Part 6 out of 8
EDUCATION OF EMPLOYEES
13. Employers are learning that the finest and most valuable assets in
their employees are not their bones and muscles; not their intelligence,
training, and experience when they enter the organization; but, rather,
the possibility of development of their intelligence, talents, and
aptitudes. Educators now almost entirely agree that the best and most
serviceable education possible is that afforded by work, provided the work
is intelligently directed and constantly used by those who direct it as an
educational force. Employers are also grasping the great possibilities for
them in this theory. Corporation schools, night schools, special classes,
and many other forms of education inside the walls of commercial and
industrial enterprises are being used to good advantage. In an ideal
economic system, every factory, every store, every shop, every place where
men and women are gathered together for employment should be, in the
higher sense of the word, a school for the development of the very best
Since this is true, who is better qualified by training, by education, and
by experience to conduct this education than the employment supervisor and
his assistants? If he is properly chosen for his work, he has a special
scientific knowledge of human nature; he knows not only the talents and
aptitudes of every member of the force, but also knows the best way for
developing and bringing out these talents and aptitudes. He knows for just
what vocation each one under his tutelage is suited. He knows just what
study and training each one ought to pursue in order to best fit himself
for that vocation.
14. Because of its peculiar relationship to all the employees in the
organization, there is no department better fitted to undertake all of
that activity in connection with industrial life, which is known as
welfare work or social betterment, than that entrusted with employment.
The organization and plan of an employment department, as we have outlined
it, is, as we have said, for an institution employing two thousand men and
women. For larger organizations, of course, the employment supervisor must
have more assistants, there must be more clerks and stenographers,
according to the number of employees handled and the character of the work
to be done. There are some organizations in which there is very little
fluctuation in the personnel. In such cases a small employment department
is all that is necessary, even although a large number of employees may be
on the payroll. In other kinds of work there is a very large fluctuation,
under ordinary conditions, and in such cases it is necessary to have more
help in the employment department. In the case of small business, such as
retail stores, the employer himself is oftentimes the entire employment
department, except for such assistance as he may obtain from a clerk or
stenographer. In such a case, also, the records do not need to be so
complete and so voluminous, since the proprietor can carry a great deal in
regard to each one of his employees in his own mind. We know many
executives in large organizations, where employment departments have not
been established, who constitute, in themselves, employment departments
for their own little corner of the industry. They may have only five or
six employees under their care, but they handle them according to
scientific principles, analyzing them and their work with just as great
care as if there were hundreds of them.
The method, after all, is unimportant. It is the spirit of the work that
is all important. It does not matter whether you have a huge force of
clerks, assistants, interviewers, and stenographers, or whether you
yourself, in your little corner office with your three or four retail
clerks as a working force, constitute the whole organization. The spirit
of scientific analysis and the fitting of each man to his job in a common
sense, sane, practical way, instead of according to out-of-date methods,
is the important consideration in the remedy which we present.
RESULTS OF SCIENTIFIC EMPLOYMENT
In a lecture to the students of the New York Edison Company Commercial
School, on January 20, 1915, afterward also presented at the Third Annual
Convention of the National Association of Corporation Schools at
Worcester, Mass., on June 9, 1915, Herman Schneider, Dean of the College
of Engineering of the University of Cincinnati, in discussing "The Problem
of Selecting the Right Job," made the following statement:
"2. Physical Characteristics.
"This seems to be a development of the old idea of phrenology. It is
claimed in this system that physical characteristics indicate certain
abilities. For example, a directive, money-making executive will have a
certain shaped head and hand. A number of money-making executives were
picked at random and their physical characteristics charted. We do not
find that they conform at all to any law. Also, we found men who had
physical characteristics that ought to make them executives, but they were
anything but executives. A number of tests of this kind gave negative
results. We were forced to the conclusion that this system was not
It is of exceeding great importance for us to know whether the conclusion
of Dean Schneider is to be accepted as final. He is a man of high
attainment and has done some most remarkable and highly commendable work
in connection with continuation schools in the city of Cincinnati. His
opinion and conclusion, therefore, are worthy of the most careful
At first glance, Dean Schneider's method of investigation seems sound and
his statement, therefore, conclusive. He examined actual cases; he
collected evidence, and he found that physical characteristics were not a
reliable guide to aptitudes and character. It is well for us, however, to
remember in discussing problems of this kind, that every new scientific
discovery has always been rejected by many recognized authorities after
what they considered to be careful and convincing tests. Harvey nearly
died in trying to maintain his theory of the circulation of the blood;
Darwin's theory was insistently repudiated and rejected by many scientific
men of his day; Galilo, Columbus, Boillard, the discoverer of the
convolution of Broca, and Stevenson, the inventor of the steam locomotive
engine, failed to convince the recognized authorities of their times.
Gall, who localized the motor functions of the brain, a discovery
universally accepted by all brain physiologists today, was laughed out of
court by men of the highest scientific authority, who, by experiments,
"proved" that he was wrong. So great a mathematician and scientist as
Professor Simon Newcomb made the emphatic remark that the dream of flight
in a heavier-than-air machine was absurd and would never be realized. The
difficulty with all these conclusions lay in the fact that the
much-vaunted "proof" was negative in character. Nothing is easier--or more
fallacious, logically--than to "prove" that a thing is _not_ so. The
difficulty lies in proving that it _is_ so; therefore, logically sound.
According to logicians, conclusions based upon negative premises are
inherently unsound. In order to reach reliable conclusions, we must first
have _all_ of the essential facts in the case. We question seriously
whether this was possible in the course of such a brief investigation as
Dean Schneider made. Scientific selection of employees according to the
science of character analysis by the observational method was first
proposed in the summer of 1912, so that Dean Schneider has had only three
years, during which he was much occupied with other duties, in which to
make his observations. We only wish here to raise the question as to
whether, in that short time, he could obtain all of the facts necessary
for reaching a final conclusion. At any rate, other scientists have spent
at least fifteen or twenty years in the examination of the same facts
before reaching their conclusions.
The method employed as outlined in the paragraph quote does not seem to
fulfill all of the necessary requirements of a careful and complete
scientific investigation. Take, for example, the test of "directive
money-making executives." Would Dean Schneider, or any other engineer,
permit a layman, no matter how well qualified otherwise, to examine twenty
or thirty different pieces of engineering work for the purpose of
determining whether or not they "conform to any law." We acknowledge Dean
Schneider's ability as an engineer and as an educator, but until he has
submitted proof, we must question his ability and training as an observer
of physical characteristics as indicative of character and aptitudes.
Again, take the test of those who have "the characteristics that ought to
make them executives." We should like to know what these physical
characteristics were. We should also like to know what other physical
characteristics these men had. Perhaps there were some which interfered
seriously with their becoming successful as executives.
Still further, it would be illuminating to know whether the men so
examined had ever been properly trained for executive work; whether they
had had opportunities to become executives or whether some or all of them
may not have been misfits in whatever they were doing. Obviously, a sound,
scientific conclusion cannot be reached until all of the variables in the
problem have been adequately studied and brought under control. There is
no evidence in the paragraph that we have quoted that Dean Schneider had
But, after all, we shall proceed very little, if any, with our inquiry as
to the reliability of Dean Schneider's conclusions if we content ourselves
merely with criticizing his methods of research and reason. Even if we
could prove beyond a doubt that the methods used were unscientific and the
reasoning unsound, we could go no further toward establishing the contrary
of Dean Schneider's conclusion than he has in establishing the
unreliability of determining mental aptitudes and character by an
observation of physical characteristics. The main question is not, "Is
Dean Schneider right or wrong?" but rather, "Is an employment department,
conducted along the lines laid down in the preceding chapter, a
profitable investment, and, especially, is it possible to determine the
right job for any individual by observing his physical characteristics?"
BUT IT IS BEING DONE
Fortunately, this question is no longer academic. There is no need for the
bringing up of arguments, the stating of theories, the quoting of
authorities, or any such controversial methods. Employment departments
_have_ been established in a number of commercial and industrial
organizations, some very large--some small--and _are_ being conducted,
with some variations, according to the plan outlined in the preceding
chapter. The science of character analysis by the observational method
_is_ the basis of their work. In addition, this science is the basis of
employment work in several hundred other employment departments, large and
small, where the Blackford plan has not been adopted in its entirety. The
plan referred to was formulated in 1912. The fact that this method has
been in actual commercial use under widely varying conditions and in the
hands of many different individuals, for more than three years, is, on the
face of it, a reasonably fair presumption of its reliability. At any rate,
it is fully as convincing as Dean Schneider's purely negative "proof."
The question remains as to whether the commercial applications of this
method are successful; whether the results obtained are reliable; whether
the inefficiencies and losses, to which we have referred in previous
chapters, are appreciably remedied by its use.
SOME PRACTICAL RESULTS
In one of the first organizations where the Blackford Employment Plan was
installed there were employed about 2,500 men and women. At the time of
the adoption of this plan the various foremen and superintendents in the
plant were hiring about 6,600 new employees each year in order to maintain
their regular working force of 2,500. Within six months new employees were
being taken on at the rate of only 4,080 a year--and this notwithstanding
the fact that many changes were necessitated by sweeping reorganization
and adoption of new methods of manufacture in the industry.
Excellent results were obtained in reassignment of executives as the
result of a careful analysis of those holding positions when the
department was installed. One executive instantly recognized as being
clever, designing, and essentially dishonest was replaced by another of a
reliable, efficient type. Under the new executive, the department more
than doubled its output, at the same time cutting the payroll of the
department down to 43 per cent of its former size. Still another
executive, holding a position of highest trust and responsibility, was
reported upon adversely after analysis by the employment department. An
investigation made as the result of this report revealed serious
irregularities covering a long period of months. Another man properly
qualified for the position was selected by the department, and immediately
began to effect noticeable savings, as well as greatly increasing the
value of the department's work in the institution. Still another executive
selected by this department increased the output of one of the shops by
120 per cent, with a very slight increase in the payroll. In another
organization, careful records showed that among employees selected
according to this plan, 90 per cent were efficient, satisfactory, and
permanent; 8 per cent fairly satisfactory but not permanent; and 2 per
cent unsatisfactory and discharged.
AN UNUSUAL HARMONY OF JUDGMENT
But these results, while desirable, are not wholly convincing. It is easy
enough to explain them on the ground that any man or woman of common
sense, keen observation and good judgment, devoting all his or her
intelligence and time to employment problems, might have gained the same
results without using a method for determining aptitudes and character
from an observation of physical characteristics.
More specific and more convincing evidence may be found in a series of
incidents which occurred in connection with an employment department
established in a textile factory, employing twelve hundred men, located in
New England. The supervisor of this department is a young man who has been
a student and practitioner of this method in employment work since August,
1912. Previously to taking up this work, he had taken an engineer's degree
and had some experience as an executive, in a large factory.
