Forget marketing: A “to-do” list for focusing on the front line

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If you’re doing an awesome job inside your stores, why would you spend money outside on marketing? According to breakout session speaker and marketing guru, Tom Feltenstein, in retail “your front line is your bottom-line.” If you center your marketing efforts within your walls and within close proximity to your stores, your sales will surge. Coming out of the session, I had four “to-do’s” to pass on to retailers looking to achieve this.

Tom Feltenstein, CEO of Power Marketing Academy, shares with retailers the secrets of super charging sales.

Surprise your customers. Give your customers what they aren’t expecting: great service. Feltenstein recommends: Your customer engagements will be your “30-second spots” – turning the store into a more effective TV, radio or billboard ad, thus saving you money. Here are a few to-do’s to ensure you’ve got a sales team up to the task…

Recruit the best. As Feltenstein noted, “teams with the best players win,” however recruiters and business owners have difficulty finding top people. We’re in the people business – hire “people people.” Many fail when it comes to hiring because they hire based on experience, rather than attitude. To get you started, Feltenstein offered three core questions to ask when interviewing for team members:

- Can you give me an example or illustration where you have demonstrated high initiative?
- Can you give me an example of where you executed flawlessly? (Tip: A good candidate will ask what you mean by flawless execution.)
- One of our critical success factors is ___, can you describe your most comparable success?

Keep the best at your company. “Don’t build your business, build people – people build business,” says Feltenstein. Training and development shouldn’t stop after the initial training is completed. Growing your people is growing your business, according to Feltenstein. Keeping employees happy is also key. Feltenstein offered the following ideas to accomplish this:

- Provide business cards to all employees; they’ll feel proud of their job, and an important part of the company.
- Help employees feel special and needed from the start; take them out to dinner on their first day, or put a “great job” note into their first paycheck.

Stop bribing your customers. Bribery only works for so long, according to Feltenstein. Customers expect coupons for a percentage off sale, but that’s not enough to get customers in, and coming back to shop. However, free is a different story (ever hear the phrase, “if it’s free it’s for me?”). Focus local (within a few blocks radius) and send coupons for a free item to those with a birthday, or who just moved into the neighborhood.

Regardless of whether you’re tossing or keeping your marketing budget, these are great tips to boost sales and customer happiness from ”within the walls” of your stores.

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