Sales people are notoriously always looking for a way to get an advantage - over their customers, their competitors, and their co-workers alike. The most able seller can almost read the minds of prospects and understand their hidden motivations, their needs, their fears, but most are not so gifted. Hence the continuing market for works which purport to teach such skills.
Judging by the content of The Selling Compass, a quaint little ring-bound set of guidelines for sales people, in 1929 the hot gimmick was physiognomy, or face-reading. Does your customer have a protruding forehead and chin? Then he's a Deliberate Thinking Controlled-Acting Buyer and must be treated accordingly:
DO NOT be impatient. Go over your offer time and time again. Let your story soak in gradually.
Tell them -- and tell them plenty. They buy BY EAR instead of BY EYE. Show them what you are selling, of course, but do not stress it by physical demonstration
Maybe though, he has a Head which Bulges Over the Ears? Then he is a DYNAMIC BUYER, who wants “action even when being entertained”. Or maybe his head is Round in Rear Contour, a SPECULATIVE BUYER, ready to listen to “schemes of the get-rich-quick type”.
Whatever the shape of his or her noggin, any customer who deals with a possessor of The Selling Compass is sure to come off second-best. Not only is it full of priceless analyses of the configurations of conks, it also contains much other wisdom of a hokey character, like this, inspired by a visit to The Colosseum in Rome:
... I imagined that I stood in the box where the great Roman Emperor sat. I could see the Emperor and his friends standing in their excitement, hailing with hoarseness of throat -- BEN HUR! -- as he dashed gallantly toward them. I heard a woman's voice cry out in accents of glee and surprise, from the royal box, saying: “Those arms! Where did you get those arms?” And BEN HUR, with a snarl on his face, looking up into the face of Artimidor, said: “At the galley's oar -- at the galley's oar!”
Lashed as a slave, to the galley's oar, BEN HUR stuck to his job. Murmured not. Half naked and sweating, he would receive the lash. Yet, he did it, and he was prepared for the emergency. Mr. Salesman, if you will stick close to this SELLING COMPASS, in spite of the heat, in spite of the long tiresome hours, you will become a master.
To be a successful salesman you must pay the price. WORK!
Yes, work! You dirty dogs, heave on those oars! What a pleasingly apt image for employment in the sales department of a large corporation, in which maybe there is slightly less naked flesh - and a better expense account - but otherwise little to distinguish it from the old Roman galley system. Heave, you bilge-rats!