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How to Best Milk a Milestone and More of Your Questions Answered

Plus, what to do with an underperforming star recruit.

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How to Best Milk a Milestone and More of Your Questions Answered
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

I recently hired a sales associate with a great track record for producing at one of the chains. But he has underperformed since starting with us. What’s gone wrong? Has he simply lost the fire?

Few people work well in all environments. Some need a highly structured and predictable workplace. Some work best in a big organization and flounder when they move to smaller ones. And the reverse is equally true. His record of high-volume sales suggests he’s got the attributes to be successful but the challenge facing you is to figure out what allowed him to be a star in his old environment, and replicate it the best you can in your store. Tell him you want to see him performing at his best. Delve into what support he’s missing. And then start experimenting.

We have our 60th anniversary this year and have yet to come up with any good plans to mark the occasion. Please help.

The most common approach we’ve seen used by optical retailers is to host an in-store event (theme: “Remember 1964” with ’60s attire and music) with discounts on merchandise that somehow reflect the occasion. So, in your case, you might invite 60 of your best clients and offer discounts of 60 percent on a range of goods. Make a special effort to reach out to old customers (a prize for the customer with the oldest receipt), and former staff members as well. Set up a showcase of historical eyewear and ask old-time customers to lend you their old frames. And in the run-up, devote your sandwich board, email bulletin or social media posts to weekly historical highlights: “Flashback: March 15, 1964 top song, top movie, top news event.”

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If you do your own branded eyewear or collaborations with designers, consider a “Celebration Collection” sold throughout the year.

This is obviously also a great time to highlight and reinforce your deep community links, so something charitable, like a $6 or $60 donation for every pair of glasses and sunglasses sold that month to be split between your local Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs.

Finally, get some recognition. Look into local government support to have the date declared “(Your Practice’s Name) Day.” And don’t forget to invite the press. Local business milestones are always news.

The great news is that this sort of in-store event is great for any milestone anniversary — 75, 60, 50, 40, or 21 … just be sure to provide lots of booze for that one.

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