Vintage manual shows how Apple got dealers psyched to sell

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Apple training manual
Now get out there and sell!
Photo: Greg Bridges

If you wait long enough to clean out a junk drawer or filing cabinet, you’re liable to find something historic.

In the case of graphic designer Greg Bridges of Sydney Australia, an old three-ring binder he stumbled across during a recent studio purge turned out to be an artifact from the early days of Apple.

Apple training manual: is it a machine or a solution?

Bridges is in possession of a 1980 training manual for overseas computer dealers as Apple was ramping up European operations. The manual, entitled “Apple Means Business,” is filled with techniques on how to sell the Apple II as a “solution” rather than a piece of hardware.

Bridges posted the manual for sale on eBay for 200 Australian dollars, which is just under $145 U.S. dollars.

Apple training manual
Lots of visuals.
Photo: Greg Bridges

Bridges, who illustrates covers for science fiction publishers, remembers little about how he came into possession of the manual. He remembers being approached by someone from the Apple team to design a brochure for a dealer training seminar and was given the manual for illustration ideas.

“I find the manual fascinating,” Bridges told Cult of Mac. “The pages… are just gems of insight into early Apple marketing. It’s hugely comprehensive covering everything you could think of that would be to Apple’s advantage in the marketplace.

“It’s interesting how they went about giving the dealers everything they would ever need and selling solutions, not the hardware.”

For years, Apple struggled to find a successful retail strategy for selling its products. It relied on big box stores that often put little effort into displaying and promoting the products. Apple eventually created its own global chain of exclusive stores. It is among the top-tier of retails stores today with 506 in 25 countries.

Bridge’s believes Apple sought him out because of his futuristic concepts of technology in his illustrations for sci-fi books. He has also done work for Samsung, Sony, and Kingston, he said.

“Apple Means Business” is full of bulleted talking points and more than 250 35mm color slides.

Apple training manual
A pitch from the president.
Photo: Greg Bridges

The manual’s first page is a letter to the dealer signed by Andre Sousan, who was then president of EurApple. In it, Sousan refers to the manual as a workbook providing “seminar selling techniques” that could help each dealer sell “48 additional systems in only 12 weeks.”

“You, the international Apple Dealer, already have the advantage of being familiar with the professional consumer,” Sousan wrote. “Now you will be able to penetrate further tithe market segments of entrepreneurs and middle management the enclosed listing of business planning and supporting products. By expanding to encompass this greater clientele, your image as a sophisticated retailer will increase.

“After all, the primary purpose is to place you and Apple II at the top of the profit scale.”