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  e-ret@iler newsletter
May 2010
Volume 11 Issue 6


Profits_Plus Solutions
Tom Shay Photo
Article of the Month

You want to be a buyer
Tom Shay

Think about how much time and money you spend attending a trade show. This month's article can give you some good ideas of how to maximize that expense and turn it into a wise investment.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

The Mom and Pop Store
by Robert Spector

I like the title of the book. Being the fourth generation from a 'mom and pop' business, I wear the badge quite proudly.

I also like the way I found the book, or I should say the way the book found me. I received a letter announcing the book and asking if I would like to have a free copy sent to me and anyone on our staff.

That was just brilliant marketing. Not because they picked me; I suspect they picked a lot of people they knew worked within the industry.

I also like the book because of the story it shares. I have just started reading the book and it looks like it is going to be most enjoyable. Robert Spector also wrote The Nordstrom Way.

We have more books to suggest for your reading. Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.

e-ret@iler Conversations


We have a lot of new information on the e-ret@iler conversations blog. We invite you to add your comments, ideas, and observations.

Visit our e-ret@iler conversations, find the category of interest and post your comments, questions or best practices. You may also go directly to one of our categories by clicking on one of the links below.

  1. Advertising
  2. Employee Issues
  3. Financial Management
  4. General Discussion
  5. Merchandising
  6. Sales Techniques
  7. Vendor Issues

And you can follow my daily posts on Twitter at ftomshay

Contact Us

Profits Plus
P.O. Box 1577
St. Petersburg, FL
33731 USA
(727) 464-2182 Voice
(727) 898-3179 Fax

Send Tom an e-mail:
Send our staff an e-mail:

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Business Advisory

This January issue of the e-ret@iler newsletter starts the 11th year of our getting together on the first day of each month to talk about business ideas. I know that today you get so much more junk mail each month, and I thank you for inviting me into your business and your life for a few minutes each month. It is my hope that I have been able to share ideas with you that bring additional profit to your business as well as making your job within your business a bit easier.

For many of you, December is the month in which you will have the most foot traffic in your business. While it is a good idea in any month, this can be a great time for you to implement the strategy of making sure that every customer leaves your business with something in hand. It can be a coupon that is good for their next visit to your business, but it can also be a print copy of your newsletter (like we always did in our business), or it can be a page telling your customer about the new products or services your business is offering. You can also tell them about following your business on Facebook or Twitter.

Definitely, you want each customer to go home with something in your business that is going to be some form of an invitation for them to do business with you again.


The December conference call is going to be Thursday, the 17th at 8:00 pm eastern time. The topic for the evening is planned to be around the issue of what we should and what we should not be saying to a customer. Let me give you a hint of a couple of the issues.

I think it is wrong to say, "Can I help you?" and I think it is wrong to tell a customer, "I'm sorry" unless there is something after that statement that goes toward resolving what it is that you are apologizing about. I know I have some very strict ideas about what to, and what not to say to customers; so I am especially inviting all of those that disagree with me to join in and take a stand on their position.

The topic is also in hope that you are making a New Year resolution to renew your commitment, or start a commitment toward a continuing education program for your staff. Believe me, it will be one of the best investments you can ever make in your business.

As always, the conference call will be recorded for those that would like to listen to it again or at a time that is more convenient for them.


Speaking of recording, we are in the process of making all of the previous conference call recordings and all of the 35 plus lessons that are already on the website available in mp3 format so that you can download them for your ipod or other similar player. All of the recordings are free; help yourself to them and enjoy.


As I finish this last newsletter of the calendar year 2009, I want to share a couple of thoughts with you. I have always believed that my audience is made up of the greatest people in the world. Many of you own a business and that requires a lot of bravery to take that bold step and that gamble every day.

All of you represent businesses that work hard and strive to make a difference in your community. You value your customers as your friends, and your employees as members of your extended family.

