14/3/2005

How to Price your Services

Filed under: — HBH Site Admin @ 12:11 pm

In case you hadn’t noticed, people can react very differently when faced with the same price for a product or service. In fact in most cases, we’ll never actually know what is in their minds when they consider a price and then decide to respond to it in certain way. So what does that mean for those of us pricing and selling our services out there in the market?

Typically, people who sell services go for an hourly rate. They use a process called “reverse competition” to determine what their rate should be. This is where you take a look at what your geographical competitors are charging, and you decide where in the range you want to fit on the spectrum of hourly rates. Inevitably, we choose a rate somewhere in the middle, so we can say that we’re not the most expensive, but neither are we the cheapest!

What kind of message are we sending out to our clients with this approach?

We’re showing absolutely no differentiation from any other company - just sticking ourselves straight down the line. In other words, we compete with everyone! Not a very prudent marketing decision.

So pricing simply using an hourly rate that sits in the middle of the spectrum is, in my view, a wasted opportunity to create a point of difference. Let’s think more broadly for a minute about what we are actually offering to our clients:

Regardless of what our specific service is, we all offer some combination of:

Quality
Price and
Service
QUALITY
Quality has become an expectation - the minimum you need to be in the game. It is similar to a high school degree - no one cares if you have one, but watch out if you do not. Quality is no longer an effective differentiator. So if you are going on about the exceptional quality of your service in your promotional material and sales pitch, just realize that in your customers eyes, you are not differentiating yourself in any way.
After all, no sane company is going to advertise the fact that the work they do is of average or low quality. It’s all high, isn’t it?

PRICE
There is absolutely nothing positive about competing on price, unless you specifically position yourself as a low-cost provider. Certainly, there is a market for the discount provider, but I believe this only works if you have a very high volume of transactions. As a service provider, the only sensible route is to obtain premium prices for your services.

No matter what you charge, there is always someone, somewhere, willing to perform the work you do for less money. Customers are value conscious, not price conscious. They look to do business with people they feel give them more than they are paying for. So the goal for the service provider is to make sure the customer perceives the full value of the service, not simply the price component.

Its accepted fact that many customers will equate high price with high value - especially when there is very little else to judge your value on.

Wise consultants know that if they price their services at the low end of the market, customers do not take their advice seriously. On the other hand, if you charge rates on the upper end of the spectrum, the customer will hang on every word you say and has a higher probability of implementing your suggestions. This of course has a proviso that you are offering a great service, rather than a mediocre one.

Sometimes the biggest hurdle to get over when considering charging premium pricing is our own attitude. Do any of these sound familiar?

‘I can’t charge those prices - my customers will all walk away!’

‘My service isn’t worth that much’

As long as you stay in that mindset, you’ll never make the transition to high end pricing. You must truly believe the value of what you offer - after all if you don’t, why should your customers?

If you are selling good advice, and your customers listen carefully and implement it - they will be more successful and thus will value you that much more. It is a cycle that spirals upward: The more you charge, the more people follow your suggestions, the more profitable they become, the more valuable you are to them. This is a vicious circle that you definitely want to be part of.

SERVICE
The third component of your offering is service. In today’s world, service is the ultimate differentiator and separates successful companies from mediocre companies. People will pay a premium for excellent service, and want to do business with companies who provide it. They want to build up personal relationships, know that their needs are understood, and connect with people who demonstrate integrity and value long term associations.

Successful businesses are in the relationship building game. Everything they do is aimed at strengthening connections and affiliations with potential and existing clients. This is where each of us can be different. No one can imitate our personal style and success at building and maintaining relationships.

In the long run, excellent service providers will prevail over mediocre “competitors.”

GETTING AWAY FROM HOURLY RATES
Before you do business with a new customer, you hold all the leverage in the relationship. After the services have been performed, the customer possesses the leverage. The lesson is that you want to set all of your prices when you possess the leverage - that is, before the engagement begins. This requires quoting fixed prices and removing yourself from the Almighty Hour mentality.

The minute you quote an hourly rate, you put a fixed limit on your earning potential. It’s hard to increase an hourly rate once it has been set. The most successful service providers charge for the job as a whole, and don’t reveal how many hours it will take to complete it.

