In Memory of RSPA Hall of Fame Inductee Lefty Monson

By: Jim Roddy, President & CEO at the RSPA

The RSPA community is mourning the loss of M. H. “Lefty” Monson who passed away Sunday, Nov. 6, after an extended illness. Monson, one of the top sales trainers in POS industry history and one of the kindest people you’d ever meet anywhere, was inducted into the RSPA Hall of Fame in 2012 because of his stellar work and influence on others.

I was among the many who considered Lefty a friend and a mentor. Even if you didn’t know him personally, you can draw inspiration from his story which I first heard at the start of one of his RetailNOW education breakout sessions:

As a young cash register salesman, Lefty did everything by the book. Every day he would put on a pressed suit, tighten his necktie, stand up straight, and walk into a merchant establishment confident about selling them a new machine. Problem was when the business owner spotted Lefty on the sidewalk, he or she would run to the office in the back of the store and slam the door shut. Nobody wants to get cornered by a salesperson, and they’ll climb through thorn bushes to escape from one.

Undeterred, Lefty kept trying. Unconvinced, owners kept running. Until one day some customers’ cash registers needed to be swapped out and a technician wasn’t available. The job fell to Lefty, so he put on his baseball cap, a collared shirt and jeans and headed to the merchant locations. This time, the owners didn’t run away – they actually greeted him with a smile and warm “Hello!” Lefty, being the helpful, friendly, kind-hearted person he’s always been, struck up conversations with them. Many of the owners even agreed to a new product demonstration the next time Lefty was in the area.

Partway through that day, Lefty had an epiphany. What if he kept his suit and tie in the closet and dressed casually for all his calls so he would present like the helper he naturally was as opposed to a stereotypical sales rep? More conversations would lead to more sales, right? His theory proved correct. Lefty never took off his baseball cap, casual shirt, and jeans, and for decades until his retirement, he was considered the POS channel’s greatest salesperson and sales trainer.

Lefty taught sales skills but, more importantly, he embodied the character trait of Kindness: “Friendly. Mild. Gentle. Take a genuine interest in people. Uphold the Golden Rule; treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”

His best friend and longtime business partner Toby Jensen of RSPA member Touch Dynamic has asked, in lieu of flowers, those who wish to honor Lefty please donate to the RSPA Scholarship Fund:

Our condolences to Lefty’s wife Jo and their family. May his memory be a blessing!