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Talk About Yourself in the Third Person and Other Tips for Pet Business Owners to Try in September and October

Plus, try not to freeze your customers!

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MARKETINGPawty Time

Psychological studies show that “temporal landmarks” such as birthdays, seasonal holidays and anniversaries matter, helping bring structure to our lives. Apart from keeping us sane, they also tend to be pretty darn useful for marketing purposes. It’s something Petagogy in Pittsburgh, PA, understands. It holds an “Anniversary PAWty” each year to commemorate the business’s start. The event features a pet vendor fair, with food and treat company reps, a pet photo booth, special sales and a prize raffle benefiting Humane Animal Rescue.

SELF-IMPROVEMENTKnow yourself better

Given the list of people who frequently refer to themselves in the third person — you know who we’re talking about — it wouldn’t seem self-awareness was among their most evident attributes. But as the self-help author Gretchen Rubin noted on her blog, thinking about yourself in the third person can be a direct path to self-knowledge. “Yes, I admit, this approach makes me sound a bit affected,” she wrote, “but the thing is, it really works.” Feeling depleted, she recalled, “I asked myself, ‘What’s the best medicine for Gretchen when she feels drained?’ And, when I framed the question from outside myself, I knew the answer.” Cheesy? Sure. But some of the best happiness strategies are. Although, yes, we agree, this one is probably best done silently.

IN-STOREDon’t Freeze Out Your Customers

Cooler is not always better when it comes to running air-conditioning in the summer. “People are dressed for the warmer weather and won’t browse long if it’s uncomfortable and chilly,” James Doggett, owner of Doggett Jewelry in Kingston, NH, told PETS+ sister mag INSTORE. “So turn down the air-conditioning and turn up the dehumidifier. Dry is better than too cold.”

DISPLAyDon’t Underestimate the Power of a Poster

The rule of thumb for window displays is that if your store gets foot traffic, use small props; if it gets drive-by traffic, oversized props and graphics work best. Pet Silhouette in Hobe Sound, FL, goes for the latter. It helps that they have an on-site photographer. “Our in-window posters are an eye grabber from the parking lot, and everybody can see we do “bath & go’s,” says owner Pam Sine.

MARKETINGReasons + Number = Value

When crafting marketing messages, think of how to help clients solve relevant problems, and specifically in terms of “ways,” “keys,” “secrets” or “ideas,” Ford Saeks, CEO of integrated marketing company Prime Concepts, said at an industry event. Then pair those words with a number, as in “Three keys to protecting your dog’s joints” or “Five reasons now is the time for a seasonal groom.” Adding “value to their lives” is a useful way to make a connection.

MANAGEMENTAlways Be Cheering

When it comes to managing sales people, you should never take your foot off the motivational pedal, and in particular the sharing of success stories. That’s according to a study by the University of Texas’s McComb School of Business in Austin, which found the effort put in by salespeople quickly sagged once they stopped getting inspirational messages: “On average, a sales worker pulled 3.5 fewer potential new customer profiles from the company database and made 8.4 fewer phone calls per day,” said the report, which was based on an unnamed software retailer. The researchers also found that all salespeople were motivated by success stories that focused on a person’s effort rather than their sales skills.

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SALESNegotiate Referrals

Never be scared to ask a discount seeking customer for a referral and use this to your advantage in negotiations, says Megan Crabtree, president of Crabtree Consulting. She suggests the phrasing: If I can get you to the price you’re requesting, can you send me a referral? “Eight times out of 10, the customer will say yes,” she says.

HEALTHWatch with Purpose

Approach this summer with more purpose, recommends Greg McKeown, writing in the Harvard Business Review. “That means if you decide to watch TV, really watch it. If you are having a meal, take the time to enjoy the meal.” Now go schedule some activities that ensure you fully recuperate during the rest of this summer.

SKILLS ACQUISITIONPractice Better

Practice doesn’t make perfect after all. It needs a tweak. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that one key to mastering a skill quickly is to slightly change how you practice it. Dr. Pablo A. Celnik, the senior study author, says the gains in performance, such as a speedier and more accurate completion of the task, nearly doubled among those subjects who were given the altered training sessions, compared to those in the control group, who repeated the same task, according to Lifehacker.com. While this applies particularly to motor skill development — such as playing a musical instrument or sports — it has applications for all skill acquisition. So tweak your way to mastery be it sales or learning another language or perfecting your grooming skills.

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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