Human nature in business by Fred C. Kelly.
|Human nature in business|
how to capitalize your everyday habits and characteristics
Human beings, when you average them up, are surprisingly alike. And human impulses are a fairly constant quantity. If an Average Man does one thing today and something else the week after next, it is not necessarily because he has changed, but probably because there has been some kind of shift in conditions. As Robert W. Service observes:
The thistledown that flits and flies Could drift no hair-breadth otherwise. That is, the thistledown blows just the way it does because of the various physical conditions that control it — the topography of the earth, the altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and velocity of the wind. If one were familiar enough with all these factors, and also happened to be clever enough at mathematics, it might be possible to figure the thing out and place one's finger on the exact spot where the thistledown eventually would alight.
Everything is Cause and Effect! So it is with people. Equipped with a knowledge of all items entering into the situation, we could forecast precisely how a man would react under a given set of circumstances. If it should be noted that ten persons a day slip and fall on the pavement in a congested area of a big city, and then someday twenty-five persons should fall, it would not mean that people on the average were becoming less steady on their feet, but more likely that the pavements had become more slippery. A newsboy starts over a route shouting his Sunday papers.
He has two hundred papers with him, let us say, and can sell only one hundred and forty. To his disgust, he has the rest left on his hands. On the following Sunday, therefore, he buys only one hundred and forty papers. And on that day, perhaps, he could easily have sold two hundred and fifty. He decides that man is an erratic animal about his Sabbath-day reading, and that there is no use trying to predict what he will want. But the chances are that on the day the demand was for two hundred and fifty papers, there was either bad weather to keep men indoors or something in the papers of greater news importance than on the Sunday previous.
With a record at the hand of past performances and all present influences, it should be easier to tell in advance about an average man than about a The Law of Averages 3 average racehorse; for, inasmuch as there are more men than racehorses, it is possible to get the average a Httle closer.
To know all the motives and whims that enter into the actions of an individual is practically impossible; but when we consider a crowd the task is less difficult. Individual peculiarities average up and are lost sight of in a big mass of persons. And the larger the crowd, the more definitely can we predict what an average person in the crowd will do.
If fifty women walked along a certain street, and one of them paused to tie her shoestring, it would hardly be justifiable to say that one out of fifty, day after day, would do so. But if it were found that ten women out of every one hundred thousand, on that street, fastened their shoestrings, the chances are that about the same proportion would stop to perform the same little chore, on an average, every day in the year. A definite number of women out of every ten thousand will stop to buy candy, or soda water, or dotted veils. This number may vary according to climate, weather, season, or day of the week; but there will, nevertheless, be a constant relation between the number who buy, and the surrounding influences. Insurance companies know with uncanny ac- curacy the average man's chances for long life or a short one. They know that under certain conditions — age, climate, occupation, and so on — so many men out of every thousand will die before the end of the year. So many men out of every thousand will be careless and accidentally set their houses on fire.
A certain number will run into guileless pedestrians with expensive, high-powered automobiles, and be sued for damages. A known number of automobiles out of every thousand will be stolen every year. And the older the machine the more likely it is to be stolen, even though it is not so valuable, because it is less under the cautious, watchful eye of the owner. Of every thousand barns insured against fire, a definite number is sure, as the insurance companies have found out, to be struck by lightning. If one were to stop a thousand men, at random on the street, and ask them what size shoes they wear — and then go to another street and ask a second thousand men the same question, the chances are that almost exactly the same percentage out of each thousand would be found to have on number nines.
Army quartermasters know that two hundred and thirty men out of every thousand must have their hats size 6^, but only one man in a thousand wears size 6>2 • One man out of every three years a fifteen collar, but size fourteen does not fit even one man in ten. Every retail dealer is obliged to depend on some- what on the law of averages. The ready-made clothing dealer knows that there will be a certain number of fat men to be fitted in his establishment for a certain volume of business. If he is selling The Law of Averages 5 hats or shoes, he knows in advance what percentage of his customers will require any one particular size.
I. — The Law of Averages. i
II. — The Little Law at Work. 7
III. — Cashing in on Footsteps. 22
IV. — Candy and Soda . . -30
V. — Men's Moods at the Lunch Hour 35
VI. — Following the Crowd 42
VII. — Street Cars and Pedestrians 59
VIII. — Hl'Man Ants .... 69
IX. — Human Nature and the Weather 83
X. — The Costliness of Vanity. 95
XI. — Habits of the Shopper. -114
XII. — Ingenuity in Salesmanship. 130
XIII. — Meeting Hu^ian Nature Half Way 143
XIV. — To Buy or Not to Buy. 153
XV. — Finding the Keynote. .164
XVI. — Applying Imagination. .182
XVII. — Turning Imagination to Profit. 193
XVIII. — Handling People at Hotels 202
XIX. — Capitalizing Courtesy . . .212
XX. — Honesty in the Average Man . 231
XXI. — Human Nature at the Credit
Window ..... 248
XXII. — The Voice of the Average Man . 260
Index. ..... 269