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If you are in sales do you carry a flashlight

Many years ago I attended a sales workshop in Arizona. It didn't take much to convince me to leave Toronto Canada in the middle of winter and go to Scottsdale. Little did I know how much that trip would change my outlook on selling.

Let me digress for a moment. Upon arrival at the hotel I was immediately impressed. A beautiful setting, first class service, lovely room, and sun, lots of warm sunshine! The next day, regrettably we were indoors for the first of three days in a meeting room, 17 of us, indoors in Scottsdale. On the breaks many of us would rush to stand outside and enjoy the sun. It was on one of these breaks we were standing at a side entrance to the hotel when a large number of very tall men approached. Now I'm not a tall person. I stand 5'7" first thing in the morning before gravity sets in. Turns out these "giants" were the San Antonio Spurs basketball team in town to play the Phoenix Suns. They were using a side entrance to avoid fans at the front of the hotel. I don't think I came up to the belly button of one of them!

But back to the sales workshop. Our facilitator had a captivating Texan drawl, causing me to listen intently to his stories and tips based on years of experience. The content was terrific, the group really bonded, and the three days evaporated. Towards the end of the final day I just had to ask a question of our workshop leader who had so impressed all of us. I was about to have one of those "ah huh" moments in life.

I asked "If you could share only one piece of advice on how to be a top sales person what would that be?" I'll never forget as he went into a pensive stance, holding his elbow while putting his forefinger to his lips, "What a tough question." He then paused for maybe a minute or two, it seemed longer.

What he shared was so profound I have added it to my repertoire of sales truisms. It has shaped my philosophy and behavior ever since. He started by cautioning us that in the sales profession we run the risk of developing egos bigger than the moon. Top sales people think of themselves as super stars and want to be in the spotlight. Confidence he said is a good thing, and recognition at the appropriate time and place is important in fact necessary, but an unchecked ego can do damage. And here it came, he paused and with conviction added, "If there is only one piece of advice I'd ask you remember, it is to always shine the spotlight on your customer. They are the most important person, not you!" The room went silent. Our egos on pause, we reflected hard on what we just heard.

For some reason my thoughts turned to the Spurs who, two days earlier had walked past us. They play under the spotlight all the time. Fans pay to enjoy their athletic excellence on the court. We want them to be in the spotlight, we want them to succeed, and we want them to play to win.

In sales, we're not playing basketball. It's a different game, and it's one of the best games in the world. If the sales arena is where you play and you want to win, remember these words of wisdom.

Always shine the spotlight on your customer.

What s the objective of your 1st sales appointment

Have you defined what you want to happen at the conclusion of your 1st appointment? Only then can you actually set up a proficient sales methodology to achieve the defined objective more times than not. And with a pre-defined objective to your 1st appointment you can (1) set a realistic benchmark of success and (2) measure the outcome. It becomes part of your sales performance scorecard.

What is a 1st appointment to proposal ratio? It’s simply how many times you gain commitment with your prospect to take the next step, as outlined by your sales process.

Depending on your solutions-based product or service and your sales methodology, your ‘Next step’ may be one of the following:

An on-site demonstration

A trial period of your “widget”

A tour of your operations or manufacturing facility

A no-obligation survey

An evaluation and side-by-side comparison, apples to apples

A solution-based evaluation, apples to oranges

Whatever your ‘Gateway’ is, be sure to attach a business rule and definition to it, and then most importantly measure it.

For example, let’s look at a telecommunications company that provides voice, data and wireless services to their customer base. The objective of their first appointment is to gain commitment from their Target prospect to perform a diagnostic survey of their current services as it relates to their overall business imperatives and financial success factors for the current year and bring them back a ‘Blueprint’ of ROI based solutions.

With their 1st appointment objective ‘Gateway’ defined, they come to a decision to measure that gateway by having the target prospect sign a release form that enables them to contact their current service provider and request a specification report around line, data and feature connectivity.

The advantage of defining and measuring the first ‘Gateway’ is that it will provide you with a ‘Reality Mirror’ of how competent you are with the initial phase of your sales process. So if you have set a realistic benchmark company-wide of a 60% 1st Appointment to Proposal ratio and you have individuals below it, you can pro-actively provide them with targeted coaching and support tools to help them achieve the standard benchmark. And that drives more revenue.

If I walk into a sales division and diagnose their 1st appointment to proposal ratio is below 60%, I immediately know up to 5 specifics:

1. They are not calling on the Highest appropriate level of contact

2. They are not calling on the right type of company by industry or application

3. They have not defined a 1st appointment objective (A ‘Gain Commitment’ Gateway)

4. They have ‘no message’ or are poor at communicating the message

5. They are selling their services instead of selling the diagnostic steps in the Process and backing it up with 3rd party validations

The first two factors are directly related with whom you decide to call on.

You probably know who uses your product or service, but you might need some business acumen training to better understand the critical financial success indicators of your prospect parallel to their Front Burner business objectives.

More than often not, a low 1st appointment to proposal ratio is related to a process of not calling on the highest appropriate level of contact. By that I mean understanding the level of responsibility within a company that has the most input into a buying decision. Who has the ‘ownership’? Who is at the ‘need to know’ level? It may be more than one level or title, but it is important to resolve to a top-down selling process.

A top-down selling process will raise your 1st appointment to proposal conversion rates because you are in front of the appropriate person from the start. That person has enough clout to sign on to the next step or to legitimately dismiss the process. If you are dealing with a subordinate level, to the degree of which you are will be the degree your conversion rate will expeditiously decrease.

There was a start-up company in a recently de-regulated industry that had accumulated 300 million dollars in investor money to build a business. Their primary sales distribution channel was a direct sales team. They decided to retain a sales training firm to set up all sales strategies, appropriate processes and training to execute to their revenue goals. Interesting enough, they promoted just the opposite of a top down selling process.

They promoted a strategy and process of initiating contact with business receptionists. That’s right, the nice folks who sit in the lobby to answer and direct all the inbound calls. They felt if you promote yourself to these receptionists, flatter then with brand reference gifts, they would eventually lead you to the right person of authority to look at the sales proposition. After all, they know all the names and extensions, and who has what title.

I guess you could call it a bottom up selling process.

At the same time, I was heading up a direct sales team competing directly with their services in the same geographical area. We followed the sales strategies and processes I am outlining.

Our competitor’s sales cycle was longer and their average revenue per sale was smaller. Two years later, we had grown 509% and were acquired by a national company. That was the goal.

Our competitor filed chapter 11, let everyone go, and liquidated all assets. End of story.

The level of responsibility you decide to call on directly effects your 1st appointment to proposal ratio.

Here are (8) diagnostic tips to improve your ‘1st Appointment to Proposal’ ratio.

1. Employ an ROI-based lead generator system that contains data recognition, classification, and custom extraction specific to your business offering

2. Internally define what the objective of the 1st appointment is; a demo, a site visit, a survey or a proposal, set a benchmark of success and universally measure it.

3. Promote your Product/service offering in a way to provide a measurable soft or hard dollar ROI over time.

4. Call on the ‘Highest appropriate level of contact’ for your offering; one that that has fiscal authority if a proposal make business sense.

5. Use a diagnostic approach in your sales appointment to understand what your Prospect’s business objectives are in the short and long term.

6. Get some ‘Business Acumen’ training to become proficient in understanding how fiscal people measure their business and support your business offering with relevant terms such as ROI, IRR and Payback Period.

7. Don’t sell your product or service on the 1st appointment. Promote ‘the diagnostic steps of your process’ to evaluate the opportunity to increase performance, efficiencies or reduce costs.

8. Utilize a software proposal generator (non-Boiler-plate) that develops custom proposals specific to your Prospect’s required deliverables and how your solutions will facilitate them getting there sooner rather than later. Show examples during your 1st appointment process.

Defining a specific objective for your 1st appointment, setting a realistic benchmark of achievement and measuring the outcome will begin to get you on track to an 80%+ 1st appointment to Proposal ratio.

Then support the sales objective by developing or outsourcing quality tools tied to technology and best practices to allow more of your sales employees to achieve superior benchmark results.

A sales resume is your ultimate sale your skills and experience are your pitch

The toughest of all resumes to write is a sales resume. Basically, the employer is looking for a person who can sell himself through the resume first.

Every employer is looking for that specific set of skilled sales executives who will determine their next quarter sales and drive their growth. As a candidate you will want to win the employers' heart just with your resume. Minute details can be exaggerated or big failures can be hidden by a good sales person. Also, any employer will be expecting a sales executive to possess reasonable learnability and good convincing skills. A good sales resume will convey these messages directly or indirectly.

Basically, your resume should include the following information:

A clear cut career and job objective which shows your sense of direction to the employer.

Your resume should have the names of each of your employers and your corresponding job titles.

Give a brief description about the employer like what they are doing, if they are not well known.

As a sales person, include your sales results and targets in a highlighted manner.

The number of staff that you manage in your team or company in general.

Include your overall roles and responsibilities in planning and budgetary matters in your department or company in general.

Include your sales responsibilities with some description of what you sell and the markets in which you sell your products or the concepts and the type of clients that you targeted.

If you had budgetary responsibilities, specify some of the important projects that you have worked on and whether you completed the projects on budget and on time.

