Right now, in the time of Corona, you may be feeling anxious about the future of selling and by extension concerned about your role in sales, your businesses sales performance or your customer relationships.

This is completely understandable, and it is the reason why I prepared this series for you, an entertaining trip into the recesses of history where you will learn more about the heroes, groundbreakers and the villains of our profession.

Join me on a quest to find the origins of our age-old legends and discover the truth behind the myths that have plagued our profession for years, all the while learning about the story of selling and the salesman in each one of us. In so doing you will discover that sales is one of the few professions that has continued to evolve throughout the ages, and we have no reason to fear that we will do anything less than thrive well into the future.

The Father of Just About Everything

Benjamin Franklin is known for many things from being an inventor and scientist, a politician and activist, to a founder of America as we know it today – to, well yes, standing in a thunderstorm flying a kite to prove that electricity did exist.

Nowadays we would probably just call him eccentric, but what old Benji did for sales back in the day, made a significant contribution to sales as we know and practice it in the 21st century.

In 1752 he founded the first American Insurance Company – with their sole product being fire insurance as, oddly enough, things caught on fire quite often in those days! (He also founded the first fire department, very clever guy our Benji) *

The business operated very simply. A salesperson (or ‘rep’) would meet with the client and conclude the transaction for a fire insurance policy, the same person who sold the fire insurance would then go from customer to customer to collect their premiums every month.

This proved to be a lucrative business and eventually, so many fire insurance policies had been sold that the salespeople were now spending all of their time collecting the premiums and not selling fire insurance to new customers.