The Legend of Memory String
Many years ago when the Old West was being settled the frontier was alive with entrepreneurs selling their wares off the backs of wagons. Typically, these salesmen were referred to as “hucksters” and their wagon, loaded with household items and patent medicines, were called “huckster wagons.”
These men would sell their products from huckster wagons with
the dramatic, almost magical, sales presentations we now associate with medicine shows and pitchmen.
As is often the case with sales, these men would get plenty
of “be-backs.” These “be-backs” were men and women who had interest in the product, but they would not make an impulsive purchase. They would “be-back” after they thought about it for awhile. This creates a challenge that salespeople struggle with even today. Around the time of the Civil War an enterprising pitchman, his name now lost to history, thought that if he could motivate these “be-backs” to actually return and buy he could double or triple his sales. Legend has it that this hungry and resourceful salesman invented memory string.
As soon as he heard the words, “I’ll be back,” he responded by ordering the indecisive customer to stick out their finger. The salesman tied a string around the be-back’s finger and declared, “This is memory string. By tying this around your finger I know you will never forget where you saw this fantastic product, and you will return to buy it from me.” It worked! “Be-backs” returned in droves, and sales increased dramatically.
The lesson: learn to be ingenious. Creative solutions are
worth a fortune. We should all strive to discover problem-solving ideas as clever, inexpensive and profitable as memory string.
Mark Brandyberry, CM