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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: May 2006

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Eight fresh ideas to better your business

Knock those customer surveys down; invite vendor reps; more.

[componentheading]SIGN ON[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Make It Memorable[/contentheading]

Remember how we’ve talked about creating store signage that clearly communicates policies to customers — but does it in a fun, friendly, and most importantly, memorable manner? This is exactly what we’re talking about.

[componentheading]LET’S GET AWAY[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Invite A Vendor[/contentheading]

If you hold an annual company strategic retreat for your store, why not invite representatives of your key vendors? Share everything. Your vendors will understand you better, and can usually provide ideas to help you sell better. Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small cites this policy as a key strength at Sonic Drive-In, one of America’s hottest fast-food franchises.

[componentheading]DRESS ME UP[/componentheading]

[contentheading]A Web Idea to Try[/contentheading]

Here’s a website that’s making the viral rounds in a big way: www.dresskevin.com. Concept: a 20-something guy named Kevin has photographed his entire wardrobe, put it online, and lets visitors vote to decide exactly what he’ll wear each day. A simple, and seemingly unremarkable idea, but he gets thousands of visitors each day, and has been profiled on CNN, Good Morning America and the CBS Early Show. So here’s our brainstorm — how about having one of your cute, young sales associates doing a dress(me).com website — featuring loads and loads of your jewelry.

[componentheading]READY FOR THE PITCH[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Have A Vendor Day[/contentheading]

If youconstantly have manufacturer’s reps dropping in when you least expect them, or are getting headaches trying to keep track of all your vendor appointments, here’s an approach from Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small that should help make your life simpler. Have one day a week (or even just a morning or afternoon) when vendors are free to visit you with no appointments needed. The rest of the time, you are off- limits — at least, if you want to be.

[componentheading]JUST TWO QUESTIONS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Keep It Simple[/contentheading]

Many businesspeople like to show their acumen by commissioning elaborate customer-satisfaction surveys. Mark Hughes, author of Buzzmarketing, saves you time and money by suggesting you throw out all the questions except two. “All other questions are meaningless data dung,” says Hughes. The magic questions: 1.) “How did you hear about us?” (which tracks word-of-mouth and marketing effectiveness) and 2.) “Would you go out of your way to recommend our product to a friend?” (this measures customer evangelism, or buzz.) Getting answers to both of these questions will show you clearly whether you’re doing things right.

[componentheading]HATE, ACTUALLY[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Some Bad Words[/contentheading]

Seth Godin presents a bunch of words that, when you use them in copywriting, make it easy for people to ignore you: “actually, totally, absolutely, completely, continually, constantly, literally, really, unfortunately, ironically, incredibly, hopefully, and finally.”

[componentheading]BEAR WITH US[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Return With A Roar[/contentheading]

If you’re one of those jewelers who closes shop during dead periods (for a few weeks or even a few months), Casey Gallant of Steven Gallant Jewelers in Orleans, MA has an idea for you to help you get business started off on the right foot when you re-open. Introducing: the “Coming Out of Hibernation Sale!”

[componentheading]THE BIG PAYOFF[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Pre-Pay Small Bills[/contentheading]

If you’re paying for a service that costs about $15 a month (e.g. an Internet service contract), and you have to pay bills monthly, Entrepreneur Magazine says you should request to pay six months in advance. Reasons: you’ll save time writing out checks and stuffing envelopes, almost $2 in stamps, and even better, won’t run the risk of incurring hefty late fees.

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

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