In 1911, Frank Bettger was playing third base for the St. Louis Cardinals when he suffered an injury to his arm that ended his major league baseball career.
Suddenly he was unemployed with a wife and child to support. Frank came from a poor family and his education ended at the sixth grade.
The only job that he could find was collecting “uneasy” installments for a furniture company on his bicycle!
Then, at suggestions received from a customer and from a friend, Frank decided to try selling life insurance.
At first, Frank was a miserable failure as a life insurance salesman. He hardly sold anything during his first ten months in the business.
He tried to find other work, but he couldn’t even get his old job collecting payments for the furniture company!
Then Frank made a discovery. Frank was a native of Philadelphia, and Benjamin Franklin, also from Philadelphia, was Frank’s hero. Frank read The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin.
In Chapter 9, Benjamin Franklin described his “Plan For Achieving Moral Perfection.” Here’s a link to that chapter that you can read for FREE! https://www.gutenberg.org/files/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm#VIII
At age 79, Benjamin Franklin attributed his success to following the formula. Franklin only had a formal education through the second grade. He is one of the most celebrated founding fathers and considered to be one of the wisest men in American history.
Frank felt that Benjamin Franklin was talking to him in the pages of the book.
He adapted the plan to his own occupation by making this list of subjects to focus on, one each week.
- Order: self-organization.
- Think in terms of others’ interests.
- Key Issue.
- Silence: listen.
- Sincerity: deserve confidence.
- Knowledge of my business.
- Appreciation and praise.
- Smile: happiness.
- Remember names and faces.
- Service and prospecting.
- Closing the sale: action.
In a year, Frank worked through this process four times.
In a short time of following Franklin’s formula, keeping good records and working on his skills, Frank became the number one salesman in the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company!
Frank Bettger’s story is truly an American success story. It’s a story of courage, self-discipline and persistence. You can read about it in more detail, including the details of Frank’s self-organization system, in Frank’s classic books, How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling and How I Multiplied My Income And Success In Selling. (I have made recordings of these books and listen to them every year.)
Hundreds of thousands of people have read Benjamin Franklin’s formula and have just passed by it. Very few have applied it. They probably thought they were too educated to benefit from such a plan or that it wouldn’t work for them.
Here’s what Frank Bettger said about it:
“I don’t know of anything a sales manager can do for his(/her) sales(persons) that will do so much to assure their success as to make it absolutely compulsory for them to follow this plan.
“Remember, Franklin was a scientist. This plan is scientific. Reject it, and you reject one of the most practical ideas ever offered you. I KNOW. I know what it did for me. I know it can do the same for anyone who will try it. It’s not an easy way. THERE IS NO EASY WAY. But it is a sure way.”