Selling: Gone with the Glad-Hander

The stage version of the salesman—depicted with pity by Arthur Miller, or sympathetically by Meredith Willson—is of a glib, boisterous glad-hander who rides on a shoeshine and a spicy story. There are still some of the old breed around, and proud of it, but today's big-time industrial salesman is more likely to be a technician who advises his company on new products and counsels customers on how to use them. He has more authority and responsibility and, with a boost from jets, covers more territory than ever before. Even his name has changed, to avoid the old stigma. At Ford,...

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