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Salesmen’s Don’ts
by [?]

Salesmen are told many things they should do; perhaps they ought to hear a few things they should not do. If there is one thing above all others that a salesman should observe, it is this:

Don’t grouch!

The surly salesman who goes around carrying with him a big chunk of London fog does himself harm. If the sun does not wish to shine upon him–if he is having a little run of hard luck–he should turn on himself, even with the greatest effort, a little limelight. He should carry a small sunshine generator in his pocket always. The salesman who approaches his customer with a frown or a blank look upon his face, is doomed right at the start to do no business. His countenance should be as bright as a new tin pan.

The feeling of good cheer that the salesman has will make his customer cheerful; and unless a customer is feeling good, he will do little, if any, business with you.

I do not mean by this that the salesman should have on hand a full stock of cheap jokes–and pray, my good friend, never a single smutty one; nothing cheapens a man so much as to tell one of these–but he should carry a line of good cheerful wholesome talk. “How are you feeling?” a customer may ask. “Had a bad cold last night, but feel chipper as a robin this morning.” “How’s business?” a customer may inquire. “The, world is kind to me,” should be the reply. The merchant who makes a big success is the cheerful man; the salesman who–whether on the road or behind the counter–succeeds, carries with him a long stock of sunshine.

An old-time clothing man who traveled in Colorado once told me this incident:

“I used to have a customer, several years ago, over in Leadville,” said he, “that I had to warm up every time I called around. His family cost him a great deal of money. The old man gave it to them cheerfully, but he himself would take only a roll and a cup of coffee for breakfast, and, when he got down to the store he felt so poor that he would take a chew of tobacco and make it last him for the rest of the day. Actually, that man didn’t eat enough. And his clothes–well, he would dress his daughters in silks but he would wear a hand-me-down until the warp on the under side of his sleeves would wear clear down to the woof. He would wear the bottoms off his trousers until the tailor tucked them under clear to his shoe tops. Smile? I never saw the old man smile in my life when I first met him on my trips. It would always take me nearly a whole day to get him thawed out, and the least thing would make him freeze up again.

“I remember one time I went to see him–you recall him, old man Samuels–and, after a great deal of coaxing, got him to come into my sample room in the afternoon. This was a hard thing to do because if he was busy in the store he would not leave and if he wasn’t busy, he would say to me, ‘Vat’s de use of buying, Maircus? You see, I doan sell nodding.’

“But this time I got the old man over to luncheon with me–we were old friends, you know–and I jollied him up until he was in a good humor. Then I took him into the sample room, and little by little, he laid out a line of goods. Just about the time he had finished it, it grew a little cloudy.

“Now, you know how the sun shines in Colorado? From one side of the state to the other it seldom gets behind a cloud. In short, it shines there 360 days in the year. It had been bright and clear all morning and all the time, in fact, until the old man had laid out his line of goods. Then he happened to look out of the window, and what do you suppose he said to me?