Book Review – Retailing – Book One by John Lawhon

John F. Lawhon, one of America’s highest-paid retailers, has written a two-part course on the art of retailing.

If I were to try to get through this as quickly as possible, I could simply say that Mr. Lawhon’s first book in this series is based primarily on two premises. To be successful, a retailer must:

A. Being able to recognize the true needs of the client, and

B. Being equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to not only meet those needs, but also to help the client realize what their needs really are.

Mr. Lawhon makes the case that good, professional, successful, well-paid salespeople will work toward both of these goals. Those who enter the sales profession without learning these skills and adopting this attitude will simply become “order takers” who will never reach the potential that a retail sales position presents. In short, Mr. Lawhon believes that the majority of truly successful, top-tier sales professionals are NOT born, but rather achieve success through learning and practice.

Mr. Lawhon draws on the lessons of his own years of furniture sales and an extensive body of personal research to make and/or illustrate his points. For example, he explains why customer outreach is so important, and he also explains HOW to do that outreach…and why. He believes that each approach to a client should be done in a genuinely joyful way and thus begin to break down the wall put up by so many clients. He then believes in establishing communication with the client, both to “break the ice further” and to open genuine lines of communication.

This openness and expansion of communication is vitally important, because it is through it that the truly competent salesperson will begin to get to know the customer and their needs. As noted above, it is this recognition of the customer’s needs that will allow the sales professional to begin to illustrate and apply the knowledge and skill that will be the “tools of the trade” by which the sales professional will be able to help the customer. . find the product that actually meets their real needs rather than some product that only partially provides the satisfaction they are looking for.

To guide the reader through the entire retail process, or at least the parts covered in this first book, Mr. Lawhon has divided his book into three main sections:

I. Disclosures

In this section, the author reveals 11 basic principles that will be valuable to the reader. Many of these seem to have been taken from the author’s own experiences and he makes extensive use of storytelling and parables to illustrate the various points.

In one chapter, for example (Old Ugly Was a Dog), he explains that beauty IS MOST CERTAINLY in the eye of the beholder. He uses the example of how he taught his sales people how to sell what most considered to be a horrible sofa simply by making them understand that there would still be some people who would consider it perfect and that for those people the sofa would sell without their help, but that they could LOSE THE SALE by overtly or unspokenly expressing their opinion about the beauty, or lack thereof, of a piece of furniture (in this case) until the customer has expressed their opinion.

Having used the story of the ugly old man to make a basic point, he then elaborates by pointing out several lessons that can be learned from this simple story. In this case, for example, he explains that until you know what the customer needs and wants, including their perception of “beauty,” you may be trying to sell them something they don’t see the same way you do. This is extremely counterproductive, as it’s easier to sell someone something they DO like rather than trying to get them to like something enough to buy it if they really don’t care.

II. The Knowledge Groups

Based on his personal experience, Mr. Lawhon believes that a top-tier sales professional should have five skill sets at their fingertips.

* Knowledge of your products and those of your competitors.

* Knowledge of your inventory and that of your competitors.

* Knowledge of your advertising and that of your competitors.

* Knowledge of your credit plan and that of your competitors.

* Knowledge of their policies and those of their competitors.

Using the fact that 75% of sales are made by the top 25% of salespeople, the author explains and explains how competition in these five areas can help place the reader in the 25% that make the most sales. . It also shows how being able to accurately assess and meet customer needs through these five knowledge groups will enable the salesperson to more accurately and successfully achieve the goal of achieving true customer satisfaction and making a sale of the right item. to the client. right person with minimal effort during the sales process itself.

Within this section, the author also provides important advice on how to acquire the five knowledge groups.

third sales techniques

Having previously laid out an overview of some general selling philosophies, in this final section the author begins to give instructions on the selling process itself, focusing on greeting and approaching the customer, qualifying their wants and needs, and making the decision. selection of products that should satisfy those wants and needs.

At the end of this book, and in preparation for Book Two of “Retailing,” Mr. Lawhon makes some valuable points.

He simply says that once you’ve acquired all five sets of knowledge, greeted the customer, qualified their needs and wants, and made a selection to present to them, the sale hasn’t YET started…and that’s the subject of the Book. Two.

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