Make Better Decisions

As Erik Larson notes in a recent column for the Harvard Business Review, managers until recently had few tools to help them make better decisions. Data-gathering technologies and the revolution in behavioral economics mean managers can now make much better choices in less time. He recommends a seven-point checklist that assesses the alternatives, analyzes potential impacts, ensures clarity of purpose, and sets dates for follow-up. See the full list here: instr.us/10161

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 edition of INSTORE.

Girl Scout Sales Lessons

Don’t think a 13-year-old has much to teach you? You haven’t met Katie Francis, who sold 22,200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies last year. Her tips, as told to the New York Times:

Lesson 1: Get attention. When Francis sets up a booth in heavily trafficked areas — outside a Walmart, say — she sings songs from Frozen, with lyrics adapted to praise the virtues of cookies.

Lesson 2: Smile. “No one wants to buy from a person who is frowning.”

Lesson 3: Work 12 hours a day on weekends.


Review Day

Schedule a Yelp session every Wednesday to review customer feedback on online review sites. Not only will this allow you to keep up with what people are saying about your business, but you’ll be able to “share any positive feedback you receive in your social networks,” says retail blogger Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle writing on Forbes.com.


“It’s Apple Calling”

Have an employee who is perpetually late to work because of “traffic”? If he has an iPhone, suggest he set up an alert in his Calendar for “Time to Leave.” His phone will keep an eye on traffic conditions and nudge him out the door to ensure he arrives at work in a timely manner. Google Now has a similar feature.


The Beauty of Nudges

ou can never make it too easy for the customer. That seems to be the thought driving the actions of a retailer who sent a catalog to the daughter of one of our ad staff. Included in the package were a set of stickers, so that she could earmark all her favorite items for Mom to buy her for Christmas. We can see stickers of big red arrows being the perfect fit for a jeweler’s catalog.


Lower Event Intimidation

What’s in a name? Sometimes a lot of intimidation. If you’re holding an event this year, come up with something that lowers the threshold factor. Some we can think of from recent years were: Cornell’s Jewelers’ Girls Night Out, Eichhorn Jewelry’s Spooktacular for Halloween, Jewelry Big Bash and Pearl Palooza. Who could think an event like that wasn’t for them?


It Starts with Sales Staff

Preparing a holiday ad campaign? Rather than start with a big concept, reverse-engineer the process, says Mark Stevens, author of Your Marketing Sucks. Talk to your salespeople first and then work your way back to strategy, he writes on the Amex Open Forum. “Salespeople are the ones who get the phones hung up on them. They’ll tell you what works.”


Learn to Juggle

Spend some time learning to juggle. According to Allen Sills, an associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center, it will grow your gray matter. “Taking on a new task that involves some motor activity, pattern recognition and spatial orientation will activate multiple regions and reawaken dormant areas of the brain,” Dr. Sills told Men’s Health.


Get a Rate Cut

If you’ve put off calling your credit card company to ask for a lower interest rate out of fear it was a long shot, note the results of a recent survey by CreditCards.com, which found that 78 percent of customers who asked got what they wanted. “People have way more negotiating power with their credit card issuer than they think they do,” said Matt Schulz, the site’s senior analyst.


Encrypt Your Email

Need to send confidential information via email to a customer or financial documents to your CPA? ProtonMail.com is a free, open-source email service developed by CERN and MIT scientists that provides end-to-end encryption.Another handy feature is the ability to set an expiration, or “self-destruct” date for the emails you send.

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