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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: February 2006

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Nine fresh ideas to better your business

Omit “sales” from your card; spruce up that title; more.

[componentheading]NETWORK STAR[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Dress For Success[/contentheading]

Want to stand out at your next networking event? Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide, recommends you follow the example of the scuba instructor who attended a networking event in full scuba gear. In a sea of blue and brown suits, he was the most talked-about person at the event. Jewelry store-owners have an even better — and less ridiculous — option. Get glammed up — and we mean really glammed-up — in your best banquet dress and most expensive jewelry. Then join the party and watch every eye turn your way.

[componentheading]ROCK ON[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Be A Fan[/contentheading]

Here’s another great nametag idea from author and consultant Scott Ginsberg – “that guy with the nametag”. Ginsberg tells of a hotel in Cleveland, home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which every employee wears a nametag with not only their name, but the name of their favorite musical artist. (Warning: this might not be a good idea if the favorite band of one or more of your staff is, for instance, The Insane Clown Posse.) Alternatively, if you sell lots of designer jewelry, how about having staff list their fave designer?

[componentheading]T-RX[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Sell Special Tee’s[/contentheading]

Cool add-on product to sell in your store: tank-tops from Max & Riley featuring Swarovski crystals. Your sparkle-loving customers might just flip over them.

[componentheading]CRYSTAL BALL[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Predict Business[/contentheading]

Been in business for a while? Look at your sales data to determine how frequently your customers come in for diamond upgrades. Then, try to shorten the cycle by sending specialized messages to them prior to the “due date” for their next upgrade.

[componentheading]REPAIR RELATIONSHIPS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Make An Apology[/contentheading]

If you’re renovating, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide says that you shouldn’t forget about the impact of your project on your neighbors. Be sure to drop off cards to all your neighbors that read “Pardon our mess and thanks for understanding!” A “Pardon Our Mess!” sign outside your store is a good idea as well.

[componentheading]BE MY FRIEND[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Don’t Get Blocked[/contentheading]

Most email readers now block images in emails by default. If you send HTML emails, get around this problem by including a short note in each message encouraging readers to add you to their “friends” or “safe senders” lists.

[componentheading]GIVE ‘EM CREDIT[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Don’t Discriminate[/contentheading]

A customer makes a purchase and pulls out her Amex card. You wince, thinking about the higher fees and the delay in depositing funds that the credit company is notorious for. But don’t ever, ever, ever, ask your customer, “Oh, do you have another card?” In terms of customer service, that’s just plain lame, says Rick Segel, author of Customer Service For Dummies. Remember, your customer might be saving up points for a reward — e.g. airline trip via Amex — and your hesitancy to take their card puts them in an awkward position. (And also remember another thing that Amex users are notorious for — making bigger purchases. You like those, don’t you?) In short, if you accept a card, take it every time … happily.

[componentheading]BLOWING UP[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Get A Balloon[/contentheading]

You may say we’re full of hot air, but inflatable advertising could definitely give your business a lift. They’re definite attention-grabbers, and if you float one outside your store during all your sales events, you’ll create an almost Pavlovian reaction in your customers. They’ll see the balloon and start salivating. See samples at www.uniqueinflatables.com.

[componentheading]DEATH OF A SALESMAN[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Change Your Title[/contentheading]

What is the title you write on each of your salespeople’s business cards? It’s best to not include the word “sales” anywhere, says Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide. In the food chain of occupations, salespeople rank just a little above lawyers. So avoid the word.

[span class=note]This story is from the February 2006 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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