Napoleon Hill is the author of the always-in-print classic, Think and Grow Rich.
I’ve found writings of his in the public domain at Google Books. I’m not an expert in his work, but I have to think this material is rare and possibly hasn’t been seen since it was first published.
This is the third post of this series with his rare writing.
A note first of all. The cover of the June 1918 issue of Modern Methods was not in the PDF. I don’t know if Google ScanOps missed it or if there was no cover. The July cover will stand in for it, since this Hill piece ran in both June and July issues. Also note the July cover is monochromatic, not color. Again, I don’t know why.
Napoleon Hill writes about something he knows very well: Selling your personal services!
How to Sell Your Services
By NAPOLEON HILL
Dean of George Washington Institute
(Ali rights reserved by the author)
Before we start, may I not remind you that we intend to go much farther than the mere question of telling you “how to get a job”? We are going with you to the very bottom of this subject and we shall uncover the chief fundamental principles through which you may not only get “a” job, but through which you may get “the” job for which you are best suited!
We shall go still deeper into this world-wide-important subject and show you how to fill the position satisfactorily and profitably after you get it!
The great gateway to fame and fortune through which all who succeed must pass might properly be labeled “Personal Service!” All that you have or ever will have to give in return for the fortune which you hope to accumulate is personal services!
Ponder over this and you will unconsciously lay the foundation for the point which I wish to make, namely, that the size of that fortune will depend, not upon what you wish it to be, but upon the quality and quantity of service you render the world!
It would be impossible to give you a definite rule to follow that would apply in all cases, but you may put it down as an essential requirement that success will never crown your efforts in any undertaking unless you please the purchaser of your services. Your services may be satisfactory in both quality and quantity, but this is not enough — your method of rendering your services must actually please the purchaser!
I am writing almost within the shadow of one of the largest and best known retail merchandise establishments in the world — Marshall Field & Company. That great business was built upon just one simple idea, and that idea was this: “That every customer must go away from the store “satisfied.” Profits are secondary when it comes to delivering with the goods sold at Marshall Field’s, service that actually pleases the buyer and makes him or her want to come back again.
A short time ago I had lunch with Mr. McKinley, Vice-President of Marshall Field & Company. He said that one of the biggest problems confronting them was that of training their employees to reflect this spirit of service in every transaction, large or small. Marshall Field saw clearly, without anyone to suggest it to him, the commercial value of pleasing the buyer, yet the big task in keeping Marshall Field alive in those who now manage the Field store is to get the 3,000 employees to absorb a relatively small proportion of the Field idea of service!
I do not presume to be able to tell you how to please those whom you serve and to whom you are selling your services, but I do tell you to seek until you find the right method and then make use of it!
Marshall Field’s problem was exactly the same as yours — to market personal services along with his merchandise so there would be satisfaction and repeat orders. Nothing could be more simple than this.
It is an interesting experience and a rare privilege to study the officials of the Marshall Field Store at close range. In these men you may find one principle in common which we could all well afford to copy, and that is the principle of “service.”
Herein, then, is the secret of the success of the Field business, even though the founder has been dead many years. The principle of service, if rightly administered, never dies! Through application of this principle you may bury yourself in the hearts of your fellowmen, where the principles for which you stand will live long after your body has gone back to dust.
You will succeed only by selling satisfactory service — by pleasing those who purchase your services! Keep this ever in mind and the road-way of satisfactory service will open to you when you need it!
If I have seemed to dwell at length on this prelude on “Service,” may it not be possible that I am justified by the importance of the subject?
This brings us to a suitable point at which to present a complete chart of the chief factors which enter into the sale of personal services of every nature whatsoever. Our intention is to make this chart so thorough and yet so simple that anyone may make immediate application of it.
The first factor for consideration is the selection of the right position, in a line of work for which you are best fitted by nature, training, inclination and experience.
The method through which to select the “right” position is one which cannot be fully explained, for lack of sufficient space. All else being equal, however, the position vou select should be the one which YOU LIKE BEST! From this point on we shall go on the assumption that you have selected the RIGHT vocation — that you have had vocational counsel through which you have properly determined this question.
