Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy, wrote the foreword to Retail Success! Here's how he describes the book. If you look at the graduates of the five leading business schools in the U.S. over the past fifty years and look at the first job ...
job graduates took with their new MBA in hand, only a tiny percentage went to retail companies.
Retail for the last millennia has been something people discovered they had in their blood. Whether brilliant merchant or plodding vendor, retail demanded a special commitment. At any level the only thing guaranteed was hard work.
The point of entry, if it wasn't through family, was often by accident. A part-time job that turned full-time. Discovering a flair or talent for something that precipitated the need to trade. For many senior executives the retail job offer came as a sideways career move. For many small merchants the step into the retail abyss came from the desire to work for themselves. However, running a store or a chain of stores is harder than it looks from the outside. Giving good store means understanding layout and merchandising. It means being able to lead and inspire employees. It means delivering on your promise to the customer consistently day after day.
Being a good merchant has never been easy. The great merchants of the twentieth century learned the details of their craft the hard way--by doing it. They succeed by guts, instinct, and ability to stay focused. If they were lucky, they had a mentor. Someone who brought insight out of chaos. Someone who was willing to teach and help revisit the fundamentals. Someone who could look and listen. For every merchant or aspiring merchant who has missed having that personal mentor, there is George Whalin.
Unlike Columbia Business School professors, George never uses a twenty-five cent word when a nickel word would do just fine. There are no flow charts or fancy three-dimensional diagrams. George dispenses plain and straightforward good advice. From small comic book store owners to the CEO of giant retail chains, George has been a mentor, coach, and cheerleader. In person, George inspires calm and confidence. He's old enough and gray enough to inspire trust and yet he has an easy laugh and melodious voice that is a pleasure to listen to. In this new book, that sonorous and easy tone comes right through the printed words on the page.
If you are in retail, time never comes to you in big chunks. You get breaks, some when you are bone weary, others when you just need to hide for a few minutes. Believe me, George understands. To be honest, you don't have to read this book cover to cover. You don't have to start at the beginning. You can flip and surf, dip and sip. But if you have anything to do with retail, I do recommend that you get to know George and this book is a great place to start.
Number of pages: 256
Date of publication: 01/04/2001
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