Have you heard of the Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier? Given you were not around in the 1880s, my guess is that you haven’t. I stumbled upon this story when reading how people form habits, and I decided to investigate it a bit further.  

The Invention of the Cash Register

If you were to ask someone why cash registers were invented in the first place, you’re likely to get responses such as the following: (1) It’s a good way to keep money organized. (2) The machine makes the business look prominent, especially in the late 1800s when they were so expensive. (3) The workers are more accurate when dispensing change to the customer. I suppose all of these reasons, and others, are likely true. However, believe it or not, the trigger for creating cash registers was because of employee theft, which was common during the 1800s.

Let’s go back to the Ritty’s Incorruptible Casher … it was created by, you guessed it … a guy with the last name of “Ritty.” In 1871, James Ritty owned a saloon and was concerned that employees were pocketing money when selling his pure whiskey, fine wines, and cigars. While on a steamboat trip to Europe, Ritty’s interest piqued when he noticed a mechanism that counted how many times the ship’s propeller rotated. His inquisitive manner led him to think that this technology could be used to record cash transactions, and this idea prompted him to invent the first cash register in 1879.

When industrialist James Patterson heard of Ritty’s machine, he jumped on the opportunity to buy the commercial rights, and Ritty agreed to the deal, leading to a company that today is known as the National Cash Register (NCR). The key obstacle faced by Patterson was the machine sold for $50, and this price tag was far too high for most businessowners. He needed to find a way to convince them that the investment was a smart choice.

American Selling Force

Patterson created the American Selling Force, which was composed of commission-based workers that were provided training on how best to convince Probable Purchasers (P.P.) to buy the cash registers. Patterson made it clear to his salespeople that they should focus on selling the features of the cash register, and not the actual machinery of the device. In other words, he was keenly aware that 99% of the buyers could care less how something works, such as the back-end stuff. Instead, they are mostly interested in how it helps them solve their problems.

Key Takeaway

We can learn from Patterson’s sales philosophy that customers desire products and services that make them feel good and helps solve their problems. Instead of focusing on the mechanics or technical aspects of what we’re selling, let’s consider the perspective of the customer. While I’m sure there is a ton of technology and equipment that is used to create a Mercedes Benz GT Coupe, people care more about how fast it goes and the status that it provides them.

Let’s now take the example of you interviewing for a dream job. Yes … it’s important to talk about your education, professional experiences, and your ability to work on teams. However, as soon as you can, pivot to sharing with the potential employer how you can use your skills, knowledge, and motivation to make the organization more competitive. By taking this approach, you are far more likely to land the job that you want.

Homework Inquiry

During the next week, here’s your homework inquiry: What is present when I’m at my best?