Tip Sheet: February 2015

Words to remember from Roy Williams

Words To Remember

Advertising guru Roy Williams’ words are worth printing and putting in a frame on your desk. They’re a pithy reminder that the business world is always in motion. Just because you’re successful today, it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful tomorrow. And just because something worked five years ago, it doesn’t necessarily work today. Examine your business belief system regularly. Embrace exploration and experiment. Fear stagnancy. And remember these equally good words from Seth Godin: “Safe is risky. The biggest risk is to take no risks at all.”

Give a Reading Assignment

The next time you interview a promising job candidate, give him a short book or magazine article that is in sync with your aspirations for your store and tell him you’d like to discuss his 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.”

Give Staff a Say

Daniel Pink, author of To Sell Is Human, says motivation comes from a collaborative environment, autonomy and finding purpose in a job. Promote autonomy by letting staff have control over not only how they sell, but what they sell. Give them a say in the product mix.

Count Your Name

There was a time when copywriters believed the more times they could repeat a business’s name in an ad, the better. But that was in the mid-20th century, when Americans encountered 30 times fewer ads than they do today. “Do this today and your ads will sound like they were written in the 1940s,” warns “Wizard of Ads” Roy Williams. These days, the rule is that you should never include your name in an ad more often than it would be spoken in normal conversation.

Don’t Forget This Question

On the back of your exam room door, put up a sign reading “I.T.A.E.Y.W.L.T.A.M.” It stands for “Is there anything else you would like to ask me?” It will remind you to ask that question to patients before you say goodbye. Bob Levoy, author of 201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice, says asking that question sends a positive message to patients that they matter, and that you’re not just trying to rush them out the door to get to the next client.

New Thoughts on Elevator Pitches

Here’s a thought the next time you’re redrafting your 30-second introduction: “The purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over,” says Seth Godin. Does your elevator pitch pass the test?

Here’s a Positive Sign

Keep your signs positive. Sure, you have rules, says sales and service guru Jeffrey Gitomer, but with a bit of thought, it’s easy to present those rules in a way that doesn’t offend (and may even get a chuckle). An example: those nasty signs that say “Parking for patrons of Smith’s Eyecare only. Violators will be towed.” Instead, write something like: “Visitors of Smith’s Eyecare are welcome to park here. If you’re not a customer of Smith’s Eyecare, you’re welcome to park elsewhere.”

Don’t Answer Email on Your Smartphone

Beware the urge to reply instantly to every email that drops into your smartphone’s inbox. There are two reasons: 1) It’s more efficient to use your desktop than your mobile’s tiny keyboard; and 2) you should be fully engaged when you are dealing with staff or customers and not distracted by your phone, says the Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Getting the Right Work Done.

Ask Two Things

Many businesspeople like to show their acumen by commissioning customer-satisfaction surveys. Mark Hughes, author of Buzzmarketing, saves you time and money by suggesting you throw out all but two questions. “All other questions are meaningless data dung,” says Hughes. The magic questions: 1.) “How did you hear about us?” (This tracks word-of-mouth and marketing effectiveness) and 2.) “Would you go out of your way to recommend our product to a friend?” (This measures customer evangelism, or buzz.) Getting answers to both of these questions will show you clearly whether you’re doing things right.

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 edition of INVISION.