*A Book Review*

The Salesman of the Century

By Ron Popeil With Jefferson Graham

by Michael C. Gray

December 10, 2001

Ron Popeil is an American institution. Reading a list of the products he has sold on television is reading a history of advertising for popular consumer products.

Remember the Veg-O-Matic, the Chop-O-Matic, the Dial-O-Matic? These were manual predecessors of the electric food processors of today. How about London Aire (run-proof) Hosiery? The Smokeless Ashtray, the Cleanaire Machine, Mr. Microphone, the Trimcomb, the Miracle Brush, the Pocket Fisherman, the Hula Hoe, and GLH (instant spray hair)?

Popeil got his initial experience selling to groups at swap meets, Woolworths and county fairs. Then he introduced some of the first infomercials on television when broadcasting started during the early 1950's. When the federal communications commission permitted long-format broadcasting to resume, Popeil returned to infomercials. Now he is one of the most successful salespersons on QVC.

As one of the most experienced people in the area of marketing consumer products, Ron Popeil has been generous in sharing his knowledge about the process of finding and developing products and selling them.

A key idea that Popeil shares is that a product is much more likely to be a potential "winner" if it can be given as a gift. Popeil also says he would never sell a product unless he believes it will solve a real problem for the customer and that it of high quality.

According to Popeil, the best way to develop the sales presentation for television is to initially give it at a county fair. (By the way, the best location for a display at the county fair is next to the ladies' restroom.) At a county fair, you will quickly learn what objections customers will have so the response can be included in your presentation, and the phrases that will attract customers to buy the product. You will also quickly learn if a product that seems good to you doesn't appeal to the public, which means you should abandon it.

In The Salesman of the Century, Ron Popeil has left a valuable record of the methods of one of America's greatest pitchmen.

Buy it on Amazon: The Salesman of the Century.

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