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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: July 2013

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MARKETINGHeads I Win, Tails I Win

Pre-season training for football will start soon at high schools around the country. Get down to the coach’s office to see if you can be the official sponsor for the flip coin. Cast it yourself, take ads in the game program notes and soon the whole community will know of your talents.

Hot Promo

Think this sweltering heat gripping the country is an energy-sapping burden? No, it’s a marketing opportunity. Just ask Beth Guntzviller, owner of Miner’s North Jewelers in Traverse City, MI. On the opening night of the Traverse City Film Festival a few years ago, when searing heat pushed the thermometer near triple digits. Guntzviller and her staff distributed bottled water to the sweltering throng along with hand fans, complete with the Miner’s North logo, of course.

Blanket Mail

Want to hit every household in your market with a mailer: Look into the U.S. Post Office’s “Every Door Direct” service. As one reader told us, it’s the best advertising tool to come along in a long time.” Here are the terms: Minimum of 200 mail standard flat mail pieces (under 3.3 oz) to be delivered via a “saturation mailing” to a particular postal route (meaning every household on that route will get your mailer). The benefits are the price: A rate of 14.5 cents for each mail piece, the added savings (no mail processing costs such as ink jetting and labeling), and the ease of use (it usually takes just a of couple days to process your mail and get it prepped for mailing).

SALES FLOORJust Answer the Question …

When surprised with a difficult question, most salespeople adopt a strategy of waffling. A far better approach is to just answer the question as asked, says Roy Williams in his Monday Morning Memo. Provide the simplest answer in the fewest words, he says. “When you act like the customer has asked the wrong question, you’re basically telling them that they’ve hit you where you’re weak,” he says. “When you provide simple and straightforward answers to your customers’ questions, they feel that you’re there for them.”

R.I.P., Watch

Have a customer who declines your quote to repair his watch because “it ain’t worth salvaging”? Offer him some “bereavement dollars” — maybe $20 in store currency to help him get over the loss of his dearly departed watch, suggests David Brown, president of the Edge Retail Academy. Brown believes such converted “non-repairs” could happen on a daily basis if handled right.

Move First

Contrary to conventional wisdom, making the first move in a negotiation is the right move economically, because it allows you to anchor the discussion around that initial number, and the final price is significantly correlated with the first offer, according to work by researchers at U-M Ross and Duke University. Nevertheless, first movers often felt less satisfied with the advantageous outcome than the other side due to anxiety that they should have sought a better deal.

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MANAGEMENTReading Assignment

The next time you’re wrapping up an interview with a promising job candidate, give them a short book or magazine article that is in sync with your aspirations for your store and tell them you’d like to discuss their thoughts on the material at your next meeting. Says Sam Parker on JustSell.com: “If they come back excited about the book, you’ll know you’re possibly of the same mindset. If they balk at the work, you’ll have a good signal the person may not be willing to go the extra yard for you.”

Boost Recall

Have trouble remembering customers’ names? Try this: Clench your right fist as the person introduces herself, and then the next time you meet, squeeze your left fist. The trick, which is believed to increase activity in the opposite brain hemisphere to your hand, was shown to boost recall by 15 percent in a study done at Montclair State University, NJ.

August Resolutions

What’s the worst month to try to change your life? January, home of the New Year’s resolution. That’s according to data from Stikk, the popular website that tracks people’s efforts to achieve goals. As for the best month? It’s just ahead of us, in August. John Norcross, a psychologist and author of Changeology, speculates it’s because people generally are so busy in January trying to balance work and family obligations that they can easily fall short in their efforts to modify habits. As for August, the kids are back at school, everyone’s back from vacation and it’s easy to establish a supportive routine.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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