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Life Health > Running Your Business > Selling

Alva Lee Struthers Discussed the Implications of Physical Traits: 100 Years Ago in Insurance

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Here is an article that appeared in the Dec. 29, 1921, issue of The National Underwriter Life Insurance Edition.

SEATTLE—The December meeting of the Seattle Association was featured by a scientific treatise of salesmanship by Alva Lee Struthers, a vocational expert from Vancouver, B.C.

The speaker analyzed the selling process and made clear that there is a mental transformation [that] takes place in the brain of the prospect at the time a sale is made.

The matter of character analysis through physical peculiarities was shown by selecting members of the audience, and a few of his deductions follow: If your hand is as hard as an inch board, you will be hard to convince; if your hand is soft like an overripe apple, you are easy to sell.

If the outer corner of your eye is much lower than the inner, you are willing to listen to figures.

If the outer corner is higher than the inner, figures are a bore.

If you have a wide nose and mouth, you like a good story; if they are narrow, you are “exclusive.”

Inverted triangle faces like the romance of business.

The fat man should be talked to after a meal; he is lazy; therefore, help him on with his overcoat.

An educational advertising campaign was proposed by the publicity committee of the Seattle organization. A large majority of the members present signed pledge cards, agreeing to pay 10 cents per thousand on all insurance paid for in 1922, to be expended on a newspaper campaign along this line.

Elford Seattle, chairman of the Sales congress, outlined plans for the sales convention, which is to be held in Seattle during February. W.L. John was appointed and accepted the chairmanship of the Thrift Week Campaign Committee.


Pictured: An excerpt from an illustration in Dr. Joseph Simms’ 1833 book Physiognomy Illustrated. (Image: the June 27, 1920, issue of the San Francisco Examiner)


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