The Following Is a Complete Analysis Chart Which Covers All of the Important Subjects Connected With the Sale of Personal Services:
(1) Analysis of Your Product:
Under this heading, before you proceed to offer your services for sale, you will take inventory, so to speak, to arrive at the following facts as a basis for offering your services:
(a) What sort of services have you to market?
(b) Value of the services you have to offer.
(c) Who is the most available purchaser?
You will not have even a starting point until you have accurately organized this information.
(2) Service You Render:
(a) Quality must be right.
(b) Quantity must be right.
(c) Your method of rendering it must be satisfactory to the purchaser.
(3) Cause and Effect:
(a) The service you render is CAUSE.
(b) The pay you receive is EFFECT.
If the “effect” is not satisfactory examine “cause” and you will find the reason.
(4) Opportunity to Display Sample of Your “Goods”:
(a) Getting a job is a mere preliminary or chance to show a small sample of the sort of service you can render. As we shall show you later on, the actual procuring of the job is of only secondary importance.
(5) Methods of Securing Position:
(a) By application in person.
(b) Application by letter.
(c) Advertisement in newspapers.
(d) Application through employment agencies.
(e) Attracting employers to you through unusually satisfactory services rendered.
As you will see later on, if you offer your services by applying in person it will be necessary for you to carefully guard your personal appearance. If you apply by letter it will be necessary for you to properly construct that letter and guard its “personal appearance” as carefully as you would your own if you were applying in person.
(6) Gathering and Organizing Data Concerning a Position and the Firm or Individual for Whom You Wish to Work:
By this is meant the gathering of all available facts concerning ‘the position you wish to secure, and all information concerning the firm or individual with whom you wish to work, the nature of the business, and particularly all data that would be of benefit to you in creating a sales argument that would show you to be fully qualified to fill the position before you actually apply for it. All of this data should be fully assimilated, organized and correlated, thereby preparing yourself to show just where and how you would fit into the position that you seek.
(7) Qualities That Will Make Your Services Desirable and Even Sought by Employers:
(a) Willingness on your part — not only a “willingness” but an intense desire — to perform more work than you are paid for.
(b) Intense interest and boundless enthusiasm in your work.
(c) Pleasing personality: cheerfulness, optimism, courage.
(e) Initiative: habit of seeing and actually performing more work than the job you fill requires, without being told to do so.
(f) Action: habit of doing your work promptly.
(g) Power of Analysis: ability to see more, hear more and know more about your job and the business of the concern for which you work than those around you. Ability to gather, organize, classify and correlate all RELEVANT facts concerning every task you perform and every responsibility that you assume.
(h) Willingness to and actual practice of reaching outside of the immediate sphere of your own duties and assuming more responsibilities.
(i) Leadership — the ability to get others to perform work willingly and gladly, with cheerfulness, not merely because they are afraid not to do so, but because they wish to do so. The ability to command the respect and confidence of associate workers, whether in a higher or lower position.
(j) Loyalty — as a matter of course.
(k) Persistence — not only the ability but the actual practice of properly finishing all that you start.
(1) Concentration — the ability to keep your mind focused on a task until it has been completed.
Now, let us give you a few brief suggestions as to the proper use of the foregoing chart. Probably the most satisfactory method to follow is this: Write your name at the top of a sheet of paper and analyze your “product” — the services you wish to market — under the heading of “(1) ANALYSIS OF YOUR PRODUCT.” Write out a complete description of the sort of services you have to market, what you believe the value of these services to be, and a list of names of the most available and desirable employers, if you have ascertained them.
This will give you a splendid starting point, and everything must have a beginning.
Under the heading of “(2) SERVICE YOU RENDER” you should write out a complete description of what you believe to be the QUALITY of your services, the QUANTITY you intend to deliver to the prospective employer, and the method or “spirit” in which you intend to deliver this service.
Under the heading of “(3) CAUSE AND EFFECT” you should write out, in your own words, your understanding of the principle that “the service you render is CAUSE, while the pay you receive is EFFECT.” This is a principle which you will do well to thoroughly understand and apply.
There is a cause for every effect!
Is it not reasonable, therefore, to suppose that there is a CAUSE for unsatisfactory remuneration for personal services rendered? The cause may be traceable to the person who renders the services, or it may be traced to the purchaser, who in some instances is selfish and unfair. In the majority of cases, however, you will find the cause connected with one or all of the following:
1 — The quality of services rendered unsatisfactory.
