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The Sales History Podcast
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The Sales History Podcast

Author: Todd Caponi

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Bringing the incredible (and sometimes strange) brains from the profession of sales' past to the 2020's - from Todd Caponi, author of The Transparency Sale & The Transparent Sales Leader.
33 Episodes
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It's the story for so many - great at selling, promoted into leadership without training or a holistic understanding of what the role actually is. In today's episode, I share a parable written by Worthington C. Holman in 1909 about a medieval military leader named Dunderblitzen Von Shoosh. I loved this story so much, I had to share it...along with lessons for today.@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
I went digging...into the origins of email as a communication medium. Along the way, I found a ton of really interesting timeline milestones that are amazing, interesting, and in some cases pretty funny.So, in this episode, we explore those milestones - from invention to the CAN-SPAM act, and how we really haven't fixed a whole lot along the way.Here's the article I reference - with a full timeline with resources, links & pictures: https://toddcaponi.com/history-of-email-in-sales-and-marketing/@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
Sales compensation plans - where did they come from? How did they evolve to where they are today? Are there lessons we can learn from their origins we can apply today to make our plans more of what they are meant to be?In today's episode, I take you back as far as 1914 to learn about the types of quotas, the mistakes they acknowledged in 1918, and the lessons from the 1920s about compensation plan design that are possible things to consider even today.@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
Can you imagine - a profession so deplorable that those in it were rounded up and murdered? As crazy as it sounds, I found that it actually happened during the Roman Empire B.C. In an incredible find, I uncovered a sales history well over 2,000 years old where money was prioritized over virtue - in a way we still see today. In today's episode, I tell the story, with quotes from the great philosophers and poets from the final two centuries B.C.@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the showSupport the show
If sales has changed so much, why haven't the #salestips? Reading a collection of the top sales tips in 1913 - and I swear I was reading a collection of the top sales tips today. There's no conflict...at all. What's presented as revelation today on all of the socials are fundamentally the same through the eras of selling, so in today's episode, I share them. Worthington C. Holman's 9 things a successful salesperson must do, from System Magazine's February of 1913 edition. And given that Holman was an artist with his words...they're even better back then!@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
There's a direct correlation between the difficulty of the selling environment and the need for optimized sales management. There was a lag between the modernization of sales and the modernization of sales management. In this episode, we track that evolution...from the 1900s through after the lesser-known depression of the early 1920s. The amazing thing - the lessons they learned 100 years ago, we still often ignore today. Let's dig in...@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the showSupport the show
“It is far better that the quota be right than that it be simple.” – 1926Something odd struck me as I was investigating the origins of quotas and variable compensation. 75-100 years ago, organizations did MUCH MORE with MUCH LESS data. Today, not sure anyone could claim that quota setting is in a good state - and I think I know why.In this episode, we explore how quotas were set back then...much more correctly...and why there's a very real way for us to fix it today. (I will be doing another episode on quotas & variable compensation structures...today is just focused on an era of when quotas were set right!)@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
Every "greatest sales book of all time" listing has its share of "snubs", or books that should be on it that aren't. Even worse...I have yet to find a list that hasn't snubbed an entire era!In this episode, I highlight six of many books from 1900-1930 that should be on the lists, but aren't. @saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, (ironically) named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
In another case of a misguided Google result, it's time to set another record straight. What was the first "modern" sales methodology? What was it? Who developed it? And why did it serve as a baseline for so many companies throughout the early portion of the 1900s?@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
It's sales kickoff season. Kickoffs, or what was called sales 'conventions", have been around for at least 130 years. Today, we dig into the first known kickoff that I could find, from 1887. We'll dig into what they did, lessons learned from those 100+ year-old kickoffs, and a modern view of how you can apply those to yours today.@saleshistorian on Instagram - daily quotes, pics & comics from the past@saleshistorian on Twitter - daily quotes, pics & comics from the pastThe Transparent Sales Leader - my newest book which includes a number of quotes and lessons from sales' past.The Transparency Sale - the first book, named one of the top 100 sales books of all time.Support the show