In January, 1915, the supervisor analyzed carefully twenty executives then
at work in the plant, carefully wrote out the analyses and submitted them
to the management with recommendations for transfers and readjustments of
rather a sweeping nature. The management, wishing to make an experiment,
agreed to make the changes, provided we were also to analyze the
executives in question, submit our analyses in writing, and show agreement
as to the character and aptitudes of the men. We accordingly proceeded to
the factory, and there, without consultation with the supervisor or his
report, proceeded to analyze the twenty executives independently. It would
not be fair to the executives in question to publish all of these analyses
in full, but a comparison of the essential points in a few of them will be
Supervisor says of No. 1: "Sociable, scheming, secretive; poor judge of
men; lacking seriously in executive ability; decidedly a 'one-man-job'
man; does not plan ahead; clannish, narrow-minded; very low intelligence
for a foreman. Any organization he builds will be close-mouthed,
unreliable, and selfish in structure. Because of the technical knowledge
of the business which he has gained, and which can be gained only by long
experience, he should do good work in experimental lines. Any change made,
however, should separate him completely from the regular productive
Dr. Blackford reports on No. 1: "He is, however, an undesirable man to be
in charge of others. He is far more destructive than constructive, more
disorganizing than organizing. He is ultra-conservative, non-progressive,
and is not disposed to take on any new methods unless he himself can get
the credit for their installation. In disposition he is stubborn and
obstinate. He is also reserved and suspicious. Being of the selfish type,
he will look after his own interests first in all things. No. 1 lacks
straightforwardness and frankness of disposition, so he will be tricky,
slippery, and do things in an underhanded way. He has very great dislike
of detail and will have a tendency to procrastinate if given an
opportunity, I believe he has passed the age limit of mental growth."
Supervisor thus summarizes No. 2: "A well-intentioned, honest and reliable
man, lacking absolutely in executive ability. Should have a job as
inspector or like, where he would have no one to look after but himself."
Dr. Blackford says of No. 2: "No. 2 is a simple-hearted man of very
ordinary ability. He is not systematic or orderly; is very susceptible to
criticism; exceedingly emotional, apprehensive, and watchful. No doubt men
will like him because he is easy with them. However, he will not be a
particularly good executive, because he cannot maintain discipline."
Supervisor thus analyzes No. 3: "Very clannish, lacking absolutely in
intelligence, executive ability, frankness; in fact, every attribute that
is necessary for a good foreman. Is wholly unfitted for an executive job
of any kind. Under very strict supervision, would make a fair workman."
Dr. Blackford reports on No. 3: "He is easily influenced; too undependable
and too lax in discipline to make a good executive. He has a keen sense of
right and wrong, but will take on the color of his surroundings. If led by
an undesirable man, he will be a poor asset, and only a fair one even
under good influence."
Supervisor, on No. 4: "An active, honest and frank man; a good boss for a
small gang of men. Limited somewhat by lack of education and medium
Dr. Blackford, on No. 4: "An energetic, active man of only fair
intelligence and capability. He is sympathetic and generous to those he
likes, but his strongest quality is a desire to rule. He will enjoy
enforcing laws, rules and regulations, and will do this with a degree of
energy and watchfulness which probably results in good work on part of
those under him. He is a fair executive. Under right influence, might
Supervisor reports on No. 5: "A capable man, secretive and somewhat
clannish; is susceptible, however, to other influences and can be
developed. A little quick-tempered in handling help; expects too much at
the outset. This man must be removed from the influence of No. 1 or he
will make no progress."
Dr. Blackford, on No. 5: "A capable man, secretive in his work; careful,
conservative, and conservatively progressive. He is intelligent and
industrious. He is also ambitious, and has good artistic sense. He is the
type of man that takes pride in doing good work. He will prefer his work
to be perfect and finished rather than faulty. In disposition he is
usually mild, but has a very destructive temper when aroused; so he is
probably a little hot-headed with his workers. He is reserved and
secretive, but under encouragement will unfold whatever information he has
concerning the work. Perhaps his most negative point is a lack of courage
in his convictions, but with encouragement and proper support, he ought to
develop into a good executive."
Supervisor says, briefly, of No. 6: "A very loyal, honest and painstaking
employee; very sincere and absolutely reliable; lacking somewhat in
executive ability to handle a large gang. Very desirable."
Dr. Blackford says, more at length, of No. 6: "Industrious, energetic,
watchful, careful, dependable, and conscientious in her work. She is
sympathetic, but exacting with her workers. She has fair intelligence, is
teachable, and will give considerable thought to improving her work. She
is also a good critic and a good judge of values. If not given too large a
department or too great responsibility, she ought to be very valuable in
an executive position."
Supervisor, on No. 7: "An active, reliable man; a good gang-boss or
leader; very susceptible to further training."
Dr. Blackford, on No. 7: "Highest grade and finest-textured of any of the
foremen yet considered. He is also intelligent, honest, industrious; has
high principles; is careful in his work, and will take very great pride in
it. He is naturally artistic and ought to turn out very beautiful work. He
is clean morally and physically, thorough, and will always prefer a fine
quality of goods and workmanship to coarse quality. He is distinctly a
quality man. With training and opportunity he ought to develop into a fine
man for greater responsibility than he now carries."
ANALYSES FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
Perhaps, in some ways, an even more convincing evidence of the reliability
and practicability of the observational method may be found in the results
obtainable by analysis from photographs. A photograph is, in a sense, a
purely mechanical product. It is, in graphic form, a record of the
subject's physical characteristics, stripped of all of the atmosphere, so
to speak, of his personality. A photograph cannot talk, cannot act, cannot
reveal the man within by any subtle appeal to what are called the
intuitions. Photographs as the basis of analysis are used extensively in
employment and vocational work. These analyses are usually written out in
detail and stand, in black and white, undeniable records of the analyst's
observations and conclusions. The analysis of Sidney Williams appearing on
pages 206 to 210 is a sample of the definite and specific manner in which
these analyses are made. It has been impossible for us to trace and verify
in detail every one of these records. They are being made all the time,
and in one form or another, by many of those who are now using this
method. But we have traced several hundred of them for purposes of
verification and have found amongst them only three which have differed
with the facts in the case in any essential particular. In fact, some
analysts are far more reliable in making analyses from photographs than in
personal interviews. In dealing with the photograph they apply the
principles and laws of the science relentlessly and almost mathematically,
while, in a personal interview, they are irresistibly influenced by their
sympathies, their likes and their dislikes.
As a test, we have had some analyses made without even a photograph as a
guide, using simply standard charts of the essential physical
characteristics of the subjects. For this test five subjects were chosen,
all of them unknown to the analysts. Their physical characteristics were
charted by those acquainted with the method and five copies were made of
In order to give the reader an idea of the nature of the data upon which
these analyses were made, we reproduce here, in ordinary language, the
information contained in the chart made out for Subject Number One:
Date of Birth--March 19, 1891.
Color--Eyes, medium; hair, skin and beard, slightly brunette.
Form--Forehead, eyes, mouth and chin, plane; nose, strongly convex.
Height--5 ft. 9 1/2 in.
Build--Square-shouldered, bony and muscular; lacking somewhat in
Consistency of Flesh--Hard-elastic.
Flexibility of Joints--Rigid-elastic.
Long trunk, short legs.
Nose section, of face predominates, chin a close second, mouth third.
High, wide, long, medium-square head.
Middle division of cranium predominates, top second, base third.
Crown section of cranium largest; front section, second; back section,
third; temporal, fourth.
Square forehead, medium wide, more prominent at the brows than above.
Expression somewhat grim.
Health good; body, clothes, hands and mouth clean and in good condition.
Fingers medium long, with square tips, well-rounded, sensitive
pads and short nails.
Thumbs long and set low on hand.
The information as to the other four subjects was similar in character.
One of these charts was then sent to Mr. G.C. B----, another to Mr.
C.F.R----, another to Miss E.W.R----, another to Mrs. A.W----, and the
fifth to Miss M.O.P----, students of this science--two of them having
studied it less than one year. Each analyst was asked to make his analysis
according to a definite plan, so that the results could be definitely
compared. These results are shown in the table on pages 356 and 357.
Herein is the true answer to the serious question with which we opened
this chapter. Whether or not reliable analyses can be made by the
observation of physical characteristics is no longer debatable.
Such analyses _are being made_.
[Transcribers Note: Key to Analyst list of Chart is as follows:
1-Practical or Impractical 2-Mild or Aggressive
3-Quick or Slow 4-Active or Inactive
5-Responsive or Indifferent 6-Variable or Constant
7-Energetic or Lazy 8-Dependable or Irresponsible
9-Speculative or Conservative 10-Ambitious or Unambitious
11-Social or Unsocial 12-Honest or Dishonest
13-Skillful or Awkward 14-General or Detail
15-Determined or Indecisive 16-Courageous or Fearful
Ticks replaced with / symbol]
Subject Number One
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
Analyst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Vocation
First Second Third
Choice Choice Choice
G.C.B. I M S A R C E D C A U H S D I F / Clerical Sell.
C.F.R. I M S A I V E D C U U H A G I F / Clerical Research Sell.
A.W. I A S A R C E D C A U H S D I F / / Sec. Law Sell.
M.O.P. P M S A R C E D C A U H S D D F / / / Office Exec. Sec.
E.W.R. I M Q A R C E D C A U H A D I F / / Educ. Lit Sec.
Record I M S A R C E D C A U H S D I F / / Purch. Bank Sec.
Subject Number Two
G.C.B. I A Q A R C E D C A S H S D D C / Sell. Merch. Pol.
C.F.R. P A Q A I C E D C A U H S D D C / Ins. Ace. Stat.
A.W. P A S A R C L D C A U H S D D C / / Phys. Sell. Clerk
M.O.P. P A Q A R C E D S A S H S D D C / / Sell. Pol. Purch.
E.W.R. P A Q A R C E D C A S H A D D C / / Sell. Adm. Pol.
Record P A Q A R V E D S A S H S D D C / / / Adv. Sell. Jour.
Subject Number Three
G.C.B. I M Q A R C E D C A U H S G D C / Merch. Finan. Sell.
C.F.R. P A Q A R V E I S A S D S D D F / Comm. Prom. Adv.
A.W. P A Q A R V E D S A U H S G D C / / Org. Sell. Const.
M.O.P. P M Q I R C E D C C S H S D D C / / / Educ. Sell. Exec.
E.W.R. P A Q A R V E I S A U H S D D C / / / Jour. Adv. Sell.
Record P A Q A R V E D S A U H S D D F / / / Res. Eng. Sell.
Subject Number Four
G.C.B. I A Q A I C E D C A S H S G D C / Educ. Pers. Serv. Sell.
