Jimmy Stewart's Rabbit

Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit: Part 1

Harvey was a 6 ft. 8 inch White Rabbit.

Harvey Was The Father Of My Genie.

This is not a White Paper! White Papers pretend to be unbiased.

by Ted Steinberg, Co-Founder.

Harvey Gave Jimmy Stewart The Oscar.

Harvey was a 1950 movie. Before that, Harvey was a Broadway Play. Before that, Harvey was a best selling novel. Despite his size and stature in show business, Harvey was invisible to everyone except Mr. Elwood P. Dowd, played by James Stewart who won the Academy Award for Best Actor; Harvey played himself.

Although Harvey was invisible to everyone, Jimmy saw him clearly. Between the time the book was published and the movie was made, Harvey grew 8 inches. He was 4 inches taller than Jimmy, so Jimmy could look up to him. Harvey was Jimmy’s best friend.

If you are wondering how Harvey got introduced to my genie’s mother, thus creating the Genie and the biggest breakthrough of my life – then or since, relax and enjoy the ride.

My Genie Gave Me Three Wishes:

1) I could sell anyone I wanted, 2) I could sell anything I wanted, 3) I could sell any way I wanted. My Genie is miles taller than I am. Whenever I get impressed with my-self, I can still look up to him. My Genie is my best friend.

How About a Logic Break?

Since the corners of The Matchmaker’s Triangle deal with, 1) who you can sell, 2) what you can sell, and 3) how you can sell, my Genie gave me the aegis for The Matchmaker’s Triangle, which helped me organize the four subjects which affect every seller: 1) The Who? 2) The What? 3) The How? 4) The Why? (Why would any of my matchmaking choices work?)

Without a system, finding the best combination can be like playing three dimensional chess.

My Reality Leads Me To Fantasies.

You’re about to witness the beginning of a breakthrough. Opportunities, especially breakthroughs, are rarely recognized until later, sometimes, much later.

Come along for the ride: it’s 1958, late September. We’re headed westward across North Dakota, 450 miles of wheat, more wheat, cows and more cows. We’re in my 1957 Ford. I’m a Manufacturer’s Rep. I’m no longer a Junior Rep. The work is the same, only now I haul the samples and do everything for my-self.

I landed the line in July, attended my first sales meeting in August, and have been on the road every day showing the samples to new and existing customers, department stores and specialty shops in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. We make sportswear for women. ages 13 – 33, a segment known for being persnickety about style and appearance.

The good news: our clothes are not over-priced. They fit well, needing little, if any, alterations. My father’s dress shop has done well with them for years. I expected other buyers to be equally impressed. Little did I know!

The bad news: the brand’s name, Thermo-Jac is unfashionable and we will never change it.

It takes more work to sell a good product with a bad name than a bad product with a good name,

Thermo-Jac is made by The Grove Company. Bill Upthegrove is the owner. Bill’s company made light weight windbreakers for WWII Naval officers. Thermo-Jacs protected from cold winds and ocean spray. They were made from tightly woven, white, cotton, sail cloth.

After the war, many officers bought their Thermo-Jacs home, where wives and girlfriends decided they wanted similar jackets that fit where they were supposed to. Bill Upthegrove’s wife had the company make up some white short-shorts for female members of the St. Louis Country Club. Within weeks after her friends decided they couldn’t live without these close fitting short-shorts and jackets, retailers across the country were selling Thermo-Jacs despite the name.

Because all fads die out, to stay in business, Thermo-Jac expanded their line. Soon they were making various lengths of shorts, pants, skirts, jackets, and blouses. When a store, like my father’s, established the complete line, with enough display space, the line did very well. However, most retailers only wanted to buy a few items which might become hits. Unfortunately, this attitude represented over 90% of my 285 existing accounts. Oops and double-oops!

Hello, Fantasy World, Here’s Harvey. Wake Up, Little Genie, Wake Up!

If you’re not dreaming of something while driving across the Dakotas, you’re either dead or you’re almost. If Numbness sounds like a Dakotan’s surname, now you know.

