A Story About How to Win Friends & Influence People, Four: Hey! Don’t you want me to order some furniture?

by Megan M. on February 14, 2009 (Blog) |

If you’d like, you can read parts one, two, and three, before reading on.

I always knew that my Grampa Mack was an amazing guy, but I don’t think I realized that he did the very things I have come to respect most: He didn’t settle for jobs that weren’t right for him, and when he had an idea, he ran with it and made it happen.

He was exactly the kind of person I’ve come to admire greatly, and do you think that’s a coincidence? An incredible turn of fate? Or could it be that, growing up hearing stories about him, I simply followed the most natural progression of ideas to hold a philosophy that makes the most sense to me?

My Dad continued his story.

Mack’s manufacturer’s representative idea became real, his furniture showroom flourished, and he was in business as a salesman. And it was around that time when he came upon the book that would be his bible as he progressed through his career: How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.

He stumbled upon it, Dad said, or someone recommended it to him—Dad said he doesn’t know. But however it came into his life, he truly took it to heart. It was one of the things that really helped him; whereas all the salesmen of the day were fast-talking and pushy, Mack was a quiet man, a wonderful listener, and he really, really liked people.

He liked listening to them and hearing their stories. He had a good memory, so he’d always remember who they were. He was never heavy-handed with them, and very shortly after the war was over, Mack was making $60,000 a year.

“And remember,” my Dad said, “that a good salesman then would be doing very well at $5,000 a year.”

“WHOA,” I said.

In fact, Mack was so rolling in money in those years that when it came to buying the house on Long Island that my father grew up in, he didn’t get a mortgage. Mack gave them cash for that house on the spot.

“How did he get to be making $60,000 a year?” I asked.

Here’s what my Dad told me—what he’s been telling me since I was very small: Mack did so well selling furniture that it was not too hard at all to pay back the original 500 he’d gotten from Flo (and her gangster). “We’re talking about the post-war boom,” Dad said, “where America and America’s products and people were really pretty prosperous.” And Mack was great at selling furniture. The moment he started selling to stores, they started buying. The major factories used to complain, my Dad said, because Mack gave them so many orders, they couldn’t make the furniture fast enough to fill them!

Mack became friends with every single small furniture store owner in New York City. “They all knew my father,” Dad said. “People who came from all over—Frenchmen and Jews and Italians and I think I told you this, but he said that very frequently he got so caught up in who they were and liking to talk with them and liking to find out what was going on in their lives, that he’d forget to sell them furniture. He’d say goodbye and he’d walk right out of their store—and they had to pull him back to give him an order! ‘Hey!’ they’d say. ‘Hey, don’t you want me to order some furniture?’”

That was my Grampa Mack.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: