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The Story of the RED DOT…Lessons in Becoming a Salesman

I had just graduated from high school in Nashville, Tennessee and on the following Monday, my father proceeded to pull me out of bed at 6:00 A.M. and direct my attention to the fact that it was time to wake up and become a salesman.  The last thing on my mind was to even wake up at 6:00 A.M. especially since my thoughts were somewhere between going fishing or just wasting time, much less being a Salesman.  My father, who was 6’8” tall, weighed 320 lbs/ had a size 16 shoe, and a pair of hands that were the size of meat hooks, was the one that received noted interest anywhere he went, but for an 18-year-old skinny kid, he received my attention no matter what.  He told me to get dressed, shine my shoes, doesn’t wear white socks, and get ready to go to Bowling Green, Horse Cave, and Greensburg, Kentucky.  I was informed that I was to visit Mr. Mack Cherry, and Mr. Bill Moody and spend the night with your Grandmother in Greensburg, eat whatever she serves you, say “yes ma'am” and “no ma'am”, shut up, and go to bed.  I informed him that I didn’t know anything about water heaters, mops, and work gloves and didn’t even know how to get to Kentucky, much less Greensburg…and that was my mistake.  He said, “You have spent 12 years in school; you better know how to read signs by now and if you get lost, stop and ask.”  First Lesson: Always ask Questions.

 He went through this intensive five-minute training as I was walking to the car, and he offered his business card to me.  His card was a simple white with the name A. A. Gorin Sales printed on the top, with his home phone number and address.  On the back of the card were all his specifications regarding his weight, shoe size, age, and place of birth.  Second Lesson: Always supply enough information.

 I asked, “Why is all that personal stuff on your card?”  He replied that “he got tired of people asking ‘how the weather was up there.’  But you know…people don’t usually forget me.”  Third Lesson: Always look on the positive side.

 As I took a look at the simple card, he told me to scratch his name out and write my name on it.  As I proceeded to follow the suggestion, I noted a BIG RED DOT on the side of the card, and I asked my final question; “What’s the RED DOT for?”  He looked at me squarely and said, “That’s to remind myself always to ask the Customer for the order!”  Fourth Lesson.

  – Thomas H. Gorin

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