Saturday, 01 April 2023 10:54

Your Penance: A Decade In Sales

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in Poetry
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Your Penance: A Decade In Sales

Your Penance: A Decade In Sales*

by P. W. Bridgeman

I.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and blessèd is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners. Now…
It’s the sizzle that sells the steak –
not the cow.
Amen.

II.

Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
The grocery clerk sells the pucker,
not the pickles.
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

III.

Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and blessèd is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Don’t sell suction, sell cleaner rugs!
Don’t sell the motor – sell comfort!
Don’t sell ball bearings – sell ease of operation!
HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME.
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

IV.

Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and buried in every spool of thread,
in every row of safety pins,
in every automobile, in every insurance policy,
in every grocery, drug, or toilet goods item,
are reasons why people will want to buy it.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

V.

Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
Health, comfort, labour-saving,
leisure and cleaner homes are the “sizzles”
with this particular vacuum cleaner;
construction and mechanism the “cow”.
Blessèd is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

VI.

Hail Mary, full of grace
You must develop a NEED for your product
in the mind of the prospect –
for until he realizes a need,
you will make little sales progress.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and blessèd is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

VII.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
you have just ten short seconds
and two able hands to sell the prospect –
and so you must FORTIFY your words
with performance! You must back up
your selling “sizzles” with showmanship!
The Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and blessèd is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

VIII.

Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and blessèd is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

IX.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessèd art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
Jesus, just step on the Automatic Rug Adjuster.
Invite prospect to do likewise
(monkey-see, monkey-do instinct).
Then say: “It automatically ADJUSTS itself
to any thickness of rug.”
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
it’s the little things you do
as you “speak your lines”
that make the sale stand out.
The movement of your hands, your head, your feet,
and your pencil tells the prospect you are
sincere – honest – convincing!
HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

X.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Hook the long, curved arm of a question mark
around your prospects and customers,
and you will draw them nearer to the cash register
or the dotted line – but be SURE you ask them
questions that GET THE ANSWERS YOU WANT!
Blessed art though amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
Jesus, don’t be a Johnny-one-note.
Learn to highlight your sales points
by playing the full “organ”
of your vocal chords –
the entire range! Not just one note!
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
above all, avoid tone and voice peculiarities
that attract attention to themselves –
rather than to your message.
Pray for us sinners,
now
HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME
and at the hour
HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME
of our death.
Amen.

* Five “decades” (meaning groups of ten) of the Hail Mary prayer form a recurring part of the Rosary. In this found poem, the Hail Mary is integrated with phrases and sentences taken from motivational pamphlets and course materials, popular during the 1950s, aimed at improving American salesmen’s sales performance. The poem also includes a transparent nod to a line (modified here) that recurs five times in Eliot's The Waste Land. Capitalisation and punctuation are generally, although not entirely, as found in the original sources. 

 

 

Read 838 times Last modified on Monday, 03 April 2023 16:19
P. W. Bridgman

P.W. Bridgman's fifth book, Deliverance, 1961: A Novella in Thirty-Two Cantos, is forthcoming from Pooka Press in later 2023.