Book Review – Retail – 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 retail.

If I were to try to get over 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. Be able to recognize the true needs of the client and

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

Mr. Lawhon makes the case that good salespeople – that is, professional, successful, and highly paid – 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 summary, Mr. Lawhon believes that most truly successful, top-tier sales professionals are NOT born, but achieve success through learning and practice.

Mr. Lawhon draws on the lessons of his own years selling furniture and an extensive body of personal research to make and / or illustrate his points. For example, explain why approaching the customer is so important and also explain HOW to do that… 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 erected by so many clients. Then he believes in establishing communication with the customer, both to “break the ice” 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 learn about 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 can assist the customer. find the product that truly meets their real needs rather than some product that only partially provides the satisfaction they seek.

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


In this section, the author reveals 11 basic principles that will be of value to the reader. Many of these appear to be drawn from the author’s own experiences and he makes extensive use of storytelling and parable to illustrate the various points.

In one chapter, for example (The ugly old man was a dog), he explains that beauty IS SAFELY in the eye of the beholder. Use the example of how you taught your sales people to sell what most considered 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 be perfect. sold without your help, but 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 has expressed their opinion.

Having used the story of the old and ugly to make a basic point, he then elaborates by pointing out various lessons that can be learned from this simple story. In this case, for example, you explain that until you know what the customer needs and wants, including their perception of “beauty,” they may be trying to sell you something that they don’t see the same way you do. This is extremely counterproductive as it is 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. Knowledge groups

Based on his personal experience, Mr. Lawhon believes that a world-class sales professional should have five sets of knowledge 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 that of your competitors.

Using the fact that 75% of sales are made by 25% of salespeople, the author explains and explains how competition in these five areas can help place the reader in the 25% who get 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 real customer satisfaction and make a sale of the right item to the customer. client. right person with minimal effort during the sales process itself.

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

III. Sales techniques

Having previously established an overview of some general philosophies about selling, 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 selection of the product or products that should satisfy those wants and needs.

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

It simply states that once you have acquired all five knowledge groups, greet the customer, rate their needs and wants, and make a selection to present to them, the sale has not yet started … and that is the subject of Book Two.

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