Dramatized Sales Methods: How to close a sale in 1930
The art of salesmanship has long been dissected in search of methods to effectively and efficiently hook customers and close a deal. Our upcoming Graphic Design auction on May 23 features a rare 1930 portfolio of Dramatized Sales Methods which provides a unique snapshot of a salesman’s life in the 30s.
Dramatized Sales Methods
The portfolio contains 36 single-sheet folded pamphlets. Each possesses an eye-catching, brightly-designed Art Deco cover and progressive, double-exposure photographs–many of which are surreal and photomontage-like–that relate to the lesson being explained. In addition to the remarkable imagery, each pamphlet is accompanied by a write-up with text that is formal and dated to the point of bordering on camp.
Tell the average salesman that he is afraid of any particular man and he’ll probably call you a liar. Quite possibly he’s sincere about it, too. Yet hardly a day goes by that the fear of shadow men doesn’t cost him money!
Mental Hazards helps the salesman overcome their fear in approaching potential customers, offering some sound advice: “The things we imagine are always more painful than the worst that could possibly happen.”
The photography in Mental Hazards is particularly notable with imagery that calls to mind the German Expressionist film Nosferatu, which was released in the US in 1929, as well as Surrealist films from the same period.
Time Will Tell
Did you ever ask a railroad man the time? You’ll notice that he says, for instance, “four forty-five”–NOT “a quarter to five.”
The Time Will Tell pamphlet talks about the importance of time in regards to making sales and money lost: “No more can you hold back the minute hand moving past the sales-making, money-making part of the day,” or, in short, “time is money.”
The Pleasant Prospect
It takes sand to make your grip stick–on a slippery prospect or a greased pig… sand on your hands for results with the elusive porker and sand in your opening sales talk to bring your evasive, silk-smooth prospect to time.
The Pleasant Prospect text is one of the more dated examples in the selection, with ludicrous metaphors and adages, as well as one of the more comical photographs: a salesman envisioning himself wrangling a pig, presumably the same way he hopes to wrangle his prospective customer.
A snob is the same in business as he is in the social word. He’ll treat an inferior with contempt, be a good fellow with his equals, and take almost anything from the man who rates above him. To sell him, you must maintain the attitude of an equal or better man.
Mr. Ego‘s cover illustration of a beautifully rendered Art Deco peacock shamelessly represents the difficult customer discussed in the pamphlet: a snob. Much like The Pleasant Prospect, Mr. Ego also utilizes a number of dated phrases, however, some truth can be found in the description of the “high-hat” costumer.
The portfolio was produced by the obscure Simms Corp. in San Francisco and printed by the commercial and fine printing firm, Knight-Counihan. Ironically, in the early 1920s, Knight-Counihan had abandoned their fleet of salesmen as their main means of promotion and began using print advertising on a monthy basis.