Include, if you have introduced new sales procedures, practices and techniques which helped or enhanced in improving sales.

Mention how you improved the efficiency and productivity within your department or the organization in general.

Mention how you have reduced costs and saved money in your department or the organization in general.

Highlight any other achievements that have benefited your department and obviously your organization.

Sales mindset vs. sales training

Picture the announcer in the middle of the ring broadcasting - "In this corner, wearing the red shorts we have the challenger, weighing 217 pounds, winner of this year's collegiate championship, introducing Sales Mindset. Defending the long-standing domination of this event, winner of 35 title bouts, defending heavyweight champion, weighing 224 pounds, in the black shorts, please welcome Sales Training."

Can you imagine two heavy weights like Sales Training and Sales Mindset squaring off in the ring? It might be one exciting sparing match. Both are critical to ensuring sales professionals get to, and remain at the top of their game. Which is most important?

Sales training is a very broad category that includes everything from sales process, product knowledge, dealing with objections, open and closing skills, prospecting, territory management, listening skills, networking, presentation skills, and funnel administration, to name some of the assorted topics. This is not a short list. The sales rep would ignore any of these items at his or her peril. Many would be correct to think sales training would rank right up there, perhaps being the hands-on bet if you were to wager who would win the match.

Sales training provides knowledge around specific topic areas a sales rep needs to be proficient at their job. There is no point going out to sell, not knowing your product, the process to book the sale, how to deal with client concerns, or where you should be going to find a prospect. Most companies invest heavily in sales training, especially with new sales representatives. They can't afford to despatch the company's ambassadors poorly equipped. It is in their best interest to train them well.

Sales mindset is perhaps lesser known, less discussed, and a less visible contender. In fact, many sales forces don't pay much attention to the psychology of selling. Some sales leadership survived their selling careers being told, "Activity is everything", and when the activity wasn't there, the sales manager reached for a bigger stick. Times have changed. Today we have a much better understand of the sales psyche. Focus, confidence and motivation are what I refer to as "below the line" subjects, collectively referred to as mindset. Sales mindset development is a specialized area critical for success.

Sales mindset has evolved from cognitive behavioral psychology. It suggests what we are thinking about today will determine our reality tomorrow. Research has found that successful sales people are more likely to engage in constructive thinking while unsuccessful sales people are prone to think in counter-productive ways. The best sales people are effective thinkers. They think in a way that helps them perform at an optimal level.

So will the red shorts or the black shorts win? In the perfect world, our match would end a draw. Let us assume the recruitment and selection process has filtered for sales competencies. The learning and development teams today are right to begin with sales training. The reps need to understand the company's sales process, the products, and acquire the requisite selling skills.

Once the sales training is covered, the rep has had an opportunity to practice and become proficient. At this point, it is appropriate to turn development efforts to understanding and leveraging sales mindset. Leaning how to become an effective thinker and align ones thinking with the thinking of top performing sales professionals can lead to new levels of sales success.

Professional athletes and sports teams have long understood and valued the concept of leveraging mindset. In any competitive environment, it can be a challenge to stay optimistic, focused, motivated and productive day in and day out. Once they have mastered the skills of their sport, they continue to practice and practice. They complement their physical activity with their mental activity to reach new heights. The same holds true for sales professionals.

In summary, there really isn't a winner or a loser here. It is more a question of sequencing. It is safe to suggest the new sales representative begin with sales training, and once the basic activities and competencies are mastered, they move onto developing their sales mindset.

Sales training and sales mindset can combine to be powerful allies in sales success.

Tips to sell in a buyer s market

The experts say that it is no longer a seller's market. This doesn't mean that it will be hard to sell, but you might need to make the extra effort to get your house to move faster. By completing a few easy steps, you should be able to get your house sold in the optimal amount of time.

1. Pick a realistic price. Buyers are learning to be more cautious when it comes to investing their money in a new home. With prices leveling off a bit, they want to know that they are making a wise choice. Be practical and choose a price that reflects the current market, not the market six months ago.

Tip: It is recommended that you list your price at or below the competitive market price. (e. g. If your neighbors are asking $400,000, list your home at $395,000 to generate interest.)

2. Go the extra mile. You can attract more buyers by providing an incentive. Gone are the days when people are willing to pay more for less. Buyers are going to be more cautious and sensible about their purchase. You can make them feel like they are getting a good deal.

Tip: You can offer to pay the buyer's closing costs as a perk of the sale. Or you can be flexible with the length of escrow and willing to fix items in the home inspection report.

3. Spruce up the place. Spending a little money to improve the appearance of your house can work magic when it comes to attracting a buyer.

Tip: Fix that wobbly doorknob, plant a new flowerbed, or put on a fresh coat of paint to give your house a fresh and new appearance.

4. Clean, clean, clean. Make sure your house is always clean and pleasing to the buyer. Remember that they are most likely going to be looking in closets, opening the oven door and peeking in showers. You want to show your house in the best possible light.

Tip: Polish the hardwood floors, clean the tile grout, scrub walls, dust high shelves to provide your house with a sparkly appearance.

These are not foolproof methods for a quick sale, but they can give you a leg up on the competition. It's important to show that you are keeping the buyer in mind and that you want to provide a fair sale. That can go far in today's real estate market.

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How to boost your online sales by 50-120 in the next 7 days

"Sales" are the life blood and driving force of your business and are what keep your business and employees(if you have any) going, whether your business is online or offline, moving you closer to your desired goals set for that year because without "Sales" your business would siese to exist.

This is a 'Fact' and anyone reading this right now knows it.

Now, for the purpose of this article, I'm going to be strictly focusing on "Online Sales" and how you can BOOST them by 50-120% in the next 7 days by simply implementing this one strategy.

YES... I'm not joking. This really can be done if you know how and are willing the learn the necessary 'Steps' in order to get it done.

All the TOP Internet marketers are using this strategy to build their online empires effortlessly, and you too can do the same.

Not only will this strategy build your online empire and BOOST your online sales, it is also one of the most POWERFUL traffic generating tactics on the Internet for ANY business out there.

Okay. I hope by now I have your attention.

Now, we all know that if we don't promote our business or businesses online, whether it's a Product, Service or Business Opportunity, and get it infront of your target market, our business would simply disappear to no existance.

Can we agree on that?

I thought so.

With that said, there are several marketing tactics that we as Internet marketers can employ online like, Articles, Pay-Per-Clicks, SEO, Blogs, eMail, Traffic Exchanges, just to name a few, to use to get our Products, Services or Business Opportunity infront of our target market in order to make a "Sale" or enroll a NEW referral.

All these methods do take time to learn and time to implement. Some do cost money and depending on your marketing budget, might not get you the desired results you were hoping for.

The good news is the strategy I'm about to share with you will take all that away, though there is always some time and learning involved, and will build you an online sales force that will start sending your website Hundreds, if not, Thousands of qualified visitors to your website, costing you Nothing, and bringing in those much needed "Sales".

Now, if you've been online for any length of time then you've probably heard of what I'm about to mention, if not, then your in for a real treat.

Here it is... the most POWERFUL marketing tactic available online for generating Hundreds, if not, Thousands of targeted visitors to your website and BOOST your sales by up to 50-120% in the next 7 days is an...

... Affiliate Program!

For those of you who don't know what a Affiliate Program is it's simply a way for companies to extend and distribute their products and services through a Virtual Sales Force made up of any number of any kind of other web sites.

This is VERY powerful strategy used by almost all or anybody serious about their business and when implemented properly could send your sales through the roof.

Simply put, by having your own Affiliate Program in place it gives you the ability to put Joint Ventures together, find and recruit affiliates, or even better, SUPER Affiliates who will market your Product, Service or Business Opportunity at their expense, costing you nothing, in exchange for a cut of the profits, which is usually a percentage or set price.

Point being, the more affiliates you find and recruit, the BIGGER your Sales Force will be, sending you Hundreds, if not, Thousands of qualified targeted visitors to your website which is what you need in order to make "Sales".

It's not such a bad trade off, wouldn't you agree?

Just imagine for a moment if you had just 100 affiliates working Day and Night promoting your Product, Service or Business Opportunity, sending your website traffic that you had to do nothing to get and are bringing you in those much needed Sales and/or Referrals to reach your set goals.

Can you see it?

For some of you this might be a BIG step, while for others, this just might be what you've be looking for to take your online business to the next level.

It's now up to you to make a decision on whether or not this is something you want to pursue and guarantee once you get all the facts, you'll agree.

I truly hope you benefited from this article and hope it opened your eyes to what you might want to consider for your business in the coming months ahead.

8 great interview questions to help you find the right candidate

1) Do you have written goals you want to accomplish and if so, tell me about them? You are looking for indications of maturity, focus, planning ability and desire for achievement.

2) How did you earn your first paycheck, how old were you, and what did you do with the money? With this question you are probing to check their work ethic.

3) What are the top three leadership traits that you look for in a manager? With this question you are attempting to gauge their expectation and ascertain their preferred management style.

4) Have you ever failed at something and if so, why did you fail and what did you learn from the experience? This question lends itself to a discussion on resiliency, personal responsibility and tendencies under pressure.

5) Everyone has strengths and weaknesses as employees. What are your strong points for this position? This question gives them the opportunity to tell you what assets they bring to the table and how they see themselves fitting into your organization.

