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Get Your Staff to Show Some Enthusiasm

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How can I get my staff to show more enthusiasm?

Sales trainer Ivan Levi suggests you try this exercise: Form a circle and have each person state what he or she appreciates about fellow staff. The positive comments may well surprise you. “I have seen the grumpiest team member walk on air for days after this exercise,” says Levi, who recommends you run the exercise monthly. Your customers will notice a positive change in your business, he says.

A competitor used our name in its ad. Can we sue?

Not so fast. If they are just asking the consumer to compare your services or goods, then you don’t have a case. In fact, the law actually encourages it. The Federal Trade Commission has sanctioned comparative advertising because of the benefits it yields to the consumer by assisting purchasing decisions. Of course, they can’t make false statements about you or confuse potential customers by piggybacking on your goodwill and reputation to the extent that customers are confused. As for a strategic approach, the general rule is never respond to a challenge from a competitor smaller than you. You merely draw attention to them and make them look larger in the eyes of the public. Conversely, if someone bigger than you is foolish enough to shine their spotlight on you, dance in it.

What’s the best way to sell ad-ons at the register?

PETS+ columnist Candace D’Agnolo of Pet Boss Nation suggests displaying products that have a great story or that have earned your personal endorsement. Choose them strategically. If you’re able to tell what a great product it is as you’re checking out a customer, it’s going to make that customer much more likely to say, “I’ll try it!” Plus, one more thing to turn your register into add-on central: Rotate products in and out often. “It should change weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how frequently your customers come in,” D’Agnolo says.

Everytime I try to shake things up, it seems we revert to the old ways of doing things. How do I make change stick?

For often extremely irrational reasons, humans just don’t like change. Harvard and McKinsey & Co. conducted separate studies, and both found the rate of success for change programs was 30 percent. To improve performance you need to change behaviors. But improving behaviors isn’t simply about articulating new ways of doing things and building capabilities — because it is mindsets (thoughts, feelings, beliefs) that drive behavior. The key to getting people to do what you want is to find what motivates them (and it usually isn’t money). Figure out what people are good at, give them tasks aligned with that, work out what motivates them (praise, independence, mastery, etc.), build up social and structural supports (routines and skills training), and hold people accountable to the new ways on a day-to-day basis. Finally, be prepared to communicate your message over and over again.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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