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Let Them Feed the Fish, Relax Those Buyers and More Business Tips

Target thos newly promoted workers and recent retirees.

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PESTER POWERFeed The Fish

J.F. Harris in California, MD, has a large koi-filled pond at its entrance that serves as a beautiful aesthetic feature and at the same time leverages one of the most irresistible forces known in marketing: the “pester power” of children. “We keep small bags of fish food in the store and the children are given a bag before they leave. Our ‘regulars’ beg their parents to come back so they can see and feed the fish again,” say Joan and Frank Harris.

G.I.S’ JOESupport Our Troops

More evidence you can’t go wrong by doing good. Barry Siegler, owner of Lee Jewelers in Clevelend, OH, took up a coffee collection for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq after his mailman, whose son is on his third tour to the troubled areas, commented it was tough for the soldiers to get a good cup of coffee. So far Siegler’s effort has seen over 1,000 pounds of coffee and snacks sent to the troops. “We have received both thank-you notes from the soldiers. Some of them really break your heart,” Siegler says. The initiative has been warmly supported by his customers and attracted the attention of local media. “We first had coverage in several local newspapers and radio stations. Then our local Fox station ran the story,” he says.

SMOOTH SELLLubricate Sales

Johnnie Walker says its Black Label whisky is smooth. But it’s not half as smooth as the marketing at R.F. Moeller Jeweler. The Minnesota retailer brought the drinks maker and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine in as sponsors for a Men’s Night when it opened its Edina branch last year. JW event staff served hors d’oeuvres and scotch, organized a scotch tasting and dispensed whisky wisdom, all while adorned in the store’s jewelry. As the evening wore on, the focus shifted from the scotch to the jewelry. Moeller called the atmosphere “playful,” although we suspect “lubricated” might be a more accurate description as the men tried to outdo each other with their jewelry buys.

SALES AUTOPSIESKeep Score

Smed Inter-national, a Canadian maker of office furniture, wants all staff to understand how big sales happen. So each month it deconstructs a big sale in a feature called “Scorecard” in the company newsletter. Details include how the customer first learned about Smed, what competition it faced, and what roles employees played in clinching the sale. “We point out peculiar things that helped secure the sale,” a Smed official told Inc.com.

INCONSISTENT LAWSShoot Straight

Trying to sharpen your marketing efforts? Here are two target groups to look out for: Newly promoted workers and recent retirees. Marketing expert James Porte says you can find the first group in the local newspaper or from the human resources departments of big companies in your area. “Send new appointees personalized letters with your congratulations, as well as a gift certificate. That’s a pat on the back that will be hard to ignore,” he says. While splashy celebrations shouldn’t be on the minds of those leaving the workforce, they often are, says psychologist and author Kevin Hogan. It’s known as the Law of Inconsistency and explains why people do things like reward themselves with a cheese and bacon burger after losing 10 pounds, or when opening their retirement account they will buy a new car or new jewelry.

LOFTY IDEAMake Space

Ronnie Miller needed plenty of storage space for his 2,100-square-foot store, MeyerLand Jewelers, in Houston, but didn’t want to give up precious salesfloor space. “My architect came up with an ingenious idea — a 1,000-sq-ft loft, alleviating the need for closets or additional storage areas. The extra space costs us nothing extra in rent,” Miller says.

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WEB POTENTIALTry ‘Em Out

Two Web-based services to check out: MailChimp.com, which allows you to create e-newsletters using its creative templates; and www.sendthisfile .com, a file-transfer service that’s particularly useful when you have big, graphically intensive files to send.

Abe Sherman is the CEO of BIG - Buyers Intelligence Group. BIG designs solutions for the merchandising challenges facing retail jewelers and manufacturers. BIG utilizes a data analysis tool, Balance to Buy, to help consult with clients and customize their individual experiences and results.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Is It Your Time to Enjoy Life? Wilkerson Can Get You There.

Mary and Tim Whalen, owners of Crown Jewelers in Pittsfield, Mass., wanted to enjoy life beyond their business. When they decided to retire and close shop, they asked Wilkerson to handle the sale. As long-time Wilkerson customers, Mary says she knew the company could manage all the details of the liquidation. It was also great to have “fresh eyes” on their business, says Mary, which “worked tremendously for us.” Today, the Whalens are beginning a new adventure but are quick to commend Wilkerson for helping them get there. “You have one chance to get it right,” she says about their retirement sale. “Do it right.”

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