6) What is the one thing you would improve about yourself? This question gives you an indication of his or her self - assessment capability.

7) Other than family members, who has been the greatest influence in your life and why?

8) If you were to fail in this business, what do you think the reason would be?

Use these questions as a guide and add to them as you wish. by having a set list of questions it helps you move the interview process through efficiently and effectively. Based on the candidates' answers to these and other questions you may provide, you'll have a good idea if you're ready to take the next step with this person.

Good luck

Get your e-book to your customers

Well, you've finished writing and editing your e-book, so now it's time to sell it. And when you sell it, you have to get it to your readers as quickly as possible.

Much of the attraction of e-books is that they can be bought and received instantly. There is (or should be) no shipping delay. Within minutes of reading your great sales copy, someone should be able to purchase and download your e-book on the spot.

If your business is not set up for e-commerce, someone else who is set up for it will get your sale. If you think you can just wait to get an e-mail order and reply with your e-book as an attachment, then you just don't get it. So forget completely about taking phone orders or fax orders for your e-books.

Instant e-book delivery is the way to go. Not only is the customer a happier customer because your e-book can be delivered on the spot, but you save yourself printing, shipping, and postage costs.

To deliver your e-book on the spot, you will need to set up your business for e-commerce. This means you need a shopping cart. I use Kick Start Cart (http://www. KickStartCart. com) to sign up for your own account or to get more information about this great system. You can also get a free e-book on how to choose a good shopping cart and delivery system by visiting the following website: http://HowtoUseaShoppingCart. com

As a bonus, when you have your shopping system established and it's ready to go, you can use it on an infinite number of websites, to sell an infinite variety of e-books. The more sites you configure with your shopping system, the cheaper your costs are per site.

You should know that you can sign-up with services that will sell your e-books for you, but the smart money is on using a one-stop shopping system on your own sites. You can configure them easily to deliver your e-book and you can start pulling in sales and giving customers what they want, when they want it.

How to write a successful business proposal

The words " business proposal " are expected by any sales representative, marketing or public relations person. Even if writing a business proposal doesn't represent a very pleasant activity, marketing reprezentatives are happy to do it as they see a potential business opportunity.

The best business proposal is made by having direct contact with the client. However, there are situation in which direct contact with the client is not possible. In this case, some suggestions are required.

Things you need to take into consideration before sending a business proposal :

1. Start by writing a business proposal by creating a short and convincing summary of the document in question

2. concentrate more on the results rather than process and methods. A client will buy tools and methods only when they are convinced that you can obtain the results they want.

3. Be generous with your ideas and show your inventivity.

4. The length of the business proposal doesn't matter much. What matters is quality! Business proposals are accepted based on their quality.. not quantity.

5. The contens of the business plan needs to reffer to the client and solving the client's problem.

6. Check and recheck if all information written in the business plan are valid and to the point.

7. Pay attention to the smallest details, stay away from stereotypes, use good quality paper and make sure you send your business plan on time.

8. After you write the business plan, wait on day and pay more attention to it, read it again and again until you are satisfied.

9. Write a real business plan based on what you actually can offer to the potential client. This will help avoid having unsatisfied clients and unpaid bills!

Writing a business plan is necessary. A well written business plan can play a decisive role in winning a project, while a bad written business plan can lead to failure, even when everything concerning your sales activities went excellent.

Increase your sales online using follow-up autoresponder email marketing

Increase Your Sales Online Using Follow-Up Autoresponder Email Marketing

The following article covers a topic that has recently moved to center stage--at least it seems that way. If you've been thinking you need to know more about it, here's your opportunity. An autoresponder course is a group of articles or information set up to be sent out separately over a set period of time by e-mail. People just e-mail your autoresponder to receive the free course and it is sent out automatically over time. You can find free follow-up autoresponders to use by typing it into any search engine. Below are ten ways to use them to increase your traffic and sales.

1. Offer your course as a free bonus for purchasing one of your main products or services. People will buy your products quicker when you offer a bonus.

2. When you write and give away a free course you will become known as an expert. This'll gain people's trust and they will buy your main product quicker.

3. Allow others to add your free course to their own product packages. Their customers will see your ad when they purchase.

4. People love to get freebies. A free autoresponder course is perfect. They will visit your web site to get the free valuable information.

5. Allow people to receive your course for free, if they give you the e-mail addresses of 3 to 5 friends or associates that would be interested.

6. Allow other people to give away your free course. This will increase the number of people that will see your ad in the course.

7. You could trade advertising space in your course for other forms of advertising. It could be banner ads, e-zine ads, web site ads, etc.

8. Gain new leads by having people sign up and give you their contact info before they can receive your autoresponder course.

9. Give away the autoresponder course as a free gift to your current customers as a way of letting them know you appreciate their business. It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of Follow-Up Autoresponder Email Marketing is no exception. Keep reading to get more fresh news about Follow-Up Autoresponder Email Marketing.

10. Give away the course to people that join your affiliate program. This will increase the number of people that sign-up.

11. Make money selling advertising space in your course. You could charge for small classified ads or sponsor ads.

12. Get free advertising by submitting your course to freebie web sites. This will increase the number of people that will see your ads in the course.

13. Make money by selling the reprint rights to those people that would like to sell the course. You could make more money by selling the master rights.

14. Hold a contest on your web site so people could win your course. You will get free advertising when you submit your contest to free contest directories.

15. You'll gain valuable referrals from people telling others about your course. Word of mouth advertising can be very effective.

16. Make money cross promoting your course with other people's products or services. This technique will double your marketing effort

17. Increase your e-zine subscribers by giving your course to people that subscribe to your e-zine. This'll give people an incentive to subscribe.

18. Allow your affiliates to use the free course as a promotional tool for your product. Each lesson could include their affiliate link.

19. Promote other businesses affiliate programs you join with your free autoresponder course. Include a different affiliate link on each lesson.

20. Advertise a different product or service on each lesson. If you only have one, use different emotional response ads on each lesson.

There's a lot to understand about Follow-Up Autoresponder Email Marketing. We were able to provide you with some of the facts above, but there is still plenty more to write about in subsequent articles. http://www. internet-marketing-ez. com/

How to boost your sales in 4 easy steps

: To some people, selling just comes easily; it happens naturally. They get out there and within a few hours they have a full order book. How do they do it? The key to successful selling is finding a formula or framework that works, practicing it and sticking with it. One such framework that has been around for many years and proven to work is A. I.D. A. It’s a great 4 step way to boost your sales and is easy to put into practice. What does it stand for? Attention Interest Desire Action Whether you are selling face-to-face, by direct mail or web site, this formula will increase your chances of converting prospects into customers. In this article we’ll look at how following this formula can boost your sales letter responses and increase your conversion rates on your web site. Attention When people receive sales letters or visit web sites, their first action is to scan the page to see it applies to them. Before people will go into the body of your sales letter or web site, they have to see something that grabs their attention. There has to be a clear prompt that will make them sit up and want to read in more depth. The way to get them past the scanning stage and elicit attention is to come up with a bold opening statement or headline that will really get them wanting to know more! Your opening statement or headline has to include a benefit for your prospect and be compelling enough for them to want to know more information. Great attention-grabbing headlines can substantially boost your sales. Here are some examples: • ‘The Secrets of Doubling Your Profits In One Year’ • ‘How to Get More Sales and Increase Your Leisure Time’ • ‘Finally Revealed – The Steps to Being a Successful Entrepreneur’ Get the idea? The headline should evoke a feeling of enthusiasm to get to know more about what you are offering. Interest Having got past the first stage you have their attention, you now need to further develop their interest. In this section of your letter, web site or presentation you start by focusing in on what they will get out of buying your product or service – the benefits which they will get. To get the most out of this you have to be very clear who your target market is. It’s no good trying to explain the benefits if the reader is in the wrong industry – they will not be interested. To keep them interested highlight the pain or pleasure they will avoid or gain by dealing with you. You have to convincingly answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. Desire Now that you have got them really interested with all the benefits they will get when they buy, you go for the jugular and hammer this feeling home by stoking up their desire! Remember that people buy for emotional and not logical reasons. If you sell items that can make people feel sexy, feel better about themselves or possibly make them more attractive, then you can create desire by describing how your products will help achieve their dreams! If you are not lucky enough to sell theses products or services, don’t despair, there are other ways to create desire. Offer a range of bonuses, which may cost you very little, but may be appealing to your potential customers. Put a time-limited offer on the deal, for example 14 days in which to respond to receive the bonuses. Action The last part of the 4 step process is Action. If you have done everything else correctly but don’t directly ask the customer to buy then the chances are you won’t make the sale. Make it easy for them to buy so you can capitalise on all the emotion you have created. First, ask them to buy! Include a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Click Here to Order’ button to make it very clear what you expect them to do next. If you are face-to-face just come out with it and ask if they are ready to complete the deal! To remove all obstacles that can stand in your way make sure you have a number of ways by which you can take payment. Acceptance of credit cards are becoming almost totally necessary and are the best way to secure a sale while the customer is in the mood, especially on the Internet. If you are relying on them to get out their cheque book, write a cheque, write out an envelope and then post it, I’m afraid you are likely to have lost a sale. So make it as easy as possible. Take another look at all your sales literature, your web site and your sales pitch. Are you following the AIDA 4 step process? If not, revamp it all and watch your sales and profits grow!

