A GOOD deal has been said and written about the value of ad-
vertising to the salesman. That worthy explorer of publicity and salesmanship, Hugh Chalmers, has covered one phase of the subject so thoroughly that no further comment need be made. However, there is one form of advertising that has received little attention from all students of scientific salesmanship.
Salesmen often point with pride to their personality. A man will change houses and receive higher pay, simply on account of his ability to pull trade. Such men often call it “their” trade.
Houses which advertise extensively claim to own a large percentage of trade. They often appeal directly to the purchasing public, reaching over the head of the retailer.
Salesmen—up-to-date businessgetters-—are always full believers in advertising. Still, they often neglect that most valuable form of advertising—personal advertising.
There are men who call on their trade comparatively few times a year, and yet there will be something about their personality that paves their way to the private office. Salesmen who call as seldom as once a year often follow up their trade with personal letters, price quotations and -similar literature.
A Chicago Board of Trade man calls on the large shippers of the Mid-
die West once a year. His steady companion is a little book, in which he enters what would to some people seem to be the most ridiculous notes, such as: “Very fond of Old Style
Lager,” “Smokes William Penns,” “Strictly prohibition,” “Loves to talk about ball games,” “Interested in local politics,” “Golf enthusiast,” “Dislikes broad stories,” etc.
In every letter he writes to these buyers he manages to touch in some way upon their favorite topic. Once he meets a man he keeps him “indexed,” and helps him ride his hobby as often as possible.
Salesmen who call on trade at intervals of from one to three months and oftener mostly fail to see the value of personality advertising. They mistake acquaintance for personality. When they call the proprietor by his first name, swap stories with the head clerk and jolly the cashier, they think they have made themselves solid-.
Let them drop out of the territory for six months ; will they be remembered? Most probably not. The-new man comes, takes the orders, and, after a few trips, he calls the boss “Joe,” the cashier “sister” and buys a smoke for the head clerk.
But you let Windy Jim or Grandpa Dean, Pickle Brown, Soapy Jack, Baggy Bill, Happy Heiny or Cracker John leave their territories and you will have inquiries from bank presidents to bell-boys. Why? Because they are advertised. Are you ?
If you have been an unknown quantity in your territory, if you have not impressed your trade with your personality, be assured you have not advertised yourself sufficiently. Get popular. Be known by a nickname, a slogan, and you will be popular. Your orders will increase in1 numbers, new stores will know you from hearsay. The conductor, the busman, the boy on the corner, will all know you when you come to town. Your trade will be glad to see you, their handshakes will seem heartier and their “how-deedo” more cordial.
An Eastern house has a representative call once a year on the Western trade in all county-seat towns of two thousand population and over. He resembles in appearance an English lord and, in his immaculate dress, would be welcome at any social function of the four hundred. His frock coat and high hat are his placard.
Another man whose business requires a good deal of figuring with his prospective purchaser carries a blue and red pencil. He figures with the
blue pencil and then, as if by chance, he marks down the profit in big, red figures.
These seemingly small things are all a great aid in the art of order-getting. The studious salesman appreciates the value of advertising, and studies his own personality with the care of an actor, being constantly on the lookout for a catchy way to place himself conspicuously in the buyer’s thoughtdirectory.
As good flour suggests to some Gold Medal, and a good shirt, Cluett’s, so through proper personality advertising the dry-goods buyer when short on flannels will think about Louis.
The buyer will always be caused to think, when short on certain lines, of the salesman doing the best personality advertising in that line, in that territory.
While successful advertisers have to keep everlastingly at it. placing themselves prominently in the buyer’s way, a personality advertiser must be careful to never appear to be seeking notoriety. He must use diplomacy, tact and good-fellowship with the air of a disinterested third party, always keeping in mind that it is most advantageous to his purpose to have them talk and laugh about him after his departure. And the longer they do so. the better.
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