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Please Don’t Ask; I Don’t Have a List

By Thomas J. Stanley on Jul 28th, 2009 in Lessons Learned

I was called by a salesperson who targets millionaires; he markets “tax-advantaged concepts.”  He had seen an article in USA Today in which I was quoted about the size of the millionaire market in each state.  He wanted my list of the names and addresses of America’s millionaires.  I informed him that I did not have such a list. But he would not take “no” for an answer.  He called me eight times trying to buy my non-existent list.  After his seventh call I decided that I must take a more aggressive posture.  During his eighth call, I promised him a list of the 33,000 millionaires in the borough of Manhattan (his target market).  I told him it would cost about ten cents a name, including street addresses and telephone numbers.  He was ecstatic!


I prepared an invoice for $3,300 and placed it in an overnight package.  I also enclosed a two-year-old Manhattan telephone directory (the white pages).  Of course, when the “cold caller” received the package, he was not very happy.  He immediately called me and protested in words better left unsaid.  “This is not a list of @#$%! millionaires!”  “Actually, it is indeed a list of millionaires,” I said.  “About one in every fifty people listed are millionaires.  The list I sent you is much like yourself.  Both you and the list are unrefined.”


To date the “cold caller” has yet to send me a check for $3,300.  He never even returned my telephone directory. In fact, he has never contacted me since he complained about the unrefined list!


While this sales professional(?) was focused on a list, he could have been focusing on the needs of others to build his business. I will be focusing on some truly extraordinary sales professionals in my blog this week.

3 responses to “Please Don’t Ask; I Don’t Have a List”

  1. LaughingOutLoud says:

    Absolutely hillarious! I don’t think Christ Himself would have delivered this lesson in a more poignant and merciful manner. Kudos!

  2. Linda says:

    I loved the lesson given. You can tell a lot about a person and how they see the world in their reactions. There was a time when I was like him. Thank you for all your research and your books! I’ve read them all. I believe that your book Millionaire Next Door should be required reading in High School!

  3. Investor Junkie says:

    Classic story!

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