A year earlier, while driving from Sioux Falls to Phoenix, tired of listening to the Top 40 and Grand Ole Opry, I pretended I won the Irish Sweepstakes. I bought so many Porsches and Jaguars it required a huge building to store them. Then I started a dealership so my friends wouldn’t think I was a rich good-for-nothing. By the time I got my dealership going, I realized it was more work than I expected, so I forgot about my winnings and kept on driving.

By the time I got to Phoenix, 10 years before Glen Campbell, (he beat me out of the royalties, too.), I was searching for a Genie who would grant me three wishes. The one’s I chose were, as you know: 1) I could sell anyone I wanted, 2) I could sell anything I wanted, 3) I could sell any way I wanted.

I was concerned about the details as to who, what, and how I could get away with this, when I recalled Harvey, the movie my family and I attended in 1950. If Jimmy Stewart could convince his friends that talking to big white rabbits was not a sign of lunacy, perhaps I should persuade a Genie to grant me the ability to sell anyone, anything, any way I wanted. I needed more than a guarantee, I needed a sounding board, too.

Now you know why Harvey became the father of my Genie. Given the known proclivities of rabbits, the lurid details as to how he courted my Genie’s mother are inappropriate.

Finally I was in Phoenix, too busy with my new job to think about the possibilities of finding a Genie.

One Year Later, Crossing North Dakota, Going Nowhere In Sales, I Find My Genie!

He makes me a deal = my wishes will be granted, provided – whatever I would sell and however I would sell:

  1. it will always be good for the customer, in the customer's mind, not mine.)

  2. it will never about me. (I am never the star. Customers must feel like I placed their satisfaction ahead of my own.

  3. it will never about the Genie. (The Genie can never be revealed to the customer. In other words, the customer can never know it’s a foregone conclusion he or she is going to buy into whatever and however I am selling.)

Now what? I have the perfect Fantasy World. What is it good for?

The following three editions of Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit reveal how a Fantasy World can be turned into a Reality World that lives up to your expectations.]

Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit: Part 2

Succession Planning 101: Harvey is Retired.

My Genie (Harvey’s Son) is the Boss!

This is not a White Paper! White Papers pretend to be unbiased.

by Ted Steinberg, Co-Founder.

With the Rabbit on Ice, What’s Happening?

Taking Inventory:

  1. I have a Genie. (Q: What’s he good for?) 
  2. I have a Fantasy System. (A: Other than a great way to avoid reality, who knows!)
  3. The Genie granted me three wishes:
    1. I can sell anyone I want,
    2. I can sell anything I want,
    3. I could sell any way I want.

*So what? “Once you know what’s so, so what?” (Chinese Proverb.)

*I decide to stop trying to make sense of it and enjoy the ride.

Enjoying The Ride, I Have a Pastime for My Fantasy World

Since my Genie agreed to be my sounding board, too, I decided to turn my three wishes into a game. If the game became too complicated, I could turn to my Genie for help.

The game goes like this – you can play it, too, since it is practically guaranteed you will be able to sell anyone, anything, any way you want to – then:

  1. Who would you want to sell?
  2. What would you offer them?
  3. How would you go about it? (They’re going to buy, no matter what, so blow it up; take a deep breath and turn the balloon into a blimp, make your pastime pay off. It doesn’t cost any more to make it huge. The ticket to ride is limited by your imagination.

Here’s how I used my wishes:

1st Wish. I wanted to sell Eisenhower on hiring me as an advisor. He was wasting too much time playing accusational ping- pong with Kruschev.

2nd Wish. I wanted to sell something to the duPonts. Also, the Rockefellers. Old money and big money, why not? What would I sell them.? Not sure, I’ll figure that out later.

[Funny thing, 15 years later, I sold Cattle Breeding herds to Henry B. duPont III, and Mrs. David Rockefeller (Margaret = Peggy). Impressed? Don’t be, I didn’t set out to sell them. It was just one of those mysterious things that happened after I introduced Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit, Harvey, to the mother of my Genie.]

3rd Wish & My biggest wish. I wanted my 285 accounts to buy Thermo-Jac Sportwear the way I wanted them to, without me having to haul in the samples and show them the line or discuss the merits of every garment. I wanted them to say, “Yes, Ted, anything you say. Yes, I will sign a blank order for the amount you say. You can fill it in later and send it to me. And, Ted, thanks for doing it your way; I can’t wait to get started.” 

Because The Fantasy World is a Fantasy. Why not blow up a big balloon? Maybe it won't pop. If you are looking for the logic, all I wanted was a pastime. I never thought it would be good for anything other than a game for wishing.

Warning! The Fantasy World is for dreaming, do not, do not, do not try to turn it into anything useful while you’re playing your pastime. If you try and figure out what to do with it from a reality standpoint, like seeing if you can come up with something which fits into your present Reality World, like, having to make sales), you will: 1) lose the potential of personal expansion. and 2) be unable to properly apply it while you are dreaming. Dreaming and Reality are both processes and they only work well when they are not intermingled. If you are, heaven forbid, a multi-tasker, you will go broke buying training wheels. Both processes, fantasy and reality, must never be done consecutively within the same 24 hour timeframe!

It’s Time For Prospect Solitaire. Played Correctly, You Never Lose!

Prospect Solitaire lead me to The Reality World. It took me three months to realize that Prospect Solitaire was good for anything until I received a boost from my Genie and Tom Bradley. Tom was a Thermo-Jac Rep, just like me. Other than my father, Tom was my most important mentor,

Background

  1. You and I are off the road. It’s late October, 1958, we’ve covered the territory. In a few weeks, the Spring line will be announced and we’ll be in the home office to see it. Four lines a year = four style shows a year = four sales meetings a year. There are 17 Manufacturer Reps. Each rep gets 15 minutes with Al Hoppin, the V.P. of Sales and longtime friend of Bill Upthegrove, who owns The Grove Company, which manufactured Thermo-Jac Sportswear for young women. If you and I are lucky we get to spend 5 minutes with Bill. Just imagine, we only have to attend 4 sales meeting a year, 2.5 days each, and we rarely ever hear from management, even though we are full time, independent, captive reps (captive = exclusive representation).
  2. We are independent. Nobody tells us what to do. We are paid a draw and commission. We must buy the samples. At the end of each quarter, we get our commission less the draw and the cost of the samples. If we turn in sufficient revenue and represent the company in an appropriate manner, we have good incomes and job security.
  3. Some of Thermo-Jac’s reps are well paid. Tom Bradley makes over $95,000 per year, about $800,000 in today’s dollars. I make $6,500, about $55,000. My expenses are $3,000. My car payment is $85 per mo. I live with my parents. After the essentials, I have $2,000 to spend on luxuries. It’s 1958: a porterhouse steak dinner is $2.50, a martini is 50 cents, a beer is 25 cents, you can attend a Louis Armstrong dance/concert for $1.75. What else is there? A Leica camera costs $450 including a great lens. I bought one. Today the same camera without a lens is $7K. The lens is $4K.
  4. Since Tom Bradley made 15 times more than I, although the population of his territory was only twice as big, what was I missing? I decided to study my accounts. This is how I learned about Prospect Solitaire.
  5. Prospect Solitaire – The Rules: (computer assistance will not be available for 25 years.)
    1. Using 5 x 7 cards, with one account per card = with minimal information included, other than who, where, type, and amount of annualized purchases, sort all your accounts (regardless of type) from highest volume to lowest, adjusted for a 12 month run rate.
    2. Divide your total accounts into 5 separate stacks; it must be 5 to get quintiles. In my case, 285 accounts yield 57 per stack = 57 per quintile. (The 80/20 rule is a joke, don’t think about it unless you don't care to maximize your opportunities or your customer’s value.)
    3. The 1st quintile = your top 57 accounts. Your top account, therefore, is card No. 1, and your subsequent accounts will likewise be in descending order. (Your 2nd quintile = your next lowest 57 accounts. Your 3rd quintile = your next lowest, and so on.)
    4. Here’s what made my eyes pop. Your 5th quintile contains your lowest producing accounts. Yes, I know a quintile is the same as 20% of something, but that’s not what you care about. You care about being a good detective who is in no hurry to prejudge a crime scene. As you will find out, when it hits you (just as I did) a crime is committed, when you rob yourself of your rightful earnings. Example? I looked at my 5th quintile and saw the names of retailers, who, by their size and potential, should have been in my 1st quintile. In fact, some of them should have been among my top 5 to 10 accounts. Holy cow, at the risk of promoting my post on “Cowboy Arithmetic.” Holy cow! Previously, I had been tending my cash cows by how much they were producing instead of how much they could produce. I wanted to improve the herd, but I didn’t know how. I ay have had the right customers, but most of them were not producing. If that’s not a crime, what is?
    5. Now, go to your 1st quintile, and you will notice how many of your top producers were not all that big in terms of size or potential. Many of my top accounts, including my father’s store, for example, were producing way more than what anyone would rightfully expect. What was happening? I had potentially big accounts who were under-achieving. I had potentially small accounts who were over-achieving. But, why? Attitude, attitude, attitude. Their attitude, and mine. My over-achievers were in love with Thermo-Jac; our company was important to them. My under-achievers were not in love with Thermo-Jac; we meant nothing to them. The accounts who loved us let me write up their orders; they wanted me to be fully involved. To them I was more than a salesman, I was an asset they could learn from, just like me learning from my Genie, just like Jimmy Stewart learning from Harvey. I had created an alter ego and I was not sure what to do with him.