C.F.R. P A S A I C E D C A U H S D D C / / Eng. Educ. Research
A.W. P A S A R V E D C A U H S D D F / / Educ. Jour. Soc.Ser.
M.O.P. P M Q A R C E D C A S H S D D C / / Educ. Pol. Sell.
E.W.R. P A Q A E C E D C A U H S D D C / Eng. Agr. Mfr.
Record P M S A R C E D C A U H S D D F / / Agr. Educ. Eng.
Subject Number Five
G.C.B. I A Q A R V E D C A S H S D D C / Agr. Soc. Serv. Educ.
C.F.R. P A Q A R C E D S A S H S D D C / Exec. Sell. Educ.
A.W. P A Q A R V E D C A U H S D I C / / Mfr. Org. Sell.
M.O.P. P A Q A R C E D C A S H S D D C / Org. Exec. Res.
E.W.R. P A Q A R V E D S A S H S D D C / / Agr. Mfr. Pol.
Record P A Q A R V E D S A S H S D D C / / Agr. Org. Pol.
Explanation of abbreviations: Sell., selling; Sec., secretarial work;
Exec., executive position; Lit., literature; Purch., purchasing; Merch.,
merchandising; Pol., politics; Ins., insurance; Acc., accountant; Stat.,
statistics; Phys., physician; Adm., administration; Adv., advertising;
Jour., journalism; Finan., financial; Comm., commerce; Prom., promoting;
Org., organizing; Const., construction; Educ., educating; Eng.,
engineering; Pers. Serv., personal service; Soc.Serv., social service;
Agr., agriculture; Mfr., manufacturing.
NOTE--An analysis of the foregoing record shows 82-1/4% of agreement with
the record in regard to the subjects' characteristics. This part of the
work depends upon an application of principles. In checking the four
classifications, Mechanical, Professional, Commercial and Artistic, the
element of individual judgment of the analyst entered into the problem;
yet here we have an agreement with the record amounting to 65-1/2%.
Naturally, choice of exact vocation offers an unusually wide field to the
personal equation, especially when the analyst has no data, as in this
case, in regard to early environment, education, training, residence, and
opportunities. But, even in this case, the students are, in general, in
marked agreement with the records. It is impossible to state this
agreement in percentages, since each was given a first, second, and third
choice, and since some of the vocations suggested are very nearly those
indicated in the record, yet not exactly the same. A study of these three
columns, however, will impress the reader with the accuracy of the
IDEAL EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS
The progress of civilization and enlightment is a good deal like that in
the old riddle of the man who had a fox, a goose, and a basket of corn to
carry across the river and could carry only one at a time. If you
remember, he carried the goose across first, leaving the fox with the
corn, since the fox could not eat the corn. Then he went back, leaving the
goose, and got the corn; then, when he returned for the fox, he took the
goose back with him and left it alone on the bank, while he carried the
fox across to keep company with the corn. Then he returned once more and
brought the goose over, completing the transfer.
So Civilization carries forward, for a time, one aspect of life. Then she
drops this and returns to bring up another. This, in turn, she drops again
and goes back once more, and when she goes back she is likely enough to
carry the first advance back with her. In the end, however, she finally
brings up all of the elements and factors in human life.
For the last fifty years we have made great progress in the invention of
machinery, the development of new industries, the organization of great
financial and industrial institutions, and the volume of production in
nearly all lines. But, in the meantime, in order to make this advance,
Civilization has been required to carry back, some hundred of years, the
relationship between employer and employed. Now let us hope she is ready
to go back and bring this important factor up to date.
ANCIENT AND MODERN EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS
In the old feudal days, the employee was a serf, bound to the soil of his
employer. He received a bare living and shared not at all in the gains of
the man whose chattel he was. In the days of transition between ancient
feudalism and modern industrialism, Civilization greatly improved the
relationship between employer and employee. The proprietor and all his men
worked side by side in the same shop, performing the same tasks. Each was
proud of his skill. Each took delight in his work. Each understood the
other. Oftentimes the employee lived under the same roof with his
employer, enjoyed the same recreations, and ate at the same table. The
skilful, competent, shrewd employer gathered around him the best men in
the trade. He profited greatly and his men shared in his prosperity. The
invention of machinery and the great enlargement of industrial units makes
such relationship between employer and employee impossible. Yet, when
employment conditions are improved to match the improvements in machinery
and production, we shall go back to the ancient shop for the fundamental
principles upon which the new and better relationship will be built.
MUTUAL INTERESTS OF EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE
Observe carefully what these fundamental principles are. First, men who
love their work and take pride in it; second, mutuality of interests in
that work; third, mutual understanding between employer and employee. By
this we mean an understanding by each of the other's point of view,
personality, ability, motives, intentions, ambitions, and desires. Already
Civilization is groping toward the establishment of a new relation upon
this basis. Scientific methods of employment are being adopted in more and
more of our industrial and commercial plants. These insure the fitness of
the employee for his work and, because of his fitness, his love for it and
pride in it. They also insure a better understanding between employer and
employee, whose relationship to each other is guided and controlled by a
sympathetic and expert corps of men and women especially selected and
trained for just such work. Profit sharing, the bonus system, the premium
system, study clubs and classes, and many other forms of giving an
adequate day's pay for a day's efficient work are all evidences of the
desire on the part of the employers and employees to mutualize their
It is true that to-day, perhaps, we have reached the very flood-tide of
organization of employees into labor unions and employers into
associations, and that these organizations are frequently antagonistic.
But these are only evidences of our blind groping toward the ideal. These
movements show that we are awake to our needs, that we appreciate the
intolerable nature of present conditions and that we have determined to
better them. It is inevitable, when such an awakening comes, that we shall
eventually learn by our mistakes and direct our effort toward the true
solution of our problem.
IDEAL CONDITIONS DIVERSE AS TO DETAIL
Just what would constitute the details of ideal employment conditions it
is impossible at this time to say. These will have to be worked out
painstakingly, carefully, and with a true appreciation of the fundamental
principles involved, by wise and competent employers and employees. It is
altogether likely that different conditions will be found to be ideal in
different industries and probably in different units of the same
industries. One man will maintain ideal conditions by the virtue of his
own magnetism and forceful personality, tying his men to himself with the
strong bonds of mutual admiration, mutual respect, mutual loyalty, and
mutual love. Another will create ideal conditions principally by the
magnificent exploits of his organization. It is human nature for a man to
like to belong to a winning team, to be proud of his connection with a
championship organization. Still, another institution may maintain ideal
employment conditions by the good judgment, efficiency, and sincere
motives with which it conducts its welfare work. Still another may
approach the ideal by means of profit sharing, bonuses, and other such
emoluments. We have seen and studied organizations in this country and in
Europe which very nearly approached the ideal for each of these reasons.
We have also seen some which took advantage of several or all of these.
THE EMPLOYER'S IDEAL
As time goes on, more effective methods of profit sharing will, no doubt,
be evolved, methods in which there is greater justice for both employer
and employee. New ideas will be developed in welfare work as the result of
scientific methods of employment. Employer and employee will learn to
understand each other better. The success of all of these methods of
organization, when they are adopted, will cause their spread throughout
the industrial world, and thus gradually, but surely, we shall approach
that ideal organization where every employee is looked upon as a bundle of
limitless latent possibilities; where training, education, and development
along lines of constructive thought and feeling are held to be of far more
importance than the invention of new machinery, the discovery of new
methods, or the opening of new markets. This is the reasonable mental
attitude. Some obscure employee, thus trained and educated, may invent
more wonder-working machinery, discover more efficient methods, and open
up wider and more profitable markets than any before dreamed. Even if no
such brilliant star arises, the increased efficiency, loyalty, and
enthusiasm of the whole mass of employees, lifted by its improved
relationships, will yield results far beyond any won by mechanical or
THE EMPLOYEE'S IDEAL
The ideal for every employee, therefore, is that he should be employed in
that position which he is best fitted to fill, doing work which by natural
aptitudes, training, and experience he is best qualified to do, and
working under conditions of material environment--tools, rates of pay,
hours of labor, and periods of rest, superintendence and management,
future prospects, and education--which will develop and make useful to
himself and his employer his best and finest latent abilities and
We have seen that the ideal for the organization is that each man in it
shall be so selected, assigned, managed, and educated, that he will
express for the organization his highest and best constructive thoughts
THE MUTUAL IDEAL--CO-OPERATION
There is one more step. That is, the mutual ideal. It is contained in the
other two--and the other two are essentially one. The mutual ideal is the
ideal of co-operation. There is no antagonism between these ideals. The
old fallacy that the boss must get just as much as possible out of the
workman and pay just as little as possible, and that the workman must do
just as little as he can and wring from the boss just as much pay as he
can for what he does, and that, therefore, their interests are
diametrically opposed, has been all but exploded. It was based upon
ignorance, upon prejudice, and upon privately interested
misrepresentation. The new scientific spirit, working side by side with
the new spirit of a broader and deeper humanity, has demonstrated, and is
demonstrating, the truth, that in no other union is there such great
strength as in the union of those who are working together, creating
wealth for themselves and serving humanity. This is the mutual,
co-operative ideal in employment.
ANALYZING CHARACTER IN PERSUASION
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSUASION
The first act of practically every human being is to cry. This cry,
unconscious though it may be, is an eager, insistent demand for attention,
an appeal to the minds and the feelings of others, an attempt to persuade
others to act. Life itself and all that makes life worth living depends
upon the effectiveness of that cry.
From the moment of birth, therefore, you are dependent upon your power to
persuade for the provision of all your necessities, the satisfaction of
all your desires, and the realization of all your ambitions. The human
race produces but few Robinson Crusoes, and even these must have their
Fridays. In infancy and early life we persuade our parents to supply our
necessities and grant us our privileges and luxuries. Most of us are wise
enough to appeal to the powerful sentiments of parental duty, parental
love, and parental pride, and, therefore, persuasion is not difficult. As
we grow older, we persuade our teachers that we understand our lessons. We
persuade our playmates to yield to us a share in their sports, and we
persuade our enemies in the boy and girl world to respect us and not to
persecute us. As we grow older, we persuade our husbands or our wives to
marry us. We persuade our children to grow up in the way they should. We
persuade our employers to give us an opportunity to work and to pay us
wages. We persuade our neighbors to yield us respect and social
privileges. We persuade our servants to render loyalty and efficient
service. We persuade dealers to sell us reliable goods at reasonable
prices. We persuade our friends to accept our hospitality, to join our
clubs, our lodges, and to come and live in our suburbs.
