Go Drum Up Some Sales

Have you ever said, "I need to go drum up some business?" Or, if you've been in sales long enough you might have heard your sales manager tell you to "get out and drum up some sales." Did you ever wonder if that meant you were supposed to get one of those big bass drums you can strap in front of you and beat as you cold call door-to-door?

Actually it is an important historical reference to one of the first types of salespeople right after the Civil War. Today we would call them B2B salespeople as they called exclusively upon business people. Then they were called drummers, commercial travelers and traveling salesmen. And, they were almost totally men (99%).

Prior to that time in history (and even after) there were canvassers and book agents who sold directly to the consumers. They would be B2C salespeople today. However, they mostly sold to farmers and were interested in making a quick sale and moving on. They knew they might never be back that way again. They were the first of the one-call closers.

Drummers, however, changed all that. They were interested in cultivating long-term relationships with customers. They sold to the general stores and needed repeat business. Usually they were employed by wholesalers and the goods they sold came from all over the world.

Working as a drummer was considered a prestigious job and their incomes were twice that of skilled workers at the time.

But, more than anything else, drummers helped to create a new way of selling. Rather than sales based upon manipulation which had been the norm prior, they based their way on selling on creating trust. And, they believed that the only way to create trust was to develop it over time and by acting as a consultant to the general store owners.

It was the beginning of relationship and consultative selling. And, it began over 100 years ago.

* If you'd like to read more about the history of selling in America I recommend the book "Birth of a Salesman" by Walter A. Friedman.

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Selling To The Four Personality Types

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