09/06/2015 - 13:55

Master your craft, study the masters

09/06/2015 - 13:55


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Hard work makes luck, get people to like you, and know your product – more money-making advice from the masters.

Master your craft, study the masters
HISTORY: Founded in 1914, Merrill Lynch became part of the Bank of America in 2009. Photo: iStockphoto

Hard work makes luck, get people to like you, and know your product – more money-making advice from the masters.

The book, titled America’s Twelve Master Salesmen, was written and published by BC Forbes & Sons in 1953. Yes, there were women in the book, but in those days, ‘men’ was the universal gender. Today, it’s quite different.

The book was based on the fact that each one of these master salespeople had one extremely powerful overriding principle or philosophy upon which his or her success was based.

Last week I presented the first five masters; and this week four more. There are 12.5 in all (me being the .5 of course).

Back to the book. Suppose you could adopt (or adapt) all of these masters’ single best characteristic into your own set of capabilities. That would be power.

And so, to challenge your 2015, here are four more master’s philosophies from 1953. 

6. Alfred E Lyon (street salesman in Manhattan and later corporate executive)

Principle: Sell yourself first

“Remember, your customers don’t buy your product. They buy you. If they buy you, they will sell your product for you.” He realised that people buy from people they like. And all he did was get people to like him, and the rest was easy.

7. Arthur H ‘Red’ Motley

Principle: Nothing happens until somebody sells something

He sold for the Fuller Brush Company, door to door, in the 1920s; he sold cough syrup with a traveling medicine show, he sold advertising for Collier’s Magazine, he founded Parade Magazine (still in existence today inserted into Sunday papers), and he created maybe the all-time legendary philosophy of sales: “Nothing happens until somebody sells something”.

As a trainer in the 1940s and 1950s, Motley created a simple 15-word sales course which covered every element important to begin or master.

1. Know your product.

2. See a lot of people.

3. Ask all to buy.

4. Use common sense.

Remember this was the 1940s. No TV, no computer, no credit cards, no Apple Watch, no smart phone, and no internet. People actually wrote letters.

He had another philosophy: “One of the reasons we do so much business in America is because we have learned not to make the customer wait. Wants created that remain unsatisfied for any appreciable length of time usually die.”

Pity he wasn’t around today to hear: ‘Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received’.

8. Norman Vincent Peale

Principle: Have faith in people – they are basically good Author of the timeless classic, The Power of Positive Thinking, Peale used the pulpit to preach the importance and the personal power of achievement through attaining a positive attitude. The spirit and the spirituality of attitude, and the success it can bring are timeless. And more needed today than 50 years ago.

If you just get Dr Peale’s book and read two pages a day for a year or so, you’re on the right path.

9. Winthrop Smith

Principle: The Queen is in the counting house …

Known for publishing the free booklet, and running free seminars on ‘What You Should Know about Stocks and Bonds’, Smith, the president of what is known today as Merrill Lynch, created an everyman’s desire for investing. His passion was to teach people about the power of their own money, and how they could invest it to secure their future income.

And he did. And they invested in stocks and bonds with his firm. His associates nicknamed him ‘Win’. Not short for Winthrop, but short for ‘winner’. He became a winner by helping others win.

In 1976, I remarked to one of my mentors that he seemed to have a lot of luck. Every project he undertook seemed to end up golden. He smiled and replied: “Hard work makes luck.” Those words have stuck with me since. 

The last (and best of) the masters will be here same time, next week … stay tuned.


Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.

© 2015 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.




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