Salesmanship

It has been said that almost all human activity is a form of salesmanship, in the sense that "to sell" means "to persuade" or "to convince." Mortals seem to be forever striving to influence each other in some way or another. One wants us to read his book, another to buy his wares, another to retain his services, still another wants us to accept his doctrine or follow his leadership. In this connection, business men usually distinguish between what they call "personal selling" or salesmanship by the spoken word, and "advertising" or salesmanship by the written word. Within the last decade so much thought and attention have been directed to advertising and selling, together with such related activities as propaganda, public speaking, pictorial expression, and so on, that it is important and interesting to consider the subject in the light of Christian Science.

The average writer of advertising, uninstructed by Principle, seeks as his object to influence or persuade his reader to accept or act upon suggestions or commands, whether they be to buy goods or otherwise, guided by so-called laws of psychology or persuasion. To him "results" are measured in direct returns, in dollars and cents earned, in number of people influenced, or amounts of merchandise purchased, and to this end he employs every trick of the so-called "advertiser's art." He appeals to the passions, the cupidity, the credulity, the curiosity, and the propinquity of his readers, with every subtle and enticing form of language and illustration. To accomplish these results he has made so thorough a study of the ways and means of influencing the human mind as to dignify his profession with the pretensions of an art, his boast being that advertising can sell anything. For years the advertising of medicines was so ingenious as to have it said that the very working of this form of propaganda was such that it induced, through suggestion and fear, the very ills it professed to cure. To-day we see this insidious influence still manifested in the advertising of nostrums, narcotics, and in persuading readers to indulgences that lead to the wide gate of destruction. The same has been true of socalled personal salesmanship, by which a mortal uses all the subtleties of personality and political pressure to further his ends. Treating, story-telling, cajoling, using "pull," appealing to friendship, and scores of other methods are daily employed to "sell" something to somebody.

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"The dear children's toy"
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