Note: It took Prospect Solitaire to show me that, perhaps, I didn’t know: 1)who I was selling, 2) what I was offering, or 3) how to persuade customers, AND I thought I did, I didn't know what was happening.

Call it a paradigm shift, call it jumping outside my box, call it being tired of hitting my head on the wall, call it whatcha wanna, I was ready to rethink my world.

FWIW, the best relationships I have enjoyed with clients and sales producers were initiated when everyone was ready to rethink their worlds. Until I played Prospect Solitaire, I thought I knew the score. I not only didn’t know the score, I didn’t know what selling could be about. I didn’t know the revenue game, and I thought I did.

When Will Tom Bradley Show Us His Secrets?

Tom Bradley’s habits are revealed in Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit – Part 3, coming soon, just you wait and see! Meanwhile, popcorn and double jointed peanuts are available in the lobby.

[Three months after I played Prospect Solitaire, Tom Bradley visited my territory, spending a day with me, calling on my accounts, showing me his way. Thirty days later, my annualized income increased 6 fold. Now, I had two best friends: Tom Bradley and My Genie.]

Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit: Part 3

A Mentor Shows Me The Value of My Genie.

Will My Wishes Come True?

This is not a White Paper! White Papers pretend to be unbiased.

by Ted Steinberg, Co-Founder.

[If you never read another article on selling, by me or anyone, read this like it’s the crucible that keeps you loving the work you do, loving the business of selling. I’ve waited 60 years to write this story. I hope you like it as much as I did in writing it.]

Previously on Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit

  1. In 1957, I'm 23 and dreaming of Genies. I am looking for a Genie who will be my best friend and grant me three wishes.
  2. I use Harvey as my model of an imaginary best friend and confidant who will become real. Harvey is Jimmy Stewart’s, 6’ 8′′ White Rabbit, Harvey is Jimmy’s best friend. They trust each other implicitly. Harvey wins the Oscar for Jimmy in 1950. What’s good enough for Jimmy is good enough for me.
  3. My Genie grants me my wishes: 1) I can sell anyone I want, 2) anything I want, 3) any way I want.
  4. My Genie has three provisos: 1) it must be good for the customer, 2) the Genie is never the star, 3) I am never the star. (The customer is always the star. It’s not about the Genie; it’s not about me.)
  5. In mid-1958, other than for daydreams, other than a way to keep from being bored as I drove from town to town selling Thermo-Jac sportswear to retailers, my sessions with the Genie were never intended for being useful.
  6. A few months later, trying to analyze my situation, working hard, but hardly productive, I decided to sort my accounts from most sales to least sales without realizing I was playing the the well known game of Prospect Solitaire, a process used by salespeople, hoping to pick the lucky card (lead) and make a sale. Many of my bottom accounts should have been top accounts. Many of my top accounts were really small retailers who outperformed their size. For some reason, they loved Thermo-Jac and me. Hmm?
  7. My income in 1958 was $6,500 per year, $55,000 in today's dollars. It increased 6 fold in 1959 because I invited Tom Bradley to spend a day with me in my territory. Tom sold Thermo-Jac, too; his income was $95,000 per year, $800,000 in today's dollars. What was he doing right that I wasn’t doing? What was I doing wrong that he wasn’t doing?

