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Get Embarrassed and More Tips for October

Like the perfect time to pounce on customers to increase your chance of a sale.




yawning man

TRADE SHOWSYawning Is A Warning

Everyone who has walked the endless aisles of Vision Expo West (starts Sept. 22) knows that feeling when your energy sags and your mind turns to coffee. Michael Tesler of Retail Concepts says you should take notice of these spells of fatigue. They’re often indicators that the merchandise you’re browsing simply doesn’t excite you. In contrast, you’ll feel energized when you see something that engages you. “If you are excited, there’s a good chance your customers will be too,” he says.

MANAGEMENT Embarrass Yourself

Humans will normally go to extraordinary lengths to avoid embarrassment. But if you want to trigger fresh thinking, you should do the opposite, says Leigh Thompson, of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. At the start of your next brainstorming meeting ask everyone to tell an embarrassing story about themselves. “Sharing reduces inhibitions, which makes it more likely new and novel ideas will flow. By increasing your vulnerability, you become more likable and everyone else becomes more amenable to supporting or building on your suggestions,” she says.



If you’re off to Vegas this month, Dan Pink, the widely traveled business author, recommends this routine after checking in: Clear everything off the desk in your room and establish a “personal inbox.” He spreads out a small towel and lays out everything he’ll need each day: his pen, notebook, passport, wallet, show pass, phone, etc. “And every time I come back to the room, I put everything back there so I’m not always searching,” he says on one of his regular “Pinkcasts” on YouTube.

STAFF MORALEReward Those Left Behind

If you’re heading off for Vision Expo West (starting Sept. 22) it might not seem like much fun, but for those stuck back in the office, you’re the lucky one. Looking for a good way to sweeten your departure? Authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, in their book A Carrot A Day, tell of a manager who left $5 and a note for his assistant when he went on a week-long business trip. The note explained the money was to buy her a cookie a day to show he recognized her hard work and to thank her for picking up the slack. The result? Great staff morale.


When faced with a problem, the temptation is to ask how to solve it or to get rid of it; but an alternative is to ask what it’s trying to tell you. “We must recognize that our problems have not been randomly inflicted on us,” write the Jungian psychologists Marcella Weiner and Mark Simmons. “They have a purpose, to act as guideposts pointing the way toward healing and wholeness.” Sometimes — to quote the title of their book — the problem is the solution.


SALESWait … Then Pounce

The right moment to approach a customer who has just entered your store has vexed retailers for generations. Jump too early and they are likely to flee the store or get too defensive. Wait too long and they may slip out or worse, consider it poor service. Retail expert Paco Underhill, whose company collects some 50,000 hours of consumer behavior on tape every year, has concluded that after about one minute is the golden time when shoppers are most amenable to being approached by an employee.



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