POWER TO PERSUADE ESSENTIAL TO SUCCESS
If we enter some profession, we find ourselves constantly faced by the
need of persuading our clients and patients, witnesses, judges, juries,
opposing counsel and court officers, our congregations and executive
boards of our churches and schools, individual members of our parishes,
our partners and assistants, and, in fact, people above us, below us, and
all around us. The farmer must sell his produce, the manufacturer his
manufactured article, the railroad its transportation service, wholesale
and retail distributors their merchandise. Politics consists almost wholly
in persuasion. A congressman must persuade first his party leaders and
perhaps his competitor in the party; then the voters at the primaries;
then the voters at the election; then the speaker of the House; then the
members of his committee; then the President and many executives in the
administration; then, perhaps, the House itself in assembly; then, in
turn, his constituents and, perhaps, the entire nation.
Wealth cannot be gained, social position cannot be attained, honor conies
not, power is impossible, authority is not conferred, pleasure cannot be
purchased, a happy and harmonious human life cannot be realized, spiritual
peace cannot be found, and happiness is forever beyond our reach, except
through the power of persuasion. By persuasion in prayer, we attempt to
move the very mind and heart of God Himself.
TWO CANONS OF SUCCESS
So all-inclusive is this power that if you will think the matter out
clearly, you will see that the answer to the problem of every human being,
diverse as these problems are, the gratification of every human desire,
the realization of every human ambition, may be summed up in two brief
colloquial injunctions, namely: first, have the goods; second, to be able
to sell them. Neither one of these is complete without the other. No man
can permanently succeed in any truly desirable way unless he has something
tangible or intangible, spiritual, intellectual, or material which he can
offer to others as compensation for that which he wishes to receive. And
no matter how valuable any man's offering, it must lie unnoticed in the
world's markets unless he can sell it--in other words, persuade others to
exchange for it that which he desires. The thing he wants may be only an
opinion or a conviction, may be only of momentary value, or it may be gold
and silver coin.
The air-brake is probably one of the most valuable inventions ever applied
to the railroad industry, and yet George Westinghouse, its inventor, found
it impossible even to give it away to railroad presidents until he had
learned how to sell it. The telephone, perhaps the greatest convenience,
luxury, and time and money saver of modern times, would have remained a
scientific toy unless the most astute and vigorous methods of persuasion
had been used to insure its almost universal adoption and use. We have
seen that Elias Howe built the first sewing machine so well that its
fundamentals have never been improved upon, and yet, despite his most
strenuous efforts and the efforts of his friends and associates, it
remained a mere mechanical curiosity until he had learned how to persuade
others to use it.
MUTUALITY OF ALL HUMAN INTERESTS
A.F. Sheldon has said, "Salesmanship is not conquest, but co-operation."
Salesmanship is only the commercial name for persuasion, therefore Mr.
Sheldon has uttered a great truth. Human interests do not clash, however
much they may appear to. All human interests are mutual. John D.
Rockefeller did not amass a fortune by making others poor. On the
contrary, in the building up of his hundreds of millions, he increased the
wealth of others by billions. The theory that there is not enough wealth
to go around, and that if one man has a great deal of money others must
therefore have too little, is a vicious and dangerous fallacy. The
resources of the universe are infinite. The possibilities of humanity are
unlimited. The interests of all lie, fundamentally, in the greater and
greater development of the latent possibilities in all men and the more
and more efficient exploitation and conservation of the resources of the
universe. This is philosophic. It is a generalization. It is a statement
of facts so tremendous in their scope and so deep in their significance
that it is difficult to make a connection between them and the practical
details of every-day life.
PERSUASION REVEALS MUTUALITY OF INTERESTS
The very fact that human intercourse, in every aspect of its activity,
rests upon persuasion is an indication that all interests are mutual. The
persuader teaches the persuaded that their interest coincide. Take a
practical example: Salesmen have declared to us that life insurance
policies are the most difficult of all specialties to sell. Yet, in nine
cases out of ten, policyholders will agree that their benefits far exceed
those derived by the salesmen who persuade them to purchase. The life
insurance salesman is not attempting to hoodwink, hypnotize, cajole, or
browbeat his client in a case where their interests clash, but simply, by
skilful setting forth of facts and appeals to the feelings, to persuade
his client to act in his own interest.
We have seen in this chapter that all individuals who succeed depend upon
their power of persuasion. We have seen, also, that persuasion is not
necessarily an attempt to advance the interests of one at the expense of
another, but essentially a process by means of which two or more minds
reach the conclusion that their interests coincide. Since these two
propositions are true, it follows that we shall be justified in laying
tribute upon every means within our power to increase our effectiveness in
PERSUASION A MENTAL ACT DEPENDING UPON INDIVIDUAL MENTAL RESPONSE
Persuasion has been defined as the meeting of minds. This is an excellent
definition, chiefly because it localizes the activities involved. It
identifies our problem as a purely mental or psychical one. The reason why
any two people disagree as to any truth is because their minds have no
common ground upon which to meet. Either the minds do not possess all the
facts, have not reasoned in accordance with the facts so as to reach a
sound conclusion, or, having the facts and having reached the conclusion,
they are actuated by different motives. Or it may be a combination of both
of these conditions which prevents their meeting. Granting that it is to a
man's interest to buy a life insurance policy, the reason he and the
solicitor cannot get together on the proposition is either because he does
not know all of the facts involved or because the solicitor has not
appealed to motives strong enough to cause his prospective customer to
take action. To the insurance solicitor, the facts of the case may be so
clear and so easily grasped that he underestimates his prospective
client's opposition, and so does not present the facts in a convincing
manner or he himself may have such a confused idea of the factors in the
case that he cannot state them clearly. The prospective client may have a
remarkably quick, keen comprehension of the essential factors of any plan,
but may be unable to grasp details, while, on the other hand, the
solicitor, not knowing this, may present his proposition in such minute
detail as to confuse. Or the situation may be exactly reversed. The
client's mind may be very slow in action and demand the presentation of a
few essential facts with all of the reasons for them, or it may be very
quick in action and demand the presentation of many facts in rapid
succession, with no attempt to give reasons for them. It will thus be seen
that, even in getting down to a conclusive possession of facts, the
persuader and the persuaded may be greatly handicapped by
THE DIFFERENCE IN MOTIVES
When we proceed from fact to motive, we find even greater possibilities of
misunderstanding. To the solicitor the one all-powerful motive for the
purchase of a life insurance policy may lie in the fact that it is an
excellent investment. Unless, therefore, he understands psychology and his
client well enough to do otherwise, he may talk the investment feature and
appeal to the investment motive when dealing with a man who cares nothing
about the investment, but might respond readily and instantly if his
desire to provide for the future of his wife and children were appealed
Success in persuading, therefore, depends upon two things: First,
knowledge in general as to how the human mind works; how it receives its
knowledge; how it proceeds from facts and motives to conclusions; what its
ambitions, desires, and other feelings are; how these may be aroused and,
finally, how they may provide the motive power and induce favorable
action. Second, knowledge as to how each individual human mind works; what
it's particular methods are in the obtaining of information, in reasoning
upon that information, and forming its conclusions; what its motives are
and how these motives finally induce decision and action.
The study of the first of these problems is a study of psychology. Because
knowledge in regard to it can be easily obtained in practically all of the
standard works of salesmanship, perhaps it is not necessary for us to go
into it more deeply here. Those who wish to pursue it further, may find an
exceedingly valuable discussion of it in "Influencing Men in Business," by
Walter Dill Scott; "The Art of Selling," by Arthur Frederick Sheldon, and
"The Science of Business Building," by Arthur Frederick Sheldon.
MANY DOMINATING MOTIVES
As we have already seen, one man gets his information very quickly,
another must get it slowly. One demands details, another cannot endure
them. But these are not the only differences. One man learns best through
his eyes, another through his ears, and still another by his sense of
touch. One man gets his facts most easily by reading about them, another
must see the actual production, while the third forms the most definite
and easily understandable mental picture of them as a result of hearing
them described. One man, in buying machinery, wants to examine carefully
every detail of its construction, another man wants only to see it in
action and examine its product, while still another man demands both.
There is the same diversity in motives. One man's strongest motive is
vanity; another's, ambition, love of power; still another's, love of
beauty. One man responds most readily to any appeal to his affections,
another to an appeal to his pride. So, amongst dominating motives in men,
we find also avarice, greed, parsimony, benevolence, progressiveness, love
of variety, love of the striking and unusual, love of pleasure, a love of
cleanliness, physical appetite, a desire for comfort, love of home, love
of family, love of friends, love of country, religion, philanthropy,
politics, and many others which will readily occur to the thinking reader.
DIFFICULTY OF DETERMINING MOTIVES
It will readily be seen that no study of psychology in the ordinary
acceptance of the term can give us any clue to these variations in
individuals. Yet successful persuasion depends upon as accurate a
knowledge as possible of these very differences among people. The
parsimonious salesman who takes it for granted that every one's motives
are the same as his own, and, therefore, talks to every prospect about the
money-saving possibilities of his commodity, will most certainly fail in
trying to persuade those to purchase who care nothing about saving a few
cents, but do care a great deal about the quality, style, and beauty of
the commodity. The attorney who makes his plea to the court on the basis
of technical justice in every case he pleads will lose many cases in those
courts where the presiding judge is rather impatient with technical
justice and may, perhaps, decide cases upon their merits or according to
his own sympathies. We once knew a learned, able, and conscientious judge
who, despite his many years' training in the law, was almost certain to
decide a case in favor of the litigant who made the strongest appeal to
his sympathies. The parent who knows nothing but the persuasive power of
corporal punishment, will have little success in disciplining a child
blessed with unusual fighting spirit, independence, and tenacity, just as
the parent who appeals only to a love of approval will fail in handling a
child who does not care what people think about him.
PERSUASION IN DISCIPLINE OF CHILDREN
We once knew a woman who lived near us who had two little boys. One of
them was sensitive, timid, affectionate, and idealistic. Being a healthy,
active boy, there was a great deal of mischief in him, and in her attempts
to discipline him the mother scolded, berated, and often cuffed and
slapped him, occasionally administering a whipping. It was plain that the
scoldings and whippings only made the boy more shy, more self-conscious,
and less confident of himself, which, in one sense, was the worst thing
that could have happened to him. The qualities he most needed were courage
and self-confidence. With his ideals, his responsiveness, and his
affection, he could have been handled easily and would have developed a
splendid intellect and a fine character normally and healthfully.
The other boy, although somewhat younger, was more than a match for his
older brother. He was practical, matter-of-fact, shrewd, courageous, too
self-confident if anything, always ready for a fight, aggressive and
wilful. The mother did not scold or whip this boy for the simple reason
that she could not. He was too active and too willing to fight. Being thus
deprived of the only means of discipline which seemed to her to be
effective, she permitted the boy principally to have his own way, her only
appeals being to his reason. Unfortunately, this is the very type of boy
who will not listen to reason. In this case, as in the first, she would
have been successful if she had appealed to the boy's affections, for he
had a very strong love nature and would have responded instantly.
