The general manager of a men's store called one of his salesmen up to his office at the end of the week.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Yardley, but your figures are not good at all. In fact they are well below that of any other assistant in your section. Unless you pull your socks up, and get your figures up with the others', we'll have to let you go."
"I'm sorry, sir. Can you give me any advice on how to go about it?"
"Well, there is one idea you might like to try. It will probably sound silly, but it has been known to work for other salespeople. Get hold of a dictionary and go through it page by page, just glancing at every word. Once in a while you will come across a word that seems to you to be particularly powerful. Memorise it, and find ways of working it into your sales story."
The following week the GM sent for Yardley again.
"Well my boy, I don't know how you've done it but this week your figures have been greater than any other three people in your section. Congratulations."
"Thank you, sir. All I did was follow your advice. I got the dictionary out after tea on Friday night and spent nearly all weekend searching for those power words you told me about, and on Sunday afternoon I found one."
"Good. What was it?"
"Fantastic. Yes. That's a good word. Tell me how you used it in your sales story."
"Well, on Monday morning my first customer was a woman with a young boy. She told me he was a pupil at an expensive private school. I said, 'Fantastic!'
"'Yes,' she said, 'He's a good student—always up near the top of his class.' I said, 'Fantastic!' She said, 'Yes and not only that, but he's good on the playing field as well. He's one of the best batsmen in his age group, he's won a medal for athletics, and he's represented his school in the inter-school swimming carnival.' I said, 'Fantastic!' She bought a jumper, two pairs of shorts, four pairs of long socks, and four sets of underclothes.
"My next customer was an elderly gentleman who told me he belonged to Glen Iris Bowling Club. I said, 'Fantastic!' He said, 'Yes. We played Sandringham last week and beat them by three ends.' I said, 'Fantastic!' He said, 'Yes, and the week before we beat Glen Waverley by four ends.' I said, 'Fantastic!' Well, he bought two pairs of bowling creams, three cream Viyella shirts, a cream jumper, four pairs of cream socks, and a pair of bowling shoes.
"And it's been like that all week. The more the customers boast about themselves, the more I go on saying, 'Fantastic!' and they buy and buy."
"That's very interesting. Just as a matter of interest, what did you say to the customers when they were boasting about themselves before you discovered this word, 'fantastic'?"
"Oh, I just used to say, 'Ah, bullshit!'"
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