The Key to Success: Circa 1952


A few years ago my wife came home from a garage sale with a book for me. It had a plain yellow cover with block sans-serif letters and the only words I saw were “How I Raised From Failure…” My wife said, “Please don’t take offense. I don’t think you are a failure, but I thought you’d like this book.”

I have a thick skin and she was right, I did love the book. Frank Bettger’s, How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success in Selling. I get a kick out of books on selling. Before I started my job selling oil, I read a Zig Ziglar book – twice. I found his advice so practical that I later gave it to a kid who knocked on my door selling magazines.

My wife has the utmost confidence in me.

My wife has the utmost confidence in me.

Frank Bettger wrote that book almost 70 years ago. Since then the vast majority of good books on success in business are really just successful at selling books. Even though it’s 70 years old and Frank sold from pay phones and a brief case, the concepts are still true. I can honestly say, it changed my approach, and gave me a strategy that I revisit when I feel lost in the woods. And he sums it up at the end with his 13 steps to success in business. You will see them at the end of this post. They apply whether you are in sales or some other role. It’s about preparation and perception.

Speaking of Preparation… What Did I Get Myself In To???

So, my book came out last week and it was very exciting. People came out of the woodwork to congratulate and compliment the work. It’s been really fun. Being my first book, I haven’t had a massive marketing plan. My focus is write the rest of the series and then do a bona-fide marketing push when there’s more to sell.

So it was with a little bit of surprise that I got an email from a local literary group asking me to be a featured reader at an open-mic fiction night in honor of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m really excited, and strangely nervous (I don’t get nervous about much). If you are in the Tampa area, come on out:

Amazon put the paperback of my mystery/thriller, The Grandfather Clock on sale for $8.99, $1 off, and it’s still $2.99 for Kindle. Buy it! Review it! I’m telling you, it’s a fun read, and I’m getting very positive reactions from people who don’t owe me anything! Buy it HERE! It’s got antiques, beautiful french women, and Nazis! It’s also on Goodreads now. Share it with your friends who know how to read.

As always, I can be reached at

Without further adieu, the key to your future in 13 steps. Frank Bettger says to focus on one item each week. In three months you’ll be Walkin’ On Sunshine like Michael J. Fox in “The Secret of My Success.”

#1 – Enthusiasm
It’s contagious. A little enthusiasm goes a long way.

#2 – Order (self-organization)
There’s no trust if they think you are disorganized.

#3 – Think in terms of others’ interests
Sit at their desk and ask what they would want from you. Not what you want to get from them.

#4 – Questions
Don’t “show up and throw up.” That is – you want them to know everything about you, but you don’t know a thing about them.

#5 – Key issue
They are listening because they have a problem. Be the problem solver.

#6 – Silence (listen)

#7 – Sincerity
Sincerity is confidence.

#8 – Knowledge of my business
And know what you don’t know.

#9 – Appreciation and praise
Most people want to be appreciated, but they don’t dole it out to others. It’s a two-way street.

#10 – Smile (happiness)
In my telemarketing days we said, “Smile when you dial.” You can year a smile over the phone. In person, a smile changes the meaning of your words.

#11 – Remember names and faces
And admit when you don’t.

#12 – Service and prospecting
These are nuts and bolts. If you aren’t in sales, they still apply. Follow up on issues immediately… that way you won’t forget and you’ll be seen as quick. If someone hands you an opportunity, jump on it. They will send you more.

#13 – Closing the sale 
Have some dignity. At some point they expect the ask. Do it. So I will too… why are you reading this if you haven’t read THIS?


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