Creating Clients for Life – Thank You

As a parent of four daughters, my wife and I have focused our children on the art of sending thank you notes. We started them at a young age that included a cute piece of paper with crayons through their teens with a formal card and well thought out hand written message. It included birthdays, graduations, recent wedding, and the unusual when a nice gesture was done for them.

As we move into our business careers, many of us forget about that lost art and the powerful impact it still has vs. an electronic email. It is definitely a strategy that can set you apart. As real estate professionals there are many opportunities to drop a thank you card. I have even seen some studies that indicate a person who receives a thank you card will share it with 3 other people.

Make it part of your daily routine to send out at least 5 thank you cards per day and increase it as your business increases. Types of Thank You notes include:

  • Purchased a Home – This is the most obvious and the start of the process to create that long term referral. Don’t forget to offer your availability to help them if they have needs for recommendation for local services etc
  • Home Showing – Working with buyers requires time and patience. Why not send that thank you for the opportunity to show them a home and reinforcing your skills and enthusiasm to continue to find the client their dream home
  • Listing – Thanking that home owner for selecting you and remind them on why they did select you along with some of the marketing already in place.
  • Referrals – We all work for referral, so thanking that customer for a referral, whether or not that referral selected you will continue to bear future fruits
  • Listing Appointments – Meeting with homeowners that are looking to make that decision to sell their home requires the thank you be sent immediately. Timing becomes critical. Pick that one moment from the meeting that you felt you connected with the home owners and include that in your note
  • Cold Calling/Prospecting – When meeting someone for the first time, and follow-up with a thank you for their time and offer them a personal contact method.
  • Rejection – There will be times that you do not get the home listing or do not find the buyer that home. A thank you and keeping in touch for future developments may lead to future business.

Make sure each thank you note is hand written, has a stamp (not metered), is signed, and includes your business card

Importance Of PR (Public Relations) For Small And Medium Level Companies

It’s not only large companies that can make use of public relations (PR) firms; small and medium businesses can also benefit from these professional firms.

If you have a small or a medium sized company and you are wondering how a PR firm can be of importance to you, here are some of the benefits that come with Public relations:

Create a positive Image

A PR firm not only promotes your business, but also puts your business in the limelight. This plays a major role in creating a positive image about your company.

One of the ways in which a PR creates a positive image is by getting you, your products, or your business featured in newspaper or magazine stories. By doing this, many people read your story and form a positive image about your business.

Increase profits

Other than helping you to create a positive image about your business, a good PR firm will also help you to increase your profits. A good PR firm will do this by identifying your target market and help you to advertise your business in an area where you will make more sales.

For example, the firm will help you get an opportunity to talk about a product on television or radio and this will increase your exposure. When many people know about your business the more they will buy from you and as a result the more you increase your profits.

Reduce costs

Although, it can be expensive to hire a PR firm, it tends to be cheap over the long run.

For example, you may be required to part with thousands of dollars to hire a good PR firm, but the firm will help you or your representatives to be booked for interviews on television shows and newscasts which will give you a lot of exposure which would have cost you millions of dollars.

Offer intelligent advertising

Newspapers, magazines and online platforms may not be interested in promoting your business, but they may be interested in giving information to their readers.

If the information is related to your company, the PR will help you in drafting an intelligent press release that won’t sound like an advertisement. The release will not only give information to the readers, but it will also give your business the much needed exposure.

These are some of the benefits of hiring a public relations firm if you have a small or medium sized business. To ensure that you hire the right firm, you need to do a lot of research.

What You Need To Know About App Notifications

Notifications rank amid the most widespread features in mobile apps. Whatever they may concern – a message or a comment in a social network, an update of an app, an announcement or a reminder – notifications are made to bring useful information to users in a convenient way. However, these seemingly simple parts of your software require as much thinking as anything else, especially in terms of the message you want to send. After all, if you pay less attention to tinier things, it’s much easier to make them bad.

What’s In A Notification?

Apple divides notifications into local and push (remote) ones. The difference has been very clearly set by Apple:

– Local notifications are scheduled by an application and delivered on the same device.
– Push notifications, also known as remote notifications, are sent by your server to the Apple Push Notification service, which pushes the notification to devices.

Aside from alerts and banners, notifications include sounds and badges, as exemplified by iOS. This is what’s visible to users. Badge numbers usually indicate a number of specific things (upcoming events, unread messages, or updates /files to download). An app can also specify a short distinct sound to alert the user.

Functional Notifications: Right Time, Right Place

Local notifications are delivered to users when the app runs in the foreground. They are often used for asking users to rate the app and write a review, offering rewards, offering to download and install a new update, as well as offering to show new features afterwards. All this works for encouragement of users, for the sake of rich experience.

Push notifications involve interactions with the server, and they are usually delivered to users when the app runs in the background. While local notifications engage users, push notifications draw users back to the app.

In a nutshell, quality of the message defines its success. Both push and local ones are widely used in mobile marketing. And it’s quite easy to keep in mind the following things that will help your notifications be healthy.

