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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: October 2005

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Eight fresh ideas to better your business

[componentheading]GROUP MAYHEM[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Mix It Up[/contentheading]

In the coming weeks, your sales meetings should be getting longer and more intense as you prepare for the holidays. Alexi Venneri, author of Balls: 6 Rules For Winning Today’s Business Game, suggests lightening the mood by having a bit of fun. For one meeting, you might ask staff members to bring in high-school yearbook photos. For another, bring in a guest speaker. Or have staff write down five or so of their favorite things … and let the others guess who created each list.

[componentheading]GIFT SURFERS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Make Suggestions[/contentheading]

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The most successful driver of holiday sales to your website? A gift-idea center, according to the “2004 Shop.org/BizRate. com Online Holiday Mood Study”. Create a section of your site that will allow shoppers to look for gifts by gender, price or category. Other winning features, according to the study: a “Suggested Items” section (second place); a “Bargains” section (3rd); and “Featured Sale Items” (4th). Another tip: when linking to other websites, have traffic go to one of these key pages, rather than your (possibly) less effective homepage.

[componentheading]TAG ‘EM[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Show Some Personality[/contentheading]

If your staff wears nametags, try to personalize them. Allow team members to decorate nametags with a pin for a favorite sports team, a funny saying, or even better, a picture of their favorite item of jewelry in the store.

[componentheading]FILE UNDER[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Keep Documents safely[/contentheading]

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Many different state and federal laws allow employees to review and make copies of their personnel files. So what should ideally be kept in an employee file? Only the basics. Job evaluations and warnings are okay to include — as long as the contents are not incriminatory. As for what not to include, avoid arrest records, credit histories, etc. Entrepreneur Magazine writes: “If you wouldn’t want a jury to see it, don’t file it.”

[componentheading]HATS INCREDIBLE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Head Here[/contentheading]

If you’re going to be wearing holiday-themed headgear in your store this season, why not head on over to BrandsOnSale.com to check out their selection of Christmas hats. Lots of great variations available that will add some zip (and some laughs) to your staff’s holiday uniforms.

[componentheading]MOVING ON UP[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Promote Trade-Ups[/contentheading]

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Diamond upgrades are a lucrative business, and you should do what you can to encourage them. Consider sending a card to targeted clients — previous purchasers of smaller diamonds from your store several years back might be a good zone to shoot for — encouraging a trade-up purchase.

[componentheading]WATCH YOUR BUTS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]How to Criticize[/contentheading]

By now, you probably know the concept of giving “sandwich” criticisms to employees. (Short version: say something nice, make your criticism, end with something nice.) One other thing to watch out for, according to T.J. Schier, author of Send Flowers To the Living, is using the word “but” as part of the sandwich. That one small word can ruin the taste of the whole sandwich. Instead, use “and”, as in the following example: “John, normally you are my best employee and it’s critical you are here on time so you can do that awesome job of guest service. Now get out there and make it happen.”

[componentheading]MR., MRS. RIGHT[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Don’t Settle[/contentheading]

You’re probably on the lookout for staff right now. As you do, keep in mind this simple reminder from Jim Collins, author of Good To Great: “When in doubt, keep looking.” (This is absolutely true of full-time staff … for temporary staff, you can get away with bending a little.)

[span class=note]This story is from the October 2005 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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