The New Selling of America

The New Selling of America

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In the 1960s, the United States dominated the world economy. Today our share of the pie has shrunk to less than 25 percent. The global marketplace has undergone enormous changes. Are we keeping up?

The U.S. is no longer the manufacturing powerhouse it once was. Low cost Asian manufacturers offer high quality products at lower prices. Some industry experts believe our expertise in selling is crucial for us to continue to compete in an increasingly difficult global marketplace.

Produced by ThinkTV, “The New Selling of America, goes to boardrooms, sales meetings and college classrooms to discover what business experts, corporate executives and educators are doing to make America more competitive by professionalizing sales.

Part of the challenge they face is Americans’ historic discomfort with salesmen. From traveling peddlers to Joe Isuzu, a brief tour of American folk and pop culture reveals a persistent image of salesmen as intrusive, untrustworthy, and even comical figures. Relying on charm, high pressure tactics, or simple faith in their product’s virtues, salesmen have rarely inspired respect or trust in American culture.

Though Americans have generally not regarded sales as a desirable career, statistics indicate that over 50 percent of all students who graduate become sales people directly out of college -- with no meaningful training to prepare them. The result is a higher turnover rate in sales than almost any other profession. Experts contend that college level preparation is a must.

Ohio University is one of only three dozen schools nationally that offers an academic program in sales. The New Selling of America follows two students enrolled in the program to find out what they are learning in school and how it applies to real-world experiences.

The program features top sales executives from such companies as International Paper, FedEx, Global Imaging, EMC, AT&T and IBM discussing the changing face of sales. These business leaders agree that today’s successful salesperson is a trusted advisor to their customer rather than a pitchman.

Is sales capable of reinventing itself? “The New Selling of America” profiles the people who are working to change the nature of sales and transform the industry.