What Happens in Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit, Part 3: (It's now 1959)

Tom Bradley visits me in Milwaukee the last week in January, 1959. He asked me to set up three appointments with existing accounts for the day after he arrives.

The Strangest Secret:

  1. As soon as we check into the hotel, he asks me to listen to “The Strangest Secret,” a recording he brought, by Earl Nightingale. He will join me later after I listened
  2. The secret? What is it? “We become what we think about.” The LP sold over 1.000,000 copies, but when I listened to it, I did so because Tom insisted, not because I wanted to. In fact I resisted it almost entirely. It was just too professional, so I thought. Too slick, it put me off.
  3. Even though I listened to Nightingale speak of Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” and of Socrates saying, “we become what we think about all day long,” it never dawned on me that my all day long thoughts about my Genie had anything in common with Nightingale, Napoleon Hill or Socrates.

Bradley Quizzes Me:

  1. Did I listen to the record? I did!
  2. How did I like it? Ho hum!
  3. What do I think about all day long? I told him: 1) Porsches, 2) Beautiful Models = I worked with magazine models everyday and I thought about them, and then some, if you get the picture. 
  4. Hunting & Fishing, Skiing, and Jazz. (I wasn’t going to tell Tom about the Genie; he’d call the boss, and either I’d be fired or put in the home for the bewildered.)

Bradley Sets Me Up For His Axioms. (My term for what he told me.)

Bradley didn’t attack my lack of interest in The Strangest Secret. Until he was 45, 7 years before, working for Brown Show Manufacturing, he sold like everyone else, doing OK, not great, just OK.

He decided to rethink everything about selling. Perhaps, he was trapped in the role of being a peddler, and
wanted to jump a few hurdles and find a better way to sell. Tom told me his father died at the time, and he felt like he failed to measure up. This motivated him to search for a better way to think about the whole process as a subject which could be mastered.

Bradley’s Axioms

(Shown In the order of how he described what he learned and why his income was 15 times greater than mine. The numbered comments are his statements. The parenthesis are my augmentations.

  1. Buyers do not like to make decisions.(Business buyers are risk adverse. Their jobs are stressful. If they say yes to the wrong deal or buy the wrong products, they could jeopardize themselves and others.
  2. There is only one important decision to be made? Does the customer want to do business with you? (All detail type decisions are unimportant and these very details are why buyers have anxiety about the work the do, what they buy, and who they buy from.)
  3. The second decision to be made is made by the seller. Will the customer do business the way you want them to? (If not, do not go forward, do not sell them!)
  4. Will the customer put you in charge = let you decide write the order and decide on what else they need from you and your company = in order for the relationship to work? (This is the key, because if 1, 2, and 3, above, are true, then when they hand you the combination to their safe, or the keys to their kingdom, it’s because they sold themselves on what you are offering, how you are offering, and who you and your company are.)
  5. You can find all of this out in the front of the sale (the pre-sell), instead of waiting for the close. (Traditional selling consists of three steps: 1) the pre-sell, 2) the presentation, and 3) the close.)
  6. You can shortcut the sale by not demonstrating the product line in any detail, if at all. (Bradley could make the sale in 15 minutes to 30 minutes, instead of the 2 – 2.5 hours I needed. His average opening order for each of 4 new lines a year was 10 times greater than what I was experiencing. He rarely showed the buyers the items, other than upcoming advertisements for fashion magazines. He concentrated on getting the account to understand their advantages for letting him be fully responsible for the retailer’s success. His methods provided the retailer with more income and less aggravation. He managed the relationship and his accounts loved it, because they were very successful.)

