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The Value of Embracing Complaints, Think Twice About Lunchtime and More Business Tips

Check out Apple’s secret.

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FRUITFUL STORESVisit the Best

What is the world’s highest-selling retailer per square foot? If you said Tiffany’s, which does a credible $2,666 per square foot, you would have been right — until recently. Now, it’s Apple, with a whopping $4,032 in sales per square foot. Business author Rick Segel attributes Apple’s success to staff training, customer focus and their “wow stores,” like the huge glass cube on Fifth Avenue that attracts 50,000 shoppers a week. If you’re near a landmark Apple store, drop in to see what else it’s doing right.

PSYCH STRATEGYHold Off on Lunch

You’ve spent the morning on a new marketing plan, settled on a bold new initiative and now it’s time for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll come back and hammer out some detail. Wrong move, says business coach Karen Salmansohn, author of Ballsy. A better strategy is to leave the project at a place where you’re psyched and you’ll be excited to get back into it the next day, she says.

COOL WARMINGGo Green

Global warming is the big story of the moment. Get some local press by becoming the first store in your mall, street or neighborhood to declare that you’re going “carbon neutral.” This obviously takes more than a simple vow, but doing all those environmentally friendly, energy-saving things will pay off in the long run for you, your business and, oh yes, us too.

EXCELLENT EXCUSEHAVE TO RUN

Here’s a fun way to get out of a meeting or social engagement you fear will drag on for hours, eating into your work day. Log on to popularitydialer.com beforehand and set a time for your cell phone to be called. The free service plays a tape that allows you to engage in fake but serious sounding conversation. You can choose the topic: cash-short relative, male/female admirer, work crisis and so on.

OOPS SOLUTIONCreate Evangelists

Most retailers hate dealing with complaints. Rick Skidmore, president of wooden-shutter maker Timberlane, told INC.COM he embraces them. When employees learn that a customer is dissatisfied, the company gets in touch immediately and promises quick resolution of the problem. Skidmore also sends them an “Oops Kit” containing a flashlight and a note that thanks the customer for “shedding light on the mistake.” Such responsiveness has fueled the firm’s rate of referrals, which now account for 25 percent of sales, he says. Such service can turn an unhappy customer into your company’s “biggest evangelist,” Skidmore says.

SNAP DECISIONSGo Digital

If you don’t already own a good SLR digital camera, go out and buy one today, and pick up a macro lens and external flash while you’re at it. Now, when you have a customer who’s in a rush to get back to the office and can’t decide between two pieces, you can say, “I’ll just snap a few photos of both pieces and e-mail them to you later. That way you can decide on your own time which one you want.”

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THAT’S AN ORDERLook Sharp

Sgt. Matt Eversmann took part in one of the U.S. military’s great “no man left behind” stories, leading troops in the Mogadsihu, Somalia, firefight that served as the inspiration for the movie Black Hawk Down. So, what’s his take on leadership? Fearlessness, charisma, self-sacrifice? No, it’s looking sharp, he tells Carmine Gallo, author of 10 Simple Secrets of the World’s Greatest Communicators. To start with, “always dress a little better than everyone else,” he advises, especially your subordinates. “Presence” makes people receptive to the important stuff that follows, he argues.

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

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When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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