It is plain enough to any thoughtful mind that it is not safe to judge of
other people's motives by their conversation. "Language," said Talleyrand,
"was invented for the purpose of concealing thought." Many people conceal
their real motives under a very alluring curtain of language. It seems to
be the most natural thing in the world for the thief and swindler to talk
with the greatest apparent earnestness and sincerity and honesty. Pious
talk very frequently is the haze in which an avaricious and greedy soul
hides itself. Bluff, bluster, and boasting are the sops which the coward
throws to his own vanity, while the quietest, sweetest, and gentlest
tones often sheath the fierce heart of the born fighter, as a velvet glove
is said to clothe a hand of steel.
HOW MOTIVES MAY BE KNOWN
Motives lie at the very foundation of being. They are deeply imbedded in
the very cells and fiber of the individual. They shape his thoughts, his
habits, and all of his actions. It is, therefore, impossible that they
should not show themselves to the practiced eye in every physical
characteristic, in the tones of the voice, in the handshake, in gestures,
in the walk, and in handwriting, in clothing, in the condition of the
body, and in the expression of the face. So the motives of man festoon his
personality with flaunting and infallible signs to be known and read by
all men who care to take the trouble to learn. Some of them are so plain
that there is scarcely any grown person so unobservant as not to have seen
them. Others are more elusive, but none the less legible to the practiced
The simpler motives, after they have held sway for years, are easily
discernible. Sensuality, arrogance, vanity, coldness, benevolence,
sympathy, and others are easily determined. But, in order to be successful
in persuasion, you need to be able to trace all of the feelings both
permanent and transitory.
THE MENTAL LAW OF SALE
There is a great practical truth in the mental law of sale now generally
accepted by business psychologists and by practical men in the business
world. This mental law of sale holds true in all kinds of persuasion
because it describes the process of the human mind as it proceeds, step by
step, from indifference or antagonism to favorable action. It is,
therefore, impossible to discuss intelligently the ways and means of
successful persuasion, except upon a basis of this law. Here is the law:
"Favorable attention properly sustained changes into interest,
interest properly intensified changes into desire, desire properly
augmented ripens into decision and action."
[Footnote 10: From "The Science of Business Building," by A.F. Sheldon.]
Now, it is known to psychologists that certain sensations attract
favorable attention in a larger number of cases than others. For example,
in an appeal to the eye, rectangular shape in proportion of three to five,
that is to say, three units of measurement wide by five units of
measurement long is more likely to attract favorable attention than a
square. Similarly, any object in motion or having the illusion of motion,
is more likely to attract favorable attention than an object at rest.
Black letters upon a white background attract more favorable attention
than white letters upon a black background. Many such psychological
problems have been worked out. They are valuable, but they have no place
in this work, since our task here is not to deal with averages, but rather
with variations in individuals--how to discern them and how to deal with
In a similar way, psychologists have determined that the average
individual more quickly becomes interested in that which he can understand
than in that which he cannot understand, in that which appeals to
something in his own experience than in that which has no such appeal, in
that which appeals to his tastes and his feelings than in that which
appeals to his judgment. These are rules applicable to the average, but
they are very general and are of little use to you unless you add to them
specific knowledge of every individual whom you wish to persuade.
Desire, as you will see by the terms of the law of sale, is merely
interest intensified. Desire is the main spring of action. It is the real
force of every motive. Contradictory as it may seem at first sight, people
always do what they want to do even when they act most reluctantly. Their
action is inspired by a desire to escape what they believe to be the
certain penalty of inaction or of contrary action. The boy who slowly
approaches his father to receive a promised whipping, does so because he
wants to. And he wants to because he knows he will be whipped so much
harder if he runs away. Desire is, therefore, the great citadel toward
which all of the campaign of the persuader must be directed. Given a
powerful enough desire, decision and action follow as a matter of course.
Psychologists have determined that imagination is the most powerful mental
stimulus to desire. Imagination presents to the mind, as it were, a more
or less vivid mental picture of the individual enjoying the gratification
of his desire--be it physical, intellectual, or spiritual. The longer this
picture remains in the mind, the more vivid it becomes, the more it crowds
all other thoughts and feelings from the mind, the more powerful and
irresistible becomes the desire. It is the task of the persuader,
therefore, to stimulate the imagination to the painting of such mental
pictures. This we well know, but what we wish to know further is what are
the most powerful desires in the particular human mind with which we are
dealing. Obviously, the automobile salesman who vividly pictures to the
timid person the thrills of speeding around curves would be as far wrong
as if he were picturing the sedate, quiet luxury of his car to a speed
maniac. What he wants to know and what we all want to know in substance is
how to tell, at a glance, which is the timid, sedate person and which the
DECISION AND ACTION
Perhaps the most delicate and most difficult process among all the four
steps of persuasion is inducing decision and action. When one reflects
upon the multitudinous important decisions made and actions taken every
hour, it hardly seems possible that it can be so difficult to induce our
fellow-men to make the short step from hesitant desire to definite
decision. The truth is, of course, that in the making of almost any
important decision there is a stern conflict between conflicting desires.
Take, for example, a man buying an automobile. Under the skilful
persuasive power of the salesman, he has vividly pictured to himself
enjoying possession. But this is not his only mental picture. Perhaps he
has a picture of his old age, in which he might enjoy the income from the
money which would go into an automobile. There are also in his mind mental
pictures of half a dozen to a dozen or more other makes of automobiles. In
addition to these, there may be a mental picture of a motor boat, a little
cottage by the sea, a new set of furniture for his house, new fittings for
his store, an increased advertising appropriation, a new insurance policy,
a trip to California and return, and goodness only knows how many other
objects of desire. It is no wonder he hesitates and that he must be very
skilfully and deftly brought to the point of decision.
WAYS OF INDUCING DECISION AND ACTION
For this reason, experience has shown that many people, perhaps the
majority of people, can be induced to decide whether they will have red
rubber or gray rubber tires on an automobile they contemplate purchasing
far more easily than they can be induced to decide definitely that they
will purchase the car. Having decided upon the tires, however, they can be
asked to decide upon other minor points, including the terms upon which
they intend to pay for the car, and thus eventually go through the entire
process of purchasing the car without ever giving their delicate mental
mechanism the severe shock and strain of deciding to purchase it at all.
As a general rule, such people are surprised and delighted to find that
they have made the decision so easily and with so little pain and
But this method will not work with all people. There are some natures so
positive, so aggressive, so fond of taking the initiative, so determined
to make their own decisions without interference that the wise salesman or
persuader apparently permits them to have their own way, at the same time
skilfully guiding them in the way he wishes them to go by means of
INDUCING A POSITIVE NATURE TO PERSUADE HIMSELF
The story is told of an old-time, domineering railroad official, formerly
an army colonel, a great lover of horses, who was intensely prejudiced
against the automobile. During the days when carriages were favorite
conveyances of the wealthy, this man kept a magnificent stable and boasted
that no driver ever passed him on the road. With the coming in of
automobiles, he became accustomed to seeing the gasoline-drinking machines
flash by. They came up behind him with a honk. They rushed by with a roar
and they disappeared in the distance in a cloud of dust. He saw the
chauffeurs gripping their steering wheels and glaring intensely along the
"Humph!" he scorned, "those fellows work harder than an engineer for their
rattlety-bang speed. I had rather sit back and get some pleasure out of
riding, as I do behind my bays."
Then one morning he noticed a car slip by him slowly, noiselessly, easily,
and with so little evidence of effort that the old man felt that by urging
his horses to just a little faster pace he might have kept ahead. The next
morning, the same thing happened again. It was the same car, and this time
the old man tightened his reins a little and sent his horses speeding
ahead. At first he gained a little on the car, but eventually it pulled
slowly and easily away from him. The third morning, there was another
little brush of speed on the boulevard. By this time the old railroad man
had noticed how luxurious the car was, how smoothly it rolled, how deeply
upholstered were the seats, how lustrous and satiny the finish.
Finally, one morning, one of the old man's horses cast a shoe and the
courteous young driver of the automobile, coming along, kindly offered to
take the colonel on downtown. The offer was accepted, the team sent to a
horseshoer's in care of the coachman, and the colonel and his new friend
drove off still slowly, still quietly, and yet, one by one, they passed
other carriages on the road. Finally a trolley car was overtaken and left
"See," said the young man modestly, "just the pressure of a finger on the
"Oh, do you call that a throttle?" asked the railroader. The word was a
familiar one to him, and being distinctly of the mechanical type, he was
easily interested in machinery. For the remainder of the journey the young
man talked quietly, but interestingly of the mechanism of the car,
emphasizing the need of skill, steadiness of eye, steadiness of hand,
coolness of nerve necessary to drive it. The colonel was deeply interested
and, just as the young man deposited him at his destination, he said, "It
is possible your horses may not be ready to come for you this evening. If
so, I should be delighted to call for you as I go out your way at about
the same time you go." The colonel graciously accepted the invitation and
at four o'clock of that same afternoon he was again seated along-side the
driver of the car. After they had drawn out of the congested streets onto
the wide boulevard, the young man again deftly turned the conversation to
the mechanism of the car and the skill necessary for driving it. This was
too much for the colonel.
"Pshaw! I do not believe it takes so much skill. With what I know about
it, I believe I could drive the car."
After some hesitation, the young man finally permitted the railroad
official to take the wheel. At first the colonel drove somewhat clumsily,
but this only increased his determination, and within an hour he was
sending the car along at a good clip. When finally they drove up to the
colonel's country home, the young man scarcely needed to invite his
passenger to accompany him to the city on the following morning. Before
the end of the week, the old man had purchased a magnificent high-powered
car. So skilfully did the young man handle his campaign that his customer
did not learn he was an automobile salesman until just a few hours before
the deal was consummated.
HANDLING THE INDECISIVE
If there are positive natures which must be permitted to feel that the
decision is all their own, there are weak, indecisive natures, also, who
are rather grateful than otherwise for having important decisions taken
off of their hands. For such people, a direct, positive suggestion is
perhaps the most powerful and effective means of securing decision and
action. One of the favorite methods of dealing with them is to press a
fountain pen into their fingers with the definitely worded command, "Sign
your name right here, please."
People are also brought to decide and act by being impressed with the fact
that delay may make it altogether too late or may possibly postpone part
of the advantage to be gained or may permit some one else to get ahead.