Notifications In Marketing: How Not To Overdo

Notifications are made to draw users’ attention. But for the same reason they get overused, since any app owner can find so much to inform users of. But notifications in marketing must mean effective dialogue and clear answers to their questions, not mobile spamming. Let your users decide whether they want to receive anything, how they will receive it, and which topics would be relevant for them.

– Abusive apps are generally hated – irrelevant and interruption notifications are treated by many as eye-offenders, and are hated as much as irrelevant ad banners with striking colors. While users love the value that’s given by apps, they hate everything valueless.

– Content and frequency of notifications matter. The less personalized these notifications are, the more annoying they will seem to users. Different users find value in different information and different message. Then they can decide whether to open the app or dismiss the notification.

– Timely notifications mean success. The schedule of notifications must be properly written, with adjustments to time zones. They can be recurring – daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

– It is always recommended to take notice that push notifications, requiring Internet access, drain the smartphone battery – another good reason for not to overdo it.

The rule here is turn to the right people with the right offer and be moderate at that. Unfortunately, each of us must have encountered at least one app where this rule is broken to a certain extent. Instead of location-aware and relevant offers, news, and reminders, users can simply get a perfect anti-engagement tool, which will be abandoned.

Why to Choose a Lead Generation Service?

Lead generation is a critical component of online sales and a proven strategy for an organization’s profitability.

Firms generate around 60% of more sales with the process of online lead generation than traditional methods of marketing.

A reputed service provider offers a wide range of online marketing services, including search engine optimization, paid search, email marketing, social media, telemarketing and traditional mailing. There are three main parameters to consider while planning an online sales strategy for an organization.

Tracking

Tracking the performance of a lead is essential to map its progress towards making a sale. After the initial contact with a potential lead, service providers track its performance in order to instigate to turn it into a buyer and help in achieving the sales target of an organization.

Outsourcing firms empower entrepreneurs to track a lead’s behavior, for instance, how likely they are to buy from an enterprise or what kind of response do they give to sales professionals during follow-ups. Service providers increase the chances of making a sale by mailing or calling the leads just when they need it.

Reporting

Enterprises that want to outsource an online marketing service rather than doing it in-house, can take the help of service providers. These vendors do a proper analysis and provide reports of the progress of a marketing or sales campaign to an organization. This helps in exploring the strengths and improvement areas of engaging prospective customers online.

Help & Support

Organizations strive to make productive sales. By implementing effective marketing techniques entrepreneurs can do so efficiently. With a quality sales mechanism, service providers bring new customers on-board, while entrepreneurs focus on serving existing customers better.

Some of the popular ways of generating leads today are via:

  1. Banner Ads
  2. Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaigns
  3. Viral videos

Out of all, although PPC ads might generate immediate results, though, organizations need to spend continuous money on this to fetch desired results. Apart from the ongoing expenses, the quality of leads generated from PPC tends to be lower than those generated from other organic channels.

There are plenty of people who want to buy what enterprises are selling. The problem is finding those customers and letting them know about the service offerings of an enterprise.

A good marketing service helps an entrepreneur to connect with its potential customers in order to make maximum sales. Most marketers target people who are already thinking of buying a product or a service. This is done by using online research and marketing techniques.

Being one of the most popular ways of online marketing, lead generation enables businesses to:

  • Regulate pricing on a per lead basis
  • Select the product or service entrepreneurs wish to offer to its prospects
  • Choose the geographical area which interests an organization
  • Control the number of leads an organization wants to receive per month (it helps in budgeting)

Are We Losing The Art Of Conversation?

It struck me today when I was at lunch just how quiet the kitchen was. There were 5 of us all huddled together, a variety of different sandwiches and salads adorning the table, and guess what, we were all looking at our phone screens, flicking and tapping randomly, furiously and laughing all in our own little bubbles.

Tonight I changed a habit. While having my dinner instead of reading the journal. ie or checking out what was happening on Facebook, I turned the phone off, left the tablet in the bag and watched and listened as my two kids laughed and sang along to the film Frozen. My little girl in particular loves this movie and wants to be Elsa, so as soon as the song “Let it go” came on she started to sing without been prompted. She saw me looking at her in pure daddy awe and smiling that proud, that’s my little girl smile, and she gave me a little wave as if to say “thanks for listening to me daddy”

It touched me deeply because had I been engrossed on my phone I would have missed that moment of innate connection between us, where no words were spoken, but my face and body language expressed 100’s of words, emotions, love and pride.

Don’t get me wrong I think the strides we have made in technology are incredible.

I love social media marketing so much that I went back to college by night to get my diploma in Digital Marketing and Facebook and Twitter have both allowed me to stay in contact with great friends who are now in the four corners of the globe.

But I think we need to just now and then take a check that we are controlling our technology not the other way around.

I first started in Marketing when I was 16 in 1987 (oh god I feel old) working in Arnotts department store as a sales assistant.

Social Media was not part of our lives and a phone was something you dialed on the desk by the cash register. At 16 I was thrust into the world of face to face conversation and having to talk to people I did not know.