Stop pointing at me which way do you point your accountability finger

There are two kinds of people when it comes to accountability.

•Those who point their index fingers outward •Those who point their index fingers inward

We all know too well that most people are quick to blame others and slow to take responsibility. They make excuses or tell a long-winded story about what went wrong and why. Obviously these people feel their success or failure is "outside of their control."

The more powerful belief is that things are within our control. It then follows that we are, in fact, responsible for what happens around us and to us.

I've developed a disciplined system that helps people accept accountability. This system breaks down all the components into essential elements. We can develop a less emotional view and a more scientific one.

But before I share that with you, let me take you back a few years in my own life.

In my first career, I was a professional pilot. In the flying business, Captain is the only job to have. But before you can be a Captain, you must first prove yourself as a safe, competent and proficient co-pilot.

(By the way--Here's a little "behind the scenes" secret info for you. The reason everybody wants to be the Captain? He's the guy, or girl, who does half the work for 3 times the money.)

Now, why do you suppose the Captain is so well paid for so little work? It's all because (and this is according to the FAA), no matter what happens on his flight or who does it…HE is held responsible.

As a young man, I was trying to build up my flying time and experience. But, most of the Captains would order me to just sit there, work the radios and "DON"T touch anything else!"

You see the problem here. How in the world was I ever going to learn? How was I going to gain the experience I needed to make captain?

I was really getting frustrated.

Then one day, I had the shocking experience of meeting and flying for Jeff Brinkerhoff, a strong-willed Captain of a Lear 25 Business Jet.

Jeff shouted out…"Hop in the left seat and start 'er up. I'll show you how to really fly this thing!"

Talk about transformational experiences…

From that moment, I knew the kind of leader I wanted to be!

So let me ask you…

Are you in the type of sales organization that helps people "Get in the left seat and start 'er up?"

In other words, do you have the organizational commitment to create Self-Sustained Professionals through providing proven structures for learning and application?

A price-value matrix - a cool tool for finding your just right pricing strategy

: While developing your pricing strategy, it is important to remember that there is an implicit relationship between price and value. We expect to pay more for gourmet food than for fast food and for a luxury car than for an economy model. At the same time, value is a matter of opinion, not fact. I prefer a new Subaru to a '95 Cadillac; my husband prefers the opposite. His wardrobe is built around Dickies; my taste runs to rather more eclectic (and non-synthetic) clothing. Given that there is a relationship between price and value and that value is a matter of opinion, I had always priced my products and services by triangulating three factors: what I wanted or needed to earn, my costs, and what the market would bear. That's what I had taught countless other people to do, and it worked fine. All else being equal, quality, price, and market generally reached a dynamic balance where prosperity and service overlapped. But, once came the day when something felt out of synch in the way I used that marketing strategy, and I felt some gritchiness around the prices of products I recommended. I kept examining my assumptions, and everything seemed right. Still, the feeling that something wasn't quite right persisted. Never one to ignore an itch, I kept scratching until this week I realized what the problem is. I had been using quite different "markets" to assess what the market would bear. That is, I'd been looking at markets that had different values from the values of many of the people I attract. I based my pricing strategy and marketing on the proven best practices of other respected "info product" gurus, but those practices were designed to address the values of people who didn't, and probably never would, be attracted to my e-zine. Readers of my e-zine were a special case. From their emails and phone calls, I knew that they placed a high value on authenticity, intelligence, and creativity. I knew they had high standards for courtesy, honesty, and what I might call "finish." They were tolerant of mistakes (assuming they were acknowledged). They had a sense of humor, a hunger for spirit, and a fundamental commitment to growth. At the same time they tended to be a frugal lot, willing to pay for high quality, but unmoved by hype and positively turned off by pressure tactics. The generic information marketing model is designed to address the needs of people for whom profit is an over-riding value. These folks -- many of them good souls indeed -- thrive in the hyper-stimulating atmosphere of the motivational circuit: loud, upbeat music, extravagant challenges to dare to be great and simple formulas for achieving success. The more costly the package, the more this customer tends to believe in its value. And I'm willing to suppose that for the right person, that value can be substantial. But this model didn't fit me and it probably didn't fit my e-zine readers, either. More than likely, they were past believing in "7 Steps to Instant Gratification." They probably didn't believe in easy answers, however much they might sometimes long for them. (Me, too.) The bottom line is that, in that case, so-called "best practices" just didn't apply. The sophistication, values, and life experience of this community constituted a different market, and we would just have to develop our own best practices. What would those practices look like? My hunch was: Transparency: No fake sales; any specials should be clearly linked to a business purpose, and the regular retail price should always be fair so if you miss a sale you can feel good about buying at another time for full price. -- Clarity: Accurate, no-hype descriptions of products and services. -- Simplicity: Prices expressed in whole dollar amounts. Forget the "95 cents" gimmicks. We can round up! -- Trust: Simple returns and exchanges. I evaluated the marketing and pricing strategy for my products and those of affiliates, keeping asking the questions that gave birth to "Authentic Promotion" in the first place: "What's bugging me about the way I do (or think I have to do) business? What am I assuming? What is the truth of this? What if the truth were not a problem?" Goldilocks tried three chairs, three bowls of porridge, and three beds before finding the ones that were "just right." In much the same way, your working toward "just right" prices and marketing methods will definitely pay off, as it did for me. I believe this price-value matrix will help you to find your "just right" price! For example, my client sells a course which is a comprehensive self-guided seminar that transforms fears and resistance to marketing into grounded advocacy for good work. It’s a high value, if she does say so herself. Still, it has a medium price because she is still working on way to convey to potential purchasers the potency and efficacy of this course. One way she is doing that is to develop a series of follow up emails that remind buyers of key practices and principles, that ask powerful questions to help them move forward, and that suggest specific sections of the program that solve specific challenges. As she develops this support, she will be able to charge -- and receive -- a higher price. PRICE-VALUE MATRIX HIGH VALUE -- LOW PRICE Underpriced: value undercut by price. "What's wrong with this picture" pricing strategy. HIGH VALUE -- MEDIUM PRICE Attractive pricing: ideal for market penetration. "More for your money" pricing strategy. HIGH VALUE -- HIGH PRICE Premium pricing: prestige, prominence. "Connoisseur" pricing strategy. MEDIUM VALUE -- LOW PRICE True bargain: may be a temporary special to raise revenue or to move discontinued items. "Inventory sale" strategy. MEDIUM VALUE -- MEDIUM PRICE Price and value are in balance, exclusive of other factors. "Square deal" pricing strategy. MEDIUM VALUE -- HIGH PRICE Overpriced: informed buyers will stay away; sales may be made to unsophisticated market. "Infomercial" pricing strategy. LOW VALUE -- LOW PRICE Cheap stuff. Often sold with lots of "bonus" items or features. "Tourist trap" pricing strategy. LOW VALUE -- MEDIUM PRICE Turns sales into complaints. "Caveat emptor" pricing strategy. ("Let the buyer beware.") LOW VALUE -- HIGH PRICE Don't even think about it: the "Fleece 'em and run" pricing strategy.

The importance of a knowledgeable restaurant equipment supplier to your business

It was early on a Friday night, and already the front of the house was packed. My kitchen looked like a beehive, and as usual, my whole staff was working furiously to keep everybody happy. It's a necessity both they and I have come to live with as a result of our setup. You see, our kitchen is entirely too small for the amount of business we get. Because of my location, which I wouldn't give up for the world, there's not a lot I can do about it.

Anyway, things were running as smoothly as they ever do, when one of my main refrigeration units went down. One of my line cooks came from the back and informed that we were going to lose a lot of steaks if we didn't act fast.

Since we have no room, we formulated a plan to get the meat into one of the bar coolers until we could figure out what to do. While some of my staff was working on that, I made a call to a repair service, since I didn't think I would be able to reach my equipment supplier on a Friday night. They told me the next time they could come by to take a look would be on Monday. In desperation, I called my restaurant equipment supplier. Luckily, he was still in the office.

I explained what had happened and he thought about it for a minute. After grilling me (no pun intended) for a while on the preventive maintenance measures I had taken with the unit, we got on the subject of coils. It seems this particular unit has a sheet of metal between two sets of coils on the rear of the unit, leaving the rear coils exposed while hiding the interior set. The manufacturer put the thin sheet of metal between the coils to act as a heat transference device, as the heat produced between two sets of coils on a commercial refrigeration unit can be pretty intense. The sheet would absorb heat from both sets of coils and help to dissipate it, since it had more surface area.

The bottom line is that we had been cleaning the exterior set of coils, but not the interior set. My restaurant equipment supplier mentioned that this was an unorthodox (yet effective) setup for the back of a cooler, so he wasn't surprised we weren't aware of the interior coils. He told how to remove the metal sheet and suggested I clean the interior coils to see if that might be the problem.

My GM and I took the unit out back and removed the sheet and took a look at the inset coils. They were in bad shape, having never been cleaned before (or at least no as long as I owned them). To make a long story short, we cleaned them thoroughly and tried the unit again. Within five minutes, things were nice and frosty on the inside again. I called my equipment supplier back to thank him for his help. Of course, he told me to call him first before I use a repair service for out-of-warranty equipment, which I should have done in the first place.

