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Reach Out and Touch Someone … Virtually … and More Tips for February

Including having your business take a stand, being nice to quitters and shredding costs.

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SALESReach Out and Touch Someone

Customers may not be able to physically pick up your merchandise when interacting via video or phone, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the importance of “touch” — the one sense that can’t be conveyed virtually, says sales consultant Kate Peterson. “We’re not talking about the people who buy online all the time. This is about people who normally need much more in person experience and you have to find a way to provide it without being three feet away from them,” she says. Peterson recommends you teach your staff how to describe to someone over the phone or a computer screen how a frame feels. Is it heavy, light, smooth textured?

MARKETINGTaking a Stand

In recent years, Germany has experienced rioting in major cities related to immigration. It was in such a charged environment that Edeka, a supermarket chain, decided to be clear where it stood. For a month, it removed all foreign products from its shelves, replacing them with signs such as “Our selection now knows borders” and “This shelf is pretty boring without diversity.” It was risky, but Edeke showed it was willing to make a stand on something, and it has demographics on its side. According to marketing firm Enso, brands that promote “meaning” do better with Millennials, whose spending power has surpassed that of Boomers.

MANAGEMENTBe Nice to Quitters

Handling exiting workers well can benefit your business, HR magazine quotes Gail Gunderson of Ohio State University as saying. If you treat them with respect, they may decide to change their minds. They may also tell you the real reason they are leaving, which is important information if you suffer from high turnover.

STAFFGet Started Earlier

Research by the Ross School shows workers are more productive when weather is bad, since there are fewer distractions, and less so on dreamy spring mornings. As we start to move into longer bouts of daylight and warmer weather, get your people busy early before they start flicking through their phones looking for patio happy hours.

NETWORKINGFive Friends

Feeling overwhelmed? Think of your five favorite people, how these are the people whose opinions of you matter and how they’d support you at this time. It can be just the mental boost you need, writes Chelsea Fagan on The Financial Diet blog.

PURCHASESTrim Your Costs

Tax season is near, which means it’s a good time to buy a shredder. Not because you have something to hide but because office-supply retailers discount them to lure customers into their stores. You don’t need a top-of-the-line model that chops paper into the tiniest of confetti. One that simply shreds and crosscuts will do the trick.

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CUSTOMER SERVICEThank Us Later

Each January, the National Retail Federation’s STORES magazine produces its list of 20 Ideas Worth Stealing from the preceding year. The brainstorms are predominantly tech-related breakthroughs, but here’s one that stood out recently: Say thank you. Yes, it seems retailers need to be reminded of this. Customers love little gestures of appreciation, whether it’s a beverage, a surprise gift to VIP customers in the mail, or a handwritten note from the sales associate after a large purchase. For the skeptic, it cited a study in the Journal of Marketing last year that found “expressing thanks was a powerful tool in building trust between the customer and the company.” Who’d of thought it?

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