No. 259



Have you ever stopped to think about why the United States Of America has become the greatest economic success story in the history of the human race? While there are many facets of this question, the underlying reason is something we call the American Free-Enterprise System. In other words, the incentive that emanates from doing business for a profit. When we do business it is called commerce and here is what the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson had to say about this subject, Commerce is the principle of settled America, and destroyed feudalism, and made peace and keeps peace.

It is important to have an emotional as well as an intellectual understanding of what Ive just said but it is vital that we also understand that nothing happens until somebody makes a sale. Sales is the gas and oil that keeps our economic system running smoothly. When sales fall off, everything else comes to a screeching halt. The reason I have shared this is because we should never demean or look down on someone who has chosen a sales career because it is one of the greatest professions in all of society.

I dont know about you but I am always looking for ideas that will help me improve what I do and if you are in sales I have a terrific idea for you. Even if you are not in direct sales this idea will help you in other ways. A few weeks ago I got a letter from Floyd G. Jovenitti, C.L.U. who lives in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. He is a retired life insurance salesman and here is what he had to say.

Dear Jim, Your excellent article on negative attitudes brought back beautiful memories of my early selling career. My manager and mentor, Mac trained me well. (So well that I was able to retire fifteen years ago at age 60 in good health and with a good income.) Mac stressed ATTITUDE!! ATTITUDE!! ATTITUDE!! We reported to our district office every Friday and it was customary for the gang to go to the coffee shop before the regular meeting began. Macs words still ring in my ear, Stay away from that coffee shop; all you will hear is whats wrong with the company, your clients, and this business. He added, Always associate with those who are outselling you; youll learn from them.

When I complained to Mac, my mentor, that my old friends were rather cool towards me. Mac said, Jovenitti, if at first you dont succeed, youll have lots of friends! This became one of my favorite quotes, but get this: my 15 year old daughter heard me say these words and she said, Dad, actually, if at first you dont succeed, blame somebody!

Now here is that terrific idea I mentioned earlier. Floyd said, My favorite ice-breaker was simple but very effective and beneficial. I merely approached a salesman and asked for a dollar, while holding a dollar in my hand. I then gave him my dollar, took his saying, Wow! Now we each have a dollar, but we are no richer than before. Then I would add, Now give me your best sales idea, and Ill give you my best sales idea and we will both be richer than when we came to this meeting!!! By the time I left, I had enough ideas to keep me going for months!!!

Since that first letter, Floyd has written me several times and I always find his ideas and comments positive and refreshing. If you are starting a sales career I hope you are fortunate enough to find a great mentor to teach you the right way and then as you go along be willing to share your best ideas with others. As they say, Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back fruit cake. EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)