The 12 Golden Networking Habits

16 02 2009

Networking is fast becoming a trend in business these days. Businesses use networking to gather referrals, word of mouth advertising and viral marketing. Networking really gets you exposure to other potential prospects through your existing contacts and networks.

This increases your networking pool and in turn increases your prospect pool. Here are 12 highly successful habits you must put into place when it comes to networking

  • Prepare yourself before you go out and network. Study your market, get familiar with the people you are being connected to and get your facts in order before you meet different prospect
  • Time Management is essential when it comes to networking. Remember you aren’t there to socialize or mingle. You are trying to get out some business leads and so be selective on the networking opportunities. Time is money.
  • Always try and identify what your motives and business intentions are. This way you will be available to gauge your progress and see if you are on the right track. It always helps to have a specific plan and agenda.
  • Research and staying informed with latest trends and events in your market always draws a crowd. It also is an easy way to networking and start up a conversation. If you don’t have much to talk about it could get awkward. Always spend some time looking into trade magazines and websites. Information and product knowledge is key.
  • Focus on your agenda and stick to it. Don’t let outside interruptions or distractions take over. You are networking with people so make the time for it and don’t allow other indulges take over your time. Leave the office work at the office.
  • Always make an impression. Your first impression usually determines the future and growth of your business. Look sharp, presentable and always come prepared with business cards, brochures and contact information. Make sure you carry your business in your pocket!
  • It also helps when you meet groups of people at the same time as you save more time, hit up more prospects and give out more business cards. This in turns gives you more exposure. Don’t be afraid to work the room!
  • Always get your contacts to introduce you to your potential prospects. It builds credibility and in turn also gets you one step in the door. They don’t know you so the more people working in your favor the stronger the chances of them opening up to you.
  • Confidence, charisma and how you present yourself aurally is key to setting the right introduction and starting up a conversation. Ask questions and try to be interactive.
  • Spend time with the contacts and prospects with quality prospects.We all want quantity but at the end of the day spend your time wisely with the people you are connecting with.
  • Always remember to acknowledge your network pool.Return the favor as well to promote future affiliate relations.      
  • Going the extra mile by sending out thank you cards to anyone that has offered introduction will in turn reflect on your reputation and increase your public relations. It also makes your contact feel more appreciated

Remember collect as many prospect business cards as you can but the secret is in the follow up. A timely follow up on a warm lead increases your chances on closing the sale! 

Visit our website  to learn more strategies on how to accelerate your business at boscoanthony





How To Prepare For A Layoff From An Employees Perspective

18 12 2008

With the current economic meltdown thousands of employees have been laid off over the last few months. Many companies need to downsize and even though it isn’t a performance based decision most of the time it’s usually a cost cutting measure that leads to massive lay offs in the employment arena.

I recently went through a similar situation and know first hand how a lay off can really drop your confidence and also play a number on you. One usually is never prepared for a lay off but here are a following tips to prepare for any unavoidable situations.

Firstly lay offs are quick and usually one does not have the time to pack ones personal items or delete or retrieve your personal information on your work pc or laptop. Most companies don’t usually allow you to use your work pc or laptop for personal use anyways. What is the first law towards a lay off? Backing up your work!

No matter if you own a company laptop, pc or even a blackberry I always recommend you have a backed up copy at home just to save you from trying to retrieve your personal or contact information in the process of being terminated. One useful technique that I used to do was never store any of my files, work or any other related information on my work computers but instead stored it on my home hard drive and / or flash drive. I would back up my work every morning and evening. If you can get routine you wont lose such valuable information.

Secondly I always had a personal online ghost email and forwarded any important / personal or relevant information to my email from my work email. It is recommended not to use your work email for any of your personal contact but if you find an email relevant to your needs always send a copy of it to your ghost email.

The next thing on the agenda is always build a cash reserve. They recommend in the past to have an accumulation of 2-3 months wages to carry you through while you move on and find a new job. Personally I recommend saving a cash reserve for at least 6-9 months assisting you through our current economic hardship. This enables you to have financial security and you aren’t desperate to pick any job but the right job.

