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How to get involved in the colporteur ministry
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How much time on Earth do you have left? You don’t know. That is why God urges, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve,"1 and "To day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."2 Every day—second by second—you either move closer to the Lord, or farther from Him. These moments are not only important for you—they influence the decisions others make for eternity, as well.
Meeting objections As you canvass you will hear many objections, or reasons people give for not purchasing your books. Almost everyone seems to have some objection, so you should learn to find ways to meet these objections—to show people why they need what you are offering. After all, books such as The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy contain truths which are of eternal importance to all, whether or not they realize it.
One of the most common objections is, "I don’t have enough money." Many people who say this actually have the money, but prefer to spend it on something else.
Another common objection is, "I’m not interested." Some people seem interested until they hear the price, and then they say something like this. Or perhaps they are prejudiced against salespeople, against your books, or even against religion in general.
People will often say, "I have my own church." This may mean that they suspect you are trying to convert them, and they feel comfortable with their own church. You are especially likely to hear this in areas where other religious groups do much door-to-door work.
Other excuses range from "I’m not much of a reader," to "I already have more books than I can read," to "I simply don’t have enough time."
The best way to meet an objection is to answer with a solution to the problem. For instance: If the customer says she has little time to read, show her a smaller book. Say, "I’ll tell you what: This little book is perfect because it has small chapters which can be read in no time!" Then give a short canvass on the little book. If your customer claims he is broke, offer him a less-expensive book. If someone says she is already a churchgoer, respond that you are happy that she takes her religion seriously, and that she is just the type of person who would benefit greatly from your books. If the customer complains that he has too many books to read as it is, mention some of the outstanding features of the books you’re showing,3 emphasizing that no other books compare with the depth and spiritual insights contained in the ones you are offering.
As you put into practice what you know, your talents will increase. But beware of becoming self-confident! Only the Holy Spirit can give you the best ideas and words to use in each situation.
Remember that the books you are selling aren’t simply nice books to have in the house; they are books that could very well determine the eternal destiny of those who read them. So it is very important to know how to awaken a sense of need in your customers. This is where your spiritual preparation will be a wonderful help. If you are convinced of the importance of the books you are selling, it will show in your presentation.
Facing rejection Rejection is something that every literature evangelist has experienced. When people slam a door in your face, or hurls angry words at you, it can be painful. But remember that they are not rejecting you. Because you come in Christ’s name, they are rejecting Him. When this happens, say a silent prayer for the people, and keep going.
Even failure can be a valuable learning experience. Of something goes wrong, consider carefully and prayerfully what occurred. Contemplate your words and approach to the situation. Is there anything you could have done differently? Seek counsel from those who have experience, and be willing to try their advice.
It can be disappointing and even discouraging to have your motives misunderstood, especially when you are trying to help someone who fails to appreciate or understand your efforts. But we ourselves have treated Christ in the same manner—and yet He was willing to endure the cruelest agony for our sakes, and to forgive us for all we have done. This is the attitude we must take towards those who reject us. And really, when we consider that the Holy Spirit is working through our humble efforts to lead souls closer to Christ, it matters little what others think of us. Instead, our hearts will be heavy for those who have cast aside their Lord.
1. Joshua 24:15. 2. Hebrews 3:15. 3. See Part 6 of this series, "Inside Information."
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