Old Time Selling

November 29, 2010 | Leave a Comment

In the 1910s and 1920s, the larger piano companies in Canada, such as Heintzman, had an amazing way of marketing their products. Their sales reps would go door to door out in the country selling pianos, at least in this common scenario out West and in the prairies. The salesmen would use a technique known in the field of sales as “the puppy dog close”. If you leave a puppy with a family and come back a while later, the work of selling is pretty much taken care of by the fact that they now have that dog as part of their household. That’s the puppy dog close.

Well, this piano selling technique went like this: there would be a knock on the door at the farmhouse. Two men would explain their situation. Their Heintzman piano delivery vehicle broke down on the road just near their house, and they now were in desperate need of a storage facility for this piano. Of course, if it rained, the piano would be ruined. Most people were willing to help in this situation. They would get to enjoy the piano in the interim, until Heintzman could arrange to have it picked up.

By the time it was picked up, that farm family pretty much owned that piano. The only detail was the small matter of paying for it, which was done on terms over very long periods. Many people today don’t realize that a piano was a very very expensive commodity for the average family. Although most people seemed to own one, they gave up 2 to 3 years of salary to do so.

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