Salesmen one-liners

“I’d like to say that our sales departments has had the best year in its history. Wow, would I like to say that!”

“A good salesman can convince his wife that ‘polyester’ is the generic name for mink.”

“My brother, the salesman, was put on a starting salary recently. Unfortunately, the salary started but he didn’t.”

“He’s a great salesman. During the day he sold pension plans to kamikaze pilots!”

“One salesman said that he’d gotten three orders that week — get out, stay out, and don’t come back!”

“We just got a painting of our sales department. It’s a still life.”

“My brother is an independent salesman. He takes orders from no one.”

“Salesmanship is the fine art of getting your customers to pass the buck.”

“I lose a little on each sale, but I make up for it in volume.”

Making the door opener your product

This is one of my favorite stories about how a smart and creative salesman along with his wife created a very successful product that began as a door opener . . .

A 1917 San Francisco door-to-door salesman, Edwin W. Cox sold the new highly touted aluminum cookware. However, because it was difficult to get into the kitchens to demonstrate his products, he found sales were mediocre. He needed a gimmick, a free introductory gift, allowing him to display his line.

Experimenting with small, square steel-wool pads hand-dipped into a soap solution, Cox discovered that the yet-named pads opened doors and boosted sales. Within a few months, demands for the pads out-grew Cox’s ability to dip and dry them in his kitchen. He stopped selling pots and pans and went into the business of manufacturing soap pads. Turning to his wife for a name, Mrs. Cox responded with “S.O.S Pads,” meaning “Save our Saucepans.” The product had a name that stuck.

You may not notice that the product name “S.O.S Pads” leaves out the period after the final “S.”  A mistake?  Nope. Cox wouldn’t be able register the name if it included the final period as that was already in the public domain.  His “S.O.S” could be officially registered, however.

Kickapoo Joy Juice

Kickapoo, first and foremost, referenced a cheap liquor, although kickapoo undoubtedly refers back to the Algonquin Kickapoo Indian tribe, originally residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Today about 800 members of the tribe live in Oklahoma. Ironically, the Kickapoo have never been known as notorious drinkers.

“Kickapoo Joy Juice” was first popularized in the 20th century by Al Capp in his “Li’l Abner” comic strip. The term initially appeared before the Civil War in “kickapoo ranger,” meaning a violent pro-slaver in Kansas. The sales connection goes back to 1861 when Dr. N.T. Oliver established the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company which was selling the patent medicine, “Kickapoo Indian Sagwa.” The name “Kickapoo
was likely chosen for its “alliterative” sound.

Probably made of aloes and stale beer, the “Juice” was hyped during medicine shows with the aid of half a dozen Indians and many white performers.

These are the real gems

Since early 20th century grocery product peddlers Frank Vernon Skiff and Frank P. Ross saw fit to name their venture The Jewel Tea Company, “chosen because in those days anything special was called a ‘jewel,” we thought it appropriate to resurrect suitable jewelry for our other professionals: Golfers=Links; Pugilists=Rings; Detectives=Watches; Criminals=Chains; Shippers=F.O.B.; Horsemen=Studs; Dairymen=Milky Quartz; Dance Hall Performers=Rosy Quartz; Printers=Agates; Novelists=Aventurine; Surgeons=Blood Stone; Baseball Players=Diamonds; Beverage Marketers=Sodalite; Firemen=Dalmatian Stones; Weathermen=Snow Flake Obsidian; Ghost Busters=Jasper; and finally, The Confidence Man=Pyrite, (Fool’s Gold).

A Remarkable Coincidence

The salesman awoke as the Pullman was approaching Chicago. He reached for his shoes, which he had given the porter to be shined, and discovered that one was black and the other was brown. He called the porter’s attention to the mix-up. “You know, sir,” declared the porter, “this is the second time that’s happened to me this morning.”

It’s Better Than Watching Grass Grow

A commercial traveler, having missed the bus, found himself with two hours to spend in Brushville. He approached an ancient porter.

Traveling Man: “Got a picture show here?”

Porter: “Nope.”

Traveling Man: “A pool room or library?”

Porter: “Nope.”

Traveling Man: “Well, how on earth do you amuse yourselves?”

Porter: “We go down to the grocery store in the evenings. They have a new bacon slicer.”

Just a shot in the dark

The traveling man riding over the Montana prairies inquired of a native, “Does Walter Malter live near here?”

“No,” was the reply.

“Well, do you happen to know where I can find him?”

“No,” said the other.

The traveling man was puzzled. “Dear me,” he said. “I must have lost my way. Perhaps you can tell me where Mr. William Bluff, familiarly known as ‘Grizzly Bill’ hangs out?”

“I can. Right here. I am Grizzly Bill.”

“But,” expostulated the tenderfoot traveler, “they told me that Malter lived within a gunshot of you.”

“Well,” said the other, “he did.” (Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang, May, 1920)

She’ll need a wide-angle lens for this big shot

The receptionist was pretty, and the visiting salesman lost no time in trying to impress her with his many charms. He bragged on and on about his exploits in selling, his former life as football hero, his success with the fair sex, and everything else he could think of.

The young lady tried to get on with her work, but that didn’t dissuade the story-teller. Finally, she looked up innocently and asked, “Tell me, have  you ever had a group photograph taken of yourself?”