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The Good News – December 1983

from Herbert W. Armstrong

All my life I have had to deal with businessmen. I still do. Sometimes I wish I didn’t.

In the business world there is one goal–PROFITS– and, universally, the end seems to justify the means.

Too often human nature overlooks the slogan of the Rotary Clubs: “He profits most who serves best.”

Of course, even this slogan implies the profit motive.

For some years I was a member of the Associated Advertising Clubs of America, through the Advertising Division of the Chicago Association of Commerce. The Ad Clubs have the slogan: “TRUTH in advertising.”

That slogan, too, sounds nice. Too bad it is not more often put to practice.

It seems to be the accepted custom for advertising copywriters to consider NOT the facts or what is TRUTH, but what they can say that will cause the public to buy. It would simply never occur to the average copywriter to ask what are the real facts about the service or the commodity he is pushing before the public.

Ad copy goes something like this: Any doctor will tell you that aspirin is aspirin. (There are not two or more kinds of aspirin. Iron is iron, tin is tin, calcium is calcium. Aspirin branded and sold by one company is practically the SAME as aspirin sold by all other companies.) So one company puts a higher price on its aspirin, and then the voice on the TV commercial says, “Our aspirin is THE BEST aspirin.” Literally that is the truth– technically. Every other brand is “THE BEST” aspirin also, because they are all exactly the same.

Then another pharmaceutical company adds two additional ingredients, and then says to the public: ”Nine out of 10 DOCTORS recommend the ingredients in our brand. It is like a doctor’s prescription–that is, a COMBINATION of ingredients.”

This leads the viewer or listener or reader to assume that nine out of 10 doctors actually RECOMMEND this brand instead of aspirin. Notice, it does not literally SAY that at all. But it is deliberately misleading, because people will carelessly read that meaning into it.

Literally, every word may be true. Perhaps nine out of 10 doctors DO prescribe, for other purposes and with other combinations, these particular drugs–though not necessarily combined with aspirin.

But nine out of 10 doctors do not recommend this particular brand, though they might not disapprove it. So then company number one comes out with the statement that nine of 10 doctors do, themselves, TAKE aspirin–which may well be true. But this gives you an idea of the tactics used.

The operation of The Plain Truth, The Good News, the World Tomorrow broadcast and Ambassador College has become a large worldwide activity involving, now, an expenditure of millions of dollars annually. Consequently many business firms want to do business with us. Sometimes I have to wonder if they think that, because we speak the TRUTH of Jesus Christ, we are naive, inexperienced in business and “easy pickings.”

Sometimes I think they themselves are a little naive for assuming this!

All too often great energy is expended in the attempt to convince us they are going to serve us better and save us money, when actually all that talk comes, not from a sincere concern about us, but solely from concern about the PROFIT they expect to GET from us.

I met a sales manager of a good-sized manufacturing firm once, who had that philosophy. Because he sent out his salesmen with one thought only–the PROFIT his company would make from their sales–he supposed that any salesman who came to his office had the same motive.

I may have written about this incident before, but it bears repeating. It was the sales manager of a Grand Rapids furniture factory. I was probably about 26 at the time. It was long before my conversion.

But even then I had quite a different concept of salesmanship than most salesmen. I actually believed in being completely honest about my product or service. I believed I always ought to be able to GIVE more than I received–that is, to sell only what was worth more to the customer or client than the money he paid. Of course, the money was worth more to me, so I figured it was a bargain for both of us.

But this philosophy was based on God’s GREAT command to love our neighbors AS ourselves–that is, as much as ourselves.

God’s great law does not oppose loving our own selves. It simply commands us to have equal love for the other fellow–and that will be a LOT OF LOVE FOR OTHERS!

Of course I don’t now remember the exact words. But when I entered his office, the sales manager of this company said something like this:

“So you’ve come in here to try to sell me some advertising space so you can make a commission off of me. Well, I’m a hard nut to crack! Now let’s see if you can crack me. Go ahead with your spiel.”

Instantly I was righteously indignant. I was red hot! My fist came crashing down on his desk.

“My dear sir!” I snapped. “I came in here assuming yours is a reputable company. I supposed you were an astute businessman who wouldn’t sell your product to any customer unless you believed it was worth more to him than the money he pays you. I assumed you wouldn’t buy any advertising space unless I could show you it is going to pay you! And I came prepared to present the FACTS to demonstrate that! I didn’t think you were a fool!

“But if you are putting the philosophy you just expressed into practice–if you send out your salesmen with a ‘spiel’ you’ve taught them, intended to talk suckers into buying a worthless product, so you can make a profit–then, Mister, you haven’t got enough money to buy a single inch of advertising space in any of my magazines!”

This was said with blazing fire, and it rather unnerved him.

“Well,” he stammered, embarrassed, “won’t you sit down?” He was ready to listen. I had made surveys, done research, analyzed his sales problem and I did have the facts and figures. I had assembled data for the writing of honest and truthful advertising copy that would lead to sales and profits for his company.

He did sign my contract on the dotted line. And the advertising did build business for his company and benefit his customers, besides.

WHY can’t businessmen realize that honesty, TRUTH, intelligent service to customer or client benefit everybody concerned, and that they pay bigger dividends than misrepresentation, lies, deception and the purely selfish motive?

Sure, it takes a little harder, conscientious WORK. It means putting your MIND to your customer’s or client’s problem with the motive of benefiting him. It follows the principle of GOD’S LAW–loving your neighbor AS yourself.

And what does LOVE mean? Love is an outgoing concern. It means, in business, simply, being AS concerned with the interests and welfare of the people you do business with as yourself, and applying your mind intelligently and industriously as much to his interests as your own.

When I first joined a banker’s magazine as advertising representative, one of these high-pressure, fast-talking salesmen was on the staff.

Actually, at the end of the first year, he had sold slightly more business than I. The publisher lauded his work.

“All right,” I answered, “you just watch results from now on. Every man he sold space to probably woke up after he left and regretted being high-pressured into buying it. There was no intelligent thought or planning put into any of these many small ads he put in the magazine. They won’t get results for the advertisers. He won’t be able to renew a single contract.

“I had to work a little slower this year because I made surveys –I studied the selling problems of my clients and in most cases I actually rendered the additional service of writing their copy for them. It has been getting BIG RESULTS. It is building the businesses of my clients. And they, in turn, are pleasing and satisfying their customers. Everybody benefits.

“My advertisers don’t feel ‘stung’ or ‘gypped’ by high-pressure and deceptive sales talks. I have made warm friends of them. They will renew their contracts. They will keep on with us for years.

“This year, I will sell as many or more new advertisers as last year–and they will be ADDED to what I sold last year. Your high-pressure man will sell less this year than last, and he can’t renew the people he sold last year.”

It happened. He dropped out, for the publisher saw, in due time, that his methods were not making friends, but enemies–and, as Elbert Hubbard said, our enemies don’t do business with us.

My sales philosophy was that a CUSTOMER is worth much more than a SALE.

In this world businessmen generally seem to assume that GOD’S WAY is some impractical, altruistic way that won’t work. Too many seem to feel that they must lie, misrepresent, take advantage of every deal. They justify it by shrugging their shoulders and saying, “It’s BUSINESS!”

But it’s dirty, dishonest and IMPRACTICAL business! IT DOESN’T PAY!

I proved that, before God Almighty ever called me to conduct His business!

We try to conduct God’s business GOD’S WAY! This WORK OF GOD is built on the UNselfish motive. We GIVE Christ’s Gospel freely without money and without price! Our hearts are in serving others with deep-down and sincere outgoing concern for others.

And this Work, consistently, has continued to GROW! Do you know any worldly business, with the selfish PROFIT motive, that has grown as rapidly and consistently and as long? Surely not many!

Do you actually LIVE BY the principles of God’s law in your life–your business–your profession? Did you ever ask: WHY are there so many failures? –WHY so much unhappiness?–WHY DOES GOD –if there be a God–ALLOW IT? The answer is, simply, that God created and set in motion LAWS that determine success, health, wealth and happiness. They are THE WAY to peace, to happiness–to success, the ABUNDANT LIFE and to LIFE ETERNAL!

Businessmen could be so much MORE successful–and SO MUCH happier–if they would follow and religiously and conscientiously apply GOD’S LAWS!

And YOU, in your private life–whether you are a farmer, laborer, business or professional man–whether you are a housewife, stenographer, saleslady or professional woman –will also find real contentment, satisfaction that is lasting, freedom from fears and worries, economic success, everything GOOD–in no other way!

There are phenomenal BLESSINGS that go with OBEDIENCE to GOD ALMIGHTY and His perfect laws–literally living by every Word of God–His BIBLE. And there are mountainous CURSES that accompany disobedience, and being conformed to the ways of this world.

God created laws to MAKE US HAPPY. He has made those laws accessible.

WHY does God allow so much suffering? Because He doesn’t cram His religion down our throats. Because, for our blessing and good, He allows us to MAKE OUR OWN CHOICE, and mankind has deliberately chosen the curses!

Let’s be practical! Let’s surrender to GOD and HIS WAYS, and enjoy the phenomenon of SUCCESS, HAPPINESS, JOY and ETERNAL LIFE!