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The K.I.S.S. Principle

SalesmanIn his book, No B.S. Sales Success, Dan Kennedy wrote about the late Fred Herman, a salesman who was considered the greatest American sales trainer who ever lived.

According to Kennedy, in the 1970s Fred traveled around the country making presentations and teaching groups and companies the principles of selling.  Because of his reputation as a salesman and trainer, Fred was invited to appear as a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  It is believed that he was the only salesman to ever appear as a guest on the show.

After Herman was introduced and sat down on the couch next to Carson’s desk, Carson handed him an ash tray and said, “Okay, since you’re the greatest salesman, sell me this ash tray.”  Herman examined the ash tray closely and commented about how it was made of marble.  He praised the design of the ashtray.  He then asked Carson, “If you wanted to buy this ash tray, what would you expect to pay for it?”  Carson named a price and Fred immediately said, “Sold!”  The audience erupted in applause.

Fred Herman was best known for coming up with the K.I.S.S. Principle for Selling: “Keep It Simple Salesman!”  He was a master at taking the complex and making it simple.  He had the ability to sell a prospect a product or service by using simple but penetrating questions to find out what the needs of the prospect were, and then convincing the prospect that he or she couldn’t live without the product or service.

If you have had any experience in raising children, you know that they are superior to most adults in the art of selling.  Children are passionate about what they want, they don’t take no for an answer, they can handle rejection, and they always make their case for what they want in simple, direct, and compelling ways.

For various reasons, we adults tend to make almost everything we do too complex.  One reason may be because we naturally respond to our complex world, and the people and problems we encounter, by seeking out complex solutions (instead of simple solutions).

When I read about Fred Herman, I thought of a K.I.S.S. principle for Catholics: “Keep It Simple Saint!”

If you take the time to read about the lives of the saints, you will find that they all led relatively simple lives in a complex world (just like their Savior, Jesus Christ). 

When we get to Heaven, I think we’re going to meet millions of individuals who lived very simple lives while they were here on this earth.  And there is a good chance that a majority of the people we meet in Heaven did not have the benefit of a college education, or in most cases, even a high school education.

As Americans living in a “first world” country, we view life in a very different way than the people who live in “third world” countries.  Most people who live in third world countries are uneducated and live their entire lives in poverty – always worrying about where the next meal is going to come from.

So, what prayer do you think would be appropriate for every person on this earth, regardless of education or circumstances?  If our Lord could choose one common prayer that everyone could learn and pray, regardless of education, IQ, wealth, age, or health, what would that prayer be?

When I was a teenager, my Grandma Ceil told be about something that happened to her one day while she was praying in church after Mass.  She was the only one praying in the church and the pastor walked up to her and chastised her for praying a certain prayer.  He told her that she shouldn’t be praying such a simplistic prayer – that America was an educated country and she was intelligent enough to compose her own prayers – prayers that would be more pleasing to God.

Although the priest knew my grandmother very well (she had worked for him as a secretary in the Rectory for several years), I’m sure he didn’t anticipate what her response would be.  My grandmother was a fierce defender of her faith and her family.  She was the type of person who felt at liberty to freely criticize and challenge her own children (my mom and my aunts and uncles), but if anyone else ever unjustly criticized them, she would verbally tear them apart – piece-by-piece.  She would react in the same way when someone unjustly criticized her faith.

And that’s exactly what she did to the priest.  She made it clear to him that he had no business challenging or criticizing the “simple” prayer she was praying, since it was a prayer that was given directly to Catholics by the Mother of God.  She reminded him that it was a prayer that was endorsed and promoted by one Pope after another and that it could be taught to the educated as well as the uneducated, the young as well as the old, the healthy as well as the infirm.

When she told me about the incident I felt sorry for the priest.  He probably thought he was helping her out, but instead of getting a “thank you,” he got a tongue-lashing.

Have you guessed the “simple” prayer yet – the prayer that my grandmother was praying?  The prayer that can be taught to anyone?

The prayer I’m referring to is the Holy Rosary, which incorporates The Lord’s Prayer along with the visualization of (and meditation on) the significant events of the entire life of Jesus Christ.

Thanks to my mom’s influence, while I was growing up I developed a strong devotion to the Mother of God.  During those years my mom made sure to repeatedly rem

ind me: “The best way to get to Jesus is through His mother.  He cannot say no to His mother.”  The abundant graces and blessings I have received throughout my life have been a direct result of following my mom’s advice.

Can I give you something to think about?  Suppose you were under the dominion of a King and a Queen and you were able to endear yourself to the Queen – so much so, that she developed a great love for you and had a strong desire to assist you in all of your needs.  Do you think that would be a good position for you to be in if you needed a favor from the King? 

Now be honest with me.  That really would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?  Well, that’s exactly where you can be if you develop an ongoing relationship with the Queen of Heaven.  And it all starts with a daily Rosary.

Is that too simple for you?  Do you think you’re too sophisticated for such a “childish” prayer?  Just remember the K.I.S.S. principle for Catholics: “Keep It Simple Saint!”  If it worked for the saints, it will work for you.

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