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Why is John Patterson the father of American salesmanship

Sales Moves

John Patterson was a visionary.

After buying the patent for the cash register in 1880, he created the foundation for the American salesman and sales force that we know today. But pay close attention; this is NOT a history lesson. This is a sales lesson.

Patterson was a thinker; he was a risk-taker; he was a reader; he was an entrepreneur; he was a teacher; he was a student; and he was a salesman. Certainly the best salesman of his time. Arguably the best salesman of all time.

If you read and re-read this carefully, you will find several subtle clues that will lead you to sales greatness. For the rest, look for a book called “The Patterson Principles of Selling.”

Patterson`s success was due to his ability to blend the emotion that makes the sale with the logic that figures out the reasoning behind it. He had the perfect blend of logic and emotion. Forming opinions or justifying decisions leans toward being logical, but Patterson understood that the process of buying was an emotional one.

He knew it. And he taught it.

Not just a businessman, Patterson was the creator of most of the practices that distinguish modern American business from all other businesses in the world. Not just a salesman, he was the founder of modern salesmanship. Not just a speaker, he was among the most effective of public demonstrators. Not just a financier, he was the chief exponent of getting money by spending money. Not just a manufacturer, he was the originator of the modern American factory. Not just a judge or a picker of men, he was the father of organized business and the developer of more business leaders than any other man of his time. Not just a man of commanding personality, he was a rare leader of men – equally sure of himself in threatened defeat or in expected victory.

He is salesmanship`s father because of …

The strategies he created.

The methods he pioneered.

The manner in which he transferred

His genius to his team.

And their track record of success to prove it.

He is salesmanship`s father because he was the first person who realized a customer was more likely to complete a transaction through “wanting to buy” than “trying to sell.” Patterson created the original “pull through” sales model. He pioneered sales training. He taught his people to adapt and harmonize with the “probable purchaser” (which we now erroneously call the “prospect”). He inspired his people with ideas that worked. And he backed his salespeople with advertising and promotion so that his brand of cash register was by far the machine of choice.

But far and away, the overwhelming evidence of his genius was his concept of “Creating the demand for a receipt, rather than just trying to sell the concept of a cash register.”

Where did John Patterson get his concepts and strategies? He read.

Patterson regarded a good book as a great mental possession. Only books worthy of being read again and again were to be found in his private library. All of his books are marked and underlined cover to cover.

Whenever new knowledge appeared, Patterson underlined it, bookmarked it, studied it, and put it into practice. Many underlined passages in his books show the essence of the message that captured his attention. Books helped to shape the man and the empire he built. Patterson believed that a good book was not the plaything for the idle hour, but a veritable means for generating power.

He read. And he generated power.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT NOTE: The guy before Napoleon Hill, the person Napoleon Hill emulated, was Orison Swett Marden. He was the original positive-attitude genius of the 20th century. Lately I have been buying every Marden book I can get my hands on.

(For a complete list of Marden books, go to www.gitomer.com and enter the words MARDEN BOOKS into the GitBit box.)

About two years ago, I purchased a bunch of books from the original

John Patterson library; most of them were on longevity, plus a few biographies. I was perusing the books last week and decided to look at every book that I owned of Patterson`s. I pulled out the title, “He Who Thinks He Can” by Orison Swett Marden. My blood ran cold. It is a first edition book published in 1908, and I realized Patterson had something in common. I smiled and went about my business. I carry the Marden book from Patterson`s library with me now, and read a page or two a day. I especially read the parts that Patterson underlined. As usual, he found the gems.

Everyone needs a father; someone to look up to, admire, and learn from. Not so much for the details, rather, the big picture. The guiding light. To me, John Patterson was that man. I hope he can be to you.

Free Gitbit: Want the bare-bones list of the 32.5 Patterson Principles of Selling? Just go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user – and enter the word PATTERSON in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail

salesman@gitomer.com.

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