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Hold a ‘Secret Sale’ and More Tips for May

Including how to ask yourself helpful questions and why you should hire a matador.




Hold a ‘Secret Sale’ and More Tips for May


Mental First-Aid Kit

To give yourself a mental boost when things get you down, authors Allen P. Haines and Bonnie St. John recommend keeping an “emotional first aid kit” of old thank-you notes, family photos, and mementos from vacations for when things aren’t going your way. But keep them in a drawer: if they’re on your desk you stop seeing them after a while.


When the Cat’s Away

Planning a vacation? Try a marketing event that plays on your absence. When Dr. Pamela Rupnow of Family Vision Clinic in Farmington, MN, took a break a few years ago the store ran a 50 percent off sale on the theme “While the doctor is away the staff will play.” Staff promoted the sale as if Rupnow wasn’t aware of it, telling patients “in secret.” The sale was a huge success, and the clinic sold a “ton of specs” that week.



“Helpful” Questions

Society, culture, our genes constantly ask that we judge ourselves: Am I a success, a failure or an also-ran? But the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan says it’s an unhelpful question in the sense that the closest you can come to a true answer it is that everyone is both a success and a failure. A much better question when you find yourself doubting a plan, or yourself, is to ask: “What prevents me from learning here and now?”


Get Cashed Up

We’re putting the pandemic behind us and the future is looking bright for your business — time to start looking to build a reserve now. Peter Drucker told in one of his last interviews, “I saved more new enterprises than I can remember by simply telling the founder who showed me how beautifully things were going, that now is the time to provide for your next financing. If you have six months to a year to provide for your next financing, you can be reasonably sure you’ll get it and at favorable terms.”


Find the 1%

When taking in new knowledge — and this can apply to appraising a business deal, a contract, or just reading a book — work out what is at the heart of the matter. According to business author Dan Pink, there is always a core takeaway — the 1 percent — that will allow you to get a grip on the sea of information coming at you. “If you’re getting bogged down in some minutia, ask yourself what’s the 1 percent that you need to know. If you figure out the 1 percent the rest of the 99 percent makes sense,” he says.



Hire a Matador

Hiring a salesperson should be easy, right? Just hire the person who best sells themselves. But it never seems to work out that way. Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon, authors of I Hate People, came up with a solution: Hold the interview at a cafe and watch how the candidates cross the street. This will tell you more about their capabilities than an hour of tough questions, they say. They discerned five types of walkers: Matador, Wader, TextWalker, Light Jumper and CurbHugger. Matadors “think nothing of daring the cars and taxis with [their] elegant dance through traffic” and make the best salespeople. CurbHuggers the worst.


Forecast Colors

For a cost-effective remodel, nothing beats a splash of paint. For help finding a color scheme, do what the pros do: Check out the free color forecasting reports published by the Color Marketing Group ( Their April color was Contentamento (a bright pink).


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