Decision oftentimes is also induced by a direct or indirect compliment to
the individual's decisiveness, positiveness, and ability to take action
when he sees that action is necessary. A very successful salesman often
used this method: "You say rightly that you want to think it over. That
shows that you are a wise man, because a man who acts without thinking is
foolish. On the other hand, the man who thinks without acting is a mere
dreamer, and I know you do not belong to that class. You have had the
evidence. You have weighed it. You have formed your conclusions, and now,
because you are a man of decision and action, you are ready to sign the
NEED FOR CHARACTER ANALYSIS
Here, again, the reader has already seen that we are dealing with
generalities. We have, as yet, no way of determining definitely and
quickly whether the individual with whom we are dealing will respond best
to that treatment which secures his decision upon minor points, or that
which permits him to make his own decision guided only by indirect
suggestions, or that which makes the decision for him, or that which
compliments him upon his decisiveness, or any one of many other methods of
closing. And so it is necessary to study humanity to learn to know just
what will gain favorable attention of each one individually, just which
one of a thousand possible motives to appeal to in order to arouse
interest, just what kind of a desire to stimulate in order to intensify
it to that point where it becomes irresistible, just what method of
closing to use in order to bring about decision and action.
In succeeding chapters of this part of the book, we shall give some
attention to these problems.
SECURING FAVORABLE ATTENTION
You would find it an interesting study in human nature to stand in front
of different shop windows and record the types of people whose favorable
attention is drawn by each. Select, for example, a book-store window, a
jewelry display, a window full of tools and instruments, an offering of
meats and groceries, and a traction engine. You will find a description of
various types in the first few chapters of this book. Suppose you took
fifty, one hundred, one hundred and fifty, two hundred observations before
each display and then analyzed the records to find the percentage of each
type whose favorable attention was called to each window.
Our own observations, taken in New York City, produced the following
Phys. Bone & Imprac- Profes- Mechanical
Display Frail Fat Muscle tical sional Vain Total
Bookstore 30 10 12 15 20 6 7 100
Jewelry 15 20 3 12 19 35 6 100
Tools & 8 12 30 6 14 4 26 100
Meats & 6 42 8 8 13 11 12 100
Traction 8 16 31 9 7 3 26 100
THE PHYSICALLY FRAIL
These results show that the individual of the physically frail type, as
described in Chapter 2 of this book, is chiefly interested in books, in
beauty, ideas and ideals, elegance, and luxuries. His favorable attention
is caught by that which is beautiful. If the thing offered him has in it
or about it any elements of beauty, elegance, luxury, or idealism, this
should first be presented, even if the true value of the article lies in
its utility. In the same way, this individual will respond most quickly
with his favorable attention to that which is intellectual, educational,
literary, scientific, or philosophic, unless he is also of the strictly
financial type which is sometimes, though not often, true of the
physically frail. Then his attention may be readily secured by an apt
quotation from a price list.
Because the physically frail man does not like manual labor and cannot do
it well, his attention may be gained by any contrivance for saving labor,
making life easier physically, and substituting mental work for physical.
"Let the Gold Dust Twins Do Your Work" is a headline which no doubt
attracts the favorable attention of many of this class, who might utterly
ignore "Let the Gold Dust Twins Save You Money."
THE FAT MAN
The favorable attention of the fat man is very evidently gained most
readily by that which appeals to his physical senses and appetites. This
is because the keynote of his nature is enjoyment. He is always on the
alert for anything which may contribute to his enjoyment. He is not fond
of physical or mental work, but he is interested in food products,
labor-saving devices, comforts, luxuries, finances, politics,
merchandizing, and, in fact, everything which contributes to his enjoyment
either directly or indirectly through his ability to command the mental
and physical services of others.
He who would gain the favorable attention of a fat man, therefore, might
be most successful by beginning with inviting him to luncheon or dinner.
In the absence of this, he might begin conversation by a discreet question
or comment upon the political situation. The headline, "Let Me Show You
How To Make More Money" might appeal to the impractical man, but it is not
likely to gain the favorable attention of the fat man. The fat man's
natural feeling about a request of that kind is: "If you know how to make
more money, why don't you use that knowledge for yourself?" Financially,
his favorable attention is much more likely to be secured by asking him
whether he believes real estate prices are going to advance or railroad
stocks are going to decline or interest rates are going to hold firm.
Unless he is of the highly speculative type, he is more than likely to be
suspicious of any financial proposition which offers large returns at the
outset. He usually has a shrewd way of unearthing propositions which will
pay him large returns; but, as a general rule, he would rather unearth
them himself than to have some interested party come and offer them to
THE MAN OF BONE AND MUSCLE
The favorable attention of the man of bone and muscle is always most
quickly gained by something that moves, some piece of mechanism, or,
perhaps, by an object suggestive of outdoor sports. Many a salesman has
secured the favorable attention and gained his way into the good graces of
a man of this type by talking to him about hunting, fishing, golf or
baseball. If you take the fat man to luncheon with you, take this man out
to play golf or tennis or have a motor ride.
A salesman of our acquaintance once determined to sell a full line of
school supplies to the superintendent of schools in a large western city.
The contract was a considerable one and meant a large commission to the
salesman. As he studied the situation, he learned that one of his
competitors had been furnishing all of the supplies for the schools in
this city for a number of years and that it was very difficult for the
salesmen from other business houses to get a hearing. The superintendent's
usual manner of rebuff was to say: "No, I do not care to look at your
line. We are being excellently served now, sir, and have no desire to make
This salesman proceeded to the office of the superintendent early in the
morning, before that official arrived, and was waiting in the ante-room
when his prospective customer came in. Observing the man quickly, as he
walked through the ante-room into his private office, the salesman noted
that he was tall, square-shouldered, with a square face and jaw, wide
forehead and a slow, elastic, graceful stride. In other words, he was
distinctly a man of the bony and muscular type. A few minutes later the
salesman was ushered into the superintendent's office. He carried with
him, instead of a huge sample case--this he left in the ante-room--an
ingenious little mechanical pencil sharpener. Stepping up to the
superintendent's desk, he set the machine down squarely in front of the
official and, without a word, picked up a pencil from the desk and
"How much by the dozen?" asked the superintendent.
"Twenty-five dollars," replied the salesman.
"Send me five dozen," said the superintendent, drawing towards him a
While the superintendent was writing the requisition, the salesman quietly
slipped out and brought in his sample case. When he returned, the
superintendent was sharpening a pencil for himself with much evident
"What else have you?" said he, without looking up.
Of course that question opened up the salesman's sample case, and when he
left the office, he had at least broken down that ancient barrier and had
secured an order for considerably more than one-third of the year's
In our story of the railroad man who was induced to buy an automobile
without even suspecting that his patronage was being solicited, observe
how skillfully the salesman drew his customer's attention to the
mechanical features of the machine. The colonel, being a railroad man,
was, of course, of this bony and muscular type.
THE IMPRACTICAL MAN
The impractical man lives in a world of dreams, theories, hypotheses, and
philosophies. His favorable attention is immediately attracted to an
ingenious idea. If he is of the fine-textured, delicate-featured type, he
will give his favorable attention readily to that which is artistic,
poetical, musical, dramatic, or literary. Financially, he is far more
likely to give attention to a proposition which promises immense returns
quickly than to one which is safe, solid and substantial, but promises
only small returns. His favorable attention cannot for long be sustained
by mere recitation of facts. He does not care much about facts and they
are likely to prove dry and uninteresting to him. Give him the theories;
show him the philosophy of the thing; appeal to his imagination, his sense
of beauty and his ideals, and he is ready to listen further.
THE PRACTICAL MAN
The practical man demands facts. Theories and abstractions worry him. Even
if you had his favorable attention and were to try to go too much into the
reasons for things, you would probably lose it. He is the kind of man who
wants to be shown, who demands that you place the actual object before
him, if possible, so that he can see it, taste it, smell it, feel of it.
His principal concern about any proposition is not, "Is it reasonable?" or
"Is it in accordance with theories?" but rather "Will it work?" "Is it
practical?" If you can show him the facts and can convince him by
demonstration, if possible, that the thing will work, you will secure his
very immediate attention.
Those who are hungry for fame, who are eager for the limelight, whose ears
itch for the sound of applause, are, of course, quickly responsive to
flattery. If they are fine-textured and have delicate features, small
hands and feet, flattery must be of a refined and delicate nature. If, on
the other hand, they are of coarse texture, large, coarse features and big
hands and feet, they will, if their vanity be a ruling motive, eagerly
swallow the most atrocious and fulsome praises. Look for the extremely
short upper lip, for an excess of jewelry, a tendency to over-dress and
extreme foppish methods of arranging the hair. Where you find one or more
of these indications, you find the easiest road to favorable attention
through the appetite of the individual for praise. If he is of the
intellectual type, praise him for his smartness. If he is a fat man,
praise him for his popularity, his political astuteness, his financial
acumen, his artistic ordering of a dinner, for his impartiality. If he is
of the bony and muscular type, praise him for his mechanical ability, for
his strength, skill and agility, for his love of freedom and independence.
If he is of the literary and artistic type, praise him for his art. If he
shows a fondness for dress, flatter him on his personal appearance. Watch
any man of this type carefully and you will soon discover his pet vanity,
and when you have discovered it, you have found an easy road to the
citadel of his desires.
If an individual has a long, straight upper lip, a keenly practical,
matter-of-fact type of forehead, long, severe lines of countenance and a
high crown, do not attempt flattery. Such a person is instantly suspicious
of anyone who flatters him. He keeps his feelings well under control. He
has very decided opinions and convictions of his own and it is difficult
to induce him to act except in accordance with them. Such a person gives
his favorable attention to fact and, usually, only to facts germane to the
proposition in hand. He does not care much for comments upon these facts
and is quite likely to refuse to listen to all appeals to his emotions. He
has, however, as a general rule, considerable love of power. He likes to
dominate, to rule, not so much for material personal advantage as for the
sake of imposing his opinions and convictions upon others and the
satisfaction of feeling that the power is in his hands. Show him facts
that will convince him that your proposition will increase his power and
you appeal to one of his strongest motives.
THE SOCIAL AND FRIENDLY
There is a very large class of people who are distinctly friendly and
social in type. A leading characteristic of this type is, as we have
stated already, the full, round back-head. The best, easiest and quickest
way to gain the favorable attention of such people is to develop your
relations with them upon a friendly and social basis. Indeed, a capacity
for making friends and keeping them is one of the most valuable assets of
any human being, no matter what his ambitions and desires. As a general
rule, we can more easily persuade those who feel friendly toward us than
we can those who are indifferent. Observe the successful salesman and the
successful politician, those whose professional success depends upon the
power to persuade; they are nearly all of the social, friendly type.
THE VALUE OF FRIENDLINESS
For some men it comes natural to make friends with everyone with whom they
come in contact. Others make friends with few, but their friendships are
powerful and lasting. Still others are very social; they meet people
easily and are fairly successful in dealing with them; but they make few,
if any, intimate friends. Still others are neither social nor friendly.
