Evan Lawson loves to bartend. “I tell my wife, that if I didn’t travel so much for my day job, I’d get a weekend job serving up beers.” To Lawson, it is one of the few settings where you come face-to-face with every personality under the sun. After an injury left Lawson without his football scholarship, he turned to bartending to pay his way through college. “It matured me. Socialized me. Taught me how to go beyond the words someone says and read their body language to understand what they really mean.”
This experience combined with the influence of a relationship-driven grandfather who said, “If you want to do anything in this world, you need to shake hands and understand the person you are talking to,” Lawson naturally fell into sales. “I’m a big philosophy guy,” says Lawson, “I believe in building relationships from the ground up by asking questions.”
Slow and steady may take more time, but Lawson knows that if he spends more time in the stores that have installed his systems and products, he assimilates the company culture and understands the challenges faced by the store managers. When he meets decision makers, Lawson can then better speak their language and proactively solve the boots-on-the-ground challenges. “I don’t talk about what I think will work,” says Lawson. “I bring empirical evidence as to what will work.”
For Lawson, trust just may trump all. “My customers won’t do any business unless they trust that your product does what you say and that you’ll fix it when something goes wrong.”
Now elevated to New Business Development at Gatekeeper Systems, Inc. who recently acquired Carttronics to form the largest retail theft deterrent technology and services company in the world, Lawson sees unprecedented opportunities for customers and the industry. “The merger combines smart innovation with the most durable hardware technologies to push the loss prevention industry into new places.” But Lawson knows that you can have the best cost-reducing, best performing widget on the market, and it won’t mean much if you don’t build up front trust with customers.
“My wife jokes that I never really clock out, but it’s more than on and off work? I’m the same.” Lawson simply picks up the phone when someone needs him because even if he can’t solve the problem right then, he can listen and set the course. “People call because they trust you.”
Lawson contributes his success to Gatekeeper System’s culture of wanting to remove barriers and get things done. “I’ve got a line to all the department decision makers who are all working from the same place of wanting to stand by and service our customers.”
When Lawson looks around, he sees the results of his deep commitment to relationships. “Most of my friends, I’ve had for 20 to 25 years.” A few have been since primary school. Lawson meet his wife when he was 20 at church working with a youth program. “My wife couldn’t stand me at first,” Lawson laughs. “She actually just went out with me to shut me up.” But something must have clicked, as 13 years and a 6-year old son later, the two are still together and traveling the world. For now, bartending will have to wait.