If, in the following pages, I diverge from the beaten track, it shall be with as much care to keep on practical ground as the traveler exercises to maintain his bearings when he strikes into a by-way. You may safely accompany me with the assurance that we shall never lose sight of our main object, that of increasing our efficiency in selling Life Insurance.
Salesmanship is the most important function in business. Every man in active life has something to sell,-goods, services, knowledge and the rest. Among all the commodities and utilities offered for sale none is of such universal need nor of such wide beneficence as Life Insurance.
The Life Insurance salesman should be the most efficient of all. But he is not. We have been content to adopt the more or less crude methods of our predecessors. We have imagined that their practices could not be improved upon, whereas, we might learn valuable lessons from the street corner fakir and itinerant peddler.
The business of personal salesmanship is passing through an acute stage of evolution. The public and the employer corporations are demanding efficiency. Life insurance fieldmen must conform to this movement, or drop back to the tail of the procession.
There is a right and a wrong way of doing everything, and the right way is usually the easier. The requirement of today is for scientific methods. This involves the pains of qualification upon the part of the salesman, but it entails more than commensurate advantages to him.
In the effort to find the best way, new means have been resorted to, with the consequence that the latter-day education in efficiency carries the student into unaccustomed fields. The scientific application of psychology to salesmanship is a case in point. This departure, far as it is from the former methods, has been sufficiently tested to prove its soundness and practicability. Indeed, the innovation, though essential, consists of no more than the intelligent application of principles which have always been used by salesmen in a haphazard and unscientific manner.
The design of this little book is to expose the principles of psychology in their relation to the sale of a life insurance policy and to indicate their utility as a means of increasing the general efficiency of the salesman. I have exercised the utmost care to keep within practical lines. If at any point the advice given is not apparently sound to you, believe me that its value has been thoroughly proven and that a faithful trial of it will repay you.
The educational effect of this manual will be inadequate unless it induces the reader to make a deeper study of the subject. The treatment has been suggestive, rather than exhaustive or precise. You will find in the following papers statements and hints which it is hoped will act as sign-posts to guide you into paths of investigation and practice. I have taken it for granted that you are possessed of brains, and have done little more than to furnish you food for reflection.
Los Angeles, May 1, 1914.