They do not particularly care for people but rather enjoy solitude. No
matter which type a man may be, he will do well to cultivate true
friendliness. Our friends turn business to us. They give us important
information at the right time. They influence people in our favor. They
warn us of disasters. They come to our rescue in times of trouble and help
to protect us against our enemies. Finally, but perhaps most important of
all, they give us an opportunity to do all these things for them, and in
this service we find our highest and truest pleasure.
We have suggested arbitrarily in this chapter a few of the types you will
meet and the best ways to gain the favorable attention of each. Naturally,
these types may overlap. For example, a man may be a fat man and also of
the exceedingly practical type. He is, therefore, approachable upon either
one of the two lines suggested or with something which appeals to both
elements in his nature at once. Plain, simple, easily recognized facts
about a sound financial proposition, for example, would combine the two
There are, of course, many other types and combination types. To treat
each one of them exhaustively would require, not a volume, but a library.
Yet there are certain fundamental principles by which all of them may be
known and in accordance with which each may be successfully persuaded. A
thorough scientific study of human nature will reveal them.
AROUSING INTEREST AND CREATING DESIRE
Before the days of business psychology, form letters for the purpose of
securing business from those addressed used to begin something like this:
"DEAR MR. BLANK:
"We beg to announce that we have on hand a very large
stock of bicycles, which we desire to close out as early as possible."
Consciously or unconsciously, the recipient of this letter would say to
himself: "What in thunder is that to me? I have no particular interest in
this fellow's stock of bicycles. I do not care whether his stock is large
or small, nor do I care whether he wants to sell it or not." And the form
letter would go into the waste basket. Nowadays, however, we have learned
better and our form letter would begin something like this:
"DEAR MR. BLANK:
"What would it be worth to you to have the freedom of movement, the
open air, the healthful exercise, and the enjoyment of the beauties
of nature which are all placed easily within your reach by the
possession of a bicycle?"
The recipient of this letter immediately pictures to himself time saved in
going to and from work, in running errands, in paying visits. He also has
visions of increased health--perhaps freedom from the headaches that have
been troubling him--pictures of long rides upon air-shod wheels over
smooth boulevards and through leafy lanes.
Do you get it? The writer of that letter makes the reader think about
_himself_. He knows that the latter is more interested in himself than in
any other human being in the world and that he is more interested in human
beings than he is in anything else. This is the key to the arousing of
interest. Make the man think about himself in connection with what you
have to offer.
HOW PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THEMSELVES
But different people think about themselves in entirely different ways.
The glutton thinks of his stomach; the scholar of his knowledge; the
athlete of his prowess, and the seeker after power, of his ambitions.
Those who seek to persuade others by scientific means will learn to
determine in just what way each individual is most interested in himself.
Then his task will be to make every individual whom he seeks to persuade
think, as he best likes to think, of himself and, at the same time, in
close connection, think of the idea or the article or the proposition
INTERESTING THE INTELLECTUAL MAN
Suppose he were trying to persuade a man of the intellectual type to
purchase a life insurance policy. After having gained favorable attention,
his further argument might be along these lines: "Your greatest asset is
in your mental power. With your intellect you can accomplish what it would
take a hundred men a year to accomplish with their hands. In fact, with
your intellect you can accomplish what no number of men working throughout
eternity could accomplish by the mere toil of their hands. Intellectual
power depends upon the ability to concentrate and the freedom and health
of your intellectual faculties. Psychologists and physiologists both
agree, as you well know, that there is nothing which quite so quickly
upsets both your physical and your mental machinery as anxiety and worry.
With this policy in force, you are fortified--you are free to concentrate
upon your problems, your work, without anxiety as to the future of your
wife and children. Whatever happens to you, you know that they will be
provided for. Furthermore, if you should live twenty years from now, you
will receive ten thousand dollars in one lump sum. That is a provision
against the possible day when you may be weary and wish to rest, or it may
be just the endowment which you need in order to carry on your researches
and investigations and, perhaps, find the solution to some of the
intellectual problems on which you have so long been working."
INTERESTING THE FAT MAN
The fat man likes to think of himself enjoying the good things of life as
to body and mind, comfort, luxury, a jovial good time with congenial
friends, the exercise of executive, financial or political power, or all
three. His interest, therefore, is readily aroused if you talk to him
about himself in connection with these things. There are many cases, of
course, in which this must be done indirectly rather than directly. The
effort should be not always to talk directly about the man to himself, but
to make him think about himself. It is usually not permissible to talk to
the judge on the bench about himself, but it is always permissible to
paint the picture in such a way that the judge, if he is a fat man, will
almost inevitably think of himself in connection with the matters
For example, a lawyer friend of ours often appeared with cases before a
corpulent jurist. "If it is at all possible," he told us, "without
dragging the thing in too obviously by the ears, I always talk about food
in my summing up. If I want to get the sympathy of the judge, I try,
somehow or other, to make my client appear before the imagination as
suffering from want of nourishment. I can see that the judge always feels
those sufferings keenly himself. In one case, where I represented a woman
in a divorce case, I told, as graphically as I knew how, the excellence of
her cooking. I told about how her roast chicken and her pies tasted, and I
could actually see his Honor's mouth water. Of course, in addition to
that, I presented a good legal case. But I have always thought it was
those imaginary pies and roast chicken that got my client her decision."
INTERESTS OF THE ACTIVE MAN
The man of bone and muscle likes to think of himself in action. Muscular
exercise, out-of-doors freedom, skill, agility and strength--these are the
things in which he is interested. You can also interest him in thoughts
of himself using tools, building or operating machinery, traveling or,
perhaps, working in his garden or amongst his fruit trees. By an easy step
in analogy this man is also interested in politics and religion, freedom
and reform, and in mechanical principles and construction. Notice how the
letter cited at the opening of this chapter makes the man who receives it
think of himself in motion, think of himself as enjoying freedom, the
outdoor air, exercise, the beauties of nature. All of these things appeal
to the man of bone and muscle, who is, by all odds, the most likely
purchaser of a bicycle.
THE IMPRACTICAL MAN'S INTEREST
The impractical man usually likes to think of himself as an ideal being,
living in an ideal world, surrounded by ideal people, associated together
under ideal conditions. In other words, he is a day-dreamer, dreaming of
those things which delight him most, without thought as to their
foundation in fact, or the possibility of putting them into practice. It
is usually easy enough for the eloquent salesman who understands him to
persuade such a man. He responds to eloquence. Since he doesn't demand
facts, his mind is soon soaring off into realms of fancy upon the wings of
the speaker's words. But since interests are all mutual, you will, if you
are wise, use your knowledge of this man's impractical nature to help to
persuade him to do for himself that which is practicable. Such a man ought
to have life insurance, for example, and to have it so protected that he
can do nothing visionary and impracticable with it. Make him think of
himself, if you can, conferring ideal benefits upon his wife and family.
You could never interest him in the bare, trite facts in the case, but
when you have gained his interest, see to it that you sell him an entirely
practicable life insurance policy for a man of his type. There is never
any ultimate advantage gained by using your knowledge of human nature to
persuade people to do anything which is not, in the long run, the best
thing for them to do.
INTERESTING THE PRACTICAL MAN
The practical man likes to think of himself and others as doing things, as
saying things, accomplishing practical things, worth-while things. We
shall never forget the intensity with which one of the most practical
persons in our acquaintance says over and over again: "I like to see
things _done_" If your practical person is also of the financial type, he
likes to think of himself as doing things which will result in profit.
There is scarcely any proposition of any kind you may ever wish to present
to a practical financial person which cannot be presented in such a way as
to make that person think of himself as getting something done both
practical and profitable. If you can make him think of himself in this
way, you will have aroused his interest.
INTERESTS OF THE VAIN
Vain men and women, who live upon the praises, applause and approval of
others, like to think of themselves as being admired, courted, favored,
appreciated, and even flattered. Such a person once said to us: "I cannot
live without flattery. I want people to say nice things about me. I do not
care whether they mean them or not, if only they will say them to my
face." To interest such a person in himself is really a work of
supererogation--because he thinks of nothing else, and usually can talk of
nothing else. All you have to do to arouse his interest is to show him the
connection between his vanity and the proposition you have to offer, and
then heartily join in the applause.
In a similar way, the doting mother thinks about herself in connection
with her children. Make the devoted husband and father think about himself
in connection with his family. Make the social, friendly person think
about himself in connection with his acquaintances and friends. Make the
detail worker think of himself in connection with little intimate details.
Make the generalist think of himself in connection with large movements.
The interest a person may feel is not always concerned with that which is
immediately and directly connected with himself. Just at present, for
example, we are all more or less interested in the war in Europe. We read
about it. We discuss and argue about it. We follow its moves of armies and
diplomacies. In one sense this interest is impersonal. Yet,
psychologically, our interest depends entirely upon our own connection
with the results. Through our sympathies we place ourselves either with
"the oppressed Belgian people whose homes have been ravished" or with "the
great German nation fighting for its existence against an iron ring of
enemies who enviously conspired for her downfall." We are also interested
in the war because it affects our business, our finances, our means of
travel and communication, and a thousand and one other matters which
directly concern us. Even a casual observer might be interested in a war
between two colonies of ants; but unless the outcome in some way directly
concerned him, his interest would be purely intellectual and by no means
strong enough to use as a basis for successful persuasion.
UNSELFISHNESS OF SELF-INTEREST
Some may object that in treating the subject of interest, we have made
human beings appear far more selfish and self-seeking than they really
are. Such is not our intention. The most unselfish acts of heroism that
can be performed result from intense personal interest aroused through
sympathy, generosity, duty, patriotism, or love. When a person capable of
one of these heroic acts thinks of himself, he is likely to think of
himself as sympathizing with those who suffer, as being generous to those
who are in need, as performing his duty without fear of consequences, as
loving his native land, or as pouring out his very soul for the benefit of
those who are dear to him.
According to the law of sale, desire is interest intensified. Interest may
be purely intellectual. Desire is a feeling. Interest may not even suggest
speech or action to the interested person. Desire infallibly suggests
speech or action. The woman who stands before a magnificent window display
of the latest fashions in evening gowns may be deeply interested in them,
but if, perchance, she be a modest, retiring, home-keeping woman with no
social ambitions, she doesn't even think of purchasing one. In fact, the
chances are that she would not accept it as a gift. She would have no use
for it. As a result, her interest in the display begins to wane and soon
she passes on. How different is the case of the woman who loves
excitement, attends many evening functions, and is ambitious to outshine
her friends! She stops before the window. She also is interested. The
longer she stands before the window and the more interested she becomes,
the more certain is she to begin to think about purchasing one or more of
the gowns, or of having one or more made upon these models. If she stands
there long enough and her interest continues to increase, she will soon be
making definite plans for gaining possession. In other words, her desire
for an evening gown has been aroused.
