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Get Rid of the Stone Face When Pitching to Your Client

You’ll find this sales pointer plus a couple of brainstorming exercises in our March Tip Sheet for print pros.

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INSPIRATION
Be an Idea Machine

Write down 10 ideas a day. “Do it for six straight months and see what happens. It actually turns into a superpower,” says serial entrepreneur and author James Altucher. To collect his ideas, Altucher buys 1000 waiter’s pads at a time from restaurant supply websites (10 cents a pad). “They’re great for meetings because I have to keep concise lists, and they’re always good conversation starters.”

BRAINSTORMING
The Power of One

Not making any headway with your brainstorming sessions? Go it alone, writes Seth Godin in Free Prize Inside, citing a study that found a team of four people, each brainstorming alone, came up with twice as many ideas as when they tried it together. Best approach? Assign team members to brainstorm alone, then bring everybody together to share – and critique – the ideas generated.

PRODUCTIVITY
Leave the Mess for Now

If you typically feel the urge to straighten your desk before you can start on meaningful work, The Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman suggests a simple rule: Reschedule. “If your job permits it, schedule a daily deck-clearing hour – but at 4.30 p.m., not 9 a.m.,” he says. “It’s time to abandon the secret pride we procrastinators feel in having completed 25 small tasks by 10 a.m. If they’re not the right tasks, that’s not really something to be proud of.” Instead, Burkeman recommends the timeworn advice to work on your most important project for the first hour of each workday.

CREATIVITY
Never Say Never

The word “no” is not a word that is allowed at Signarama Brighton Colorado. “My staff will tell new employees, ‘Never tell Dawn ‘No,’” says Dawn Homa, owner. “There are always solutions to every situation or problem. You just have to think through it and come up with the worst-case scenario. Then, think through all the possibilities to find success. Just because we haven’t done it, doesn’t mean we can’t do it.”

SALES
No More Stone Face

Negotiating tip from Selling Power magazine: Forget the stone face. When a customer balks at your price or asks for a discount, go ahead and cringe. The flinch will put your opposition on the defensive and force him or her to try to justify the request or offer a concession. Don’t appear terrified, merely surprised.

MATH
Why Didn’t We Learn This in Fifth Grade?

If quickly working out percentages, such as a 4 percent discount on a $75 item, trips you up, keep this hack in mind: It’s often easier to flip the sum. So, 75% of $4 — even we got this — is $3! 18% of $50 (50% of $18 = $9), 14% of $300 (300% of $14 = $42) Genius, right?

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