While reading and studying books and magazines on sales leadership from the late 1800s through the 1940s:The problems of sales & leadership are almost all the same today...except for one thing. There are no articles, or even expressions of consternation, about forecasting in sales back then. I think I put my finger on why - and while it might not solve all of our forecasting issues, there's a core question that should strike everyone who listens...Why do we try to predict when a buyer will buy via forecasts and stages that are based on seller activities? 100 years ago, their processes NEVER were "discovery", "qualification", "demo", "proposal", "close'. Never. Listen in to what was the basis of EVERY sales process and forecasting methodology 100 years ago...a systemic recognition of buyer behavior. NOW AVAILABLE: The Transparent Sales Leader: https://www.amzn.com/1646870646 @saleshistorian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SalesHistorian @saleshistorian on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saleshistorian/Reach out at tcaponi@salesmelon.comSupport the show
A once admired profession, taught in colleges and high schools in the early 1900s, was detested by the 1960s. Why? And can we get our mojo back?In this episode, we explore a 1965 study on what makes a profession prestigious matched up against the profession of sales - and why at least one scholar believes we may never get back to once was both trusted and respected!The new book, The Transparent Sales Leader, is NOW AVAILABLE for pre-sale and will launch on July 5th. Chock full of takes and quotes from sales history, this book lays out a structure for sales leadership, optimized for science, and all on a bed of sincerity and transparency. Order now for Kindle and Paperback. https://www.amzn.com/B0B23DZHFR/Support the show
Sales objections - they've been around since the beginning of time. But the amazing thing is, they read almost EXACTLY as they do today. What's even more amazing? The experts answers to the most common ones that come up.In today's episode, we choose six - and the experts from 1907 to 1920s answers may actually be useful to you today! I also dig into a new way to think about objections - transparency style. Enjoy...Got feedback, or things you want me to research? Reach out directly at info@toddcaponi.com.Support the show
"If the truth won't sell it, don't sell it." - the words of Arthur Dunn from 1919. In the early 20th century, the sales profession embraced a culture of honesty & transparency. In today's episode:We start with an amazing passage from Baltasar Gracian from his 1647 book, The Art of Worldly Wisdom. We explore the brilliant quotes and minds of that period as it relates to honesty in sales. Then, we put a bow on it by theorizing on why the sales profession sits at the bottom of Gallup's annual "Trusted Professions" list - and why honesty is the key to regaining our admiration.Follow daily sales history quotes @saleshistorian on both Instagram and Twitter.Check out www.toddcaponi.com for articles, the books, videos & his speaking & workshop programs.Support the show
With Ask Me Anything's (AMAs) being all the rage today, there was a similar outlet for salespeople...in 1906! Via Salesmanship Magazine, every month, salespeople from around the country were encouraged to send in their questions. Experts fielded those questions and provided their answers.In today's episode, we explore four "queries" from that year.1) A question about a sales pursuit and the associated expenses2) A question about prospecting - getting in, and what to say3) A job search question for an individual struggling to find a sales job in a new city4) A precarious situation where the answer is...you guessed it...TRANSPARENCY!@saleshistorianSupport the show
Wondering what sales influencers would be the best follows for you on LinkedIn? Well, in today's episode, I give you that list - but from 100 years ago! The dawn of modern sales took place in the early 1900s - the individuals each left an indelible mark on all of YOUR sales careers - even today.So let's explore - the Top Five Sales Follows from 100 years ago...#5 - Noval Hawkins - "The greatest salesperson in the history of Ford Motor Company" & multi-time sales author#4 - Lucinda W. Prince - THE pioneer for women in sales#3 - Worthington C. Holman - Co-authored the first NCR sales manual, multi time author, publisher, editor and quote machine#2 - Dr. Orison S. Marden - the GOAT of business philosophers, who "has had children named after the titles of his books"#1 - Arthur Sheldon - the GOAT of sales philosophers, who, when he died in 1935 was referred to as "THE philosopher of selling"Support the show
An amendment to Season 1, Episode 10's episode on "When Did Cold Calling Begin?", this episode tells of two newly found stories - of the first found (so far) B2C telephone cold calling campaign in 1910, and the first found B2B telephone cold calling campaign from 1914. The success rate, the scripting, the analysis of numbers and the foundational technique is so amazing, given much is what we still teach today - albeit there was a transparency faux pas in the B2B story you've got to hear. (h/t Jeffrey Blackwell)Support the show
If the saying "if we don't know history, are we doomed to repeat it" is true, then why can't we use history to also predict the future? In this episode, I attempt to do just that. "Buyers know more nowadays" isn't just a quote from LinkedIn today, but also from a sales book in 1912! More information hasn't meant the demise of the profession - it's created more of a need for it!With this in mind, let's dissect the past to predict the future! Support the show
Isn't it ironic? Today, we fret over the challenge of building and leading teams that are all remote. However, the original sales leaders in the "modern" era of sales (i.e., 1907-1920s) - were REMOTE sales leaders. And, they built, trained and motivated teams without Slack, without email, or without even the ability to talk to them on the phone!In this episode, we explore the origins of sales leadership, how it was done remotely, and attempt to tie those concepts to today's remote requirement.Support the show
100 years ago - 1922 - the sales world encountered a year with 85% salesperson turnover. You read that right! A year when "sales executives discharged practically ALL of their salesmen"! The crazy part - just 18 months earlier, the sales world "took almost anybody into their sales forces". What happened? Could it happen again today? The lead-up is eerily familiar. Better to know so we can avoid it than bury our heads in the sand and pretend like it cannot happen, right?Support the show
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