::R1088 : page 8::
A SUGGESTION TO THE REAPERS
FROM BROTHER E. BRYAN
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I have just returned from Marietta, where I sold 165 copies of DAWN. As my method of canvassing (by which I also sold nearly four hundred copies at Zanesville), differs, so far as I know, from that of any of our brethren, it is here given.
Take a supply of “Arp” slips and colporteur cards, and visit each house, giving a slip and a card in a manner like this: “Good morning! Please read this when you have time; show it to your family; keep it until I call in a day or two.” Keep a diagram of each street in a small blank book, taking in so much of each cross-street that no house will be missed. Put out several hundred slips before commencing to solicit. Then calling again you say: “You remember my leaving a slip lately. [“Oh! yes.”] Did you read it since? [“I did.”] Now I have stopped a moment to show you the book spoken of. The slip gives you some idea of it; now notice its appearance—its size, its good clear print. It has thrown much light on Bible study; is entirely unsectarian, builds up no denomination or creed. It is not paid for until delivered, a week from next Monday.” This is about all, except as circumstances require slight additions. If the slip was not read, request that it be, and you will stop when passing next time. On your diagram you had made a straight mark for each house where a slip was left, a cipher for each where none was left. If you now sell a book, with another line make a cross at the place; if you fail to sell, put a cipher on the straight mark. This diagram is useful until your last book is delivered; and it will save hours of time and much labor and worry. A few initial letters can be added when necessary, to show that you are to “call any time,” “call later,” “call on delivery,” etc.
Try to keep slips enough out among the people to furnish you work for a day or two ahead. Put out many at the end of the week, for Sunday reading.—Let your address be always pleasant and polite. Some book-agents employ importunity and even insolence, and we must make the difference between them and us manifest. If a person shows a bad spirit, or from any cause seems a hopeless case, make the interview very brief.
Will the “Arp” slips excite the prejudice of some? Yes; but they will create a desire in the minds of others. And the new slips are not so likely to offend those who hate the very mention of hope for man after death.
Then, if you feel that you are not a good talker, and reflect upon the great number of book-agents who are now talking the people overmuch, take the “Arp” slip in your hand, and on your tongue the words, “Please read this.” E. BRYAN.
The above is an excellent suggestion, especially for those who are not professional canvassers, nor great talkers; it will, therefore, suit well the majority of our readers, each of whom seems to be doing what he can to thus serve and spread the truth. The greatest difficulty on the part of many seems to be, that their hearts are so full of the good tidings, that they are tempted to tell a little too much concerning the Plan of God. Remember, that the errors are so deep-seated, that no one can remove them in a few moments’ conversation, and that to suggest them without fully meeting them, is often, to prejudice their minds against the truth and the book. The “wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove” plan is, to speak of the book and plan in general terms,—to present it as a “Bible Key,” a “Helping Hand to Bible Study,” without telling how it helps, or what is the plan of God which it presents. Awaken interest, curiosity, etc., and let the reading of the book gradually remove their errors, disarm prejudices, and implant the true knowledge of God’s character and plan.
— December, 1888 —