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The various reasons or influences which tend to effect sales are so numerous; one could hardly estimate what would be the advantage, or what would be an objection to the selection of a burial lot.
However from my experience, which has been gathered in one of Philadelphia's many cemeteries (WEST LAUREL HILL,) suggested the thought from which I prepared this paper.
When dealing with the subject of sales, I divide the question into two parts: first, by careful consideration, all things that might affect the sale (are noted), second, in order to produce the desired effect, suggestions as offered (objections being noted) are used to great advantage during the progress of the sale.
The things that affect a sale are so many, that a brief study of the first part might be of great assistance; therefore, let us start with advertising. In many instances, we print a great deal about ourselves, mentioning the things we know to be of advantage to the purchaser, showing pictures here and there, laying particular stress on our location, citing our guarantee as to permanency, setting forth our security from encroachment and proximity to a growing community, refer to the provisions which we have made to protect them in the future when families are extinct, and sales (our main source of income) have ceased. All of which are excellent as considerations and should be given a great deal of thought, especially where, those provided for might remain undisturbed which should greatly affect the decision.
Again, we are given considerable advertising through discourse, indulged in by those who have attended funerals; visitors, or those of our lot holders who have been bereft of a loved one, and in this instance it would be hard to estimate the effect of such advertising; therefore I am inclined to think that the latter is the most effective.
Hence, a great effort should at all times, be made to please your lot holders, show them attention, treat them with courtesy, display interest whether it is when they are commending or complaining, remembering that they are interested in the cemetery; representing those dear to them whom they have left in your keeping. In showing such an attitude we get them to share our burden, which incidentally is that of maintaining appearance, preserving and adding to the pictures which we publish and above all keep up their interest in these sacred reserves.
Consequently, whatever influence might have brought you the possible business, let me say that I take up the subdivisions of' the topic, considering that I am about to deal with the prospective purchaser.
First of all, the inquiry, then the introduction which should, through observation help you. In this instance, I refer to whether the inquirer is considering the matter from necessity or prudence, which can be easily determined; but the phases of progress, when selling, differ with each case. Hence, it would be futile to set any rule to follow as a course to pursue; it is hard to suggest what to say; by inquiry you can easily as certain through engaging your prospective purchaser in a little preliminary conversation; the requirements, such as the number to be buried, which I might call the provision.
And then the purpose here we discuss the style or mode and from these facts you easily glide on into the formative state of the subject. At times I consider it a help to acquaint your prospector with what might be termed, the advantages; quoting a price in some location, keenly observing the interest of your inquirer and at this moment you proceed to the location of your conception.
Your philosophy will suggest your course of conversation, be considerate in your reasoning, sincere in your arguments and express such thoughtfulness in your suggestions that will establish confidence.
Of times, it is well to proceed by defining the lot, referring to some surrounding, take up some topic which will interest your purchaser to the degree of comment; this will enable you to determine your next course and by comparison you learn the effect of your suggestion; once having gamed the confidence of the person buying you are in a fair way to effect a sale; always using your best endeavors to satisfy. As we all know, a satisfied lot holder is a good advertiser.
When effecting sales bring to your prospector’s notice your rules and regulations, governing the particular location; it is well to acquaint them with such at this time. Human nature is most peculiar and usually hypersensitive during grief, and the impressions made are generally lasting.
In mentioning the subject of rules, I want to say that in most cases they are considered restrictions rather than privileges and it is best to inform the purchasers as to just what they are allowed to do. Usually they have some vague idea of how they propose to improve their lot, so don't overlook the fact when using your best endeavors to satisfy, make such suggestions which might conform to their ideas; the opportunity to develop new ideas and modes presents great possibilities.
There are so many things to satisfy when selling, that I have almost always found that the purse or amount involved was the primary factor and where this element predominates you have little opportunity to practice what is commonly termed "Salesmanship." Therefore when catering to one's pride we have greater leeway, by careful thought and suggestion, much can be accomplished when shaping the mind and at this period we reach the psychological aspect of the sale.
As the thread of the principles common to all selling runs through the sale we find it possible to discern the influences which tend to effect it, the wisdom of your method becomes apparent, consequently the understanding which you have at the beginning is an invaluable guide, because as I have shown, with your knowledge of the cemetery and interest in your assignment you achieve success.
Therefore in conclusion I will take advantage of this opportunity and thank my preceptors for their tolerance, also my associates and our manager who at an early date decided to try and develop me as a salesman and who made it possible for me to become of some value to the company with which I am associated today.
From the publication:
“AACS - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Convention held at Cincinnati, OH"
September 24, 25 and 26, 1919