Napoleon Hill author of the legendary Think and Grow Rich, has a rare book titled, How to Sell Your Way Through Life (1939). This is the last of a four-part series that will present the 28 Qualities the Master Salesman Must Develop. (The original language and syntax are intact.)
Your challenge is not just to read them and say “Yep, I know that.” Salespeople already know everything. The problem is they don’t DO it. To get the maximum value from this list, don’t just read it. Rate yourself from 1-10 on your present level of competence or excellence for each quality. I dare you.
The last six qualities presented here are the toughest to acquire and maintain. How do you rate?
23. The habit of rendering more service than is expected of him. The super-salesman follows the habit of rendering service which is greater in quantity, and finer in quality than he is expected to render, thereby profiting by the law of Increasing Returns, as well as by the law of Contrast.
24. Profiting by failures and mistakes. The super-salesman experiences no such contingent as “lost effort.” He profits by all of his mistakes and, through observation, by the mistakes of others. He knows that in every failure and mistake may be found (if analyzed) the seed of an equivalent success!
25. The master mind. The super-salesman understands and applies the “Master Mind” principle, through which greatly multiplies his power to achieve. (The Master Mind principle means “the coordination of two or more individual minds, working in perfect harmony for a definite purpose.”)
26. A definite major aim. The super-salesman works always with a definite sales quota, or goal, in mind. He never goes at his work merely with the aim of selling all he can. He not only works with a definite goal in mind, but he has a definite time in which to attain the object of that goal. There is a psychological effect of a definite chief aim known as a process called autosuggestion.
27. The Golden Rule applied. The super-salesman uses the Golden Rule as the foundation of all of his business transactions, putting himself in the “other man’s shoes,” and seeing the situation from his viewpoint. This quality will be a greater necessity in the future than it has been in the past, because of the changes in business ethics which have taken place as the result of the Business Depression.
Of all the qualities that a salesman must possess, none is more necessary, none more valuable than the last one:
28. Enthusiasm. The super-salesman has an abundance of enthusiasm which he can use at will. Moreover, he knows the vibrations of thought which he releases through his enthusiasm will be picked up by the prospective buyer and acted upon as if it were his own creation.
Enthusiasm is a difficult thing to explain, but its presence is easily recognized. Everybody likes an enthusiastic person. He is high of spirit and radiates an atmosphere of good fellowship, high faith, and lofty purpose. Perhaps enthusiasm is born as much of his own deep faith in himself, the mission of work he carries on, and the good he does in his work, as anything.
Therefore, to every salesman this advice is given as though from Sinai: With all thy getting, get enthusiasm.
Hill closes the chapter with: Mastery in connection with these major factors in selling entitles those who sell to rate as super-salesmen! Study the list carefully and make sure you are not weak in connection with any of these qualities, if you aspire to mastery in selling.
You will observe that every quality may be acquired!
This does not harmonize with the false notion that “Salesmen are born and not made.” Salesmanship is an art and a science, and may be acquired by those with the will to acquire it.
There is not a sales training program in America that could not be run on these principles. Put them into language of the 2000’s and they are a prescription for the 21st century. You may want to include saleswomen into the verbiage but realize that in the 40’s, it was perfectly acceptable to use the “man” suffix to include all genders. Times have changed some will argue for the better.
Go back and review the writing. Hill’s methodology is designed that way. I know people who have read Think and Grow Rich a dozen times (three times for me). And for those of you who doubt his greatness or read the words and think, “kind of hokey,” you should know that Napoleon Hill’s mastermind group consisted of people like Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Who’s in yours?