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A Couple Creative, Weather-Related Sales Promo Ideas and More Tips for the Shortest Month of the Year

Including advice to stop looking for candidates weaknesses, stopping to smell the soap, and why you should talk into people’s right ear.




A Couple Creative, Weather-Related Sales Promo Ideas and More Tips for the Shortest Month of the Year

WORK/LIFE BALANCEStop and Smell the Soap

Everyone needs a way to wind down from work, especially at the end of the work week. Here’s a neat one from a list of “100 Tiny Changes to Transform Your Life” that ran in The Guardian newspaper recently: Use a soap that reminds you of a fun vacation. “I use a soap I brought home from Yucatán in Mexico. The smell shifts my mind from work mode to relaxation, with fond memories of the jungle,” related a reader from Colorado.

outreachHandwriting Wins

If you sadly dumped a pound of Happy Holiday cards in the recycle bin recently, there’s a good chance you were struck by a revelation: Technology allows us to send best wishes in an efficient way, but the gesture no longer means much because it’s so easy to do. This year, aim to send a couple of handwritten notes to your best customers; it doesn’t even have to be tied to a calendar date. The ROI will be much higher than a mass-printed mail out.

FINANCESGet a Vendor Audit

Suspect your utility bills are a tad high? Get an audit. A quick search on Google will turn up hundreds of little companies that provide these services. Gene Marks of the New York Enterprise Report cited a little two-man shop in upstate New York that checked a business friend’s cellphone bills. They went back through three years of his bills and found errors in billing, wrong rates used, incorrect taxes applied and other problems. “They saved my friend a few thousand bucks and took 30% for their effort. They would’ve taken nothing if they had saved him nothing,” he said.

HIRINGReference Message

The best way to do a reference check on a job candidate, according to Pierre Mornell, author of 45 Effective Ways For Hiring Smart!, is to call the references at lunchtime and try to get voicemail. Then leave this message: Jenny Jones is a candidate for a position at our store. Please call me back if she was an outstanding employee. “If the candidate was a top performer, eight out of 10 people will respond quickly and want to help,” Mornell says. “However, if only two or three of the references return your call, this message is clear. And yet no confidence or laws have been broken.”


HIRINGStop Looking For Weaknesses

In his latest book, Hidden Potential, Wharton business professor Adam Grant offers a contrarian view of job interviews: Design the process to make candidates feel relaxed and to give them the maximum opportunity to demonstrate their strengths rather than reveal weaknesses. “And at the end, ask them if they felt they showed their potential and offer a do-over if not,” he writes.

SALESGet Smart

The precipitation that hammered much of the country in recent weeks issued an ultimatum to retailers: Shut up or get smart. Marketing website cited the case of two businesses that did the latter. The first was a restaurant that e-mailed its regulars with an offer of a 2% discount for every inch of snow that fell if they would brave the weather to come in for a meal. The second was Road Runner Sports, which apologized for its local stores being closed and offered a discount on online purchases.

NETWORKINGTake the Water

Your bank’s loan officer invites you into his office and offers you a cup of coffee. What do you do? A) Politely decline the offer because this is business (and you don’t need the caffeine), or B) Cheerily accept the offer. The correct answer is “B,” according to Stephanie Palmer, author of networking guide Good In A Room, who says that accepting hospitality warms up the room and gets things off to a good start. “Remember, business is personal. If you want the other person to listen to what you have to say, it is essential that they like you.”

vTIME MANAGEMENTHenry Ford Your Sock Drawer

If getting dressed in the morning takes an inordinate amount of time, replace all your socks with identical black pairs. “It’s a tip I found in a book on ADHD and it’s made getting ready in the mornings much easier. It’s definitely helped with my decision fatigue,” says lifestyle writer Anita Bhagwandas.


You’ve got a sticky request for a staff member. What’s the best path to take? The one that leads to her right side. You’re twice as likely to get a favorable result if you speak in her right ear. That tactic worked for Italian researchers in noisy nightclubs and is the latest in a series of studies that show that sound picked up by each ear is processed differently by the brain.




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