I have never really had to sell at all--only to explain the favour I expected to do the prospect. The principle holds true, whether one is selling a tangible thing, like a rubber tire, or whether one is selling something intangible, like the future of the company, either in the shape of capital stock or in the shape of credit at a bank. Persuading a man to buy is not, to my notion, salesmanship. It is just persuading him to buy and nothing more. 
Salesmanship has to establish a continuing relation in which the seller helps the buyer. Going to great lengths to sell a man something he does not want is a clumsy way of trying to get money--it is much simpler and just as honest to knock the fellow on the head and take the money away from him.