For What It's Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker
Businesses these days talk a lot about figuring out what the customer wants. Well, here’s your first lesson: the customer doesn’t know what he wants. This book is going to show you how to convince him he wants the thing you’re selling.
Les Gold has been in business since age twelve, when he started selling used golf clubs from his dad’s basement. Now he owns Detroit’s biggest pawnshop, American Jewelry and Loan, and is the star of the hit reality TV show Hardcore Pawn.
As a third-generation pawnbroker, Gold grew up in the business, dealing with customers who could be unruly and violent as often as they were friendly. He became good at selling just about anything and at buying items for what they were worth. Although he started at his family’s small pawnshop, he has now expanded into a fifty-thousand-square-foot former bowling alley, making a thousand deals a day.
On any given day, he could be taking a vintage car in to pawn or chasing down a thief who’s just stolen a gold chain from the store. No business school in the world can teach you as much about buying, selling, negotiating, managing employees, dealing with customers, advertising, tracking trends, and predicting the economy’s ups and downs.
In this entertaining, honest book, Gold takes you inside some of his weirdest, wackiest deals and steals. From the monkey his dad once took in to pawn to the deal Gold made for a stripper pole, he has no boundaries for what he considers to be part of his business—and neither should you.
You will learn:
- How to tell an emotional story when you’re selling—and take emotion out of the transaction when you’re buying
- Why judging your customers before you know them can kill a potential deal
- How to deal with risk, both mental and physical
- How to communicate with employees (even if they’re your own kids)
- Why investing in relationships with your community is time well spent
- Why your business should never be limited by what others tell you it should be
No place in the world prepares you better for the working world than a pawnshop, and Les Gold takes you inside his shop to share what he’s learned from fifty-five years in the most interesting job in the world.
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think, Hm, that’s a cute pig. Whatever business you’re in, I believe you should always be looking for ways to change proactively rather than having change forced on you. You’ll make your customer happier, and you’ll keep yourself happier, too. You don’t have to own your own business to push for change in your work. You can change yourself and your own performance; at the end of every day, while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV, think about how your day went and what you can do better
and someone asks if you can train their employees to do some basic coding, say yes. The key to running a successful business is closing the deal. That’s it. You’ve got to be able to make decisions on the fly, and you’ve got to teach your employees to do the same. Just close the deal. Don’t let artificial boundaries cost you money. Don’t let yourself be limited by what you think the rules are. The only boundaries on your business are the ones you set yourself. Look for Ideas Everywhere
“No” is good practice, too, even if you don’t get any further than that. Even big stores are now being set up to allow you to bargain a bit. Target offers price matching: If you can find a lower price online than what they’re asking in their store, they’ll match it. There are a few lines of fine print, but it’s a genuine guarantee. They’re sick of people using their store as a showcase to see the color of an item before buying it on Amazon. But you can be sure that most people, even if
vision. They’re the ones who form your customers’ first impression of your business. They’re making decisions every day that affect the way customers, suppliers, and community members see you. You need to hire partners, not employees, because you need your employees to care about your business. Be a Partner, Not an Employee I don’t expect perfection from my employees. As long as they’re doing their jobs correctly most of the time, as long as they’re showing me a desire to succeed and that