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Tip Sheet

Use Forward Indicators to Set More Powerful Goals … and More January Tips

Also, a midweek Valentine’s means big business for sellers of flowers.





Find The Right Indicators

Setting goals for this year? Don’t just pluck a dollar figure out of the air and call it your goal. Instead, pick a “forward indicator.” Examples of forward indicators could be the number of follow-up phone calls your staff makes, the number of customer profiles you add to your database, the number of sales events you hold, the amount of money spent on advertising — anything that past experience shows will lead to increased sales. Crunch the numbers, do the work, and the sales will follow.


Wait Till Tuesday

Valentine’s Day falls bang in the middle of the week (Wednesday) this year, which is usually good for sellers of flowers, chocolates and jewelry: Boyfriends and husbands will often get busy with their work obligations and forget the big day, resulting in a last-minute rush for the old faithful gifts. (In contrast, when Valentine’s falls on the weekend, it’s restaurants and spas that often do better.) Be ready to hold a “Panic Party” on Tuesday evening.



Instant-messaging service has a new “widget” that has the potential to be a very useful business tool. The free software, called “meebo me,” lets you “see” and instantly communicate with any visitors to your web page. Visitors can also see when you’re online and initiate chats with you. It’s an easy way to provide live customer service on your website.



Go Postal

This isn’t a new product — but it’s so cool we had to mention it, just in case you hadn’t seen it yet. allows you to create your own legal stamps with pictures of your store, your staff or even your logo inside the perforated edges. Upload an image on the website, crop it, pay, and the stamps arrive within a week. Use on your store mail and send a sheet of stamps to regular clients as a practical gift.


Order Early

If you give flowers to customers to help them celebrate Valentine’s Day, order soon. Many wholesalers operate like airlines, giving you cheaper prices the earlier you order. If you wait too long, you not only risk paying higher prices — up to 50 percent more in the two weeks before Valentine’s — but you’re unlikely to get the selection you want.


Get a Chummy Voice

Want an example of how a friendly, down-to-earth store communicates with its customers? Check out this e-mail bulletin from popular online clothing retailer “One of the Moosejaw programmers accidentally deleted a bunch of people that signed up …. We’ve since challenged the programmer to a series of duels including a staring contest, red rover and that game when you slap each other’s hands. But, that won’t bring back the names so we’re e-mailing everyone to sign back up. And if you’ve never signed up, now is the perfect time to do so….” You don’t get much friendlier and down to earth than that. Another endearing touch is the way every customer receives a card with their merchandise that’s hand-signed by the person who packed his or her box. The note will say something like: “Hey, I’m the one who put all this stuff in a box for you. Isn’t it a great day?”



Help Them Disengage

Poor guy enters your store, asking what he should do with the engagement ring he bought for the love of his life, only to find she’s committed herself to the nunnery. Rather than shrugging your shoulders or suggesting eBay, point him in the direction of, a new auction site that deals exclusively with engagement rings. It’s a helpful site for recently divorced wives looking to get rid of their wedding rings as well.



Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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