The founder and CEO of the National Cash Register Co. was known to be a stern control freak. He was also the father of modern sales training. He was among the first entrepreneurs to organize sales training programs and retreats. His company provides salespeople with scripts, and encouraged them to view the sales cycle as a four-stage process that identified the key milestones as the initial approach, the proposition, the product demonstration, and closing the deal.
The legendary advertising executive who created iconic campaigns for Hathaway, Dove, Schweppes, and Rolls-Royce began his career in sales, moving cooking stoves door to door. He was so successful the company he worked for asked him to write an instruction manual that it then distributed to other members of its sales force. Filled with timeless advice, it became a cult classic. Among the advice: “The worst fault a salesman can commit is to be a bore. Foster any attempt to talk about other things; the longer you stay the better you get to know the prospect, and the more you will be trusted.”
A successful salesperson in Dallas, Ash quit her job in 1963 because, she said, a man whom she had trained was promoted above her at twice the salary. She planned to write a book, but her notes became instead a business plan for a beauty and cosmetics company that relied on women to sell merchandise to their friends and acquaintances through direct sales (otherwise known as multi-level marketing). She also pioneered the use of sales incentives, turning her company’s signature pink Cadillacs into a sign of women’s economic self sufficiency.
The son of a hardscrabble Missouri farmer, Carnegie began his career selling products and correspondence courses to ranchers. He eventually landed in New York City, where he began to offer a series of public speaking classes that were frequented by many budding salespeople. His landmark book How to Win Friends and Influence People instructs readers to become more effective communicators who focus on fostering healthy team dynamics. Carnegie was also ahead of his time in exhorting his followers to pursue work-life balance.