In today’s post we continue our look at The Templeton Plan with an examination of Step 9, “Utilizing Two Principles of Success.” This chapter has a great story about one of Templeton’s earliest business endeavors—one he undertook before entering the world of Wall Street and even before he went off to college: the always challenging door-to-door sales business.
Young Templeton’s ability to guide his own life was put to a severe test on his very first paid job away from his hometown. For a shy young man, selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door was agonizing work. He felt totally unsuited and wanted to quit. But it was the summer before he was to enter Yale; he was seventeen and in real need of money.
Few people in 1930 had money to buy anything, let alone “extras” such as magazines. For that reason, selling magazines required more than just a hard sell; it required all the skills of persuasion and all the perseverance and patience one possessed. The sales supervisors even told the salesmen to run from house to house so they would seem breathless with excitement when they approached a prospect—just to make the sales impact greater.
For Templeton, it was a true test in perseverance. By temperament, he was all wrong for the job. He was uncomfortable in the role of salesman, and he considered the high-pressure methods unfair to both the customer and the salesman. But it was the only job he could find that summer. So he not only took the job but threw himself heart and soul into the challenge.
The company’s policy was to give each salesman one dollar for each two-dollar subscription. And if a salesman happened to last through the entire summer and hit the two hundred-or-more subscription mar, he would receive a bonus of two hundred dollars over and above his commissions.
Templeton managed to stay the entire summer and he won the bonus as well. Perhaps equally important, he learned the value of perseverance. He knew that once he had decided to sell magazines for the summer, he had to sell them as well as they could be sold. That meant putting his total self into the job; it meant being willing to make sacrifices, if necessary, to achieve his goals. It meant learning to persevere.