Quick background; When I graduated with a degree in EE (from Northwestern Univ) I got a job with General Electric Corp in Chgo. 2 wks into my new job I was in an "Office Luncheon" at a fancy downtown Chgo restaurant when a secretary told me that I had replaced a guy who had been with the Corp for 29 1/2 yrs and....he was fired just before his "Vested Rights" set in.
So....the guy I replaced was "set out to pasture WITHOUT the hay" he and his family were expecting.
So....when I got home that eve, I asked my young wife if she'd rather spend the next 3 decades working for a Company who could "drop me like a Hot Potato" just before I was to retire OR....take a chance that I could find a way to "Write My Own Checks" and NOT depend on any person or business fr my income.
She replied; "GO for it! Whatever YOU think is best!"
So....I spent the next 12 mos STUDYING stuff by BEN FELDMAN....FRANK BETCHER (How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling)....and the guy who wrote, "SELL THE SIZZLE NOT THE STEAK!" ELMER WHEELER!
Then....I saw an ad in the WallStreet Journal about a new kinda Home Burglar Alarm. I called the Co and flew down to their Florida office to see the product. I bought the rights to the North-Shore Chgo area and gave my notice to GE the following Monday morn.
ALL my friends, family, cousins and 2nd and 3rd cousins TRIED to convince me on staying with a "Steady, Reliable" firm like GE. They didn't really know how I felt about the IN-Security of having "someone else write my paychecks"!
So....I proceeded to go about rounding up stuff I thought I needed to start my "Home Alarm" biz.
And....for 2 weeks I struck out. I'd phone "affluent" homeowners making appointments to Demo my Alarm System. I got appts....give my Demo and an Estimate and NOTHING! I struck out completely UNTIL....
One evening I was giving a demo to a prominent Dentist when he stopped me and told me to "Give him an estimate!" which I promptly did and....when I wrote up the estimate he said, "LET'S DO IT! HOW SOON CAN YOU START?"
You coulda knocked me over with a feather. When I came to my senses, I told him we could start this Sat morn (it was Weds evening and I figured I had enough time to round up the materials AND....someone to help with my first installation)
Yup....I had never installed a System before so....I had 2 days to find someone with experience to guide me thru my 1st installation.
So....after much checking and phoning and whatever....I found a guy (Tom Carney) who agreed to meet me at the dentist's home at 8am Sat morn.
Well....Tom was GOOD. He allayed my Fears and gave me Confidence I could "do this and get the job done".
And....a couple of hours later....a neighbor comes over and asks if I'd come by his place and give him an estmate for HIS place! Then....2 more neighbors come by and also ask for an estimate.
Thus.....my business was started. Tom became my Chief Installer.
I then found....from studying Ben's, Elmer's and Frank's sales books that...
NOTHING MOVES, UNLESS SOMETHING IS SOLD!
and....they ALL said I should find a "Center of Influence" who could REFER me to many more customers!
So....I kept seeing a man named "W. Clement Stone" in the newspapers with a cigar in his mouth. He was the founder of an Insurance Co (this was before he started "Success Magazine")
While reading an article about him and how he started his biz by going to banks, selling Tellers on his insurance policies....I got a Hot Flash;
What if I were to find out where he gets his stogies and bring him a decanter for a few minutes of his time? So....after much digging, I found the tobacconist who sells cigars to Mr Stone. I went to the cigar store, asked the prop if I could buy a decanter of cigars for Mr Stone.
He told me he was waiting for a shipment to come in. I asked the prop if I could pay for a decanter now and give him an extra $25 if he would call me when the cigars came in and....wait one day before calling Mr Stone.
He agreed and a few days later, on a Friday, he told me the gars were in and, he'd hold off calling Mr Stone until Monday morn.
Wowee! I picked up the decanter and around 10am the next morn (Sat) I knocked on Mr Stone's door (It was a huge door to a big mansion on the Lake Front) The door opens and a woman in a Maid's outfit asks who I am. I hand her the decanter of cigars and tell her to "give these to Mr Stone for 10 minutes of his time."
She takes the decanter and closes the door. I thought; "Holy Camoly" I just lost a bunch of money!" Then...as I'm starting to head down the steps, I hear a High-Pitched voice saying, "Hey You, out there! Open the door and come on in!"
I open the door and see a man standing at the top of the stars, holding the decanter. He yells down, "C'mon up here!"
I go up and we spend the next hour or so discussing "my Sales career. How I got the idea to get the cigars...etc"
He then asked me to give him an estimate AND...he invited me to be a Speaker at his next Monday morning "Rah-Rah" session where he gets his sales people revved up to go out and sell policies.
So....I got a really nice order for my security system....went to his Rah-Rah session and told about my "prospecting" method....and became very friendly with Mr Stone who....continued to refer his friends and biz associates to my biz.
Anyway....thanks Claude for reminding me of my early days in Sales and I hope I wasn't too long-winded.
Don Alm....STILL sellin'