Feature Student: Mark Manson

When did you first know you were on the right path in the specialty retail industry?
I came into the retail business quite naively. When I was 14 (1974), my family opened a motorcycle dealership in our small town in South Louisiana. I was messing around with displaying some accessories and our customers responded favorably to it. I didn’t know I was “merchandising,” but I remember thinking it was pretty cool.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is when a member of the staff gets a shout-out from a customer for doing good. Especially if it’s in a Yelp or Google review and it’s out there for the world to see.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned through Mann U?
I think the most valuable lesson I learned through Mann U is being able to read the staff and realize their particular strengths and capitalize on them in the retail environment. And, in a leadership role, it is always important to have your staff’s back in the eyes of your customers. Stand behind your staff, they were hired for a reason.

Give us one pointer for developing a genuine relationship with your customers.
In forming relationships, I like to find common ground beyond the customer/salesperson relationship, be it a comment about their car or where they are from. I’m from New Orleans, living in Dallas, and I tend to embrace people from my home state. I once picked up on a lady’s accent and asked “So, what part of South Louisiana are you from?” Come to find out, we grew up in neighboring parishes. Subtly educating the customer is important. I like to empower my customers with knowledge so they can make a good buying decision.

Your bumper sticker would read, “I’d rather be… ___.”
“I’d rather be having dinner with my wife.”

What was your favorite part of working with the Mann Group?
My favorite part about working with the Mann Group is trusting that their techniques will work. An open mind approach to their program is very rewarding.

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