From my experience of speaking and working with you, I have found you to be very kind, concerned and giving individuals; I am always amazed at how you express your concern for those within your community. As I close the last e-ret@iler for the year, let me share with you a story that was shared with me from one of you recently.

A small petite elderly woman came in looking a little lost and unsure, so I greeted her and asked if I could be of any assistance. She told me she was looking for a bottle of red wine and asked if I could help her pick one.

I then proceeded with all the questions to help in her selection. After a few of my questions she interrupted me and said 'We are having spaghetti and I don't care about the price. My daughter is here to see me, she is terminal, and she has brain cancer.'

Needless to say at first I was speechless, and then I told her I was very sorry to hear that. We then selected a wine that was mid-tier, not top dollar as to take advantage of the situation, but not low end either.  

As we got to the checkout counter I chose to share with her that I had lost my 14 year old son 3 years ago to brain cancer. After that, a fifteen minute conversation took place that allowed her to share and ask questions of me.  Her daughter was here to see her mother for the last time. 

While handing back her change I noticed her eyes were welled with tears. As I was thanking her, she came up to me and gave me a hug. Not a quick hug, but a firm long hug, and I hugged her back. As she let go she looked at me and said, 'No, thank you dear,' smiled and went out the door.

I don't know if I will ever see this lady again. But after she left, I realized I became a part of their lives - I just selected the wine for their last supper.

As I see it.... As we all go through our day to day routines at work, our customers are never "two people the same" and our customer service should be no different.   We should be prompt, courteous, a good listener, observer and kind, and use these skills to the individualism of the customer. 

Thank all of you for being who you are, and for what you do. I realize it is not 'politically correct' to do so, but let me close with a 'Merry Christmas to you and yours. May your holidays be special, and may God bless.

Speaking of not being politically correct, I received this video cartoon today. I hope you enjoy it.

Big Box Mart

Internet Tip of The Month

The sales to inventory ratio

Ever hear of this ratio? Most people haven't and many of those that have heard of it will remember it as something a banker or accountant mentioned without offering any explanation of what it refers to or why you would even want to know what it is about. Past that, few people know how to calculate it and more importantly, what to do to improve it.

The name of the ratio, sales to inventory ratio, is exactly what this calculation does. It lets you know how well your inventory is producing sales. With challenging economic times, you do want to see this number increase, but there is a limit. That limit occurs when you and your staff are finding that too frequently you are telling customers that the item they are looking for is temporarily out of stock.

And as you make the sales to inventory ratio increase, you are very likely to see that the return on the investment you have in your business is going to increase as well.

Questions? Send them to me. And here is a link to see how to perform this calculation using the free calculator on the Profits Plus website.

Sales to inventory ratio

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
Have a New Year Resolution contest

Since we started this month with an article about your having a New Year resolution, let's stay with the theme as we offer the power promoting idea for December. This idea came from someone that attended a presentation I gave on the topic and within their business it has been a December event for many years.

You can count on the idea that after Christmas, the media is going to begin talking about the New Year resolution that people are going to be making. Of course it will include everything from weight loss to stop smoking to exercising and all kinds of other creative ideas. This is where you and your business come in.

This business invited their customers to share what their New Year resolution would be. The business made it a contest in which they awarded prizes for the most unusual, most difficult, most likely to succeed and other categories that their staff was able to think of. In awarding prizes, the best prize is always a gift card or certificate to your business.

In succeeding years, the business found that one of their customers was a reporter who expressed interest in what the entries were. To get further publicity, the business tweaked the contest to let customers know that there was going to be some press about the contest and what the entries were. This was so that with any person having a very unique New Year resolution, they might want to tweak the resolution so that people that read or saw the contest in the media would not know who the person was that made that specific resolutions.

Of course, in getting the publicity the business experienced an increase in the number of people that participated. If you decide to make this promotion a part of your business, you will want to make sure the entry form is designed so that the participant puts their contact information on each entry so that you can increase the size of your customer contact list.

You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.

Profits Plus Resource Center


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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179