THE BLOG

The Demise of the Bookstore

11/09/2010 06:21 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Are traditional bookstores headed for the same demise as Blockbuster? If the traditional brick and mortar book stores cease to exist, it will be blamed on the online presence of Amazon and the technological developments of Kindles and iPads. The real demise of traditional book stores, though, will be at their own hands for not providing a great customer experience and sales training and sales motivation to their employees.

I was recently in a national book store to buy a book I had seen covered on TV. I took the time to drive there, park and walk inside with this book in mind. I spent ten minutes looking for the book before I finally found an employee and asked if he could find the book for me. The employee searched the data base and responded apathetically, "no we don't have it in stock." I wasn't offered a similar book, nor did the employee offer to order the book for me. Nothing.

Negative customer experience will be the demise of book store because book stores refuse to provide sales training, motivation and incentives to their people. They will put a Starbucks in the store but then won't motivate their people to sell books. Maybe they should get the employees to drink the coffee. Oh I forgot, coffee is for closers, and heaven forbid if someone in a bookstore actually sold anyone anything! Stores that depend on sales must provide sales training and sales motivation or they will cease to exist due to pressures from technology and online! As an author of 2 self-published books and one New York Times Best Seller, I obviously have an interest in book stores. As an experiment, I recently offered one of the big chains that I would travel to each of their major stores (at my expense) to provide free workshops to their clients on how to survive in this economy. I was offering to do this as a creative way to draw people to the bookstores believing this had to be of interest to the bookstores. The chain declined my offer saying it would require more energy than they could commit.

If the traditional book stores ceases to exist, online will be blamed, but the reality is book stores will die because they didn't properly serve customers and sell books. The inability to sell products in quantities great enough at prices high enough are the reason a company fails. A lack a leadership, motivation, compensation and sales training that inspire people to effectively sell books will be the real demise of the book stores.

Grant Cardone, Sales Training Expert and NY TImes Best Selling Author