2 — The quantity of services rendered unsatisfactory.
3 — The manner in which services are rendered unsatisfactory.
If you find the trouble here you will readily see that it is one which only the seller can eliminate.
Before blaming the purchaser of your services with your lean pay envelope it is well to analyze yourself by applying this formula and ascertaining whether or not you are at fault. If you are not at fault — if the quality of your services is A-1, the quantity is abundant and the manner in which you are rendering the service highly satisfactory — and still the pay envelope is not sufficient, there are only two conclusions at which to arrive:
Either you are a poor salesman, or the purchaser of your services is unjust and unfair.
If your salesmanship is poor you can improve it and if the purchaser of your services is unjust or shortsighted and unfair with you. find another purchaser!
Failure to comply with one or the other of these suggestions is the chief reason why men and women of ability go through life, chained to mediocre positions, failures!
Under the heading “(4) OPPORTUNITY TO DISPLAY YOUR ‘GOODS’” you should write out your understanding, in your own words, that a job is nothing more than a beginning point — a chance to “deliver the goods,” so to speak. The biggest job in the world is nothing more than a mere “chance” to sell your services as long as you please your purchaser.
The reason so few people have big jobs is due very largely to the fact that so few people regard their jobs in the nature of an “opportunity.” Nearly every job is a “big job” in the “making.”‘ Nearly every job has the potentialities of a big job, if properly developed.
Under the heading of “(5) METHODS OF SECURING POSITION” you should write down all of the available channels through which you intend to seek employment, unless, of course, you merely wish to market your services to better advantage with your present employer, which is often the best thing to do.
If you apply in person you should be careful of your personal appearance. This applies to the person seeking a position as bricklayer as much as it does to the person seeking an executive or clerical position in an office. Slovenliness and an unsightly appearance always carry a negative effect that makes it hard for such a person to sell his or her services to best advantage. In many positions no one would even be considered who did not have a prepossessing, well kept personal appearance.
If there is ever a time when you should look your “best” it is when you go to interview the person to whom you hope to sell your services to best advantage. This is true not alone because of the favorable impression which it will create in the purchaser’s mind, but also because of the additional courage and self-confidence which it will give YOU! Clean and well pressed clothes, clean linen, carefully brushed hair, clean finger nails and a quick, re-assuring, springy step which goes with these things, is an asset that you will need; nay, an asset that you cannot afford lo be without!
(Continued in July Issue)
How to Sell Your Services
By NAPOLEON HILL
Dean of George Washington Institute
(All rights reserved by the author)
In offering your services by letter you should be sure to send out your little personal messenger dressed in the best of “clothes” — stationery! The first appearance of your letter may determine its fate, just as the first glance at a person who applies in person may determine his fate.
Of course good stationery alone will not turn the trick. It merely secures for your letter first attention. In “How to Sell Your Services” (which you can purchase from “Modern Methods”) you will find specimen letters and detailed information as to the proper way to write the actual contents of the letter itself. Space will not permit us to take up this subject at this time.
Personally, if I were applying for a position I would prefer to make use of both the letter and personal interview. I would select my prospective employer, and through one or more carefully written letters I would endeavor to make him feel that he wanted to see me in person. I would avoid, if possible, bringing him to a point where he could say “no” before he had seen me in person. The purpose of the letter or letters would be entirely to make the prospective employer feel that he wanted to talk to me. I would so construct my letters that he would request me to come and see him.
A good way to begin such a campaign would be to first gather all of the information and facts available concerning the prospective employer’s business in general, and the position that you desired to fill, in particular!
I would not say a word about a position, but instead I would go right ahead and submit some concrete suggestions that he could make use of in connection with his business, whether he employed me or not. In other words, I would actually attach myself to his working staff, without pay, and without asking his permission. This (unusual) procedure would be sure to gain “favorable attention” for me and from this point on negotiations would be easy!
The last mentioned method of “attracting employers to you through unusually satisfactory services rendered” needs but little comment. While this method has been mentioned last, it is nevertheless the most important of all those mentioned, to all except those who are applying for their first position. This for the reason, as we have already stated, that in every position there are undeveloped possibilities that one may develop by rendering the right sort of service.
