It is a shame that I’ve grown up with disdain for salesmen. This book along with others like Think and Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big, and How to Win Friends and Influence People have taught me to love the world of sales.
I avoided such books for years because I thought they were books about techniques to get people to do what you want. I was so wrong.
What I learned from these books is that true sales is about connecting with people and serving them. They taught me that integrity, honesty, hard work, and a willingness to overcome one’s fears and weaknesses are more important that making a sale. In fact, they are essential to becoming who God intended we be!
I feel inadequate as I attempt to scratch down a bit of a review here. I recognize that as is true with all good classics, I could put a lot of mileage into rereading How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling and gain immensely from each read-through.
Bettger faced failures as a professional baseball player and later as an insurance salesman, but he eventually became a huge success, commanding the respect of Dale Carnegie. What changed? Bettger decided to dig into the WHY. Why had he performed poorly in spite of hard work? He began to identify the reasons and attacked them with enthusiasm. His stories show a readiness to learn from others and implement the principles they taught him. He followed the example of Benjamin Franklin and created a system to work on several virtues that would help him succeed as a man and a salesman.
The heart of these virtues is genuine concern for others. Bettger teaches the reader how to work towards overcoming fear, how to remember names and important details about other people, how to be a good listener, how to be genuine at all times, and how selling (when done right) is simply gaining the trust of others so they are willing to let you find them the best solutions for their individual situation.
I’ll end with the counsel he gives in the last chapter. He says that when we finish reading a book we have three choices.
1. Ignore it – we might as well not have read it in this case.
2. Try to implement every good idea – we’ll fail with this approach, because it is overwhelming and unrealistic.
3. Follow Benjamin Franklin’s example and focus on one lesson at a time – this will lead to lasting success.
My first point of focus is remembering the names of those I meet. To learn more about how to master names, read chapter 22! It will be well worth your time.