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Tip Sheet

Inactive Customers Can Mean Renewed Profits, Make To-Do Lists and More Tips

Plus, who to hire for the summer.





This year, go upmarket when you hire a summer casual, suggests Find an intern at a large marketing company or even a marketing major at a local college and ask him to take you on as a “client.” For a small fee or possibly for free, he should be able to give you exposure to cutting-edge marketing ideas and ways to implement them in return for some real-world experience to bolster his CV.

REMAINS OF THE DAYTomorrow To-Do Today

What do you do with the last 15 minutes of the day? Answer e-mails, schedule meetings, linger on the sales floor before closing? A better way to spend the time is to draw up a to-do list for the next day. Be specific and jot down things you’ll do from the moment you enter the store. It’s a great way to get the new day off to a productive start.

GOTCHA!!Nail Those Deadbeats

If you’re chasing overdue-credit clients who are playing hard-to-get, try reaching them on their home phone just before the finale of American Idol, a snowstorm, or any other occasion when they are likely to be homebound. And once you have them on the line, assume the role of a friendly financial adviser. “Generation X is focused on escaping any kind of pain or responsibility,” collection consultant Roger Willis told the New York Times. “You have to sell them on the benefit of taking responsibility and the consequences if they don’t.”

A WELCOME LAUGHAnimate Your Cards

Here’s an original Instore idea: Cool name cards. Use a cartoon like this one to tell people what you do. Not only would it be memorable but it says: Come to my store and have some fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.


Knowing where your customers come from is a crucial part of knowing where to buy ad space or air time, especially in rural areas. Tom Egelhoff, author of Small Town Advertising, suggests regularly monitoring your car lot and the license plates of your customers to see how much out-of-state traffic your store is attracting.


Many successful businesses follow a curve in which they pursue ever-more lucrative customers as they become more established. This makes sense. The best customers are usually at the high end, and it pays to develop a business model that responds to their needs. But it also means other customers get left behind. If you have a slightly more upmarket competitor in your area why not ask for the names of its “inactive” customers? Offer to buy the lists or share the profits if you make a sale. This could give you access to customer lists that were built up over decades for basically nothing, says marketing consultant Jay Abraham.


GET YOUR SPEAK ONJoin Toastmasters

Think Toastmasters is for people who are good at public speaking? No way! Many of them are terrible, which is probably the best thing about the club. For a few bucks a month you can join and polish your oratory skills in a friendly, non-intimidating environment. The clubs are everywhere (see, so go visit a few to see which one you’d feel most comfortable in and get to work on your introductory speech. How you spent the summer in 1973 is a popular topic.

READ DEMONImagine An Elf

Want to write convincing ad copy? Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing, suggests you imagine an evil elf sitting on your shoulder, screeching “I don’t believe that!” every time you write a sentence that tests credibility.



He Doubled His Sales Goals with Wilkerson

John Matthews, owner of John Michael Matthews Fine Jewelry in Vero Beach, Florida, is a planner. As an IJO member jeweler, he knew he needed an exit strategy if he ever wanted to g the kind of retirement he deserved. He asked around and the answers all seemed to point to one solution: Wilkerson. He talked to Rick Hayes, Wilkerson president, and took his time before making a final decision. He’d heard Wilkerson knew their way around a going out of business sale. But, he says, “he didn’t realize how good it was going to be.” Sales goals were “ambitious,” but even Matthews was pleasantly surprised. “It looks like we’re going to double that.”

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