Lucky is the person who looks upon his position as an “opportunity to attract favorable attention because he is rendering unusually satisfactory service!” Such a person is bound to succeed; if not in his present position, then in a bigger and better one somewhere else.
No lawyer of reputation would think of going into court with a case until he had gathered every available fact and every scintilla of information concerning it. He would organize these facts and be prepared to present them to the court in logical sequence.
You must be prepared to do the same when you present yourself for employment.
This brings us to the last subject, “(7) CAUSES THAT WILL MAKE YOUR SERVICES DESIRABLE — EVEN SOUGHT BY EMPLOYERS.” No argument need be advanced to prove that all the qualities mentioned under the above heading, in the foregoing chart, are desirable ones to develop, but the question is, how may these qualities be developed in a person who does not already possess them?
Before answering this question it will be necessary to briefly mention a principle through the operation of which all of these qualities and others as well may be quickly developed. I have reference to AUTO-SUGGESTION.
Auto-suggestion, as you of course know, means simply self-suggestion or suggestion that we make to ourselves. It is surprising, however, to know how few people actually understand the possibilities of achievement through the use of auto-suggestion. It it not my intention to enter into any lengthy argument as to the merits of auto-suggestion. I know that it has worked wonders in my own life and I have seen it work wonders in the lives of others — wonders which, in many respects, seemed as miraculous as anything that happened in the Biblical days of two thousand years ago!
In digressing from the subject of “How To Sell Your Services,” to briefly discuss the method through which you may develop those desirable positive qualities, I am taking it for granted that you wish to be thorough — that you want all the available information you can get, not only on the secondary question of securing an immediate job, but also on the more important subject of ascertaining how to build that job into a bigger and more profitable one.
To give you this information I must at least discuss briefly the subject of auto-suggestion, for it will be through application of this principle that you will cultivate the qualities necessary in filling a big position.
It has been proved by the world’s most able scientists and psychologists that every thought or idea placed in the human mind and systematically held there, through concentration, has a tendency to reproduce itself after its kind, in bodily, muscular action. For example, if you think of fear constantly you will be afraid and your bodily actions will be directed accordingly. On the other hand, if you think courage your bodily actions will be courageous. If you hate another person that person will likely hate you, because you cannot think hate and keep from showing it in one way or another, through bodily action, facial expression, etc.
The greatest of all philosophers and teachers probably had in mind the principle of auto-suggestion when he said:
“Whatsoever ye soweth that shall ye also reap!” If you will take my word for it I will assure you that I have experimented with this principle until I know that it is as immutable as is the law of gravitation.
“Is it possible,” I hear you say, “that by simply placing in my mind the thoughts which I would like to see reproduced in physical reality, I can accomplish such remarkable results?”
And I answer, “not only is this possible, but it is unavoidable!”
This being true you can readily see how important it is to make use of the principle of auto-suggestion. The procedure is very simple. Probably that is why so few people have had enough faith in it to make a more organized application of it.
Let us make use of this principle in developing the foregoing list of desirable qualities, from “a” to “1.” Take the first one, for example, number it 1 and write out the following sentence:
1 — From this day on I will cheerfully perform more work than I am paid to perform, never complaining, because I know that in time this habit will be appreciated by my employers and I will be paid accordingly.
One of the remarkable things about auto-suggestion is the fact that the very minute you write out this sentence, (if you sincerely intend to do what you have pledged) you will find your every action directed toward carrying out your pledge!
Then, take the next quality that you desire to develop, and write it out as follows:
2 — I love my work and from this day on I will be ever alert for opportunities to do better work and more of it. I am enthusiastic over and intensely interested in my work and I will do everything in my power to perform it more satisfactorily than any other person could.
Go right down the list until you have written out every quality which you intend to develop, in every case stating, in your own words, just what you are going to do to develop that quality. When the list is complete commit it to memory by reading it aloud several times a day. Auto-suggestion is most effective when it is followed by action as well as mere affirmations or wishes. The mere words which you use are not so important as long as they represent definite positive ideas or thoughts. Your affirmations must not be vague, however, because if they are the results will also be vague.
This is all there is to the principle of auto-suggestion; at least all that I can tell you about. If you do not make application of the principle it will not benefit you. It works no miracles without your hearty and persistent co-operation! But, with these, it will give you the surprise of your life and place you wherever you wish to be among men!
For those who want to see the source pages: