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Tip Sheet

Set Specific Goals but Celebrate Small Victories and More Tips for May

Including the power of a compliment and the reminder that this is all a test.

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MANAGEMENTCompliment More

Few things are more powerful than a compliment but many people hold back from saying nice things out of fear the other person will find it annoying, that they’ve heard it all before, or that they’ll stumble over their words and deliver a poor one. But these concerns are nearly entirely groundless, says Vanessa Bohn, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell and author of You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate Our Power Of Persuasion And Why It Matters. “Just worry about getting the words out because people like hearing nice things about themselves. Most people say they wish they gave more compliments. And it turns out they make people happier than we think,” she says.

PERSONAL IMPROVEMENTThis Is a Test

When faced with a frustration, it’s easy to fall prey to anger and want to lash out. But that only ever makes things worse. Instead, try to reframe the experience as a test of the imaginary Stoic gods, says William Irvine, author of The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide To Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient. “It’s not a setback, the Stoic gods are testing your resilience. They are not punishing you, they are giving you an opportunity to show your courage.” Ideally within the first five seconds, “You’ll feel better and do better.”

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MANAGEMENTReward Small Victories

On the way to a grand goal, celebrate the smallest victories as if each one was the final goal, writes WIRED co-founder Kevin Kelly on his blog: “No matter where it ends, you are victorious.”

SALESDivide and Conquer

Create “areas of pride” in your store to promote the fun of a spirit of competition and a better knowledge of inventory among the staff, urges certified sales pro John Nicolosi. How? “Assign each [staff member] to merchandise, promote and clean a particular area each month,” he says.

GENERALMars, Venus, Maps

Creating a map of your store for your website, or even a flier or directory? Keep in mind that men tend to remember numbers, and women are better at recalling colors. It’s why mall directories assign each store a numeric address and color.

STAFFINGHire for Outsized Returns

A Deloitte Consulting survey found that in jobs of medium complexity (which includes sales), a top performer is 12 times more productive than those at the bottom and almost twice as productive as an average performer. Lesson? Hire carefully.

PHOTOGRAPHYCyber Impression

Want to come off as a warm and friendly individual in that headshot on your website or even on your Facebook profile? The authors of a study published in a recent edition of the Personality And Social Psychology Bulletin confirm what your mother likely told you when you headed off to prom: smile, relax, and gear your overall appearance to look healthy (as opposed to ailing). And tuck in your shirt!

SALESSet Specific Goals

It doesn’t sound like much of a tip but it’s vital you set goals in an extremely specific manner with salespeople, say Ivan R. Misner and Don Morgan, the authors of Masters Of Sales. “Top salespeople are intensely goal oriented…” The more specific the goals, the better the best salespeople tend to do, they argue.

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