Bradley Raises The Stakes:

  1. Since he knew my father’s store in Sioux Falls was a big account for Thermo-Jac, even years before I joined the company, he asks me to write up a balanced opening order covering whatever items, colors, and sizes a store needed for a big enough presence and to be covered for upcoming fashion magazine advertisements, (I wrote an order for $10,000 at retail, $5,500 at cost. This was 10 times larger than my average opening order.)
  2. He told me to cut it in half to $2,750 at cost. He told me I would be able to write up the same order for the three accounts we expected to see the following day. (Although, I thought he could never pull this off, I did the math and I could see $220 via 8% commission per account or $660 for all three, and that was more than I made in a month. On the one hand, I wanted him to fail, so the company would see I was not the problem. My story = I just had some stubborn accounts and our products didn’t turn them on. However, commission is commission and making a month’s income in one day was nothing to hide from my Genie.
  3. He plans to teach me a lesson about style and substance. He only brought one suit, a tan corduroy cowboy suit he wore on his flight from his home in Dallas. His tie was one of those, “I’m from Texas” models, a silver bull’s head with a big turquoise stone which would be glaring at my upper class department store buyers from Marshall Fields, Gimbels, and Schusters, Bradley is originally from Arkansas, when he decides to act like Daniel Boone, he doesn’t need a coach. (Milwaukee’s finest, say howdy to Hopalong Bradley.) I’m wearing my three piece Brooks Brothers gray flannel suit, with my herringbone Chesterfield overcoat with the black velvet collar. I am sporting a fedora. My black capped oxfords are good enough for Wall Street. Pretending to be British, I’m driving a Maroon MG Magnette with Tan Hides and a walnut facia (dashboard), it looks like a Bentley. Bradley refuses to be seen in such an odd looking Foreign Car. He has Hertz deliver an Olds 98; they were out of white Cadillacs, his preferred ride. He buys a new one each year, gives the old one to his wife.
  4. After putting up with my concerns over his appearance, Tom asks if I ever think about what it takes to be successful instead being caught up with the trappings of success. Time for me to rebound, so tell him about the Genie, thinking he’ll roll his eyes in disgust. I was on the defensive; if he thought I was a fool, I was going to open my mouth and erase all doubts, proving the validity of a Mark Twain quote.
  5. Bradley listened to the three wishes my Genie granted me, and said: “that’s not as ridiculous as it appears. You’ve come up with a self-starting brainstorming technique. If you re-listen to the Nightingale record, you will notice you created, by accident or on purpose, an all day thinking system. It’s better than what I went through while looking for a way to control the sale. Your system gives you permission to be in charge as long as the Genie’s three provisos are honored. Nice touch! Let’s put it to work tomorrow when we sell your accounts the way you really want to.

The Next Day, The Day I Flipped, Was The Day My Customers Flipped:

Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit – Part 4 talks about what happened that day, and how we sold those three former accounts plus two new ones. The buyers now treated me like I was bringing them gifts instead of the typical salesman talk they expected.

Several decades later, I realized I was bringing them gifts in the form of R&R (my name for it) = Revenue & Recognition, More Revenue from new found customers I invited to their stores. More Recognition from events I put on with them

When your customer is eating from your hand, see “My First Customer Was a Squirrel,” it’s a happy day. When your customer is happy to hear from you, it’s another happy day! I was earning a great deal of money for a young man and I was having fun. I wasn’t working, I was playing.

Mark Twain said, “if I had known it was going to be work, I shouldn’t have done it!”

Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit: Part 4 - The End

 

When Reality Strikes, Will It Ring Up More Sales?

This is not a White Paper! White Papers pretend to be unbiased.

by Ted Steinberg, Co-Founder.

Whereas it took Harvey, Jimmy Stewart’s 6’ 8′′ White Rabbit (the father of my Genie) to open my mind to the benefits of The Fantasy World, it took a fellow rep, Tom Bradley (cowboy suit and all) to show me an unbelievable Reality World, very different from any kind of selling I had previously experienced and many times more rewarding.

