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There is always one book each year that comes out of nowhere to surprise and influence me significantly. In 2009 that book is unquestionably Alfred Taubman’s Threshold Resistance (affiliate link).
Threshold Resistance is a very brief autobiography of A. Alfred Taubman, a luxury retail pioneer, but is subtly packed with marketing and sales wisdom.
His core business philosophy, the pursuit and elimination of anything that causes your customers resist crossing your threshold to do business with you, is captured in the short title—Threshold Resistance.
The remarkable parts of the book are when he points out how fundamental they are to much of our business designs.
In the case of retail centers and the emergence of the suburban mall they were: the classic downtown breezeways/display cases that were basic retail architecture and the lack of “people pumps” that became interstate highways and anchor stores.
Here are four additional concepts that Taubman offers as “personal precepts” that I think are valuable for any marketer or sales person:
- Consumers are not driven by the satisfaction of basic needs, but “fueled by the fantasy, flight, and excitement.” I find this confirmed by another of my favorite business mentors—Walt Disney.
- “You can sell almost anything once. But repeat business is builts on consumer confidence, perceived quality and value, excitement, a rich mix of customer opportunities, as well as convenience and service.”
- The biggest mistake is to price or develop based on what others are doing. Shape your business on how you see the opportunity.
- “Become an expert in one fundamental area of your market or business. No one starts out a generalist.”
Finally, I thought this was one of the biggest gems in the book: “…the importance of the salesperson [is] the opportunity to assist customers lacking confidence.”
This why listening, educating, and assisting customers in becoming more knowledgeable, hence confident, about their purchases is the killer sales skill.