BrainstormingALONE TIME

Not making any headway with your “brainstorming” sessions? Go it alone. In his book “Free Prize Inside”, Seth Godin cites a psychology study that shows that a team of four, each brainstorming alone, came up with twice as many ideas as the same team brainstorming together. Best approach? Assign team members to brainstorm alone, then bring everybody together to share — and critique — the ideas, he says.

COMMUNICATIONTalk the Talk

Jargon has a well-earned reputation for being confusing and annoying, but perhaps never more so than when it comes to insurance. Get rid of the words “covered,” “allowance,” “overage,” “add on,” “eligible,” and “out of pocket” from your patient communications, says industry consultant Mark Hinton, arguing these words cause “tension and anxiety.” “They don’t belong in retail,” he says.

MERCHANDISINGLet Light Shine

Edward Dean Butler travels the world as a consultant to the optical trade and just about everywhere he goes, he runs into a pet peeve – badly lit eyewear retailers. “Many, many optical stores are so badly lit that business actually suffers,” says Butler, who founded the Lenscrafters chain. Good lighting requires expertise, he wrote in a commentary on invisionmag.com. But here are three things to look out for:
1. Never light frames from the back. They look washed out and you can’t see the real colors. Instead, light them from the front using a tungsten filament color.
2. Use professional lighting colors, not high kelvin/blue-white. So-called warm white is not horrible, but professional lighting colors (salmon pink, believe it or not) are far better. “Go to the mall and look at the lighting colors in national chains,” he recommends.
3. Never use bright lights. “Surface imperfections and dust show up and turn off customers,” he says.

RECRUITMENTOutside the Box

It’s easy when recruiting to become so rigidly fixed on certain criteria that you overlook someone who could bring a whole new dimension to your business, says Betty Aretz, owner of The Eyecare Boutique in Wexford, PA. “Look outside the box,” she urges, citing the example of “someone with an accounting degree can calculate insurance quickly.” Take this great quote from Mark Twain, cited by Tom Peters in his book “Re-Imagine!”: “The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second-best swordsman in the world. No, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do. He does the thing he ought not to do, and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot.”

MARKETINGBarbecue Business

A bank in Seattle, WA, lets prospects know about its “hot” loan rates and friendly service by holding a barbecue every Friday in the bank’s parking lot. The bank manager cooks the hot dogs and hamburgers, folks come by to talk and eat, and all receive info on the bank’s services. Perhaps you might let your customers know about your “hot” sunglass deals in a similar manner?


This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of INVISION.   

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