A most remarkable sale

The following story was told to me by one of the Million Dollar Round Table members when I was communications manager for the association, honoring the most successful life insurance salesmen and saleswomen in the world. — Ron Solberg

A very unusual and most remarkable insurance sales occurred in the mid-1970’s high up in the Colorado Rockies.

An insurance agent and his wife were in a long line to board a tram that would carry them from one ski slope to another. Just before they boarded, the agent’s wife pulled him from the line, as she needed to adjust a ski boot. They eventually got back in line and boarded the next available cable car. As they began their trip across the canyon, a single-engine airplane, flying low between the Colorado mountain peaks clipped the cable carrying the cars. The cars ahead of the agent and his wife were catapulted into the canyon, killing their occupants. However the agent’s car was stuck between peaks and left dangling precariously above the valley below. While stranded in the tram, and prior to eventual rescue, the agent used the opportunity to sell a life insurance policy or two to the car’s other occupants.

Now that is a matter of principle

Salesman: “listen, girlie, how come you’re so wild.”

Little Nell: “Say mister, I’m tough. I went to an immoral school.”

Salesman: “Whaddaya mean, immoral?”

Nell: “We didn’t have any principal.”

(Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang, Winter Annual, September, 1929)

“Let’s trade ideas” — Ben Feldman

“I’m always trying to find new fundamental ideas — ideas that result in big sales . . . I may take a little something from you. And from you. I’ll beg it. I’ll borrow it. I’ll steal it, and I’lll try to make it my own. I have gleaned my ideas from the minds of many men — but in return, I’ll share any ideas I have with you. If you have an idea and I have an idea, and we trade ideas, no one has lost! Now we each have two ideas.” — Ben Feldman, (Considered by some to be the most successful life insurance salesman of all time)

Not my job

An elderly woman was taking her first airplane ride. She wasn’t too enthused about it.  Fortunately, though, she was seated next to a clergyman. She thought that would help, but it didn’t. After they were up for awhile, the plane hit some pretty traumatic turbulence. They bounced around and she whiter and whiter. Finally, in anger she turned to the clergyman and said, “You’re a religious person. Can’t you do something about this?”

He said, “I’m sorry, Madam. I’m in sales, not management.”

Sevenfold Restitution — An Anecdote

The 1890’s Washington County Post says that a man in a certain village, having had sanded sugar sold to him, inserted in the weekly paper the following: “Notice – I bought of a grocer in this village a quantity of sugar, from which I obtained one pound of sand. If the rascal who cheated me will send to my address seven pounds of good sugar (Scripture measure of restitution), I will be satisfied; if not, I shall expose him.”

On the following day nine seven-pound packages of sugar were left at his residence from as many different dealers, each supposing himself the one intended.

Sarah Breedlove Walker (1867-1919)

Some great “salesmen” were women.  One of them being Sarah Breedlove Walker.

Walker was one of the first American Women of any race or rank to become a millionaire through her own efforts, sharing that title with her early St. Louis teacher and “boss,” Annie Turbo Malone.

Madame C.J. Walker, as she would eventually become known, offered a nearly mythic appeal to African American women through her cosmetic business, elevating sophisticated glamour to a new level. In the process her company’s 20,000 agents would generate annual sales of a quarter of a million dollars.

Distinguish yourself from the competition

“If you cannot distinguish yourself from the competition, you will sell based on price . . .All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.  All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.” – Jeffrey Gitomer, (Salesmanship author, speaker)

Hilary Clinton Ziglar “Zig”

This salesman, motivational speaker, author, and born-again Christian began work as a door-to-door salesman for the Wearever Aluminum Company. Early on he struggled, however, as he freely admits: “It was really a question of survival. When our first baby was born, I had to literally go out and sell two sets of cookware in order to get her out of the hospital.

His turn-around occurred when a Wearever sales executive took him aside and told Ziglar that if he recognized his ability, he could become a “a great one.” Apparently that was the kind of encouragement Ziglar needed since he soon became the second highest achiever of some 7,000 salesmen.

Since 1970 Ziglar has traveled over five million miles, delivering his life improvement messages.  Headquartered in Dallas, TX, Ziglar Training Systems offers public seminars, customized education programs, workshops and keynote speakers.

Ziglar has written twenty-three books on personal growth, leadership, sales, faith, family and success including his very popular 1984 book, SEE YOU AT THE TOP, which was republished as a 25th anniversary revised edition.