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Dying Industries in America: The Case for Sales Training. Learn To Sell and You Can Go Anywhere

Updated on December 29, 2014

Learn To Sell And You Can Go Anywhere

What are the Top 10 Dying industries in America? How fast is the economy changing not only the way we do business but how industry functions?

This is the opening line from an article in The Huffington Post, where they site a study from IBISWorld on the top ten dying US industries.

"The recession has caused the failure of some formidable companies, Lehman Brothers and Circuit City among them. Not only individual businesses have suffered, however. The economic woes of the last decade have preyed upon entire industries."

You're welcome to read the article and then the actual report from IBISWorld, which is an industry and market research company. I will review a few of these industries that are collapsing before our very eyes and then site why I believe they are really going down and how they simultaneously can save their business if they're willing to pay that price.

What's interesting is that the advancement of technology, efficiency and cost of production seem to be the main culprits here. But underlining that is a simple cause and effect solution that seems totally lost in the shuffle.

The Top 10 Dying US Industries

Ah, if only David Letterman were here...

  • #10. Video Post Production Services.
  • #9. Formal Wear and Costume Rental
  • #8. DVD, Game, and Video Rental
  • #7. Newspaper Publishing
  • #6. Mills
  • #5. Wired Telecommunications Services
  • #4. Photo Finishing
  • #3. Manufactured Home Dealers
  • #2. Record Stores
  • #1. Apparel Manufacturing

Now, I'm sure that you, like me, look at this list and question the order of it all. I know I did. Then as I look at it further, a few make perfect sense. Of course Photo Finishing and Wired Telecommunications are going down the tubes. Video Post Production is suffering because anyone with a digital video camera and some editing software can make a movie now.

Technology is changing more rapid and faster then ever before. Consider 1911. That's One Hundred years ago. How many industries have flown the coop in 100 years?

Now lets get a little deeper and take a look at what can be done to save a few of these industries and sectors of business, because technological advancement does not have to mean the annihilation of some American industries that are literally part of the great American landscape.

Business Book?

Flexability and Creativity

Somewhere along the line, RCA lost site of this and are now one of those companies that's been sliced and diced.

But maybe they were doomed from the start. R.C.A. stands for Radio Corporation of America. G.E. stands for General Electric. Which one's still going strong? General Electric has no limits in its name and Radio Corporation of America is quite limiting in its name.

What does that mean? That they were doomed from the start? Quite possibly. The main reason is they were shortsighted. "Radio" is not going to be "radio" forever. Radio technology is changing and adapting at a rate faster than the company can keep up. I will however lay the full responsibility on the company for not having the creativity and flexibility to embrace change.

In any situation where there is potential conflict, that skill and talent of total flexibility is required to succeed. Look at a wrestler, boxer or MMA fighter. Not only do they need flexibility of body, but they need flexibility of mind as well. In the ring, things are changing fast. You need to be flexible and creative enough to out smart your opponent.

And so goes it in business. Sun Tzu's ancient text, "The Art of War" is studied the world over not just by warriors, but top business men as well.

Flexibility and Creativity is what Sun Tzu teaches and it is a key ingredient in the success of any industry.

Can you flex with the economic tides? Can you be creative enough to change with the trends? Better yet, are you wise enough to find demands where there is no supply? Can you develop and create a demand?

Not wanting to armchair quarter back this too much, the question goes out to Wired Telecommunication Companies, Mills and Newspaper Publishing: Are you flexible enough and creative enough to weather the storm?

According to the article, apparel manufacturing in the U.S. is down 77.1%. Holy smoke! You guys are getting it handed to you by the entire rest of the world. You can't just roll with a 77.1% punch in face!

These dying industries are telling old stories in frames that less and less people can relate to anymore. It's time to change the plan, the story and the result because if you keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, well then, I think you know what that means by now!

Selling Impacts Every Person on the Planet

The Missing Ingredient

Sales. If you're in a dying industry it means two things.

  1. You're not sold on your product or service any more
  2. You're not selling your product or service any more

Wired telecommunications is dead because of the cell phone AND because the wired telecomm companies refused to cut the wire. Those went wireless and went hard, still here. They flexed and got creative.

Kodak? What the heck? Polaroid? Good god! Did they ever drop the ball! See what I mean here? Newspaper companies are dying because they're not out there changing with the times and they're not selling their story to anyone who's willing to listen... read!

Now what about my beloved Record store? What about the video store? Then there were the neighborhood combo stores, like the one I worked at. Where on a Tuesday night you can rent a movie, buy a CD and pick up the latest single cassette for the car. How can that possibly be a dying industry? John Bon Jovi blames Steve Jobs. Not me. I blame a lack of quality customer service. If you're over 30, you'll recognize and appreciate the experience of shopping for music in a store. There was something terribly exciting about going to the video store on a Friday night. The choice to just stay in. Now we don't even have to leave our homes to rent a video, buy a single piece of music or CD. And why would we? Every Blockbuster I've been too in the last say 9 years has delivered, without fail the worst shopping experience ever. Too many titles of one movie, not enough older stuff, piss poor selection, store's out of order, employees in complete apathy and don't know squat about movies. The experience is what's wrong. Netflix succeeds because Blockbuster sucks. If the experience of renting a movie stayed powerful Blockbuster would be fine right now instead of trying to catch up with Netflix.