MAKE THEM SEE THEMSELVES ENJOYING POSSESSION
Ask any successful clothing salesman or saleslady what is the best way to
arouse desire for a suit, a cloak or a gown. Almost without exception they
will answer: "Place the garment on the prospective customer and let him
see himself in a good mirror and in a good light." In this way the
individual actually sees himself enjoying possession. There is no stronger
stimulus to desire than this.
A young man of our acquaintance had a great contempt for spring and fall
overcoats, and had never purchased one. One day, after he had ordered a
suit from his tailor, the salesman said: "Mr. Jenkins, you ought to have a
spring overcoat to wear with that suit."
"A spring overcoat!" scoffed Jenkins. "I never wore a spring overcoat in
my life. When it is cold, I wear my winter overcoat. When it is too warm
for that, I am perfectly comfortable without an overcoat. Why should I
waste my money in a thing which is only ornamental? If I am going to
spend any more money on overcoats, I should rather put it into an extra
fine winter overcoat."
"Now, here is one of our very latest styles, Mr. Jenkins," went on the
salesman, ignoring the protest. "Just slip it on and see how it fits you."
The salesman held the garment invitingly, and, with a grudging warning to
the salesman that he was wasting his time, Jenkins slipped it on. The
salesman settled it upon his broad shoulders, smoothly folded back the
rich, heavy silk facing, and deftly swung a mirror into position.
"Fits as if it were made for you, Mr. Jenkins," he praised. "I tell you,
when you walk down the street in that overcoat in the bright, clear
sunlight of a spring morning, you look prosperous."
In relating the incident afterward, Jenkins said: "Why, the fellow had me,
absolutely. I could see myself walking down Michigan Avenue to business,
and the sun shining on the lake, and the little shoots of grass beginning
to show in Grant Park. I did feel prosperous. I felt so prosperous that,
then and there, I bought that overcoat, the first spring overcoat I ever
owned and just exactly one more spring overcoat than I had ever had any
intention of owning."
AROUSE THEIR FEELINGS ABOUT THEMSELVES
If interest, therefore, is aroused by making a person think about himself,
desire is created by making a person feel about himself and feel about
himself in such a way that the feeling impels him to favorable decision
and action. The object of the man or woman who would persuade according to
scientific principles is to stimulate, through intensified thought, the
strongest and most easily aroused feelings of the person to be persuaded.
As you have already seen, we have been hammering upon those feelings from
the very beginning. In securing favorable attention, we appeal to them. In
arousing interest, we do our best to make the person to be persuaded think
of himself in connection with these feelings; and now, in creating
desire, we simply are going a step further and by every possible means
intensifying the excitement of those feelings.
For example, in selling a garment to an exceedingly utilitarian and
economical person, we secure his favorable attention, perhaps, by the
remark: "Let me show you something that will look as well as the best and
wear like iron, at a moderate price." We arouse his interest by showing
him the hard, close, wear-resisting weave of cloth, the tenacity with
which it holds its shape, and, at the same time, its neatness,
attractiveness, finish, and superior workmanship. We create a desire for
the possession of the garment by inducing him to put it on, at the same
time remarking: "You can see for yourself that this garment is
conservative and suitable in style. While not the extreme of fashion, it
is not out-of-date nor out of harmony with the prevailing mode. A year
from now you will be able to wear it with exactly the same feeling that
you are well and neatly dressed, as you feel in wearing it to-day.
Furthermore, because it is a standard style and not a novelty, it sells at
far below the cost of fancy garments, notwithstanding its superior quality
and workmanship. You will be proud to wear this garment when those who
have paid twice as much for the more extreme styles have been compelled to
discard them and purchase new."
THE PERSUASIVE POWER OF SUGGESTION
In his excellent scientific work, "Influencing Men in Business," Walter
Dill Scott says:
"In persuading men, logical reasoning is practically never to be used
alone. After the arguments have been presented, skillful suggestions
should be used as a supplement. This supplement often changes threatened
defeat into success. The skillful pleader before a jury, the wise
politician, and the successful superintendent of men all alike are
compelled to resort to suggestion to supplement their arguments in their
attempts to influence men.
"If we should divide all customers into the two classes, professional
buyers and the general public, then, in appealing to this latter class,
special attention should be given to suggestion. In an advertisement
containing both a good suggestion and a good argument, the suggestion is
read often and the argument rarely. From infancy, we have been accustomed
to respond to suggestions so frequently that we follow this habit in
purchasing merchandise, even though we ought to make such purchases only
after due deliberation. Deliberation is a process of thought which is very
elaborate and very exhausting. The general purchaser--the housewife--does
not ordinarily rise to such an undertaking, but contents herself with a
process very closely approximating the working of pure suggestion. Even
though she begins to deliberate, the process is likely to be cut short by
the effect of a clever suggestion.
"The general public responds more readily to suggestions than to
arguments; hence, in dealing with this large group, it is usually wise to
construct the copy according to this habitual method of response of the
general public. Immediate action is more often secured by suggestion than
Since this is true, that person is most skillful in persuading who has
acquired the most skill in suggestion. He stimulates the imagination to
paint vivid and intensely-colored mental pictures of the gratification of
desire. Make desire strong enough, and, if you have correctly analyzed the
one to be persuaded, the rest follows.
INDUCING DECISION AND ACTION
"I want it," said a gentleman to us, speaking of a piece of property in
which he was contemplating investment. "I want it so bad that I can't
think of much else. I lie awake nights dreaming of myself in possession of
it, and yet, somehow or other, I can't make up my mind to buy it. I have
the money and have had the money in the bank for weeks. There is nothing
else I want to do with that money half as much as I want to buy that
property, but it is an important move and, somehow or other, I just can't
make the plunge."
This gentleman's experience illustrates a psychological condition well
known to many of our readers, because they have been in substantially the
same situation--and well known to every salesman, because he has had to
meet and combat just such a situation many a time.
Desire having been created, our law of sale states that desire, properly
augmented, ripens into decision and action. This is true. And yet the
ripening process is sometimes so slow that the frost of fear or the rot of
regret spoils the fruit. It is popularly supposed to be true that if a
person really desires to do a thing strongly enough, and it is within the
bounds of possibility, he will do it. Nine times out of ten, or perhaps
ninety-nine times out of a hundred, this is the case; but there are times
when the will simply refuses to respond to desire.
A BALKY WILL
A lady who was of an exceedingly stubborn nature once said to us:
"Ordinarily, I consider myself to be quite amenable to persuasion and
suggestion. I like to live peaceably with others. Occasionally, however,
someone, and perhaps someone whom I love very dearly, says something or
does something that makes me stubborn. Then I absolutely balk. Commands,
demands, appeals, cajoleries, every means thinkable, are used, but the
more people attempt to influence my action, the more stubborn I become. If
then I am left alone to think it over for a few hours, very likely I shall
begin to think that it would be advisable, from every point of view, for
me to yield. My judgment is already convinced that to yield is the best
policy. My love for my friends, my desire for peace, my wish to be
accommodating and to have their approval all urge me to yield. I want to
yield. But, even then--how, I cannot explain--there is something inside
which absolutely forbids it. This is so strong that it feels stronger than
my judgment and all of my desires taken together. The only possible course
for me to pursue is to forget the entire matter for a few days, at the end
of which time, perhaps, the stubbornness has seemingly evaporated."
DECISION MAY WAIT UPON AN IRRELEVANT WORD
And so, merely augmenting desire oftentimes is not enough to bring about
decision and action, even in cases which are not so extreme as those which
we have just cited. The proposition may be of such a nature that it does
not admit of arousing desire to any very high pitch. In all such cases
what is needed is some special stimulus to the will. As every chemist
knows, sulphuric acid and alcohol, when mingled together in a glass
vessel, do not combine. They have an affinity for each other. All of the
necessary elements for active combination are present in that glass, and
yet they do not combine. But drop in a bit of platinum and instantly the
whole mass is boiling with energy let loose. In a similar way, oftentimes,
all the elements for decision and action are present in the mind, yet
nothing happens. But a word or a little act, seemingly insignificant in
itself, oftentimes breaks the spell, as it were, and decision and action
follow. In our first chapter of this part we described some of these
methods for ripening desire into decision and action. This chapter we
shall devote to a consideration of different classes of individuals and
the best methods of inducing in them favorable decision and action.
THE IMPULSIVE MAN
The impulsive individual must be rushed. His emotions are very responsive,
easily aroused, and, as, a rule, when aroused take a strong hold upon him.
It is the impulsive person's tendency always to act quickly and to act in
response to his strong feelings. The impulsive man discharges his feelings
with speed in action, and they rapidly evaporate. Therefore, desire, when
aroused, must be quickly ripened into decision and action or it soon
cools, and it is too late. As a general rule, the impulsive person is well
supplied with fears, and if he is given time to think the matter over his
lack of courage begins to assert itself. Fears of possible or impossible
disaster begin to take form until the feelings of fear and apprehension
entirely overshadow the desires which have been created.
Mark Twain's story of his attendance at a missionary meeting is typical.
After the speaker had been talking for half an hour, Mark was in such
hearty sympathy with him and the cause for which he plead that he decided
to put one dollar in the collection box when it came around--but the man
kept on talking. At the end of three-quarters of an hour, Mark decided he
would give only fifty cents. At the end of an hour, he decided that he
would give nothing, and when, at the end of an hour and a half, the
collection box finally did come around, Mark took out a dollar to pay
himself for his pains.
INDICATIONS OF IMPULSIVENESS
Here are some of the indications of impulsiveness: blonde coloring,
especially if accompanied by a florid skin; small, round, retreating chin;
small size; fineness of texture; elasticity of consistency; short head;
short, smooth fingers, with tapering tips; a keen, alert, intense
expression. The impulsive person's movements are also impulsive. He walks
with a quick step, sometimes almost jerky. His gestures are quick, and if
he is very impulsive, he always has the air of starting to do things
before he has properly considered what he is going to do.
THE DELIBERATE MAN
The deliberate individual is the opposite of the impulsive. His feelings
may be strong, but he has them well under control. He may think slowly or
he may think quickly, but he always acts with deliberation and always
after he has thought very carefully. Once he has determined to act, he may
act far more energetically, and certainly more persistently, than the
impulsive person. The thing to remember about him is that he is
constitutionally opposed to hasty decision and action. Even when his mind
is made up and his desires are strong, he is very likely to postpone
action until his resolution has had an opportunity to harden. Oftentimes
these deliberate people are, or seem to be, incorrigible procrastinators.
It is useless to try to rush them. Give them time to think and consider.
INDICATIONS OF DELIBERATION