One of my clients - a management consultant - bemoaned the fact that he always underestimated the hours required to complete a job, even when he added in extra time. When all the extra hours were added in, his hourly rate worked out to less than $50 per hour. At my suggestion, he began quoting prices by the job. After three months he conceded that on average, he was able to charge more for the whole job than when he quoted by the hour. His customers - it seems - perceived greater value when he outlined what the job consisted of, than when he simply quoted an hourly rate for his time.

PRICE RESISTANCE
If you are in business, at some stage you will encounter resistance to the price you are charging. Your best option here is to help the customer understand the full value of your service, and the value or benefit they will get by implementing it. If you cannot conquer price resistance through educating the customer, then I would seriously suggest you not take the engagement.

Never decrease your price to get business from a customer suffering from price resistance. That cheats your best customers - those who value what you provide - and subsidizes your worst customers - those drawn to you by price considerations alone. Those will be the first customers to defect once they find - and they will - a service provider willing to do the work for less. You do not want to work for people who do not understand, or refuse to pay for, the value you provide.

Stay true and stick to your guns. In today’s world it is no longer relevant to talk in terms of hourly rates when positioning the price of your services. It’s all about value you provide, and the perception of value in your customers’ mind.

© 2003-2005 Megan Tough
Megan Tough - coach, facilitator & published writer - works with people to create outstandingly satisfying and truly successful professional lives. Make more money - have more fun! To learn more and to sign up for more FREE tips and articles like these, visit www.megantough.com

11/2/2005

Instant guru blog

28/1/2005

What is a lead? What makes it good?

Filed under: — HBH Site Admin @ 5:43 am

If you are considering buying leads for your business there is insider information you should know about. By insider I mean those who are in the business of generating and selling leads. By putting yourself ona playing field with those who are providing leads you will be better prepared to find what works for you.

Lets start with one of the 16 dictionary definitions for the noun form of lead

An indication of potential opportunity (dictionary.com)

In simple every day form a lead is really just the prospect of a potential business partner or a potential customer. It is no different than telling someone that you are in the painting business and they respond “Really, I have a room or a garage that needs painting.” (You just generated a lead.) This person that tells you they are looking for your field of work is a potential client for your painting service. This is a lead that may take a few calls and maybe a live inspection to POSSIBLY get the business.

Some people think that a lead is a golden ticket and that every person on that list is just waiting on the other end with a boat load of money to dump in their hands. I dont know of any lead in the market today for any product or service where this is true. If you happen to find one be sure to let me know.

Now that we understand what a lead is lets talk about how to determine if a lead is good or not.

A common myth with leads buying is the more money you spend on a lead the better it must be. This is true in the broadest form only. Meaning that if you buy a targeted home based business lead it is going to cost more than a cheap co-registration email lead and the home based business lead should give you a much higher percentage of people interested in your home based business than the percentage you will pull from a general consumer co-registration lead.

However when you are examining leads that contain largely the same information and are comparable in age it wont make a difference that you paid $10 for that lead when you could have bought the same kind of lead for $2.50.

Yes an $80,000 Mercedes Benz is arguably better than a $10,000 KIA because there is a higher cost of production to equip the Mercedes with all that luxury. In the lead business cost of production is more likely the reason for the price of a lead rather than the quality. If Joe leads generator has found a more efficient method to generate a 6 question surveyed lead and Gerry leads generator has a higher cost of production they will sell the same lead but Gerry will require a higher price. Although unlike the Mercedes / Kia example you are getting close to, if not exactly, the same thing.

There is one question that you should always ask about a lead regardless of price. That question is: “Are these leads incentivize generated?” In other words was there some exchange as a trade off for that prospect? If the answer is yes unless you are getting a very cheap email lead I would NOT try these leads. The reason being is if there is any kind of incentive for the prospect to fill out the form they probably were just doing it for the incentive and not because they are genuinely interested in the target market. (IE: Starting a home based business.)

You now know that price is not always a good indicator of quality and incentive leads should be avoided. You are probably still wondering how to know if a lead is good.

Due diligence on a lead is a good start such as asking about how it is generated, how old it is and if the vendor has references or testimonials. However there is only one way to know for sure if a lead is good. Give the lead a fair trail run. Then based on your average response rate of the lead calculate return on investment. (A good test will depend on the specific type of lead and how targeted it is supposed to be. It could be as few as 5 leads and as many as 50 thousand.)

For example lets say that Im a car salesman and I buy “highly targeted, premium, ultra, super seller, mega” leads. These are supposed to be top notch and allow me to close a lot of business. Lets say I make $500 on each car I actually sell. My leads cost $100/each. It may be that these are very good leads and it may be that I couldn’t find a higher close ratio anywhere. However because I only make $500 on the sale of a car I need to sell a car to at least 1/5 people whose name I buy as a lead. Otherwise this is NOT a good lead for me! The reason being if it took an average of more than 5 of these $100 leads for me to generate one sale Im actually going to lose money on my purchase of leads. So unless my business model allows for the leads I buy to be at least breakeven they are not good leads for me to use. Also you should notice, in this example, that unless I close an overall percentage higher than 20% my leads buy is only a break even proposition. However if you do not have leads that can be profitable right away breakeven is ok to use. The idea behind breaking even is that you are not losing money so you dont have to worry about getting over your head or going out of business. Your resulting customers should become a good source of referrals and do repeat business themselves. This will actually make your breakeven leads profitable.

Now you know what a lead is and how to determine if it is good for you. This is not to say that once youve found a good lead you cant find better. In fact you should be looking until youve found something that works consistently and you are satisfied with your return on investment over the long-run. You should be open to trying new possibilities as it may lead to even more profits and business for you.

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This article (What is a lead? What makes it good?) was authored and copyright 2005 by Richard Tarjeft. It may be distributed and published so long as this full credit and notice is included with the document. No other authorized uses of this article is implied without full written permission of the author:

28/12/2004

Instant Buzz



9/11/2004

Beautiful Womens Month

Filed under: — HBH Site Admin @ 7:06 pm


In honor of women’s history month and in memory of Erma Bombeck
who lost her fight with cancer.

Here is an angel sent to watch over you. Pass this on to five
women that you want watched over. If you don’t know five women to pass this on to, one will do just fine.

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER
- by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth I would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.” There would have been more “I love you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every
minute…look at it and really see it .. live it .and never give
it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff.

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.

Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally.

I hope you all have a blessed day.

Beautiful Women’s Month

Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.
Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.
Age 15: She looks at herself and sees an Ugly Sister (Mum I can’t go to school looking like this!)
Age 20: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too
short/too tall, too straight/too curly"- but decides she’s going out anyway.
Age 30: She looks at herself and sees “too fat/too thin, too
short/too tall, too straight/too curly” - but decides she doesn’t have time to fix it, so she’s going out anyway.
Age 40: She looks at herself and sees “clean” and goes out
anyway.
Age 50: She looks at herself and sees “I am” and goes wherever she wants to go.
Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the
people who can’t even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.
Age 70: She looks at herself &sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.
Age 80: Doesn’t bother to look. Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.

2/11/2004

Why can’t YOU start your own business?

Filed under: — HBH Site Admin @ 1:37 pm


Even if you love a job or being a full time parent, you’ve probably heard and thought about the saying “you can’t get rich working for someone else.”

Maybe you‘ve even thought about your own business and have ideas about what sort of business you could run. Have you thought as far as a name, tag line, and so on?

So what’s stopping you registering that business name and starting up?

Many people sitting at home or at work day dreaming about business will be thinking along the lines of “its ok for those rich people, they already have a great business. What could I do? How could I get a business going like them?”

A majority of the big names you hear in business were once where you are now – many didn’t have a wealthy background, business savvy parents, an exclusive education or numerous contacts to work from.

So, what’s the difference between you and those business success stories? Why be so sure you can’t succeed like they did?

In reality, the only thing stopping you starting your business and taking it as far as you want to is YOU.

Start with the important business ingredient

Yes, to start a successful business career, you have to believe in yourself.

As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you can; if think you can’t, you can’t.”

Ignoring the practicalities of the business type for now, the only thing stopping you being a business person of highest calibre is your lack of confidence in yourself, in your idea or in your right to succeed.

Ray Kroc didn’t have a product of his own; he bought the rights of a business and promoted it and became a very successful business man because he believed it was possible. Never heard of him? Well, he kept the business name of the brothers he bought from; their name was McDonald …

Walt Disney took his idea to 303 banks before he got the funds to start Mickey Mouse and friends on their path to fame.

Barbara de Corti, founder of Enjo Australia, took over two years to sell her first stock of cleaning products; bit of a change for an aerobics instructor!

From the humble beginnings of chronic fatigue syndrome and a run down, termite ridden student flat in Sydney, Sonia Amoroso has built a business empire worth more than $30 million.

There are no rules about who can start a business, and certainly no rules specific to you not running a business.

Look inside yourself and identify if you are putting the breaks on your own successful business before you even take the first step. Ask yourself why you can’t run a business …

Are there valid reasons, or are you putting excuses in your own way? If its money, go and find some or work a part time job to raise the funds; if its qualifications, go and study and or find a related alternative that doesn’t need study; if it’s family commitments, consider how working for yourself will reduce commuting time and child care requirements. Question each “reason” for not starting your own business and find a way around them.

To paraphrase Don Kennedy, give yourself permission to start your business rather than wait for it to come from somewhere else. Essentially, if you wait for others to tell you to start a business and for the perfect time for your business, you will never own a business.

Food For thought

To help you on your way to accepting you can be a business person and establishing a business, here are some questions for you to think about.

You may find it helpful to record your answers in a notebook; you will be able to refer back to these notes later, as well as adding to them and refining your ideas as you learn more.

What do you want to achieve in your life?

Do you enjoy working away from home?

How much control over your income and lifestyle do you want?

What would the perfect working week be for you? How many hours for what income level?

What do you have to offer other people?

Are your dreams important enough to work for?

What sort of lifestyle do you want for yourself? And for your family?

Have you found a business idea you can be passionate about?

How long do you want to dream about running a business and doing nothing about it?

Do you prefer the risk of failure or the risk of regret?

“Half the failures in life arise from pulling in one’s horse as he is leaping“ said Augustus Hare. Why not let your horse have his head?

by Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

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Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions (www.wordconstructions.com) and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.


14/10/2004

Networking?

Filed under: — kerrip @ 11:44 am


What is Networking?

By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Funny how one little word can cause so many to cringe and others to be confused, and yet be such a useful tool for successful businesses.

You dread it because of a bad experience, or you’ve heard bad reports or maybe you think you are too shy for it; perhaps you don’t really know what networking is.

What is networking, really?

If you want to catch fish, you would not use long pieces of string individually; a single string won’t help you. However, when a number of strings are tied together as a net, they can catch many fish.

Essentially, business networking is the same; by interconnecting with other businesses, each one increases its ability to catch prospective clients.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as a ‘chain of interconnected persons’ which really describes most of your everyday life; business networking is simply recognising a normal process as a useful tool.


Why should I network?

The best networks are built on relationships between the people who own and run businesses.

e obvious impact of networking relationships is that people trust you and may use your service or product at some time. In this sense, networking is useful but has limited scope unless you spend a lot of time talking to other business owners.

Beyond this, networking can do much more for your business. Within a networking relationship, trust and knowledge is built between business people. By learning about other businesses, you are able to refer them to your clients who want something you can’t offer.

On a purely business level, the advantages to you of promoting another’s business are:

+ You earn goodwill from that business, thus increasing your chance of serving them at some point

+ Your customers will be happy to find what they are after easily and with a recommendation – this is called value adding and will build customer loyalty

+ Providing more to customers increase the likelihood of them praising you to others

+ Your networking partner(s) will also be promoting you at appropriate times

Whenever your business is recommended to another person, this is called word of mouth advertising and it is the most powerful form of advertising there is.

By networking, you are also increasing the range of people who can hear about your business. You may be able to tell three people a week about your business; a group of ten people may each tell one person a week about your business. That has already increased your exposure by about three times!

On a different level, by networking you are exposing yourself to new people and new ideas, and potentially gaining support and resources for your own business. Belonging to a good networking group can be a major factor in business growth.

How do I network?

Every time you speak to someone about your business you may well be networking. Networking is all about talking to people and spreading the word about your business.

u can limit your networking to casual conversations with friends, acquaintances and local business owners, or you can take a more formal approach.

There is a wide variety of networking options available:

+ Join an online business community – either a general business site or one related to your particular area

+ Join a formal networking group – these groups meet regularly and limit membership to one of each business type

+ Attend networking functions – such functions are run by various bodies, including formal and online networking communities, and often include a guest speaker. Some are members only and most incur a charge.

+ Join a community group of business people working in the community – this is not a business network as such but is a great opportunity to contribute as well as meet people with common interests

+ Arrange some cross promotions with complementary businesses – perhaps have some of each others’ business cards available for clients or share some ad space in an expensive magazine.

Thus, networking is of great benefit to a business and can provide support as well; it can even be fun! And you don’t have to be an outgoing person for it to be effective; honesty and an interest in others are all you need to succeed.

=======================

Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.

4/10/2004

What Ever Happened to Customer Service?

Filed under: — kerrip @ 10:37 am


What Ever Happened to Customer Service?

© 2000, by Harmony Major

Have you ever been fortunate enough to experience this seemingly extinct concept called “customer care?” If so, you’re one of the few that has yet to experience true customer service online. More often than not, we get terrible service, discourteous service, or a complete and total lack of service. Sound familiar yet?

Have you ever sent questions to a company you were thinking of buying from, but only got half of those questions answered? And, the ones that were answered were only HALF ANSWERED themselves? If so, did you follow through to buy from them? Probably not.

These are all things we need to think about and take VERY seriously as online entrepreneurs. Not only will offering excellent customer care set us apart from the majority, but it will also increase sales and profits when our clientele realizes that we actually DO care about their buying experience, and we actually DO care whether they leave with a quality product or service and with all of their questions answered.

So how do we ensure that our customers genuinely feel cared for, and their business valued? Take the following 3 common sense steps to stop customer complaints BEFORE they start:


1. Answer all questions thoroughly and enthusiastically.

When someone asks questions about your product or service, they’re expressing a STRONG interest in buying what you have to offer. Don’t force their spending dollars elsewhere by sending incomplete answers or taking days to respond to their e-mail. And when you do write back, don’t make your prospects feel like the response was a chore. After all, if they knew everything you know, they wouldn’t need to buy what you’re offering!

el honored to explain the answers to their questions, and make sure they understand. 68% of customers don’t follow through on the sale because of a perceived ATTITUDE *or* INDIFFERENCE toward them by the owner, manager, or an employee. [Source Customer Service Institute, Silver Spring, MD] So remember, they CHOSE to do business with you! Realize that decision, and honor them for it.


2. Take measures to guard against preventable disasters.

This one speaks for itself. Things like sticking to established policies comes to mind. An online contract is mutually agreed upon by both the provider and the consumer. Don’t jeopardize client relationships by going against contract terms, and don’t try to invent conditions later on down the line. If there isn’t a written or verbal agreement on something, it’s not enforceable.

Not only can this type of practice lead to a fat lawsuit, it’s just plain unethical! Fewer surprises equals happier customers.

3. In the event of some inevitable disaster, keep your customers informed!

If you run a web hosting service that’s experiencing downtime, don’t wait until your client *finds out* that their site has been down for a week. Let them know what’s been happening, and please, don’t make THEM contact YOU.

Keep your clients aware of everything your company experiences that may have an affect on them. Not only will they appreciate your taking the time to keep them informed, but your technical support department won’t be bogged down with heated calls and e-mails from disgruntled clients that don’t have a clue of what’s going on!

But, although you can take precautions to try to prevent customer complaints, please also remember that some complaints will be unavoidable. Even so, just because they’re unavoidable doesn’t make them incurable. Take the following 3 steps to turn more of your disgruntled customers into happy, referral-giving clientele:


1. Find a way to resolve the complaint fairly … then stick to your word.

In most cases of dissatisfaction, your customer will ask for a refund. However, don’t make the common mistake of thinking that refunding their money is the end of the problem. If you do, the customer won’t be leaving with any more than they started, except for a disappointing experience with your company … and that’s NOT what you want. So, you might correct the situation AND offer them something of value for their time and trouble.

For example, I run a website design service in which I design a client’s website how they specify, and also set them up with a product to sell, and the ability to accept online payment. The estimated completion time (without the advantage of express service) is 2-4 weeks.

The only refund request I’ve ever gotten on that service came from a client that was upset that the two week date was fast approaching, and I hadn’t begun to start on her site. The client that I was working with prior to her kept introducing new changes and requirements, which meant more work for me AND a longer waiting period for my newest client. When it didn’t look like I’d be able to start and finish her website before the two week time estimate, understandably, she requested a refund.

It wasn’t this new client’s fault that her site wouldn’t be completed as estimated, so here’s what I did. I honored her refund request immediately, AND offered to set up her five page website for free, as originally planned. Was she satisfied with that? You bet! And, did I prevent a dissatisfied customer? Definitely! These are things the kinds of things you have to do to keep your business on its toes.

But, when doing something as generous as offering free services to your customer, remember that they’ll likely not value the service as much as if they had to pay for it. You could create a website for a client, have them use it a week, and discard it for another site. They may not even use it at all. So, take this into account when coming up with ways to satisfy your disgruntled customer. You’ll avoid disappointment in the long run.

2. Follow up on your customer’s complaints to be sure that their needs were properly met.

After you take that special action to win your dissatisfied customer over, check back with them after a few weeks. This doesn’t have to be anything more than a quick e-mail to see if they need anything else, and to see if the arrangement you made for them has been working out.

Not only will this show that you care about your customer’s satisfaction, it also shows that the arrangements you made for them were genuine attempts to make them happy. This can also get you more word-of-mouth referrals!


3. Treat them as your most highly valued customer(s).

Winning a customer over after they’ve decided not to do business with you again is no small feat. So, if you’re able to change their mind about it, they deserve extra special treatment! Offer them VIP discounts on future purchases and continue to value their patronage as if it were their very first time shopping with you. I guarantee you – your courtesy will go a long way!

Knowing how to satisfy customers and KEEP them satisfied are both very important parts of excellent customer care. Whether it be before or after someone has done business with you, make sure that it’s always a pleasant experience, and give them as much personal attention as you possibly can.

If you know how to effectively resolve customer complaints, rebuild credibility with follow up letters and calls, and make the customer feel valued, you’ll never be short of business OR profit!

The above article was submitted by Kerri-Ann Price


10 Tips for Successful Business Networking

Filed under: — kerrip @ 8:07 am

10 Tips for Successful Business Networking
by Stephanie Speisman

Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.

Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.

Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.

Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.

Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.

Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.

Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others.

Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.

Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.

Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.

——————————

(via steve/twm/ryze 5/8/04)
Stephanie Speisman is a Success Coach who coaches groups and individuals in business networking skills based on her booklet “99 Tips for Successful Business Networking.” Contact info: (301)469-8015, successcoach@erols.com, www.strategiesforchan

Streetwise Motivation Tips

Filed under: — kerrip @ 8:06 am

Motivation comes from caring not scaring.

Fear should never be used as a motivation strategy. It may get you what you want now, but it will set you up for what you don’t want in the future in the form of employee anger, resentment, and lack of enthusiasm and commitment. When employees feel that managers care about them and that they are perceived as respected and valuable members of the organization, they are more cooperative, enthusiastic, and committed to organizational goals, both in the present and in the future.

Employee motivation grows and blossoms in the right environment.

When employees feel nurtured, appreciated, acknowledged, and respected, they’ll give 100 percent of their time, effort, and commitment in return. The job of the manager is to create a work environment that provides employees with the opportunity to attain their goals and experience what they value most in their professional lives. In this environment, communication is open and honest, coaching for success is ongoing, training for performance improvement is continuous, and creative problem-solving is a way of life. Managers also need to provide sincere expressions of recognition, appreciation, and acknowledgement to nourish their employees’ feelings of self-worth.

Walk your talk.

Modeling the behavior you want from your employees is the most effective way to change any behavior. If you want your employees to arrive on time, you should be in early or at least arrive at an accepted time. If you want motivated employees, you need to become a role model for motivation. In addition, becoming more aware of what motivates you will increase your understanding of what motivates other people.

Make work fun!

The research is clear – laughter is not only good for the soul but also is good for the mind and body. Having fun is a basic human need, and when it’s met in the workplace, productivity goes up. Appoint a “fun” committee, and come up with ways to bring enjoyment into your department. Bringing fun into the workplace lowers stress levels and provides opportunities for employees to build rapport with each other, which is the foundation for successful team-building.

The Law of Attraction.

The law of attraction states that whatever we focus on we bring to ourselves. If you focus on the lack of motivation in your employees, you’ll find more and more examples of it. When you seek to learn more about motivation and create an atmosphere that fosters it, you’ll find more examples of motivation in the workplace.

Ongoing Commitment.

Motivating employees is an ongoing process because people are continually growing and changing. As they achieve something they want or value, they then seek to achieve more of the same. If motivation is not kept on your managerial front burner, you’ll see the fires in your employees slowly fade and die out.

(Jessie/TWM/Ryze 4/8/04)

2/10/2004

My Business Philosophies

Filed under: — kerrip @ 1:04 am

Kerri
These are my some of my business philosophies…..

Get involved…
participate…
learn to laugh…
have fun…
be a kid…
forget about working for work sake….
teams are the best way to get the job done…
do something every day to grow your business…
try everything, you may fall over the the right thing….
appreciate others…
passion is all….
encourage the tryers…
creativity is within us all….
love life….
negative people are good to avoid….
do your best and then better yourself….
you can never stop learning…..
listen to the experts….
give the customers your all and then give them something for nothing….

What are some of yours?

Kerri

1/10/2004

10 Ways To Form Lasting Customer Relationships

Filed under: — kerrip @ 3:47 pm

10 Ways To Form Lasting Customer Relationships
© 2001 Brett Krkosska
A profitable business starts and ends with the customer. By placing the
customer at the center of all your thinking you create an environment
which fosters long term success. A key component of success lies in your
ability to generate repeat and referral business, and a sure way to do this is
by forming lasting relationships with your customers.
Here are 10 things you can do:
1. Set yourself apart from the competition. Give your customers something
they can’t get elsewhere. This is your niche on the Web. Make your niche
something of real value over time and people will come back again and
again.
2. Don’t waste time on activities that can be automated. For instance, let
your email program filter and route your incoming messages automatically,
use a template to build new pages for your site, etc. Automation frees up
your time so you can concentrate on the important stuff - your customer.
3. Eliminate the time you spend you on non-productive tasks. For instance,
unsubscribe to newsletters your never read instead of deleting them each
time. Handle paperwork one time and then file it instead of stacking it in a
pile. All these little things add up to lots of wasted time that could be spent
on your customer.
4. Concentrate your efforts on marketing to the people that need your
service. Start by auditing your marketing and sales data to find out how and
why a sale is made. Eliminate or change marketing strategies and services
that don’t serve the needs of your customers.
5. Respond to email quickly. Response time should be under 24 hours. By
responding quickly you send the message that your customers are
important and you are genuinely interested in meeting their needs.
6. Follow up on sales orders. Make sure your customer is thoroughly
satisfied with their purchase and offer additional services related to their
purchase.
7. Give refunds promptly and unconditionally.
8. Ask your customers to fill out a survey so you can better understand
their needs. Offer a valuable freebie or a discounted service for
participating. This strategy establishes a dialogue between you and the
customer and helps determine the direction of your business.
9. Publish a newsletter. Give your subscribers valuable tips and
information they can’t get anywhere else. Offer subscriber-only discounts
and freebies.
10. Make your site easy to navigate. Customers value their time and
appreciate finding what they want quickly and effortlessly.
Imagine every customer as a real person standing in front of you. What are
his needs and how well are you addressing these needs? Let this image
guide you in all aspects of your business and you’ll discover hundreds of
ways to form lasting customer relationships.
Article by Brett Krkosska. Brett’s site has helped 1000’s find home-based work options. For FREE
home business startup assistance visit http://www.homebiztools.com. Too busy to visit? Subscribe to
Work At Home E-News! It’s Fresh, Original, and Free: mailto:enews@homebiztools.com

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Working at Home? Here’s 10 Ways to Be More

Filed under: — kerrip @ 3:38 pm

Working at Home? Here’s 10 Ways to Be More
Productive
Ah, working at home… Visions of leisurely days, conference calls in comfy
sweatpants, increased productivity with fewer interruptions. But the
distinctions between work life and home life soon blur. You really should
throw some laundry in the wash before you write that proposal. You have
an hour before a meeting: Should you balance your books or clean the
kitchen? And remember to call that client back right after you empty the
cat box.
Welcome to the real world of working at home: unforeseen distractions, a
lack of structured time, and sometimes a perceived loss of identity. But
don’t give up the dream just yet! By putting into place a few simple ideas,
you can reap more of the rewards of working at home. Based on my
experiences and those of my associates, here are 10 simple ways to help
you stay on track.
**1. Separate Your Space**
Keep a separate, distinct work area in your home. (This is especially
difficult if you’re living and working in a shoebox studio, like I was when I
started my business in New York City!) If you don’t have a separate room,
at least define an area, and know that when you’re in it, you’re in “work
mode.” Make sure your roommates and family are aware of this as well.
**2. Structure Your Time**
As your business and personal time mesh, it’s more important than ever to
structure your day. For example, if you regularly take a walk or go to the
gym, try to do it every day at the same time. Value that personal
appointment with yourself - even when you’re very busy. It will actually
help you keep your business on track! I like to get up early and work until
noon, then I take a few hours off to enjoy lunch, do some reading, and take
my daily jog on the beach. Then I’m back at my desk at 4:00 until who
knows when!
**3. Outsource All You Can**
When I began my business, I made the mistake of acting as my own courier
service. I soon learned how much time I was wasting by visiting clients too
much just to pick things up and drop them off. Whenever you start
thinking, “Well I can do that myself,” STOP. Streamline your business,
making everything as automatic as possible. Use outside services to stay
focused on your *real work*. Get accounts with an overnight delivery
service, messenger service, virtual assistant (VA), bookkeeper, etc. Save
your energy for your brilliant ideas! : )
**4. Use Technology to Your Advantage**
In-person meetings are very valuable when appropriate, but schedule them
sparingly. Try to do most of your business via phone, fax, and e-mail using
the best equipment you can afford. For most home-based entrepreneurs,
when you’re out of the office, you’re NOT making money. So it’s important
that you can communicate flawlessly from where you are. And PLEASE do
us all a favor and get separate lines/services for your phone, fax, and
Internet! No one likes getting a busy signal.
(BONUS TIP: If your phone company offers voicemail, get it. Not only
will your outgoing message sound more professional, but if you’re on an
important call and don’t want to be disturbed, other callers can still leave
you a message.)
**5. Group Your Errands**
Try to group your meetings and errands together to minimize your out-ofoffice
time. Make a list in the morning of all the outside tasks you need
done for the day, and attempt to complete them in one fell swoop. Even
better, do what I do and designate just one day a week as your “blitz” day
for errands and meetings. I like doing this, because then I need to get
dressed up only one day a week! : )
**6. Stay Focused**
Make your workspace off-limits to other roommates or family members
when you’re working. For you animal lovers, this may go for pets as well.
(My cat Francine gets *very* jealous when I’m not giving her complete
attention!) Keep all personal paperwork such as bills and magazines out of
sight, so as not to distract you from your projects.
**7. Beware of Yappers**
Many of your friends and family will be immediately delighted when they
learn that you’re working at home. They picture you lounging on the
couch, eating potato chips, and waiting for their calls. When they call you
simply to chat, politely remind them that you’re working, and ask them if
you can call them back after your day is over. It may take them awhile, but
they’ll eventually “get it.”
**8. Work With Your Moods**
Keep track of your moods and productivity compared with the time of day.
For example, if you find you’re more alert in the morning, use this time to
make important calls and do your creative work. Take advantage of your
natural cycles. If you feel better after an afternoon nap, go for it! (I’m a BIG
proponent of the catnap. In fact, I may start a support group. : ))
**9. Suit Yourself**
To bring out your best work, make your environment perfect for YOU.
How do you work best? With plenty of breaks, or with no interruptions? In
silence, or with some light music in the background? On a cushy couch
and coffee table, or at a business desk in an ergonomic chair? (My friends
thought I was nuts when I spent $700 on my Herman Miller Aeron chair,
but they quickly understood why once they sat in it! And my spine thanks
me every day.)
Also, find some places you can do work when you need a change of
scenery. How about the library, the park, or your neighborhood coffee
shop? When I need to do serious reading, thinking, or editing, I take my
work outside to the beach. The sea air, sunshine, and soothing waves help
me think much more clearly.
**10. Break for People**
Feeling sluggish, lonely, or moody? Arrange for at least one social break
during the week. (I aim for two or three.) Schedule breakfast, lunch,
dinner, or even just coffee with a client, vendor, or friend. Join a business
networking group, or sign-up for social activities such as dance class or
recreational sports league. Don’t go into hermit mode - it can be selfdestructive!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandria Brown’s FREE biweekly e-zine gives “how-to” tips on writing compelling copy for Web
sites, brochures, and e-zines. Learn how to ATTRACT NEW CLIENTS and strengthen your customer
relationships! Subscribe today at http://www.akbwriting.com or via mailto:AKBMarCom-
On@lists.webvalence.com

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