Same thing goes for the record store. You will never be able to replace flipping through albums, looking for a song, buying a record and taking it home. Never. At least until Napster convinced us all that it was OK to download free music. iTunes picked up on that and the iPod and BAM, by-by record store. What if the story was different? What if the record industry embraced the burning phenomenon instead of fighting it?

These industries became UNSOLD on their product and VERY unsold on their service. Consequently, they stopped selling and started contracting and now they're dying. This paradigm goes against the very nature of the universe. The universe is constantly expanding. Why wouldn't you?

You Got To Sell To Survive

Why Selling?

First of all, if you're thinking white leather shoes right now, you're on the wrong page. Some of the best salespeople in the world are people you probably wouldn't even consider to be sales people. I mentioned Steve Jobs earlier and let me name a few more. Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, both Clintons, Billy Graham and the list goes on and on.

Next. Consider that until there is an exchange of value, nothing happens in this world. Selling is, in it's very core the vital energy that makes the world economy go around. Whether it's a product, a service or even an idea, until it is presented in a way that it exceeds the perceived value, it means nothing.

I give you 20 bucks, you give me a CD. I just bought a CD. You take that 20 and give it to your company. They pass it around and you get some of it and then take your money and give it to your mortgage company who then gives some of it to one of their employees who in turns comes and buys a car from me. All because I bought a CD. That's an economy and if you don't tell me why this is the best CD I could buy right now and don't get me excited enough to exchange my 20 for your CD, the whole thing collapses.


In the course of a sales cycle certain things are near mandatory for an exchange to take place. A few of those are love for and complete expertise in the product or service. Follow that with the skill necessary to communicate and infect that love and expertise. Service should always be senior to selling and there's a really good (99.99%) chance that you'll have to do 10 times the amount of effort you perceived necessary to get done in order to, as Larry the Cable Guy so eloquently puts it, "GETTERDONE!"


What is the real reason Amazon and Netflix are handing it to Borders, Blockbuster and Barnes and Noble? Because the service isn't there like it used to be. The service got weak. A few entrepreneurs got wise and filled a demand. The "I don't like dealing with idiots and apathetic kids who are only here for a paycheck" demand. They told a compelling story about the convenience and ease of doing it from home and the fact that there is no decent service makes it all the more easy to order online.

I want to buy a nice suit for myself. I've gone to countless establishments and found plenty of people looking to sell me a suit, but not one person has ever really tried to sell me a suit. By that I mean, no one has taken the time to ask me, why I want a suit. What would I use it for? Will this be for work or a special engagement? What styles do you like? Who's your favorite suited up screen persona? Let me tell you, if I sold suits, I'd have pictures of James Bond, Indiana Jones, Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart all over the place. A suit isn't just something you wear. When you put on a good one, you can literally be anyone you want to be. Why isn't anyone selling me that? No wonder Formal wear is going down. Nobody gives a crap anymore.

The secret to a successful industry is really no secret at all. It's about returning to some very basic, fundamental core principles and beliefs.

  • You're in the people business first
  • Communication is the key
  • Service is senior to selling
  • Believe 110% in your product and service
  • Be committed enough to take 10 time the action necessary to accomplish your goal
  • A great attitude is worth more than a great product (but imagine what can happen when you have both)

These are the values and beliefs of successful industries and the forgotten ideals that will bring an industry down.

Where are you in this mix? There's lots of Travel Agents running for the hills but there are a few out there picking up the pieces and scooping up the business who can't buy from a gnome anymore. Why? Because at the end of the day the need for true human interaction, Ritz Carlton like service, and a fabulous experience will far outweigh the cheaper options. Why is that? Because it's almost always never price. And if you don't believe me, talk to Howard Schultz because he gets all the money for his coffee. And if that doesn't do you, look at the Fiji water people. How much are you paying for freaking water and coffee? Trust me, it's not the price. It's selling.

This is your secret to success. Whether you consider yourself a salesperson or not, a basic understanding of selling and service will aid you in any endeavor you choose. From meeting the right girl to getting a loan.

And no successful climber ever got to the top of the mountain without first training themselves on the basic and fundamental elements of mountaineering. So goes it for you and selling. Learn to sell... well you should know the rest by now.

Question For You...

High Levels of Service, A Fantastic Experience and Selling is the key to success in any industry

See results

Grant Cardone, "Learn to Sell And You Can Go Anywhere"

Opportunity Knocking

Do you know what the 3 most important things are to becoming great at sales? What if I told you that you could begin to implement these 3 things immediately to start creating the results you need. Does your effort match the result? If not, then one of those 3 things may be out of alignment. Send me an email - - or call me at 310-777-0352 . I'll tell you what the 3 things are, I'll get you a complementary sales aptitude analysis and follow it up with solutions and suggestions on how to take your business career and life to a new level of excellence.


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