Meet a driven 14-year-old lamp salesman

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The October 1923 issue of Nebraska Power Company’s Flash magazine for employees featured one employee that looked decidedly younger than the rest.

That’s because Lawrence Heltzel was a 14-year-old high school student who convinced the company’s sales manager to hire him as a lamp salesman. Struck by the young man’s determination, editors of the magazine asked him to write about his philosophy of selling. Here is an excerpt:

“Selling goods is really a more serious subject than it is generally thought to be. It is the study of human nature, because salesmanship is based upon little fundamentals.”

The young man’s approach must have worked, because the article reported that his sales of lamp bulbs was “very large” and that his customers has sent in favorable comments to the company.

“I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely necessary to have perfect confidence in the goods I am selling, as I can then speak with confidence, which in most cases means a ready sale,” he wrote at the time.

Laura King-Homan

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, most of that time spent at the Omaha World-Herald.

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