hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


August 1, 2013

Making the right sales pitch can be tricky

I can’t sell an igloo to an Eskimo.

Maybe that’s why I never succeeded as a traveling salesman. I certainly had my share of experience.

Now, let me see. In my other life, I sold vacuum cleaners. I’ve pitched encyclopedias. I’ve even gone door to door with Fuller Brush products. I saw what that did for an Armenian in town. Sarkis must have hit easy street. He was driving around in a gold Cadillac pitching his wares.

I had just gotten married when I met the man. He visited my mother-in-law downstairs and sold her a bill of goods, along with half his stock.

“Get rid of that filthy oven and put an extra sparkle in your countertops,” he suggested. “Fuller Brush at your service.”

He had an Angora cat that weighed a bundle. Both Sarkis and his feline appeared well fed and bred with his job. He talked me into joining him one day.

“There’s plenty of room in this town for both of us,” he said. “You take the east side and I’ll cover the west. We’ll meet somewhere in the middle and count our commissions.”

I drove a VW Beatle. The car ran out of gas before I could see any profit from this job. I begged off in a month and tried something else.

Sarkis had a secret to his success that I remember to this day: “Live well within your means and far beyond everyone else’s.”

The vacuum cleaners didn’t do me much better. Getting one of those in and out of a compact car was quite the trick. I had the door slammed in my face and climbed up tenement stairs to no avail. A white shirt and tie did me no good, either. Some people mistook me for a Jehovah Witness caller.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Photos of the Week