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If you’re a business owner, encourage your team to think outside the box and rely on common sense. The same goes for you, as the owner, if you want to see your business grow.
Most of us started out working for someone else. And, whether it was for a small mom & pop owned business or a major corporation, we had rules we needed to follow. In many cases, these were showcased in an Employee Handbook. Of course, if everyone used common sense, these Employee Handbooks wouldn’t be so … uh …necessary.
This past weekend, I attended what we refer to as “The Jewelry Show.” I’ve been going to this event in Las Vegas for more than 25 years, twice a year, so it’s not that I need anything. Instead, it’s a great chance to visit with my friend Ann Marie. We’re there when the doors open, spend a few hours shopping, then go out for a fab lunch and get caught up. We mostly buy fashion jewelry that looks great, is trendy, and is fun to wear. I also shop for corporate gifts, including key pendants, which I give to each of the experts in my films.
It’s sad to say that the show is not what it used to be. The entire merchandise show, of which the jewelry show is a part, used to take over the main convention center, the Sands Expo Center, and the Mirage Convention Center. The past few years, they’ve managed to cram what is left of it solely into the convention center.
This last show was very disappointing. Many of our favorite vendors are no longer coming to the show. Others have switched their business model to wholesale purchases only, often with minimums ranging from $300.00 to $1,000.00. Ann Marie and I decided to visit our favorite vendor, whom I’ll call VaVoom, who was now set up in the wholesale area of the show. They require buyers to spend a minimum of $300.00.
After looking over their merchandise and evaluating our options, Ann Marie and I decided to ask if we could buy $200.00 worth of merchandise from VaVoom. We figured we could each spend $100.00, enough to get the items we wanted. By going in together, we’d come close to their minimum required purchase.
(We may have even whined a little.)
There was no one at their booth, they had a poor location, and they weren’t exactly turning away business. We wouldn’t be taking them away from bigger customers. We were their only option at that moment. After some back and forth, they finally agreed to the lower buy-in. Ann Marie and I were thrilled, in spite of the fact we’d have to spend more than we wanted to, plus we had to order at least three of anything we wanted.
By the time we were done, we’d spent $280.00, just $20.00 shy of the “official” minimum.
Think about this: if they’d refused us by sticking to their minimum purchase rule, they would have lost a sale over a negligible $20.00 difference. Instead, by respecting the rules but then choosing to use common sense, VaVoom was able to increase their sales and gain new WHOLESALE customers, since we will now continue to join forces to shop with them at future shows.
Plus, as one member of their sales team was busy with us, guess what happened? Other customers started stopping by. We had created a buzz for them, making them look busy and successful. By the time we were done, all four reps were writing orders. No one wants what no one ELSE wants, but everyone wants what everyone ELSE wants! We changed the energy in their booth and, before long, they were hustling to keep up and take care of new, bigger wholesale customers.
Rules are necessary, but so is common sense. We all have to be willing to bend the rules once in a while, especially if it makes sense to do so. Employees need the freedom and permission to think on their feet and make an occasional judgment call. If you’re a business owner, encourage your team to think outside the box and rely on common sense. The same goes for you, as the owner, if you want to see your business grow. Most people respond incredibly well to knowing their leadership trusts them, leads by example, and has confidence in their team’s ability.
– Robin Jay