SELLING: Death of the Salesmen

Like most merchants, the managers of the Southern States Cooperative, one of the three top U.S. farm supply coops, are well aware of the decline in old-fashioned retail salesmanship. Last week, at their annual meeting in Richmond, the co-op's 60 district field managers, who run 125 retail stores, conducted their own shopping experiment. Each one started on an hour's shopping tour to see if clerks could persuade him to buy $5 worth of goods. They bought little. Out of their $300 total, they spent only $103.79. Twenty-nine shoppers spent less than $1...

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