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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: September 2006

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Seven fresh ideas to better your business

Try a little in-your-face marketing; remember your employees left behind; more.

[componentheading]LOST IN PHONELAND[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Cut To the Chase[/contentheading]

After hanging up, have you ever looked at the “duration of call” display on your phone and thought, “Darn! 10 minutes! I really can’t afford to waste that kind of time”? If so, consider these tips from business consultant Jo Soard to improve your telephone efficiency:

Get to the point. If you are the caller, say: “Paul — hi, I need two questions answered and I know you are the only person who can help me.”

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If you’re receiving the call, cut to the chase with the ever reliable: “Hi Lynn. Nice to hear from you. What can I do for you today?”

And to avoid never-ending phone tag: Leave short instructive voice mails, telling the person you’re chasing what the purpose of your call is and what you need. That will equip them with the information they need to respond promptly. For example: “Hi Fred, it’s Wimmer from ZZ Designs. Please call me with the shipment date for that line of toe rings I ordered.”

[componentheading]DOUBLE TROUBLE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Merge Holiday Props[/contentheading]

If you’re thinking of getting in the swing of things for Halloween with some in-store decorative items, give additional thought to how you might want your store to look at Thanksgiving. Some items such as pumpkins and scarecrows can do double-duty on the two holidays, saving you money.

[componentheading]FAIL TO WIN[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Sharpen Your Loan Pitch[/contentheading]

Mulling over an approach to a bank for financing? Then don’t go to your best prospect first. You’re better off working out the rough spots in your presentation with the financing sources that are least likely to give you funding, say Lyle Maul and Diane Craig Mayfield in The Entrepreneur’s Road Map to Business Success. And if/when you do get the thumbs down, find out why the financing source rejected you and if they have any suggestions about other banks or institutions you should try.

[componentheading]GET IMPULSIVE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Enable Your Emails[/contentheading]

One of the reasons jewelry shoppers flocked to the Internet was because they mistrusted themselves in jewelry stores. But Internet retailer Ice.com says it is now enjoying a huge jump in impulse buying after it introduced “commerce-enabled” emails. The software, designed by Silicon-Valley-based CyBuy, removes many of the barriers and distractions that usually slow a sale on the Net. Ice.com has a subscriber database of one million customers. But CyBuy says its software, which it claims cuts shopping time by 75% compared to normal hotlinks, can be used by much smaller business entities.

[componentheading]A COOKIE A DAY[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Reward Those Left Behind[/contentheading]

You’re heading off for another trade show or buying trip. For you, it might not seem like much fun, but for those stuck back in the office, you’re one lucky guy or gal to have escaped the store. Here’s a good way to sweeten the taste of your departure from authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. In their book A Carrot A Day, they tell of a manager who left $5 and a note for his assistant when he went on a week-long business trip. The note explained the money was to buy her a cookie a day to show he recognized her hard work and to thank her for picking up the slack. The result? Great staff morale.

[componentheading]PROPER TONE[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Make Some Music[/contentheading]

The next time you download polyphonic ring tones for your mobile phone, how about selecting a jeweler-appropriate tune like “Diamonds Are Forever” or “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”? Then, when your phone rings at the Kiwanis Club dinner, it will definitely help establish your image as the ultimate jeweler. (Warning: this could be a security risk. Use these tones only in safe, appropriate environments.)

[componentheading]GETTING UGLY[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Be In-Your-Face[/contentheading]

Mehanta 416 B.C. is a popular bar in Manhattan. That’s a great name, but the bar’s tagline is even better. It goes: “Helping Ugly People Have Sex Since 416 B.C.” If you’re in a crowded, competitive market, and could benefit from a little in-your-face marketing, you might want to think along those lines.

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

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