The Millionaire Next Door

One Letter-Multi Millions

The new Mustang, especially with the world class 5 liter V-8, is yet another success version of the namesake which made its debut in 1964.  From the beginning the Mustang was a concept based on the preferences of car enthusiasts.  Lee Iacocca who was the #2 man at Ford during his tenure there is often credited with being “the father of the Mustang.”  But he graciously gave credit to others.  It seems that Mr. Iacocca made it a habit of reading countless letters from car buffs urging him to produce a sporty 4-seater version of the famous 1955-57 2-seater Thunderbird. 

Like Mr. Iacocca, often people at the top are avid readers of letters from the ultimate consumers of their products and services.  This information is not filtered by subordinates who sometimes selectively control what is passed on to “the boss.” 

I capitalized on my reading of the Mustang episode when I sought a publisher for my first book, Marketing to the Affluent.  Going through the proper cancels,  I sent out 25 manuscripts to the “acquisition editors.”  To make a long story short, 22 never even responded.  So I took affirmative action by contacting the head of my “first choice” publishing company and marking “PERSONAL” on the envelope containing the manuscript.  Three days he telephoned me directly and said, “I can be in your office tomorrow morning. . . .”

Mr. Jesse Snyder in Automotive News recently profiled Bergstrom Automotive, headquartered in Wisconsin, and its founders under the heading “Best Practices.”  It is one of America’s most respected and productive automobile retailers selling 22,000 cars in 2010.  But John and Richard Bergstrom, the founders and managers, almost missed out on entering the automobile business entirely. 

The brothers’ [application to open a dealership was] repeatedly. . . rejected by GM. . . . 

But they would not take no for an answer.  They took their case to the highest level at GM.

. . . John sent a handwritten letter to the then – chairman Roger Smith. . . .

Not long after, their application was accepted.  

These are just a few examples of how perseverance pays off for those who are proactive in their search for success.  Keep targeting the right people with the right message.  You never know what letter you write will have a dramatic and profound influence on your career path.

1 thought on “One Letter-Multi Millions”

  1. Dr. Stanley:

    I just wanted to take a moment and share with you that I have recommended your books to so very many of my clients. Taking an example from one of the Millionaires mentioned in “The Millionaire Next Door” I employ my ten and thirteen year old daughters in my firm and one of the tasks assigned to them as part of their employment in my “junior executive program” has been to read your book and write a report on what they had read. I must say I was very impressed with their comprehension of the theme of your book. The last assignment was to do the same for “Stop Acting Rich” which again I was very pleased that the message was so easily grasped by them even at their young ages.

    Thank you for your insights and have confidence that make measurable changes in the lives of many.


    Ron Christ

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