Having a knowledgeable equipment supplier is of the utmost importance of my business. This particular Friday night, I was reminded of that in a big way.

Three reasons why people won t buy and three ways to fix it

Most of us at some point in our career have experienced the frustration of being unable to “close the deal”! We’ve walked away wondering what else could have been said, shown or done in order to GTC (Get The Check).

Well, I’m here to suggest to you that sometimes it’s simply not the right time for the prospect to “get in”, “do the deal” or “sign up”. For some unknown (or known) reason, the timing just doesn’t seem to fit their lifestyle right now. We’ve all heard the expression, No doesn’t mean NO … it just means, not right now!

I submit to you that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care! It is up to you (the seller) to communicate to your prospect with every means of communication you have, to become their friend. That’s right … their friend!! No one wants to buy from a stranger; everyone prefers to buy from someone they know, someone they feel they can trust. It’s our job to get from stranger to friend as quickly as possible.

Three reasons why people won’t buy:

1 – No Money

2 – No Need

3 – No Trust

When responding to someone’s interest, we must first determine at what “level” his or her interest lies. Simply put, there’s a big difference in someone who is just “interested” as opposed to someone who is “committed”.If you are working over the phone or through email, the following three questions may help you in determining a person’s interest level and assist you with qualifying your prospect.

You may open up your memo or conversation with …”I’m responding to your request for more information about the ecommerce opportunity found on our website”.

1 – What kind of work are you in now?

You are wanting them to say (or write) something to the effect of “… they are tired of what they are doing or looking for some sort of change …” Most likely if they are not unhappy with what they are presenting involved in, there may not be enough motivation to commit to another opportunity. They at least need to want to supplement what they are currently doing with an additional plan.

2 – Are you looking for something full-time or part-time?

This will give you a good idea of their commitment level (if any). Everyone has his or her own definition of what part-time means as opposed to full-time. Most would agree that full-time is anything over forty hours in a single week. However, keep in mind that a great number of individuals wind up treating a part-time position as a hobby and therefore, getting paid as if it were a hobby! Someone who is truly hungry for a change in his or her lifestyle may need to under go a complete paradigm shift.

3 – What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

Listen to their answer, it may be a bit undefined but you will sense in their “story” whether or not there’s a fit for them in your business.

Begin to tell them a little bit about your business. Give them the “sizzle message” about what’s hot with your deal and why they need to be a part of the team. Include several “buzz words” to describe your opportunity and allow them to feel your excitement and level of energy!

Most important! Ask them a direct YES or NO question. Preferably a call to action of some sort, that will enable you to take them to the next step of your system and lock them into a commitment. A question such as “Does that sound like something you would like to hear (or receive) more information about?

A lot of times people want YOU to answer more questions at this time. They may ask you things like:

1 - How much is it?

2 – What do I have to do?

My suggestion is to plug them into a “system” and let the system answer their questions. Even if you know the answers, it’s still better to let the system do the work for you. Why? Simply put … it’s duplicatable! You may be a super savvy salesperson but your prospect may not have your talent or skill level. Therefore, they think they have to be like you in order to make things work for them. If you have a “system”, everyone can do it!! It’s the old KISS method, (Keep It Simple Sweetheart).

Become their friend and service them again!

See ya sometime …

Cold calling how to warm yourself up before you start

: Cold calling … even the name is enough to strike fear into the heart of many a small business owner! What image comes into your mind? Sitting in a lonely damp office, surrounded by paper, 2 day old coffee cups and a stack of outstanding work. In other words, something not very nice! Why do we hate cold calling so much? Why does the very thought of it send shivers down some people’s spine? Firstly, what were we taught at school and by our parents? Don’t talk to strangers! No wonder picking up the phone and speaking to someone you have never met causes such mental problems. What about every small business owner’s fear – the fear of rejection. That’s enough to find any reason not to pick up the phone. Here’s another one – lack of self confidence and the nagging doubt that you won’t live up to the expectations you put in your prospect’s mind. I think that’s enough! Perhaps all very good reasons why you may find it hard to pick up the phone but, at the end of the day, to be really successful in business, it’s a necessary evil. Yes, you can convince yourself that you are too busy servicing your existing customers and looking after their every need, but unless you get out and bring in new business, one day you may find yourself with a tired and sold-out customer base. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can do it. All it needs is careful planning and a structured approach. If you can see the error of your ways and understand the impact this lack of action is having on your business, I’ll show you how you can become a successful cold caller. You have got it made if you follow this structure: Identify, Preparation, Just Do It! and Review. Let’s consider each of these steps in turn. Identify The first step is to identify who you are going to cold call. How do you go about building up a list? Here are some ideas: • Ask your customers who they think you should be talking to; who could benefit from your product? Referrals from happy clients can be very powerful when speaking to your prospective customers. It tells them that if their colleague was happy to pass on their name then that’s a good recommendation • Go through your old database and identify companies that no longer deal with you. Unless you really messed up first time round, they may appreciate a call • Read all your local newspapers and magazines. Is there a story which would be a great excuse to call them up? “I read about your award in the newspaper and …” • Use networking events and any other social gatherings to make new contacts • E-mail everyone in your mailing list and tell them that you are on the look out for new leads! • Train your brain to spot new opportunities It doesn’t matter how outlandish your first draft list seems, stick the name down and get thinking about where the others are going to come from. Preparation Having got your initial list, the first task in the preparation stage is to tidy it up. Take another look at it and pick the top 5 which are likely to end in success. Why do this? Because to be motivated to carry on with something, there is nothing like success. Failure will not spur you on, but success will. So go for the ones which are likely to yield positive results. With practice, you will be able to tackle the more challenging ones later on! Next, set yourself an objective. What do you want to achieve out of your phone call? An appointment, an agreement to send a sample, a sale? Being realistic, the best you can hope for is an appointment. Be clear on what your aim is. This will help you focus on the outcome during the rest of your preparation. The most crucial part of the preparation stage is your research. Find out whatever you can about both the company and person you are going to call. What exactly do they sell? Who are they buying from at the moment? How many employees do they have? Do you know of any problems which you could resolve? What is the perception in the market place? What can you learn from their web site? All of this information will help you in the next part of your preparation – your opening statement and subsequent words. Actors don’t go out on the stage without thoroughly learning and rehearsal and neither should you. Write out your opening statement, which says who you are, which company you are with and what you do. Keep it short, focused and punchy. Remember that many businesses receive cold calls all the time, so what is the benefit in the person spending some time with you? Think of a clear benefit statement to include in your remarks. As in any selling situation (which a cold call is after all), you are very likely to be met with objections – can’t see you, too busy with a rush order, its Audit time, too many staff on holiday etc. Try and think of every objection and write down what your response will be. Being this prepared will keep you ahead of the game. Bearing in mind your end objective, how are you going to go in for the kill? What are you going to say to get that appointment? Going through all this preparation will give you a much needed confidence boost, ready for the next step. Just Do It! If you have identified a number of names, set aside a whole morning or afternoon to make your calls. It’s easy to say to yourself that you will do one call today and another tomorrow. Athletes know that you perform better when you are warmed up, so doing a number of calls in a row means you will get better each time – remember what I said earlier about success breeding success. Put the time in your diary and stick to it! When should you call? Some people will say it’s better to avoid Mondays and Fridays. On Mondays, people are recovering from the weekend, they are too busy planning their week, or clearing up the mess from the weekend! On Friday’s people are winding down and are recovering from a hectic week. But think about it – if people are planning their week, wouldn’t Monday’s be a great time to call? If people are winding down on Friday’s, they may be in a good mood with the weekend approaching, so more willing to talk and agree an appointment. The bottom line is that there probably is not an ideal time – just do it! Now you are ready to go. Before picking up the phone, relax your body and muscles, take some deep breaths and ‘see’ yourself achieving your objective. What does it feel like to have achieved your goal? What are you doing to celebrate all those appointments you have got? See yourself as a success! Now you are ready to go. Pick up the phone, ask for the person you want to speak to and in a confident, crisp and clear voice, start off with your opening statement. Be warm and friendly. Don’t switch off into your own ‘self-talk’, really listen to what the other person is saying; listen out for those inevitable objections. When they come, answer straight back with your prepared answers. The standard objection is that they are too busy to talk now. If so, agree a time when you can call again as this will avoid telephone tag, where you keep missing each other. In the end you will become a nuisance and you want to avoid this at all costs. At the end of the call, summarise what was agreed so you are all clear on what will happen next. You don’t want any potential costly misunderstandings. Review You will be glad to know that the final step is a review of what took place! After you have put the phone down, sit back and write up your notes, put the agreed meeting time in your diary. Think about what went well; what could have gone better; how you could have approached things differently. Do you think you sounded confident? Did you anticipate all the objections? Did you successfully handle the ones which were thrown at you? Did you meet your planned objective? If so, then celebrate! Armed with all this new information, pick up the phone and dial the next person on the list. You may feel cold calling is a bit of a chore. But if you follow these steps then you will very quickly find yourself having too much new business to cope with. What a great problem to have!

Boss mode or getting past the palace guard

I have become a huge Apprentice fan. Thursday evenings you'll find me glued to the television, excited, focused and wondering who will be fired next. I'm willing to bet that many of my readers share that obsession.

Whenever I talk about Getting Past the Palace Guard, the secretaries, receptionists, assistants, voice mail, anyone and/or anything that blocks access, I've taken to pointing to Donald Trump. The question I ask: "If Donald Trump were to call your prospect and that prospect's secretary were to say to him, 'What is this in reference to?' what do you think Donald Trump would say?"

This question always occasions much conversation. The general consensus of opinion, however, is that Donald Trump would probably say, "This is Donald Trump. Is she there?"

Another example: If Barbra Streisand calls Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks and Steven's secretary says to her, "What is this in reference to?" here is what Barbara will not say: "I'm a singer and an actress and a producer and maybe you've seen some of my movies?" She would probably say, "This is Barbra Streisand. Is he there?"

I know that many of you will now say to me, "But Wendy, I'm not famous." It doesn't matter. I'm willing to bet that Donald Trump and Barbra Streisand would have said exactly the same thing 30 years ago before they were famous. I'm willing to bet that 30 years ago they had almost the same self-confidence, assurance and sense of entitlement that they have now. It was that self-confidence, assurance and sense of entitlement that helped them get to where they are now.

Let's switch gears for a moment and talk about your prospects. What type of people are they? They are bosses. What does it mean to be a boss? How does a boss behave? First of all, bosses are decision-makers. That's what we call them and that's what they do. They are used to making decisions. They also have at least some authority to be able to implement their decisions. They give direction and expect the direction to be followed. More than likely, at least in their business persona, they have self-confidence and assurance. These are all traits that bosses or leaders share and these traits influence how a boss or a leader behaves.

There have been many, many books and articles written about the art of creating rapport with prospects. Usually what it boils down to is being as like the prospect as you can be without mimicking or imitating them. When you are able to do this well, your prospect will see you as being like them. That prospect is then more likely to feel comfortable with you and want to spend time with you and do business with you.

Let's take that a step further and talk about secretaries and assistants. If you behave like a boss, i. e., with authority, self-confidence and assurance, the secretary will see you as being a boss. Other bosses are peers with her boss. The secretary will give more value, importance and urgency to your call when she believes you to be a peer of her boss.

Here is my recommendation for speaking with the Palace Guard: Go into Boss Mode. Speak with authority, self-confidence and assurance. Give direction to that secretary, "Please tell (your prospect) that (your name) from (your company) is on the line." And give direction as if you were speaking with your own secretary. (It's alright if you do not have a secretary or assistant today. One day you very well might. Look at this as practice.) Be polite and firm. Give your directions in a manner that says you expect your direction to be followed. (How do you think Donald Trump would say it?)

I know that I will get some e-mails here, from people who will tell me this approach is rude. It's not rude to speak with confidence and self-assurance. And, if you use this approach, you will find that your ability to reach prospects will rise significantly.

If you find that you need more help Getting Past the Palace Guard, please visit http://www. wendyweiss. com and buy the product with the same name,

Getting Past the Palace Guard.

© 2006 Wendy Weiss

Increase sales with these innovative tips

1. Show your prospects how much enthusiasm you have for your product and business. If you're convincing enough, they will be enthusiastic too.

2. End your sales letter or ad copy with a strong closing. It could be a free bonus, a discount price, a benefit reminder, an ordering deadline, etc.

3. Please your complaining customers. You can refund their money, give them a discount, give them a free gift, solve the problem quickly, etc.

4. Make your customers get excited about your business and they will tell their friends. Give them a free vacation certificate, a coupon, etc.

5. Give your prospects extra confidence so they will order. Use endorsements, testimonials, a strong guarantee or warranty, etc.

6. Build your opt-in list by allowing your visitors to sign up for a free e-zine, ebooks, software, contests, sweepstakes, etc.

7. Give your prospects or customers a breath of fresh air. Don't be afraid to design your web site and ad copies different from everyone else.

8. Allow your customers to get part of your total offer right after they order. If you have to ship the item, make one of your bonuses available online.

9. Write and submit articles to e-zine publishers or webmasters. If you want it to be published, it should be like an article and not like an ad.

10. Show your prospects that you are an expert, because authority can persuade people to buy. You could publish an article, write an ebook, etc.

11. You could cross promote your product with other businesses' products in a package deal. You can include an ad or flyer for other products you sell and have other businesses selling for you.

12. When you ship out or deliver your product, include a coupon for other related products you sell in the package. This will attract them to buy more products from you.

13. Send your customers a catalog of add-on products for the original product they purchased. This could be upgrades, special services, attachments, etc. If they enjoy your product they will buy the extra add-ons. 14. Sell gift certificates for your products. You'll make sales from the purchase of the gift certificate, when the recipient cashes it in. They could also buy other items from your web site.

15. Send your customers free products with their product package. The freebies should have your ad printed on them. It could be bumper stickers, ball caps, t-shirts etc. This will allow other people to see your ad and order.

Will you pass the flinch test

After a lengthy buying process, the time has come to submit pricing. Countless hours are spent formulating a glorious proposal that details your comprehensive solution. Proud of your accomplishment, you present the proposal to the buyer. Skipping the sections about your company and your solution, she flips right to the pricing page. “Oh my gosh, I didn’t think it would be this expensive!”

What happens next determines whether or not you will get the business. When I say “get” the business, there are two sides to consider. The obvious is whether or not the prospect will award the business to you. The less obvious is whether your company will agree to their desired price level. The negotiation may get to a point where the prospect says they want to award you the business, but at a price unacceptable to your company. If you’ve ever been there, it is painful to say the least. As a sales person, you have a responsibility to facilitate the process in a way that leads to a mutually acceptable conclusion.

There is a trade secret in the purchasing world. They call it the “flinch test.” This is the test Procurement Agents and other professional buyers give to sales people when they provide pricing. “Wow! You are 25% higher than your competition.” These pros are trained to react with surprise so that they can see if the sales person is confident in the price they have put forward. It is nothing more than a straightforward negotiation tactic. Often times, they overstate the price difference such that you can do some quick math and see that the differential is bogus. I can recall a time where I was told that we were 50% higher than the competition. When I reviewed the numbers, this meant that the competitor was losing 18% based on fixed costs that we both had. It was highly unlikely that the competitor was signing up for this kind of an account. When I asked the Procurement Agent about that figure again, he flinched and we ultimately won the business.

The key to passing the flinch test is to respond with confidence in your price. If you don’t believe you are providing a fair, competitive price for the solution, my question is why are you presenting it anyway? One would hope that you have integrity so why present something you don’t believe in?

Some responses that cause you to fail the flinch test.

• What price were you looking for?

• I’ll ask my manager if we can do better.

• How about if I take 10% off?

The reason these are failed responses is that they create trust issues with the prospect. Were you trying to rip them off with the price you presented? One of two things is true. Either you were trying to rip them off or you believe you provided a fair price. What other option is there? Some will say that they were preparing for a negotiation. That’s a fair point; however, it is a terrible negotiation strategy to give the appearance that you will drop your price first moment someone balks. That approach gives the impression that you sought to gouge them.

Most negotiations end at the middle ground. They wanted 5; you wanted 10 and settled at 7.5. That seems logical. However, if you lower your price early, the middle ground is lower. In the same scenario, if you dropped to 8 right off the bat, the middle becomes 6.5. As I mentioned, you have to manage the negotiation such that the middle is not lower than an acceptable price for your company.

Successful sales people have a planned, or dare I say “canned,” response for the flinch test. They don’t expect a prospect to respond with excitement about a price. They anticipate shock and have a process to handle it. Here are their secrets…

1. They set expectations upfront. Early in the buying process, they set the expectation that they are not the low price provider. “To be clear, our company is rarely the low bid, does that mean that we won’t be working together on this project?” If they say no, you are set for the later phases of the process. If they say yes, at least you haven’t invested a ton of time in an account that you won’t win. If you are going to lose, lose early.

2. They don’t flinch! “I’m not surprised by your reaction. I get that a lot. As I mentioned at the outset, we are rarely the low bidder.”

3. They seek to understand. “When you say that you are shocked by the price, which part is surprising? This is the subject of another article of mine which addresses the importance of understanding the prospect’s perspective of price.

4. They reinforce their position. “Since we are rarely the low price provider, what do you think our 1000 clients see that leads them to pay a little more to have us?

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in Procurement Training. Think of it as sales training for buyers. After the session, I had an interesting conversation with the trainer. Here’s what he told me…

“For 25 years, sales people asked me for coaching on the price of their proposal as I was the head of Procurement for my company. I told each one of them the same thing. Provide us with the best price that you feel good about giving and either way, you win. I always got a puzzled expression from that. Let me explain. If we award the business to you at that price, you’re happy. If we award the business to someone else at a lower price, you are happy as well because you wouldn’t have been happy to support the account at that price point.”

To share a little secret, I use the flinch test all the time when I buy. It’s amazing how quickly sales people drop their drawers on price. I bet I’ve saved my family 20% across the board for all of our spending just with that test. It’s no wonder that professional buyers use this. I often wonder how many commission dollars were lost just because they flinched. How may commission dollars have you lost because you flinched?

A perfect marketing strategy for loan officers

If you are a loan officer or mortgage broker looking to score some more customers the easy way, here are a few good ideas for a marketing strategy.

During the entire process of getting a loan ready for closing, you and your customer are met with more than one reason to celebrate other than at the closing table.

For example, before you can proceed with a loan, your customer must have an appraisal done on their home.

Once that appraisal comes in, both to the liking of you and your customer, send your customer an inexpensive congratulatory gift such as a tin of pretzels, cookies, or candy.

But make sure you send it to their place of employment.

Why do something so cheesy you may ask?

Because when you send someone a gift at work, all of their fellow employees want to know why they got it and who it was from.

So when they ask, your customer will tell them all about you and the products and services you are providing them with.

Also, if you have sent some of your business cards along with the gift, you better believe they will be handing them out.

Don’t forget to use the same technique once the loan is approved and than again once the loan is closed.

This is a perfect way to get your customers selling you and your products to co-workers, friends and family.

Selling your business step by step process

So finally the time has come to sell the business. After investing years of your time and uncounted thousands of dollars, it has become successful, providing for your needs and wants, and it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Where do you start?

A good time to start thinking about selling a business is right after startup, when it shows signs of beginning to succeed and become self-sustaining. Even if you are planning on bequeathing it to your progeny or a partner, it's never too early to think about what will happen afterwards.

The first step is to take your time--selling a business is a complex process and you will only do it once. Confidentiality is a necessity at this point, as word of an impending sale can cause repercussions among employees and business partners (suppliers, customers, etc.) alike.

Your position in the business is also a point to consider. If you are the sole proprietor, the decision is yours alone. However, if you are a partner or board member, selling your part of the business will involve more considerations.

Finding a good broker is worth any amount of time needed to locate one you are comfortable with. Check the Better Business Bureau for any investigation history, and get referrals from fellow business owners or from industry associations like the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). This is a non-profit "trade association of business brokers providing education, conferences, professional designations and networking opportunities" (IBBA), as well as professional certifications and boasts over 1300 members.

Next, a professional appraiser should be consulted, as just like selling a home, a professional appraisal will give a fair value to begin negotiations with. Keep in mind though, an appraisal is an estimate of the fair value of a business' hard assets, and the market value of the business may be higher or lower, as a business is only worth what someone else is willing to pay.

Determining major terms and price are issues that you are going to have to work out with your broker, but a few basic factors come into play: what do you want to get out of the sale? Continuing salary? Lump sum? Stock options? This is a step often overlooked until late in the negotiations, often to the detriment of the seller.

Financing the sale is usually about 90% left to the seller. If you can't or won't be willing to cover the costs of the sale, it may not be a good time to sell.

Once you and your broker have located a buyer and agreed on a price, a Letter of Intent is drafted. This letter outlines the terms and tentative price in a non-binding document and allows the buyer time to thoroughly investigate the business. This process is subject to Due Diligence, as the onus of discovery is placed upon the buyer and buyer's agent.

After the discovery process is completed to both parties' satisfaction, the Purchase Agreement is drafted. This set of paperwork creates a formal agreement between buyer and seller regarding purchase price, terms, and other legal details. Once the respective lawyers have finalized the details and complied with state law requirements regarding the sale, the Purchase Agreement is signed, closing documents finalized, and the sale is complete. If everything has gone well, it's time to breathe a sigh of relief and start planning what to do with all that free time!

Experts increase sales by 28 with custom vacation certificates

Top-notch sales professionals and business owners consistently seek new and economical ways to increase sales. They might try a discount sale, or a buy one get one free sale or something else. But this can be a costly give away of valuable merchandise or time. A different and more affordable method is the vacation incentive.

Vacation incentives have matured since the day of hidden sales meetings. Your customer no longer is forced to attend timeshare meetings, ruin their vacation or pay hidden fees. They get free hotel plus $500 in savings with no gimmicks. The best part is the sales professional or business owner only pays as low as twenty cents per customized vacation certificate and offers a high value for free to get customers in the door -- or make the sale. But does this really work?

According to USA Today, 93 percent of customers surveyed preferred travel over other incentives. Plus the “Incentive Travel Fact Book” states a whopping 58 percent of those surveyed say that travel is a more effective incentive than cash or merchandise.

"In a split marketing test, we sold 23.4% more copies of Instant Mortgage Letters when offering a free Las Vegas hotel and gambling package," says J. D. Zandt, Managing Director of RDULoans. com.

Mortgage companies aren't the only industry increasing their sales with vacation certificates. Other businesses include Timeshare Resorts, Vacation Clubs, Motels & Hotels, Auto Dealers, Apartment Management, Health Clubs, Newspapers, Banks, Carpet & Tile Stores, Boat Dealers, Furniture Stores, Home Improvers, Jewelry Stores, Tire Stores and more.

Customized vacation certificates are perfect to increase sales, generate web traffic, provide lead generation, build loyalty with customers plus motivate executives and top sales performers. Plus with a 30 year travel company completing the processing, fulfillment and arranging, merchants simply promote and distribute the vacation certificates for maximum benefit.

Vacation certificates customized with your name or company name are available for $24.95 at http://SonicPoint. com/vacationsales. php

Understanding sales recruitment services

Undoubtedly, employees are the backbone of any business! Regardless of the size and the renown of your company, the efficiency, profitability and longevity of your business are direct proportional with the professionalism, seriousness and implication of your employees. In order to achieve and maintain a solid and prosperous business, you have to make sure that you are surrounded by loyal, trusty, dedicated and hard-working employees. This rule is even more prominent in marketing, as every single action of your employees can trigger a pronounced increase or decrease in your profits! Thus, during the process of recruiting new members for your business, you should account for a wide range of personal traits and abilities in your future employees.

Apart from a satisfactory professional training level, your employees should have good communicational and interaction skills, good negotiation abilities, good decisional skills and so on. These traits can only be revealed during job interviews and testing periods. Elaborate individual evaluations are very time-consuming and few business owners can afford the luxury to personally assist in the process of recruiting new employees. The solution is to either assemble a reliable recruitment team that can take care of the recruitment process in your place, or better yet, ask for the help of a professional recruitment service.

Lots of businesses are nowadays turning to Sales Recruitment Services in order to find well-trained professionals with minimal time and effort. There is a wide range of reliable Sales Recruitment Services on the World Wide Web that can take care of all the aspects of employee recruitment in exchange for a previously established fee. If you simply don’t have the time to personally supervise the process of employee recruitment, online Sales Recruitment Services are best solution to your problem!

Once you have requested the help of a certain Sales Recruitment Service, you will be asked about the nature of your business and the exact profile of the sales persons you need in order to complete your business team. According to your instructions, the service will then take care of every single aspect of the recruitment process, frequently providing you with feed-back regarding the progress of the recruitment program. You will quickly start to receive appliances from well-trained professionals in the branch, allowing you to choose the sales persons that best fit your business. You also have the freedom to access the database of contacts at any time, in order to find the best candidates for your offered job vacancies.

Sales Recruitment Services are effective means of finding the most suitable candidates for your business. With the help of a professional online Sales Recruitment Service, you can enter in contact with a wide range of suitable candidates with a minimal investment of time and effort. Whether you are looking for a salesman, advertiser, telemarketer or a sales executive, territory manager, business development manager or sales director, online Sales Recruitment Agencies can quickly fulfill your requests!

The sales solution e mc¤

Albert Einstein is best known for his theory of relativity. Every school kid knows his famous equation E=mcІ. This brilliant physicist was also widely quoted on a variety of topics. While not recognized at all as a salesperson, Mr. Einstein was always promoting ideas and concepts, attempting to gain acceptance for them from a sceptical audience. Sounds like sales to me!

I would be surprised if you have not heard his famous line, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Do you find yourself doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results? Maybe it is cold calling, maybe its networking, or perhaps it is your "pat" sales presentation. "I've always done it this way."

When was the last time you heard someone say "I'm in a rut and don't know how to get out." When I hear this statement, my diagnostic skills usually uncover the fact the person is doing what they previously found successful, but their process no longer works. Amazingly, they continue to follow their process. This could be called Sales Insanity!

Think about it. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The world is changing and regrettably, many are not changing with it. You may be old enough to remember the term "bait and switch" where a customer was sold something, only to be convinced shortly after to switch to a usually more expensive product. Thankfully, those in the sales profession have bumped up their ethical standards considerably. They have had to. Consumers have become better informed, thanks in part to the Internet opening up a vast repository of information.

One of Albert's lesser-known quotes is "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." Wow, talk about a man ahead of his time! Think about it, this fellow is regarded at the most important scientist of the 20th century. Apply his concept to sales and most would agree this is the mantra for sales professionals today. Adding value is what a sales person's role is. We no longer "sell" anything. Our responsibility is to help the consumer make an informed purchasing decision. My how times have changed!

Mr. Einstein also professed, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." I like to interpret this quote to mean that what you envision can become your reality. I work with an extremely talented behavioral psychologist who has spent many years working with top sales people. Dr. Thane Crossley will tell you that what you see in your mind's eye becomes your reality. In other words, your mindset is critical to your success.

Those with a positive outlook, laser like focus, and strong disciplines typically define success. Call it motivation, call it what you will, the best of the best are always looking for ways to improve their performance. They know a changing market place requires them to change their sales process, or risk "Sales Insanity".

One last Einstein quote for you that may shed a new perspective on your personal development moving forward, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

Dare to work "outside the box". Achieve new levels of achievement by re-inventing your process to stay in tune with today's reality. Challenge yourself to break out of the once comfortable world where repetitive behavior worked all too well. Visualize yourself as successful, become your own Einstein, a brilliant visionary who had a tough sales job. Why not adopt E=mcІ to mean "Excellence Equals My Commitment ... squared!"

9 amazingly easy ways to writing your greatest sales letter ever

It is very common that people who are new to Internet Marketing will face with difficulties writing their own sales copy – a job called copywriting. Nevertheless, it is amazingly easy if you follow these 9 easy ways:

1. Headline

The most important thing in a sales letter is the headline, it can’t be emphasized more. Use a red headline to grab attention. Make sure the headline is catchy, in bigger font, and preferably in the font Tahoma.

2. Attention

You need to start your sales copy by getting the prospects’ attention. After the headline does its job, you’ll need to get your prospects’ attention by telling them what they are seeing here. Tell them right away what they are getting in the sales letter they are reading now.

3. Interest

You’ve got your visitors’ attention, what you need to do next is start telling them a story and have them interested in what you have to offer. Interest them by mentioning what You have for Them – them, them, them, you’re always thinking of the benefit on Their side!

4. Desire

When they are ready to know what you want to offer them, then it is a good time to make them want it more. Mention how your product is able to change their lives, tell them how bad things can turn to good after getting your product – always remember that it’s about them, not you!

5. A Call To Action

Already have them thirst for your product deeply now? Great – you are now going to sell them the product. Urge them to buy your product, tell them that they must have this product of yours.

6. Long Copy

It is proven more than enough that direct sales letter with a long copy of a single page works the best to sell a product. This way you can list out everything your prospects need to know and wouldn’t let them have a moment to be confused at all. You get their attention, interest them, explain everything, get their desires out and Bam – sell them the product.

7. Testimonials

Nothing is better than a proof from people who have their lives changed because they purchased your product. By providing testimonials, you get a third party to support you and that urges your prospects into buying more easily. We rather purchase something people recommend, don’t we?

8. Clean and neat sales copy

You don’t want to clutter your sales copy with fancy colors, graphics and so on. It is important that your prospects focus more on your words, the texts rather than the design of your sales letter, color of the background etc.

9. Write a story

A good sales letter will need to hook its readers without fail. We are used to finishing a single task – in this case, a story since young. Ever watched an exciting movie and stopped in the middle because you need to accomplish some other things? It feels voided if you do so, right?

This is the same case, people will try and finish every story they read, especially an interesting one. If you can write a good story and keep your prospects hooked right down until the order button, you succeeded.

Back-end offers make real profits

Often the real profits lie in back-end sales.

Once you have a customer, you simply offer additional products, add-ons, upgrades, a super-deluxe version of the original product purchase with all the bells and whistles. The customer is already “sold” on the product or service, based on your sales material or presentation.

The back-end offer should supply the answer to “what’s next?” It should be related in some way to the original product, and the most successful back-end products are higher-priced accessories that makes it easier of better for the buyer than simply having the original.

A back end product should further enhance the product that the buyer intended to purchase. Whatever the original product does, a good back-end product will make it faster, better, more detailed, more complete or easier to use and benefit from – in essence it is far more helpful to the prospect in satisfying his wants, than is the original, more basic product.

Keys to Success

The success of back-end products can be attributed to having a captive, highly targeted audience who is definitely interested in achieving a specific result or solving a specific problem. The add-on product makes it easier to solve the prospect’s problem, quickly.

Another factor is to further sell the customer while he is still in the buying mode and while he is feeling good about solving a problem or moving closer towards a goal.

Examples

To come with examples of back-end products simply ask “What product or service could I also offer that would be a natural match for what my customer is buying now? A self-publisher could offer a booklet on a specific topic. As a back-end, he could offer the same topic covered in greater detail and presented in a multi-media format complete with audio cassettes, videos, manual and CD.

Opportunities for back-end or additional add-on products are easy to find. A shoe store can offer shoe buying customers, laces, polish, protectants or, other accessories, based on the type of shoe sold. Ever visit a theatre to watch a movie and not order popcorn, chips, soft drink, or some other refreshment? Those items are all back-end products. First you bought your tickets, then you went to the snack bar.

My local video store now offers “tape protection” as an extra option. It’s basically insurance against returning a damaged video. Since most videos rented out these days are new releases, tapes being returned in damaged condition are a rarity. Yet, many people gladly pay the extra twenty-five cents to “feel” secure. A clever new profit center for the video-rental industry.

How?

Always be mindful of products, services or ideas that your customers will willingly pay for. Anything that can make it easier or hassle-free for the customer, could be a good candidate as an add-on product. Convenience is a wonderful thing and many will willingly pay you for it.

More Resources at www. makeyoursalessoar. com

Follow-up diligence and persistence pay off

Follow up is a critical activity for maximizing your lead potential. Whenever you meet anyone you should immediately send a follow up letter, postcard, phone call – anything to keep your name in their mind.

You go to meetings and business networking events to make contacts. The contacts you make might not be interested right away but if you do a good job of follow-up, when they are ready they know who to call. Good follow up activities include:

Postcards

Emails

Phone Calls

Letters

Flyers

Seminar invites

You don't want your follow up to be overwhelming. Typically sending your contacts something every few months is sufficient. You should aim to provide some sort of follow up four to five times per year.

Follow up will lead to business. That is why you must follow up with everyone. Do not discount any lead. Perhaps you lose out to a competitor the first time. The person who hired your competitor may leave, the competitor him or her self may move on; you never know what will happen. By continuing your follow up, you are in a position to step in should the opportunity arise.

The Bottom Line on Follow Up

Follow up is extremely important. You need to keep your business name in the forefront of people's mind. This way, if/when they need your services they will be more inclined to call you than a random number from the phone book. The cost to follow up with your leads is minimal and the rewards can be huge.

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Sales training fails for a reason

All pumped up to attend that upcoming sales training workshop? Maybe a little anxious as it's been a while since you took a course. Expecting good things for the coin you are shelling out as the company isn't paying the freight this time around. Perhaps a tad concerned how well you will do, or how tough the content might be to master. Will it be better than the last sales training workshop you attended? Bottom line - will you improve your sales success upon completion?

These are common anxieties. You have every reason to wonder about effectiveness. It is not just the financial commitment you or your company is making; it is the time investment as well.

I've always looked at sale training as an opportunity. I'd be surprised if you didn't learn something new, or at worst, a forgotten past learning is dusted off and put back in the arsenal. There is the advantage of benefiting from the knowledge of others in the class; some may be more experienced, or more successful. What makes them so?

You no doubt are aware there is a plethora of sales training programs in the market place today. You can attend in person, participate interactively on the web, and work with a CD or workbook. With so many options out there designed to appeal to your preferred learning style, why do so many sales training programs fail?

In most cases, the course content is adequate to very good. I cannot recall ever having a facilitator that was not top notch in presenting the material. The facilities are generally not the culprit. So why do so many sales folks think back on training they have taken and question the return on their investment?

In most cases, the shortcoming of the program may not be just the program. Let me explain. Any learning on any topic can only have impact when put into practice immediately after the training has taken place. This is especially true where the learning requires behavioral change. If you don't practice what you have learned, as awkward as it might feel at first, the longer you go, the less value you will receive.

For a number of years I taught one of the leading programs on the market, many will know it. It started at Xerox and has moved about since. The content, structure, and learning methodologies were, and remain, excellent. It was the first sales training program based on extensive empirical research. With literally hundreds of thousands having taken the program, why did they all not turn out as effective as the three in the video?

Regrettably, what happens is we get back to the day-to-day sales environment. We know the pressure to produce; the emphasis to close business, with the stark realization, that failure to do so may result in not being paid.

We get to our first appointment and forget to properly structure our opening remarks and establish the agenda. The first "concern" comes up and we can identify it as a misunderstanding, but what were those steps on how to respond? If only I could play that video back in my head, or visualize the wall chart at this very moment.

The sad reality is that after many sales training programs, there is a lack of reinforcement and coaching necessary to become proficient. The classroom or the video or workbook is just the beginning. We have all heard, "practice makes perfect", well there is a lot of truth to this saying. If there were only one thing you could do to avoid the pitfalls of training this would top of the list.

What can you do to ensure greater sales success and avoid "failing"? You could buddy up with someone who took the same course and practice together to re-enforce the acquired skills. You could set up weekly reviews, or drills, with your Sales Manager or Training Manager to re-visit the material until it becomes second nature? You could commit to a weekly review of one element of the training program you attended. If you are in a corporate environment, you might suggest you have a formal annual refresher program to hone your skills and discover nuances of the program you took.

Is it possible to obtain a better return on training programs? Absolutely. Looking beyond the training "event" to the recurring sales coaching and practice sessions is critical to leveraging the initial investment. After the sales training program, the real work begins. Changing techniques, modifying behavior and habits, being open to trying your new learnings, will all contribute to you becoming a more productive and efficient sales professional.

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