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Book Review – Selling Retail – Book One by John Lawhon
John F. Lawhon, one of the highest paid retailers in America, has written a two-part course on the art of retailing.
If I had 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, e
B. Be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills not only to meet those needs, but also to help the customer understand what their needs really are.
Mr. Lawhon makes the case that good, that is, professional, successful, highly paid salespeople will work to achieve both of these goals. Those who enter the sales profession without learning these skills and adopting this attitude will only become “order takers” who will never reach the potential a retail position presents. In short, Mr. Lawhon believes that most top-notch, truly successful sales professionals are NOT born, but achieve success through learning and practice.
Mr. Lawhon draws on lessons from his own years of selling furniture and a vast body of personal research to make and/or illustrate his points. For example, it explains why customer outreach is so important, and it also explains HOW to do that outreach…and why. He believes that every approach to a client should be done in a genuinely joyful way, thus beginning to break down the wall erected by so many clients. Then he believes in establishing communication with the client, both to “break the ice more” and also to open up authentic channels of communication.
This opening and broadening of communication is vitally important, because it is through this 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 really meets their real needs rather than some product that will only partially provide the satisfaction they are looking for.
In order to guide the reader through the entire retail process, or at least those parts covered in this first book, Mr. Lawhon divided his book into three broad sections:
In this section, the author reveals 11 basic principles that will be of value to the reader. Many of them seem to be 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 (The Ugly Old Man Was a Dog), he explains that beauty IS DEFINITELY in the eye of the beholder. He uses the example of how he taught his sales staff to sell what most people thought was a horrible couch, simply by making them understand that there would still be people who would think it was perfect, and that for those people the couch would be. sell themselves without your assistance, but who could LOSE THE SALE by openly or tacitly expressing their opinion about the beauty, or lack thereof, of a piece of furniture (in this case) until the customer had expressed their opinion.
After using the story of the ugly old man to make a basic point, he elaborates by pointing out several lessons that can be learned from this simple story. In this case, for example, explain 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 as you. This is extremely counterproductive as it’s easier to sell someone something they like instead of trying to get them to like something enough to buy it if they really don’t care.
II. Knowledge Groups
Based on his personal experience, Mr. Lawhon believes that a top-level sales professional should have five knowledge groups 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 your policies and those of your competitors.
Using the fact that 75% of sales are made by 25% of salespeople, the author explains and explains how competence in these five areas can help put the reader in the 25% who are making most of the 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 real customer satisfaction and making a sale of the right item to the customer. suitable person with minimal effort during the sales process itself.
Within this section, the author also offers substantial advice on how to proceed with the acquisition of the five groups of knowledge.
III. Sales techniques
Having previously laid out an overview of some general philosophies about selling, in this final section the author really begins to give instructions on the selling process itself, focusing on greeting and approaching the customer, qualifying their wants and needs, and making the selection of the product or products that must satisfy those wants and needs.
At the end of this book, and in preparation for the second book of “Retail”, Mr. Lawhon makes some valuable points.
It simply states that once the five groups of knowledge have been acquired, the customer greeted, their needs and wants qualified, and a selection made to present them, the sale has not yet begun… and that is what the Book is all about. two
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