The Science and Art of Salesmanship
AbstractReviews the book, by Simon Robert Hoover (1916). This book is intended to serve as a textbook in commercial courses for beginners and for more or less experienced salesmen. The author holds that "salesmen are not such by birth," but that salesmanship is the "result of study and practice." A sale as a psychological process is analyzed into: involuntary attention, voluntary attention, interest, desire, determination or decision, and action. The last part of the second and the whole third chapter are devoted to the salesman's mental attitude. In his discussion of requirements for successful salesmen he gives a similar treatment to such terms as poise, cheerfulness, faith, hope, enthusiasm, persistency, alertness, procrastination, initiative, concentration, temper, self-control, tact, diplomacy, patience, ambition, promptness, and dominance of expression. It is noted that while the general style and treatment of the subject seems to the reviewer well adapted to beginners he doubts whether older salesmen, especially if their reading is not supplemented by classroom discussions, will derive much benefit from it, particularly with regard to the psychological aspects of the topic. The crude and superficial analysis of the "prospect" is not suited to foster the right mental attitude in the young salesman toward his--shall we say: "victim." The enumerative serial of mental requirements for a good salesman is so disconnected and so superficially related to the general vocation that the young reader will either be overwhelmed by it and give up the attempt to attain it or else on account of its generality he or she will gain the conviction that he or she already possesses most if not all these requirements and therefore will consider further attempts to improve him- or herself as a waste of time.