Bradley said he would show me how to shortcut the sales process and get people to want to do business with me, in my way, in the first part of the sale, without having to overcome objections, employ closing secrets, show the product line, or discuss the details of how much of what items should be on an order. Even though his income was 15 times as much as mine, I thought he was full of something unmentionable. There were 17 reps in our company; I was 17th in sales, he was 1st. Hmm, should I listen? I invited him to visit me in Milwaukee, the biggest city in my territory. He suggested I set up three appointments with the biggest department stores who also happened to be accounts of mine. Despite their potential, they were among my smaller accounts

Earlier in Jimmy Stewart’s Rabbit, either you expected something good was bound to happen or you’re fascinated with rabbits who can father genies!

Schusters, Milwaukee’s biggest department store, is our 9:00 am appointment. Instead of hauling in 5 bags of samples and then fussing with each garment to make it look less wrinkled, Tom only takes a briefcase containing layouts of forthcoming magazine ads in Seventeen, Glamour, and College, and his scrapbook of snapshots of young women wearing Thermo-Jac sportswear, and one pair of pants to show the buyer they are sewn in a manner which guarantees a good fit for junior figures. He warns the buyer that the pants will look crunched up unless they are displayed differently than the norm or they will never sell. He features the biggest gotcha, Thermo-Jac’s pants are cut on the curve so they will look good on a junior figure, but they look terrible on a hanger. Until they’ve been tried on nobody can believe they are outstanding. Why did he lead with this negative? I sensed he was setting the buyer up for allowing us to be responsible for a relationship that ensured success, and to establish our position, he had
to simplify the buying and selling interchange.

When Bradley opened his scrapbook, the buyer’s eyes got wide looking at all the Polaroid pictures of customers wearing Thermo-jac sportswear, only these customers were the customers of Neiman Marcus, and other well known Texas retailers. The buyer could see the photo of Miss Texas helping a young woman pose for her chance to be Miss Thermo-Jac of Houston and be considered as a model for Thermo-jac’s ads which always included amateurs who were customers of the retailers who put in complete Thermo-jac departments. Tom Bradley showed the buyer how we provide new customers for our retailers. (“We bring new customers to your table” plays better than “we sell your customers,” the one’s you already have that every other manufacturer wants to sell. “We bring new customers to your table!”)

The buyer just looked at Tom and asked, “what do you need from Schusters?” Tom told her to let me: 1) write up the opening order for $2,500 per month for six months, 2) be responsible for assisting her with merchandising, windows, and local advs, and 3) come in on a Saturday with a professional models and with the support of Polaroid we would put on a half day event and select Miss Thermo-Jac of Schusters. The buyer called Schuster’s Merchandise Manager, he showed up, and she pitched the deal, Tom and I just smiled and answered a few questions. All they wanted to know was, how soon could they get started and where did I think the Thermo-jac department ought to be.

For impact, there were prizes for the participants and the hope of being in a national magazine. The photos taken that day would be on display in the store for two weeks for everyone to see, and then the contestants could come back and retrieve their pictures as keep sakes. The return of the particpants prrovided double exposure, pun intended! In case you are wondering, there were never less than one hundred young women who were delighted to try on their favorite Thermo-jac outfits and be photographed, too. At one event, I took over 300 photos of customers wearing Thermo-Jac sportswear.

The Day Provided Big Surprises = five sales, not three. Each sale was 6 times bigger than Bradley’s forecast!

  1. The night before, Bradley told me he intended to sell an opening order for $2,500 at cost. He never mentioned it would be a continuing order of $2,500 a month for 6 months; in other words he intended to get a $15,000 commitment. Adjusting this to estimate the annual value of the decision, an account believed they would sell $60,000 a year at retail or around $30,000 at cost. My commission was 8% and the first half of the sale to Schusters put $1.200 in my pocket, more than twice as much as I made in a month.
  2. Our next appointment at 10:30 am is Marshall Fields. Bradley does it again. (Six months later she told her management about this young guy who went out of his way to call sororities and invite them to special events, in addition to the Miss Thermo-Jac events. Her management then initiated a contact for me which brought me an even larger opportunity than the one I had with Thermo-Jac. I discovered the importance of bringing other values to customers which demonstrate how willing a seller is to assure a great relationship. Did I mind calling sororities and being invited over to talk about fashion? I was 25 and single; it was something I looked forward to doing. When I told my father about this extra work and how I never complained about the moonlighting, he was unable to keep from laughing.)
  3. Our third sale was not from a prior appointment. Tom asks me if I was hungry. I laughed. Who needs to fill their stomach when the gold rush is on? He wonders if I’d like to call on another account before we showed up for our 2:00 pm appointment at Gimbels. We called on Singers, a three store specialty shop. I made the sale with the understanding that they could only have one department to start with and if it went as well as we planned, then they could add the other two stores. In other words, with Bradley’s coaching, each store would become a $30,000 annual account. He was not going to have an account spread the merchandise among branches and run the risk of an inadequate representation.
  4. The fourth sale was Gimbels; I made that one, too. I was walking on air, and everything was working. Imagine being able to sell anyone you want, anything you want, any way you want, providing it’s good for them. I imagined it before Bradley showed me how to open the door. Yes, I was walking on air.
  5. The fifth sale was a complete cold call, We just walked in, spoke with the owner of an up-and-coming suburban store which I had noticed before a few times, but had never called on them. I made that sale, too.

By the end of the day, I knew I could do it too. Five sales at $15,000 each = $75.000 at 8% commission = $6,000 in commission in 1959 dollars, about $50,000 in 2014 dollars. One month later I was 2nd in sales for the company. My income by year end was $350,000 in today’s dollars. In 1960 my income exceeded $500,000. Bradley convinced me that my dreams of Genies were applicable to The Reality World.

Addendums discovered between 1959 and 2014:

  1. Bradley offered his personal assistance to the other Thermo-Jac reps, by showing them how to flip the sale (my term, not his). Only one other rep accepted his offer, the others turned him down with various know-it-all excuses. When I heard this, I was stunned, but now, decades later, I realize that egos are fragile when it comes to selling. Very few people are willing to tolerate any of this, because, with or without Harvey, Jimmy Stewart, my Genie, Tom Bradley, the idea that maybe the way a person’s way of looking at business and selling is in need of a clean sheet of paper. Bradley flipped the way he sold. I flipped the way I sold. I have been lucky enough to have some clients who would let me take them to a customer, and using my Fantasy World to set up The Reality World, the client flipped – right in front of my client. Some of these customers, even took their hands and flipped them to show that they were happily knocked out by what we were proposing. (FWIW, Mitch Gooze, Editor of The Matchmaker’s Triangle saw this happen when he gave me full rein to redo the relationship with one of his most important customers. It was a dream come true,)
  2. Because the idea of a Genie to brainstorm with appealed to him, I was encourage to create scenarios for other types of products and selling situations which were flippable. Flipping the sale, means that the customer flips in a positive way about the opportunity being provided by the scenario and offering, and decides to make the seller responsible for getting the Devil out of the details. I told one customer, if he would grant me the right, “I would find Murphy, before Murphy found him.” He laughed. Did he say yes? He did.
  3. Bradley and I kept our friendship going until 1968 when he died unexpectedly. I visited him in Dallas about once a year and he even came to South Dakota and spent a few days with me, the mentor and the protege, sharing notes. He was fascinate that our concoctions worked in other industries.
  4. The biggest change in the way I looked at selling is that I was willing to tell the customer about the kind of relationship I wanted and why it worked for me and why I wanted it to work for them and that I wanted a major say in how the relationship played out so that I could really be involved as a participant and not a spectator. Instead of talking about my products, I talked about the opportunity that both parties could share in by doing business together. This affected my way of operating in project mode and production mode. The product line for Thermo-jac and their promotions were the same before I listened to how Bradley approached selling, all that changed for me was what I insisted on emphasizing. That day, when those 5 sales took place, made me realize that it was I that needed to change and not all that other stuff that clogs up the minds of under-performing sellers, singular and plural.