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Winning The Customer’s Good Will
by [?]

To win the customer’s good will is the aim of every successful salesman.

“Ah, but how can I do this?” asks the new man.

The ways must be as many as the men he meets. The dispositions of men are as varied as their looks. A kind word will win one man and a bluff another. A generous deed will go right into the heart of one merchant; another will resent it, thinking that the man who does him a favor seeks only to buy his good will. The one thing, however, that the man on the road must do, and always do, is to gain the confidence of the man with whom he seeks to do business. His favor will as surely follow this as day follows night. The night may sometimes be long, like that at the North Pole, but when day does finally dawn it will also be of long duration. The man whose confidence it is slow for you to gain, will probably prove to be the man whose faith in you will last the longest.

Then, the salesman must not only have the knack of getting the good will of his customer on first sight, but he must also possess patience and, if need be, let confidence in himself be a slow growth. He must do business from the jump when he starts out with samples but, to be truly successful, his business must always grow.

A little group of us, having come back from our trips, fell in together one day at luncheon in Chicago. Our meeting was not planned at all, but before the first of us had forgotten the sting of the tabasco on our Blue Points, so many old friends had foregathered that we had our waiters slide two tables together. There was quite a bunch of us. The last one to join the party was a dry goods man. He was a jolly good fellow.

“Hello! Ed, Hello!” spoke up all the boys at once. “How are you? Just home? Sorry to hear your old customer out at Columbus finally had to quit business,” said the clothing man.

“Yes; so am I,” said Ed. “He was a mighty hard man for me to get started with but when once I landed him he was one of the most faithful customers I had. Do you know that for more than eight years he never bought a sou in my line from any other man? It’s too bad that he had to leave this world. He was a fine old gentleman. I’ll never forget, though, the first time I sold him. I had been calling on him for three or four years. His town was one of the first ones I made when I started on the road–I was not quite twenty, then.

“He always treated me courteously–he was a Southerner, you know–but I couldn’t get next to him to save my life. One day as I walked toward his store, a little German band stationed itself just before his door and started in to play Yankee Doodle. I didn’t pay any attention to this at the time, but when I went up to shake hands with the old gentleman, as usual, I asked him if there was something in my line he wanted. For the first time in his life he was uncivil toward me. He said, ‘No, suh, there is not,’ and he turned and walked away. Well, there was nothing left for me to do but to scoot as soon as I could.

“I made a sneak and went into another store but soon I saw there was nothing there for me and I thought I would run over to the hotel, get my traps together and skip town by the next train. I had to pass by the old man’s door again. The little German band was still there. They had quit playing Yankee Doodle but were going it good and hard on ‘Marching Through Georgia.’ I happened to look into the old man’s store and he was pacing up and down behind the counter. A bright idea struck me. I went up to the leader of the band and said, ‘Look here, Fritz, can you play Dixie?’