Three retail books authored by James Dion that we encourage you to read that will help you.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Starting & Running A Retail StoreStock Up On Surefire Strategies For Success

Retail Selling Ain’t Brain Surgery, It’s Twice As Hard9 Steps To Successful Sales Relationships

Start & Run A Retail BusinessThrive In Today's Competitive Marketplace


Stock Up On Surefire Strategies For Success
You’re no idiot, of course. Between corporate chains, superstores, and independently run stores, the competition between retailers is at its fiercest. It takes more than low prices to attract customers—and maintain their loyalty. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting & Running a Retail Store will show you exactly how to get into the business—and stay there. 

In this book, you will be taken through the steps of developing your idea, building your strategic plan, designing your store, picking your products, marketing and promoting your concept. Then, you will learn the basics you need to run that store and the techniques and tools to analyze your business and make financial and business decisions that will make you profitable and thrive.
Table of Contents
  • How I’ve Organized The Book
  • Extras
Part 1 - When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Retailer
  • Chapter 1: So You Want to Be A Retailer
  • Chapter 2: Retail Legends - Can You Be One?
Part 2 - Sizing Up Your Options And Your Competition
  • Chapter 3: Evaluate Your Idea
  • Chapter 4: Know Thy Competition
  • Chapter 5: Know Thy Industry
Part 3 - What You Can Imagine, You Can Achieve
  • Chapter 6: Define Your Vision And Determine Your Strategy
  • Chapter 7: Develop A Solid Business Plan
  • Chapter 8: Raising Capital
Part 4 - Running the Store Or Wearing Many Hats
  • Chapter 9: Operations Set Up
  • Chapter 10: Picking The Right Location
  • Chapter 11: Buying the Right Stuff At The Right Price
  • Chapter 12: Managing Your Inventory
  • Chapter 13: Designing The Store
  • Chapter 14: Displaying Your Product
Part 5 - Nuts And Bolts Of Opening And Running The Store
  • Chapter 15: Market Your Store and Get Customers To Come Back
  • Chapter 16: Find The Right People
  • Chapter 17: Training And Motivating Your Sales Associates
  • Chapter 18: Serve Your Customers
  • Chapter 19: Picking The Right Technology
  • Chapter 20: Using The Web
  • Chapter 21: Know Your Numbers
  • Chapter 22: Negotiate Like A Pro
Part 6 - On The Right Track
  • Chapter 23: Year One Performance - What To Measure
  • Chapter 24: Year Two And Onwards - Benchmarking
  • Chapter 25: How To Avoid Losing Your Customers
  • Chapter 26: Mining The Gold In Your Customer Database
Further Readings And Resources
Worksheets And Checklists


9 Steps To Successful Sales Relationships
Retail Selling Ain’t Brain Surgery, It’s Twice As Hard is a hands-on book for Retail Sales Associates of any age or experience who want to gain a deeper insight into what they do. The new Retail Sales Associate will benefit from many of the practical examples and exercises included in the book and the seasoned Retail Associate will benefit from new insights into Customer behavior. As a Professional Retail Sales Associate, you will be introduced to new strategies on:

  • Avoiding Vending Machine Selling
  • Keeping Your Distance
  • Customer Behavior
  • In-Your-Face Customers
  • Customers For Life
  • Less Than Righteous Returns
  • Maximizing The Last Moment With Your Customers
  • The Real Secret Service
  • Practicing To Improve Your Skills
Table of Contents
  • The Caravan and The Fleet Introduction
  • Introduction to Retail Selling
  • Selling is a profession
  • Selling is not yelling or telling, it is helping
  • What makes a great Sales Associate?
  • A brief history of selling
  • Marketing selling
  • The Golden Rule
  • Vending machine selling
  • The nine steps to a successful sales relationship
  • The sales road map
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 1
  • Step One - The Greeting (Also known as The Opening)
  • "May I help you?"
  • What type of greeting is the best?
  • The "Like me" bias
  • How Customers behave
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 2
  • Step Two - Needs Determination
  • Why do Customers buy?
  • How do I move from the Greeting to the Needs Determination stage?
  • Open-ended questions
  • Nothing will leave my store until I know what it is for
  • Listen between the lines
  • Running it up the flagpole
  • How Customers behave
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 3
  • Step Three - Product Knowledge
  • Features, attributes and benefits
  • Where do you begin to learn about your products?
  • Product knowledge
  • How Customers behave
  • Romancing your product
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 4
  • Step Four - Suggestion Selling
  • The best Customer Service
  • How Customers behave
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice: The Twenty Dollar challenge
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 5
  • Step Five - Trading Up
  • Show the best!
  • Underselling
  • How Customers behave
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 6
  • Step Six - Answering Objections
  • Objections need not end the sale
  • Three steps to handling an objection
  • Typical objections
  • An objection due to skepticism
  • An objection due to confusion
  • An objection due to a perceived drawback
  • How Customers behave
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 7
  • Step Seven - The Close
  • Buying signals
  • Types of closes
  • 1. The Either/Or Close
  • 2. The Assume the Sale Close
  • 3. The Balance Sheet Close
  • 4. The Last Chance Close
  • Don’t talk yourself out of a close
  • How Customers behave
  • Ideal distance
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 8
  • Step Eight - Maximizing the Last Moment
  • Share-of-mind
  • The power of thank you
  • Some other last minute memory makers
  • Examples
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 9
  • Step Nine - After Sales Service
  • Customers for life
  • Building Customer files
  • Beyond Transaction Driven Retail
  • Mining the gold in your Customer Database
  • Building relationships & repeat business
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 10
  • The Complaining Customer
  • In-your-face Customers
  • Returns
  • The Customer loses
  • The less than righteous return
  • Three strikes and you’re out!
  • Nice Customers will put you out of business!
  • The real secret service
  • Helping Customers to vent
  • Turning a Complaining Customer into an Apostle
  • Perks
  • Practice
  • Keep in Mind
Chapter 11
  • Building Your Career as a Professional Sales Associate
  • Where do I go from here?
  • How much do I have to sell?
  • Where can I learn more?
  • Answers to Chapter 2 Quiz
  • Additional Reading


Thrive In Today's Competitive Marketplace
Start And Run A Retail Business recognizes that the retail industry has undergone enormous changes in the past 30 years. Retailing experts James Dion and Ted Topping give clear instructions and acknowledgeable advice on how an owner-operated retail business needs to be organized to survive and prosper in today’s highly competitive retail environment.

A succinct and valuable guide, this book is as useful to retailers with established businesses as it is to those who are just beginning a retail business plan. Drawing on their years of experience in the retail industry, the authors provide a detailed, practical job description of the successful retailer, covering:

