Friday, June 27, 2014

Dressing Down to Move Up

As many of you know, Barry and I recently adopted the strategy of increasing trading post sales by being unkind to our customers. This new approach is based upon convincing research from Southern Methodist University, which indicates rude salespeople boost luxury item purchases.

Since we actually like our customers and since Priscilla refuses to participate in the program, we have had some difficulty fully implementing the new policies. Consequently, while we are uncertain whether this strategy will succeed, with full faith in the Methodists, we are not giving up.

Indeed, in our quest for enlightenment, we have uncovered additional data supporting this new business model. While pursuing our goal of improving revenue at Twin Rocks Trading Post by treating patrons with indifference, we recently discovered an article by Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

Since Barry and I are insecure about the quality of our public school education, we are typically wary of those associated with such influential institutions. Nonetheless, this particular essay captured our attention. Its premise is that conforming to social norms, rules and expectations is widely believed to advance social acceptance and status and avoid disapproval, ridicule and exclusion. Ms. Gino postulates, however, that deviating from accepted social norms has surprising benefits. She believes nonconformity frequently carries a significant social cost, and people generally assume those who do not conform are powerful enough to risk the price of violating these norms without fear of losing their position in society. Priscilla wanted to know what happens if you have no societal status to begin with. Barry and I did not understand the question, so we simply ignored her inquiry.

The Harvard investigation focuses on shopkeepers in stores selling exclusive merchandise and how they evaluate casually dressed customers compared to those who are well dressed. Apparently people in gym shorts and jean jackets are generally believed to be better prospects than those in silks and furs.

Since dressing down works for customers, Barry and I concluded it might also work for those of us on the other side of the counter. And, since our most recent initiative requires that we stop bathing, brushing our teeth, shaving and wearing deodorant, we believe dressing down can only enhance our results.

After thoroughly debating the issue, Barry and I concluded it would be most productive if we simply roll out of bed and go to work in our jammies and slippers. With the success we are sure to find, we will likely be working longer hours, so we can simply go from bed to work to bed. Aside from selling more turquoise jewelry, Navajo rugs and baskets, we figure we will save a great deal of time.

Surely this will lead to the next revolution in business practices. Barry is already imagining himself on the cover of Forbes, right next to Mark Zuckerberg. Twin Rocks Trading Post’s Business School classes begin in the fall of 2014 so get registered early. Priscilla has suggested we call it U Stink and that our motto be, “You don’t have to smell good to sell good,” and that we adopt a pig as our mascot.

With warm regards from Steve Simpson and the team;
Barry, Priscilla and Danny.

1 comment:

Kira Simpson said...

You crack me up! Just a note on your current "business plan". If you elect to continue with this particular strategy, Kira, Grange and I will have no choice but to resurrect the pigsty formerly located north of our house and relegate you to it. Love from your family