I always catch up and follow up with my references every 3-6 months. This keep’s you prepared and have fresh information or updated information on your references. I also would suggest to always be in touch with headhunters, recruiters and employment search engines monthly to keep you updated on what’s on the market. You might have the best jobs on the planet but there is this old saying from a wise man that once said, You are as good as your last day! One day you are in the penthouse and the next you are in the outhouse!

Preparation for a lay off goes a long way. Mentally being prepared is just one half of the battle, the other half is not taking it personally and getting back on your feet again. Don’t ever take it personally it’s just business!

http://www.boscoanthony.com





How To Have A Productive And Effective Call Center Sales Team?

18 12 2008

In the last few weeks we have all seen the media talk about the recession or the economic crisis in the states. It seems to be affecting all business and different countries and a lot of business owners are worried how it will impact their business. In turn the consumer buying power has for some businesses dropped. Consumers are more considerate when buying products and are very conservative mostly when it comes to each transaction considering twice before they pull out their wallet
With this challenge in the economy some business are being even more conservative with their daily operation while other businesses seek opportunity. The successful businesses are taking this opportunity to outsell their competitors. Business that are pulling out are being acquire for very cheap rates, employees who are being laid off are easily being cherry picked by competitors and products that have a low advertising budget have some competitors increasing their marketing budget. At the end of the day one mans meat is another mans poison!
There are really 10 golden rules to accelerating your business during this so-called recession!
• Be an aggressive seller
• Focus on your niche and highest converting products
• Increase your budget for marketing and increase customer contact with your marketing
• Make it easier and convenient for your prospect to buy your products
• Focus on the value of your product for your clients and the return on investment they will receive
• Up-sell your old customers
• Be cost efficient
• Acquire businesses that still have a good business model and a potential to succeed
• Improve your business model and work on its challenges
• Keep your top performers and transition out the under performers





The Ten Golden Rules To Accelerating Your Business During Economic Hardship

18 12 2008

In the last few weeks we have all seen the media talk about the recession or the economic crisis in the states. It seems to be affecting all business and different countries and a lot of business owners are worried how it will impact their business. In turn the consumer buying power has for some businesses dropped. Consumers are more considerate when buying products and are very conservative mostly when it comes to each transaction considering twice before they pull out their wallet
With this challenge in the economy some business are being even more conservative with their daily operation while other businesses seek opportunity. The successful businesses are taking this opportunity to outsell their competitors. Business that are pulling out are being acquire for very cheap rates, employees who are being laid off are easily being cherry picked by competitors and products that have a low advertising budget have some competitors increasing their marketing budget. At the end of the day one mans meat is another mans poison!
There are really 10 golden rules to accelerating your business during this so-called recession!
• Be an aggressive seller
• Focus on your niche and highest converting products
• Increase your budget for marketing and increase customer contact with your marketing
• Make it easier and convenient for your prospect to buy your products
• Focus on the value of your product for your clients and the return on investment they will receive
• Up-sell your old customers
• Be cost efficient
• Acquire businesses that still have a good business model and a potential to succeed
• Improve your business model and work on its challenges
• Keep your top performers and transition out the under performers





The Key Elements To Any Business Model

18 12 2008

Every business owner would love to have a successful business model. In fact most successful business understand the importance and essence of having a performing business model especially during economic hardships.

Before anything else a good business owner must know what a business model really is. In this day and age a good business model tells you how you operate your business and how much revenue you will in turn generate. Simply put a business model not only should give you a key analysis on the projection of your business but also should give you a clear understanding on how to survive and compete within your market.

Next up the pillars to your business model are detailed as follows:

a- Product Value
b- Fulfillment
c- Business Development
d- Profit Margin

Product Value really determines your product; it’s value to your consumer and in turn the overall cost and man hours taken to create your product including market research. Ultimately the concept of supply and demand kicks. Can you compete in a viable market or are you a niche business?

Fulfillment really is the process or method in delivering the product in consumer hands. The aspects of the delivery turn around time and overall customer satisfaction to this element is key. Are you satisfied with your fulfillment process or could you improve the process?

Business Development is the process of developing relations to bringing in more business to your lead funnel. The art of lead generation and creating new business falls under this category. At this margin you need evaluate if you can increase your lead opportunities?

Profit Margin really comes down to the net profit margin after all expenditure. This formula is your blueprint to success. It is essential to determine your profit margin so you know what you need to do to hit your projections and essentially create your fiscal year targets. Do you know your profit margin within your business today?

At the end of the day a good business plans makes a successful business even better!





Referrals – The Untapped Resource

18 12 2008

One of the most useful teachings I have learned over the last few years is the art of getting referrals. In fact almost half my business today comes from client referrals, recommendations and introductions. The funny part is it wasn’t like this when I first started out in the field. Over time the referrals kept coming and these days I have a list of clients who await my services. The referral system can be accelerated when the process is laid out and implemented. Collecting referrals however is an art and must be mastered over time.

You might ask yourself why do I say that this is an untapped resource. Well the answer is truly that most entrepreneurs tend not to take advantage of this system until recently. We tend to get so focused on marketing our products and taking care of daily operations that we tend to spend less time on the minor details. A few of my clients have developed a unique referral system and in turn over the years now focused on it as a priority for lead generation.

The first thing you need to know is that you will get more referrals if you let your current clients that you always welcome,need and want referrals. Some clients just don’t think about this or perceive this if you don’t ask for the referrals. When you are busy with clients it gives off the vibe that you can’t take on any more clients. Some clients aren’t entrepreneurs and hence don’t understand the meaning of referrals unless it is brought to their attention. The best solution is to plant seeds and make them more aware of your business intentions. If it involves you informing them via newsletter, phone call, email or even sending a postcard this will create reminders in your customers minds and in turn help you in the long run.

Customers tend to give you more referrals if they feel confident, comfortable and good judgment about your services, products and/or even character. This is why it is very important and necessary that you do your best and put in 150% for every customer you have. My own clients agree with me on this that when you have customers that are satisfied with your services in turn talk about you more. This involves everything from how you carry yourself, punctuality, prompt responses, support and consistency in your actions. Potential referral sources will equate your character and behavior with trustworthiness.

Getting your clients to take action for you is very essential and in fact builds more credibility for you. I still remember this one time I called a referral up and the person wasn’t expecting my call and in turn hadn’t spoken to my client yet. Not only was it an awkward conversation but I ended up losing the prospect. Always ask your client how you can help their referrals and either get them to call up the referral first and inform them of your call first or even better get the referral to contact you.

Never underestimate your clients and in turn always try your best to educate your clients on what you do. I have always been pleasantly surprised with my client referrals. Most of the my referrals came from clients I didn’t expect any referrals from. I recently emailed 2000 of my clients/contacts to thank them for their business and inform of them of my business and the changes to it. Within a 24 hours I had about 100 emails and responses from my list of customers who kept referring me to other people they knew that might benefit from my business. The emails keep coming! Communication is key be it through email marketing, cold calling direct mailing.

Studies have shown that being courteous respectful and showing gratitude for referrals always works in your favor. I always advise my clients to have a 3 point of contact rule. The first is a verbally note. The second is a message after the referral turns into a sale. Finally I tend to send my best referral sources a small gift or reward or even a discount. Most of the presents come out during the Christmas break. Remember surprising your clients is always the best way to get them to remember you.

Try to identify why referrals are being sent your way. Why did your client refer them to you? What can you do for them? Why the fit? Where did the client acquire this referral? This in turn will help you not only understand your potential future business better but also give you an idea on what you need to do to get more future referrals.

The referral system can also be an infectious tool. Pass your referrals too in return and you will notice most of the time the referrals reciprocated. When you become a source of referrals your business is the limelight and you are in good books with your clients. In turn they will return the favor.

Did you know that
a- Sales people in the car industry are hired based on who they know, and what referral pool they have?
Its really tough to get into selling cars if you don’t have your own referral system to generate leads
b- Hairdressers and barbers not only get repair business, but also practice the referral system and hence
most of their new business comes from this process
c- Great bookkeepers tend to get most of their potential business through referrals than advertising
d- Headhunters tend to ask their current candidates for more referrals

The list is endless. What you need to do is identify how you can get referrals from your business and work on a game plan to implement the process in your day to day business. If you are collecting referrals identify areas that you haven’t tapped into yet!





The Power Of Testimonials- Its Impact On Sales

18 12 2008

Testimonials are one of the most powerful and essential pillars to any business. People like to do business with those that they can relate to, or aware of. They tend to be more comfortable with results that they know of. Credibility isn’t built in one day and in most cases it is earned over time. The best way to gauge the value of your product and services is through the satisfied readers, customers and prospects that are exposed to your business. This in turn is the most convincing than anything you could do or say about your business.

Most of the time testimonials overcome your prospects objections before these concerns hinder your sales process. Usually when a customer has questions they tend to look at the testimonials firsts to identify their solutions and if you are the best fit for their business. Studies have shown that a good percentage of online business tend to showcase their testimonials on their website. An even better percentage of studies show that advertisements tend to focus more on satisfied customers telling a story of how they came across this business, the problems they faced before and the satisfaction they received after using the business. Finally they tend to recommend the business to
everyone else with similar business needs!

This is one of most effective ways of increasing your sales efficiency and is an added way of not only relating to your prospects but also building trust. I strongly advise my clients to put up testimonials as in most cases or situations your testimonials do the selling for you!

The most common question I get is how do I accelerate the process of getting testimonials if I am starting up a business. The answer is simple. When building a business always give free access to your product to your contacts, friends or family and business acquaintances in return for a free testimonial. As your client base increase collect even more stronger testimonials. I have tested this in the past with fruitful results. Almost all my business acquaintances tested my product for free and gave me reviews and even suggested useful feedback to improve my services and products.
You can also go to survey monkey which is an online survey system or create your offline surveys to identify your products key strengths and areas of improvements.

You might ask yourself who is the best person to give you a testimonial. The answer being everyone and anyone you or your business interacts with. While receiving testimonials from presidents, CEO’s and people with higer positions seem to make an impressive portfolio, prospects tend to also relate to the middle guy. Your average worker, your average joe and in fact truly relate with people from all walks of life. A good collection of testimonials brings about a very balanced portfolio.

Testimonials are similar to reference checks and the golden rule is don’t invent your testimonials. One of the biggest malpractices in the business world is to fake your own testimonials. I always advise my clients, my very own testimonials to email me their testimonials word for word, sometimes even mail me or fax me their testimonials to keep a copy for my records. Why do I do this. So that if I was ever to prove the validity of the testimonial I could easily produce these records.

The secret to a good testimonial is content, detail, location and signature. While some clients prefer not having their names released or contact information for release I always try to put up as much information that I can. If the testimonial has a website I will put that up as well. Seeking consent is another golden rule when collecting testimonials. It is also good to be courteous and inform your testimonials on your publish before you put them up on any marketing materials. One sentence testimonials don’t really get great results. Be elaborate, explain the entire process and if you can put up real numbers, projections, targets and results. Customers tend to react better to facts and numbers too. The one sentence words like, excellent, great, good job don’t really get you very far. The best testimonials are highly specific and results oriented.

Sometimes your potential testimonials don’t have the time or the entrepreneur mind to write a persuasive or convincing testimonial. It is up to you to determine if its best to write up the testimonial for their signature. Most of the time testimonials will consent and prefer it that way.Sometimes it will require you getting on the phones and calling your clients and probing them by asking them specific questions to develop a truly compelling endorsement.

The biggest golden nugget you can get away from this is keep your testimonials fresh and continue collecting them monthly. Have a special folder for all your testimonials and change them monthly. If you are an internet marketer test different testimonials to see if your conversion goes higher, traffic is stronger and opts in are bigger!

Some of the latest trends I have noticed lately is

* Social Networking is a great place to start collecting testimonials.
* Sites like Linked In, Plaxo actually give you the ability to endorse your contacts
* Testimonials are even stronger when a picture and website is attached to it
* Video and Audio Testimonials are the most sincere, genuine and effective way to convert your prospects into sales!

Remember testimonials are an essential key to elevating your sales when done right!