This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of INVISION.
Organize a Pre-Party
➤ Party season is near, which means it’s also networking season. Keith Ferrazzi, co-author of Never Eat Alone, suggests taking a cue from your college days and bringing back the pre-party. If there’s a widely anticipated function in your social calendar, call five people you know who are going and invite them to meet at your place to go together. “Use this pre-party get-together to ensure you connect with some of your top targets for the night,” Ferrazzi says.
Go On the Hunt
➤ Fall is hunting season, and you should set your sights on a piece of that business. Set up a display (hunting cap, binoculars and eyewear on a bed of leaves) in your window. Offer a special discount on one model designed to protect hunters’ eyes, one designed for comfort, and one designed for camouflage. Emphasize that hunting eyewear is quickly Rx-able. Promote in your local newspaper’s sports section and website.
VIP Early-Bird Perk
➤ You’re having a one-day sale with serious discounts, but your client can’t make the event. In special cases, Paula Hornbeck of Eye Candy in Delafield, WI, will write down a client’s selection and credit card info in advance and charge the credit card on the sale day as if they were there. “Win-win,” says Hornbeck. Note: Do this only via special request.
Name That Mascot
➤ Have a store mascot? Involve your customers and make your business more kid-friendly by holding a “Name Our Pet” contest. Dr. Angela Patteson of Sunset Eye Care in Johnson City, TN, did just that on Facebook. End results? More emotionally invested patients and a turtle named Shelley (which is pretty much a perfect name for a turtle, right?). Says Patteson: “Patients can take pictures of her and she even has her own hashtag (#sunsetshelley) on Instagram!”
Increase Your Brand Power
➤ Take advantage of your brands. Make sure the customer knows that designer eyewear is sometimes her least expensive entry point into a brand’s magic. Want to live a Chanel lifestyle? A Chanel clutch purse runs close to $2,000. But Chanel eyewear can go for a fraction of that cost. To make your brands stand out, don’t just use the brand’s point-of-sale materials. For example, in your Chanel display, how about a picture of Coco Chanel in an ornate gold frame with one of her famous quotes? Finish the display with some gorgeous scarves.
➤ Finding talent in a small town can be difficult — after all, most of the best and brightest prospects have moved elsewhere to work. Marketer David Wolfe suggests this strategy to try to win some of them back: Advertise your openings during “homecoming” holidays. Thanksgiving is the biggest, but Easter, Memorial Day and Labor Day are other prime times to catch people visiting home.
Speak Like Your Clients
➤ Careful mimicry has long been among the tools used by the best sales pros. Whether the client speaks with a slow Southern drawl or a fast East Coast patter, match the pace and rhythm that they are using. That’s because people who talk at the same rate find each other more attractive than if one person speaks more slowly than the other, according to a study at the University of Maryland. But just because you’re following your client’s conversation speed doesn’t mean you should try to mimic his or her accent. That would just be annoying.
Knock If You Dare
➤ An open-door policy sounds like a great management idea until things get busy and the intrusions prevent you from getting anything done. Inc.com cited the case of Jim Lucas, of Luman Consultants in Kansas, who uses a “modified” open-door policy. “An open door means come in; I truly am available. A partially open door means I’m pretty busy, but come in if it’s really important. And a closed door means I’m about to explode; come in if it’s a life-threatening emergency,” Lucas says. “Using the door as body language cuts out the baloney.”