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Leverage the Power of 2 Degrees of Separation, and More Tips For Store Owners

Plus a new twist on wish lists and an interesting employee incentive.

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Leverage the Power of 2 Degrees of Separation, and More Tips For Store Owners

networkingActivate Those Dormant Ties

Every successful businessperson knows the power of the adage, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” But building a network is hard work, and overzealous networking can even feel a bit demeaning at times. What to do? Leverage the power of your dormant ties, says Eric Barker of the popular Barking Up the Wrong Tree science newsletter. “Reconnect with those Facebook friends and Twitter followers and Linkedin contacts you haven’t talked to in a while,” he says. “You get to hear about opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise from people who are one or two degrees away but with whom you still have trust and shared perspectives.”

HIRINGNab a Matador

Who’s got the time and energy to interview people these days? Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon, authors of I Hate People, came up with a solution for this problem: Watch how the candidate crosses the street. Arrange for the interview at a Starbucks, cafe or restaurant—preferably during rush hour. These few seconds will tell you more about their workplace capabilities than an hour of tough questions, say the pair, who broke down crosswalkers into five types: Matador, Wader, TextWalker, Light Jumper and CurbHugger. Matadors, “who think nothing of daring the cars and taxis with their elegant dance through traffic,” make the best salespeople, according to Littman and Hershon. (CurbHuggers make the worst.)

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SALESOpportunity in the Hassle

If you’re prepared to be innovative, there’s often profit in headaches, notes Rebecca Larson of Barry Peterson Jewelers in Ketchum, ID. She cites the common case of a woman who comes in to return the gift her man bought because it’s not her style. “At this point, we can usually save the sale by offering to create something in the same cost range to exchange,” says Larson. “This offers an opportunity to increase the profit margin on the sale because our cost to make the item can be lower than the wholesale price of an item bought from a vendor.”

INCENTIVESReward Reviewed Employees

James Wojcicki, the owner of The UnOptical, an independent eyewear retailer in San Diego, CA, has a positive approach to keeping online reviews in the minds of his staff. He gives $50 to staff members who are mentioned by name in an online review, because, he tells INSTORE’s sister magazine INVISION, “it shows they’ve created a connection with the customer.” Wojcicki’s approach is supported by much of the theory on incentives: It’s best to target behaviors rather than results.

SALESPSSSST…. I Know What She Wants!

When customers come to Michael Gilstrap, owner of Rainbow Jewelers in Dunnellon, FL, and ask him to show their spouse a certain piece of jewelry, Gilstrap takes down the information on tent cards that say “Pssst” on the front and “This is what I really want!” inside, with a description line, stock number and price. “It’s a bit of a twist on the wish list that makes everyone happy,” says Gilstrap who has realized an 80 percent return rate on these cards. The gift giver can be in and out of the store in five minutes with the wrapped gift of their loved one’s dreams.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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