Art Freedman’s ‘Nuggets’: Part II

Art Freedman’s ‘Nuggets’: Part II

Art Freedman is a prominent expert in the hardware industry. Though perhaps better known on his home turf of the US, he recently visited Australia to present a series of business seminars and workshops for retailers looking for the good oil. In this, the second part of our series, Art shares his top tips and tricks to help boost sales volumes and make making money easy.

1. Get a shopping cart or basket into the hands of a customer and double your average sale. This is a serious opportunity! Get your staff energised and set an example. Whenever you see a customer walking around with one or two items, hand them a basket. They will spend more money and linger longer in store.

2. List every service you offer. Make a flyer that tells customers you are the service capital of the world. Own services in your market. Tell everyone, even your competition, put them onto community service bulletin boards all over town.

3. Market to senior citizens – get an e-mail or home address. Go after this business aggressively. Let them know what you carry. Have a senior citizen discount day. Give them special attention. This is a largely untapped market.

4. Do not allow the same person who counts your money and deposits your money to also reconcile your check book. There is NO cash accountability in this process and you could get ripped off for large amounts of money. A couple of situations have brought this to top of mind awareness recently.

A. A long-term back office person leaves the business. A new staff member is hired. After a short period of time the new staff member starts sending in invoices to the company, the same person cuts the checks in the business, the owner signs the checks and the same staff member mails the check to his own business for merchandise that was never sent or received. Who verifies in your business that every check mailed out is for a legitimate invoice?

B. A long-term back office staff member has her daughter move back home. The daughter is involved in drugs and begins to take money from her mother. This means your staff member does not have enough money to pay the rent, but does remember that she had once shorted the deposit by a $100 and no one ever said anything or knew it had happened. Mum starts shorting every deposit. The cost to the retailers may well into six figures by the time she is eventually caught.

If you have the same person (unless it is you or your spouse) counting, depositing and reconciling your checkbook, start reconciling the checkbook yourself. Be sure you are also checking that what your computer says is supposed to be deposited in checks and cash, is in fact what is being deposited.

5. What part of customer service should be scripted in your business? How about these as a start.

A. Answering the telephone: “Good Morning this is American River Ace Hardware, Art here, how may I direct your call?”

B. Greeting the customer: Never ask a closed ended question like: “May I help you?” This will be answered with a “no”. Always ask an open ended question that will start with the word “How?” or “What?” The very best way to greet a customer is with the question. “What might I help you find today?”

C. On a price inquiry from your customer as to why you are priced a bit higher than your big box competitor: “Thank you for your input, our prices are intended to be fair. We are priced at where we need to be to offer the services we do in our community. We do appreciate the input though and I will pass it on to my manager.”

D. To a customer leaving your store with out buying anything: “What did we not have for you today?” When you do this many times you will find out that you either, had what they were looking for, had something else that would work or could do a special order.

E. On thanking a customer for their purchase: “Thank you for shopping with us, we appreciate your business. Here is my card, please call me when you get home if you have any questions.”

F. On greeting a customer at the registers: “Good morning (afternoon or evening) did you find every thing you came in for?”

G. When finishing up with a customer on a project sale: “What else do we need to get for you today?”

6. Art says: “Making money is not illegal, immoral or fattening. It’s ok to make money. As a matter of fact, it’s ok to make a lot of money. Make money, re-invest it in your business and make more. And remember, these are only a few of the hundreds if not thousands of ‘nuggets’ that can be used to help you make more money in your business.


  • Great retailers create thousands of opportunities to succeed.
  • Good retailers create hundreds of opportunities to succeed
  • Poor retailers create many excuses for why they are failing.
  • And weak retailers blame someone else for their failure.Art-Freedman