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Bonus in Cash, Knowing When to Quit and More Tips for Your Business

To boost the impact of your sales, you need to tap into creativity in planning sales and marketing campaigns for the year ahead.






Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder and CEO of fashion brand Vera Bradley, has maintained a personal touch throughout the retailer’s impressive growth to $500 million in annual sales. When the company first started, the leadership would put $50 in employees’ birthday cards with a note that said: “This has to be spent on you.” As the company has expanded to 3,000 employees, there’s still a $50 bill in each card. “Finance asks every year if we can just put the money in people’s paychecks, and I say no,” Bradley Baekgaard told the NRF’s online magazine. “When you have found money in cash, it’s just more meaningful.”

MARKETINGNew Year Preview

Give customers a sneak peek at what you have planned for this year. Are you introducing new products? Have you grown your staff or expanded your services? Send out an email recapping the past year and let people know what you have planned for the New Year, recommends Constant Contact in their monthly marketing newsletter.

GOAL-SETTINGKnow When to Quit

A little negativity can be a good thing, argues Annie Duke in her new book, Quit: The Power Of Knowing When To Walk Away. “Optimism causes you to overestimate both the likelihood and magnitude of success and stick to things too long,” she says. “Unchecked by realism, it prevents you from quitting when you ought to walk away.”


Providing feedback has long been considered an essential skill for leaders. But according to executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, there are two problems with it: It addresses something in the past and it makes the recipient defensive. In its place, he recommends “feedforward,” which is suggesting a couple of things that could help one of your workers improve their performance. “It can be very specific and still delivered in a positive way without making the subordinate feel even more humiliated,” he says.

PLANNINGChoose Efficiency or Creativity

This is likely a time on the calendar when you need to tap your reservoirs of creativity to plan sales and marketing campaigns for the new year. Keep in mind that creativity unavoidably involves changing gears, especially if you’re the typical hard-charging business owner or manager. One can optimize for productivity or one can optimize for creativity, but it’s hard to do both, says tech guru Naval Ravikant.

STAFFINGBe Nice to People Who Are Leaving

It’s no secret that staff turnover in the retail industry is high, especially right now. But that is no reason to treat departing workers the way you would an expired bottle of milk. On the contrary, handling them well has benefits for your business. If you treat exiting workers with understanding and 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. Parting on good terms potentially leaves the door open for them to return. And even if they don’t, they will have positive things to say, which could attract others.

SALESAlways Add, ‘Which Means…’

To boost the impact of your sales presentations and really, really ensure your prospective customer understands the benefits of what you’re selling, always add “which means…” after every feature you share, says Wizard of Ads author Roy H. Williams. “You can add these words verbally, or you can add them silently, but this habit will bridge you into language the customer can see in their mind,” he writes in his weekly Monday Morning Memo. Williams provides the following example: “This blade is made of Maxamet steel, which means you’ll never have to sharpen it.”



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