Category Management

8 Essential Sales Skills

If you haven't mastered these simple sales skills, you won't be able to sell at the highest level. Make sure you've checked them all off.Over the past 10 years, I've had in-depth conversations with more than 75 sales gurus, as well as hundreds of sales professionals and managers. Based on that experience, I have concluded that there are eight–and only eight–truly essential sales skills.If you have these skills already, fantastic. If you don't, it's time to start filling in the gaps.Read more: How to Master Any Skill1.

Time to Dump Your Old Website

Americans spent $200 billion online in 2011. The opportunity for retailers is huge--but you're not going to grab it with a DIY website.A report this week from Forrester Research confirmed what just about everybody in business already knew: Americans are buying online and they are buying a lot.The study reported that Americans spent more than $200 billion online in 2011 and projected that total would rise to $327 billion in 2016. The 2016 figure represents 9 percent of all retail sales (up from 7 percent in 2011).Among the report’s interesting findings:53 percent of Americans made an online purchase in 2011.58 percent are expected to make an online purchase in 2016.People believe they get the best deals when shopping online.Tablet devices like the iPad have spurred online impulse buying.If these stats don’t make you want to reevaluate your e-commerce efforts—and perhaps plan a redesign!—they should.An attractive, well-organized website, with a back-end that functions seamlessly and a shopping cart that makes the purchasing process as easy and intuitive as possible will do wonders for your bottom line.Ten years ago, building a quality e-commerce website was a highly expensive proposition. You had to hire an outside firm to do it. Today, businesses can use any number of open-source platforms to build a complex, yet relatively inexpensive e-commerce site.But just because you can do it yourself, should you?I say no

Declaring War on Fake FiveFingers

The Real Thing Tony Post was inundated by fake FiveFingers." />When Vibram had trouble meeting demand for its popular FiveFingers running shoes, the market became flooded with counterfeit, nearly identical, shoes. Here's how it fought back.In the spring of 2010, a pair of shoes arrived at the Franklin, Massachusetts, warehouse of Vibram USA. A customer was demanding a refund for a pair of the company's popular Five-Fingers running shoes. But the shoes, which were marred by split seams and separating soles, were fakes

4 Things Pinterest Won’t Tell You

We're not saying Pinterest won't help your business--it very well might, especially if you're in retail, design or travel. But make sure you're being smart about it.Have you heard about Pinterest, the latest social media darling? It's already surpassed 11 million user accounts and leading to no fewer than a dozen news headlines a day right now:"How Pinterest Helped Clean a House -- and Save a Marriage""Can Pinterest Save You Money?""Mitt Romney's wife gets patriotic on Pinterest"The hoopla is getting ridiculous ... and not just a little annoying.All About PinterestTo educate those still unfamiliar with Pinterest, one only has to recall high school days of yore, when high school locker doors were decorated with full-color clippings of favorite things: teen idols, sports figures, fashion looks, candy bar wrappers and tropical environs

Customer Service Stars: 4 Companies That Get It Right

Your product must be good--that's a given. But if you're going to win, it's about the experience.The best brands understand that when it comes to offering a product or service, delivering competently on the basics is just the cost of entry: It’s necessary but not sufficient.Customers have higher expectations. They’re looking for something that makes your company stand out as a little bit above average. In b-school vocabulary, these are called “customer touchpoints,” and if done poorly they can send potential buyers fleeing to other brands.Consider cell phone companies, for example.