Dr. Lee H. Stoner, School of Education, Indiana University, likes to tell the story of the fellow who, according to all school records, was rated very low mentally. Despite his inability to cope with the fundamental tools of learning, he was always the top salesman in the school. He sold the most popcorn at the ball games, led in the sales of candy, magazines and other items his class sold to raise money for the class trip to Washington.
Returning to this community several years later, it was noted that there was a large appliance store in town with this fellow's name in neon letters across the building. Stepping inside, the teacher found his former pupil busily selling electrical appliances in the store which looked prosperous and well stocked. After exchanging the usual amenities, the former teacher asked the appliance store owner about his bookkeeping and tax problems. "Oh, that's easy," said the former pupil. "It doesn't cost me very much to hire a good bookkeeper." Tapping his forehead, he added, "You know it takes something up here to be a good salesman."—Marie Fraser, Indiana Teacher
The best "top salesman" we ever heard of was the one who sold two milking machines to a fanner with only one cow and then took the cow as a down payment.—Speed Queen News
After all a salesman is nothing but a burglar with social charm.
Representative Brooks Hays (D-Ark) tells of an insurance man back home who used an effective introduction:
"I'm just an ignorant fellow," the salesman would begin. "I don't know much about insurance, but I'm interested in your children and how they're going to get along in later years." Then he'd proceed to wade into an enthusiastic and high-powered sales talk.
On one occasion he was interrupted by a prospect:
"You say you don’t know much, brother," said the listener, "but I declare you sure do believe what little you do know!"—Quote in Washington Bureau
The quick wit of a traveling salesman who has since become a well-known merchant was severely tested one day. He sent in his card by the office-boy to the manager of a large concern, whose inner office was separated from the waiting-room by a ground-glass partition. When the boy handed his card to the manager the salesman saw him impatiently tear it in half and throw it in the waste-basket; the boy came out and told the caller that he could not see the chief. The salesman told the boy to go back and get him his card; the boy brought out five cents, with the message that his card was torn up. Then the salesman took out another card and sent the boy back, saying: "Tell your boss I sell two cards for five cents."
He got his interview and sold a large bill of goods.
A young man entered a hat store and asked to see the latest styles in derbies. He was evidently hard to please, for soon the counter was covered with hats that he had tried on and found wanting. At last the salesman picked up a brown derby, brushed it off on his sleeve, and extended it admiringly.
"These are being very much worn this season, sir," he said. "Won't you try it on?"
The customer put the hat on and surveyed himself critically in the mirror. "You're sure it's in style?"
"The most fashionable thing we have in the shop, sir. And it suits you to perfection—if the fit's right."
"Yes, it fits very well. So you think I had better have it?"
"I don't think you could do better."
"No, I don't think I could. So I guess I won't buy a new one after all."
The salesman had been boosting the customer's old hat, which had become mixed among the many new ones.
VISITOR—"Can I see that motorist who was brought here an hour ago?"
NURSE—"He hasn't come to his senses yet."
VISITOR—"Oh, that's all right. I only want to sell him another car."—Judge.
"That fellow is too slick for me. Sold me a lot that was two feet under water. I went around to demand my money back."
"Get nothing! Then he sold me a second-hand gasoline launch and a copy of 'Venetian Life,' by W.D. Howells."
In a small South Carolina town that was "finished" before the war, two men were playing checkers in the back of a store. A traveling man who was making his first trip to the town was watching the game, and, not being acquainted with the business methods of the citizens, he called the attention of the owner of the store to some customers who had just entered the front door.
"Sh! Sh!" answered the storekeeper, making another move on the checkerboard. "Keep perfectly quiet and they'll go out."
He who finds he has something to sell,
And goes and whispers it down a well,
Is not so apt to collar the dollars,
As he who climbs a tree and hollers.—The Advertiser