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Tip Sheet

ABC: Always Be Cheering and More Tips for August and September

Including how to practice better, act with purpose and know thyself.

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MANAGEMENTAlways Be Cheering

When managing salespeople, you should never take your foot off the motivational pedal — in particular the sharing of success stories. A study by the University of Texas’s McComb School of Business in Austin found the effort put in by salespeople sagged once they stopped getting inspirational messages: “On average, a sales worker pulled 3.5 fewer potential new customer profiles from the company database and made 8.4 fewer phone calls per day,” said the report, which was based on an unnamed software retailer. Salespeople were motivated by success stories that focused on a person’s effort rather than their sales skills.

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MARKETINGReason + Number = Value

When crafting a marketing message at times like this, you should be thinking of how to help clients solve relevant problems, and specifically in terms of “ways,” “keys,” “secrets” or “ideas,” says Ford Saeks, CEO of the integrated marketing company Prime Concepts. Then pair those words with a number, as in “Three keys to protecting your vision” or “Five reasons now is the time to come in for a check-up.” Adding such “value to their lives” is a useful way to make a connection, he says.

OPERATIONSWatch The Thermostat

Cooler is not always better when it comes to running air-conditioning in summer. “People are dressed for the warmer weather and won’t browse long if it’s uncomfortable and chilly,” James Doggett, owner of Doggett Jewelry in Kingston, NH, told INVISION’s sister publication INSTORE. “So turn down the air-conditioning and turn up the dehumidifier. Dry is better than too cold.”

SKILLS Practice Better

Practice doesn’t make perfect. It needs a tweak. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that one key to mastering a skill quickly is to slightly change how you practice it. Dr. Pablo A. Celnik, the senior study author, says the gains in performance, such as a speedier and more accurate completion of the task, nearly doubled among those subjects who were given the altered training sessions, compared to those in the control group, who repeated the same task, according to Lifehacker.com.

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SALESNegotiate Referrals

Ask discount-seeking customers for referrals and use it to your advantage in negotiations, says Megan Crabtree, president of marketing firm Crabtree Consulting. She suggests phrasing it something like this: If I can get you the price you’re requesting can you send me a referral? “Eight times out of 10 they will say yes,” she says.

PSYCHOLOGYKnow Thyself

Looking at the list of people who often refer to themselves in the third person — Donald Trump, Kanye West — self-awareness doesn’t seem among their top attributes. But self-help author Gretchen Rubin says this can be a path to self-knowledge. “I admit, this approach makes me sound a bit affected,” she wrote, “but the thing is, it really works.” Feeling depleted, “I asked myself, ‘What’s the best medicine for Gretchen when she feels drained?’ When I framed the question from outside … I knew the answer.”

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