From our friend Jay Douglas: “We can always learn something from our ancestors. This is a tutorial on selling I found in “The Gillette Blade,” an internal publication of the Gillette Safety Razor Co. from, yes, 1918.

“If you ignore its dated sexist language (which was neither dated nor sexist in 1918) there’s some good information in here.

“For me, though, it shows that selling, and salespeople, are part of a long (and noble) tradition and that what makes a successful salesperson hasn’t changed in a hundred years.”

Selling is by no means a matter of words. Arguments alone won’t close sales.

Selling is a matter of attitude, plus talk. Attitude is intentionally put first. It is more difficult to acquire.

It is the strongest asset of the experienced, successful salesman.

It is the greatest handicap to the new man. The new man, of course, has an attitude, but too often it is the wrong attitude.

Men are seldom forced into a purchase. Almost invariably sales result from a friendly get-together.

Arguments are necessary, but they are effective only so far as they harmonize with a friendly attitude.

A confident, friendly attitude is built up neither by a feverish oratory nor sledgehammer proof that the other man is all wrong.

It is bad practice to meet and demolish every doubt raised by the man we aim to sell.

Words and contentions tend to magnify and make important really unimportant objections.

The man with real confidence will treat most objections as trifles, and so belittle them.

A monologue seldom makes effective salesmanship. If the salesman does all the talking, he appears to do all the thinking.

Most men want to think for themselves. They do not like to be sold. They like to buy and feel they buy voluntarily.

The typical good sale is seldom an oration or a wordy clash.

More often it is a conversation in which the buyer’s doubts are treated with respect and explain away in the thoroughly friendly fashion.

An elaborate, forceful, one-sided explanation creates tension.

Let the other man talk. Allow him to have his own way and some small things least. It will help to establish friendliness.

You must establish friendliness before you will close with many men of any strength of character.

Friendliness in this sense does not mean intimacy.

“I want to buy” is the “bugbear” of most men.

They talk in circles before they reach it. They are afraid of the “No.”

A business basis is reached by the most direct route.

The average solicitation is more enlightening than effective.

Unnecessary explanations start unnecessary debates and befog the issues.

It may seem strange an intelligent person will buy before he knows all about the purchase, but men do so.

They frequently buy so. They often buy on practically no information, supported by a very confident, friendly attitude.