McDonald’s Ray Kroc’s Wisdom on Salesmanship, Growth and Real Estate.

Summary of Ray Kroc in Business Leaders and Success.
by Troy Corman, t2 Real Estate – Get the book at amazon

Ray Kroc on salesmanship

Ray Krofounded McDonald’s at the age of 52. At the time, he was the exclusive salesman of a milkshake mixer that could produce five milkshakes simultaneously. His career in the burger business was launched in San Bernardino, California when he bought the franchise rights to a small hamburger stand from Dick and Mac

McDonald. Although he was successful in his milkshake business, he was always looking for opportunities.

“I have a saying that goes, ‘As long as you’re green you’re growing. As soon as you ripe you start to rot.’ “

Kroc says he was always a dreamer, but he didn’t consider them idle fantasies. “I never considered my dreams wasted energy, they were invariably linked to some sort of action,” said Kroc. “When I dreamed about having a lemonade stand, for example, it wasn’t long before I set up a lemonade stand.”

Ray Kroc also learned a lot about salesmanship from his previous jobs working the counter at his uncle’s soda fountain, selling ribbon novelties and the milkshake mixers. He discovered the key to success was tailoring his delivery to the customers’ needs. After all, he said. “no self-respecting pitcher throws the same way to every batter, and no self-respecting salesman makes the same pitch to every client.” He also concluded that customers preferred a straightforward, cut-to-the-chase approach. “They would buy if I made my pitch and asked for the order without a lot of beating around the bush,” he said. “The key to closing a sale is knowing when to stop selling.”

As the company grew, Kroc never looked to hire yes men. He thought if two people agreed on everything, then one was superfluous. Kroc believed in hiring people and letting them do their job as they see fit. Said Kroc, “I believe if you hire a man to do a job, you ought to get out of the way and let him do it. If you doubt his ability, you shouldn’t have hired him in the first place.”

One of those men who wasn’t a yes man was Harry Sonneborn. He came up with an unusual lease-to-purchase deal to acquire future store sites. Kroc thought it was crazy. But years later, it’s proved to turn out roses and gave McDonald’s staying power when the tough times came.

In 1967, many businesses began cutting back on construction because most economists were predicting a recession. Not Kroc, however. “Hell’s bells, when times are bad is when you want to build,” he said. “Why wait for things to pick up so everything will cost you more? If a location is good enough to buy, we want to build on it right away and be in there before the competition.”

Kroc eventually bought out the McDonald brothers share of the business which required major cash. “I don’t stew about what the other guy is making in a deal like this,” he said. “I’m concerned about whether it’s going to be a good thing for McDonald’s.” 

Perhaps this final quote sums up the man most definitively when he said, “I believe that if you think small, you’ll stay small.”