  • The Basics of Retail
  • Merchandising
  • Buying
  • Human Resources
  • Sales Management
  • Technology
  • Customer Service
  • The In-Store Experience
Table of Contents
  • Learning to Be A Generalist
  • How to Use This Book
1. The Basics Of Retail
  • Understanding the Six Rights of Retail
  • Your Profit And Loss Statement
    • Preparing A Pro Forma Profit And Loss Statement
  • Adding Value To The Products You Sell By Adopting a Best-Service Strategy
  • Developing a Strategic Framework
  • Developing your Secret Weapon
    • Developing a Clear Vision of Your Business
  • Identifying and Studying Your Three Most Important Direct Competitors
  • Conveying Your Strategic Message Through Your Store Location
  • Conveying Your Strategic Message Through Your Store Design and Layout
  • Conveying Your Strategic Message Through Your Advertising
  • Your Advertising Plan
2. Merchandising
  • Grouping Merchandise Into Departments and Classifications
  • Learning from Your Customers What They Want to Buy from You
  • Using the Retail Method of Accounting
  • Monitoring Your Business Using a Monthly Maintained Margin Report
  • Controlling Your Business with Four Key Operating Ratios
    • Turnover
    • Stock-To-Sales Ratio
    • Gross Margin Return On Inventory Investment (GMROII)
    • Sales Per Square Foot
  • Using Markdowns Effectively
    • Using Promotional Markdowns to Stimulate your Sales
    • Using Regular Markdowns to Adjust your Inventory to Market Value
  • Increasing Your Credibility by Using Seasonal Markdowns
3. Buying
  • Seeing your Products Through Your Customers' Eyes
  • Building Win-Win Relationships with Suppliers
  • Buying Terms Are Often More Important Than Price
  • Following Eight Proven Buying Guidelines
  • Implementing a Price Point Discipline
  • Establishing a Credit History with Each Supplier
  • Striving to Reach “Sell and Buy” by Choosing Payment Terms
  • Calculating an “Open to Buy” For Every Classification, Every Month
  • Forecasting and Creating Six-Month Merchandise Plans
  • Buying with a “Just in Time” Philosophy
4. Human Resources
  • Demonstrating That People Are Your Most Important Asset
  • Hiring Super Sales Associates
  • Developing a Written Job Description
    • Determining Duties By Priority
    • Identifying Relevant Characteristics and Qualifications
    • Sales-Per-Hour and Average Transaction Objectives
  • Creating Win-Win Employment Relationships Through Employee Benefits
  • Paying Your Sales Associates
  • Following Established Guidelines for Effective Interviewing
    • Five-Step Interviewing
    • Evaluating the Candidates
5. Sales Management
  • Budgeting Wages and Benefits as a Percentage of Sales
  • Bringing Productivity to Your Store with Four Key Ratios
    • Selling Cost
    • Conversion Rate
    • Average Transaction
    • Items Per Transaction
  • Using the Apprenticeship Method of Staff Training for All New Employees
  • Providing Guidance and Additional Training
  • Following Six Steps to Become an Effective Coach
  • Using Praise
  • Adjusting Training Methods
  • Matching Goals and Incentives to Your Sales Associates' Needs
6. Technology
  • Embracing the Relevant Trends in Retail and Internet Technology
    • Using a Computer and Retail Software as a Cash Register
    • Automatic Replenishment
    • Multimedia
    • Executive Information Systems
    • UPC and EDI Technology
    • The Internet
  • Budgeting for Technology
  • Selecting the Right Integrated POS/Merchandising/CRM Package
  • Understanding the Many Things Your Integrated Package Should Do
  • Using Technology Wisely to Run a Profitable Business
  • Keeping Your Inventory, Sales Profit, and Space in the Correct Balance
  • Making an Informed Decision About POS Software Suppliers
    • Questions for Potential Suppliers
    • POS Questions for Retailers
7. Customer Service
  • Knowing Your Customers
  • Competing with Vending-Machine Retailers by Adding Significant Value
  • Creating Top-of-Mind Awareness
  • Providing Extra-Mile Service
  • Giving Customers What They Want
    • Identifying Extra-Mile Service Opportunities
  • Offering A Make-It-Right Refund Policy
  • Implementing Relationship Marketing and One-to-One Communication
  • Identifying Your Best Customers And Creating a VIP Club
8. The In-Store Experience
  • Stepping to the Other Side of the Counter
  • Keeping Up to Date in All Areas
  • Acting Like a Premium Brand That Customers Will Choose
  • Presenting Merchandise Like a Theatre Company Would
  • Creating an Optimal Retail Environment
    • Focus Customers’ Attention
    • Eliminate All Distractions
    • Establish a Feeling With Music
    • Have Professional Sales Associates Play Their Roles
    • Differentiate Onstage and Offstage Areas
Appendix 1 – Put It To Work: Action Plan
Appendix 2 – Additional Reading