I had strangers come up and look me in the eye and ask me to help them find the right shirt, jeans or suit. After all I had the white shirt and tie on, so I was the expert in their eyes, although the mother who asked me to measure her little boy for trousers, who I then proceeded to advise that he had a fifty inch waste, would probably beg to differ. I never did get the hang of the measuring tape!!

However, the point I want to make is that when each of these customers came into the shop in person looking for my help I could not text, email, tweet or Facebook them the answer. I had to stand there in person and communicate to them both verbally and with my body language to find out what they needed, solve their problem and ultimately create rapport.

As business has evolved and the technology has increased we seem to be spending less time talking to each other in person and instead we use technology to do the engagement for us.

Just think about how many face to face meetings you now have for reviews or general catch up with a client in person. It probably is very different to what is was 3 to 5 years ago as we now communicate via non face to face methods. I myself have clients who I have spoken to numerous times on the phone or via email but who I have never met in person even though I have tried to get that face to face meeting. Everyone is just too busy it would seem.

This train of thought was further highlighted when I was recently at a networking event and I found it strange just how many people there were conducting online conversations and staring at their phones rather than talking face to face with the other people in the room.

I recently came across a great article entitled, Saving The Lost Art Of Conversation by Megan of the Atlantic, and in this piece she starts to review these very points that I am touching on.

In her article she recounts her interview with Sherry, a hugely respected psychologist and a professor at MIT. Sherry was working on a new book called “Reclaiming Conversation” and from her research she came to the conclusion that we’re talking all the time, in person as well as in texts, in e-mails, over the phone, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Obviously I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite or that the art of conversation is doomed. I know I am using the power of technology to share this post with you, and don’t get me wrong, I do love all the advances and the ideas of what is coming down the line in the future, such as wearable technology, apple I watch, near field communication etc, but let’s not forget that we are social and tactile creatures, and I hope that human interaction and face to face conversation will not die.

I think back to when I was a teenager and all the excitement followed by utter or was it mortification, and then the elation, when after an hours of eye contact and finally plucking up the courage to go over to that girl I fancied in the disco and asking her to dance and she says yes. Oh the joy and then the fear as I realized I can’t dance!!!

That whole scenario obviously would have been completely different and nowhere as emotionally charged or exciting if done by text or tweet.

So I challenge you, as I will be challenging myself each day, to put the phone and tablet down a little more than you do right now and let your other senses do the conversing.

Building a “Successful-Product Pyramid”

Basically, businesses that are into tangible products are on a dead end today. It is because they don’t have an idea on how to create a successful product. Most of the businesses today only adds more features on a certain product and increase its price. They market it as new products even if it is only an improvement of the latter.

It is true that we are lacking enough minds to create a successful product, but deceiving the public is not something that businesses should do. The richest man in the Philippines once said that you have to be honest with your customers if you want them to stay and be loyal in your brand. Well, how can you expect them to stay and be loyal to your brand if you are not giving them what they deserve?

If you wanted to build a successful product, here are some of the important things that you need to know.

Put Innovation as your Product’s Foundation

When creating a product, you should always put innovation as the foundation because in the end, everything comes down on how your product is unique from the others. It is really hard to create a unique product and it is also the reason why every company spends a lot of time, effort and money to create a new product.

Instead of wasting time thinking of adding new features on an already existing product, think of a new product. It will take time, but you don’t have to release new products on a regular basis. You can always add features and tell them that it will be a new addition to the products. You don’t have to add features and increase the price of the item.

Your Product should be Functional

The term “Functional” is not only for electronic products. It can be applied to all the other products on the market today. Let’s say that you already have an idea on what to product, the question is how can you make it functional? You cannot sell an idea. Your idea should be functional if you want people to buy it. If your product will not live up to what you are claiming, it will never be successful no matter what you do.

If you think that the idea of the product is good enough or the design, it should be functional first. It should be a step by step process. You can determine the functions of a product unless you innovate first. You cannot make a design unless you do the first two.

Think of an Attractive Design

Don’t overdo the design because you are not selling a product just because of designs. Make it look attractive and make sure that the functions will not be affected in any way. This is the last step in the successful product pyramid. Even if it is only about the design, it plays a very important role in the marketing of the product.

Many business owners and Filipino billionaires know about this, but only a few are using this. It should be done by business owners if they want to make a successful product.

Booking Your Business Dealings In The Best Meeting Rooms

Having your meetings in innovative-designed meeting rooms pays off a lot. In terms of satisfying your clients, this is one effective way of doing it.

When you are to hold a meeting, it is wise that you find a place that will give your business associates the professional feel they seek, an ambiance that is inviting and a place that is well equipped to address the things that your clients may need while in the business meeting. Being able to provide these to you clients gives you the edge and will more likely be a start of a new partnership of an extension of a business contract you may have with them.

Renting out meeting rooms is an option for you, should you don’t have a traditional office wherein a small to medium size business conference room is usually built in. Also if the size of the attendee is quite big then the more you need to rent out a space that will be able to accommodate them. It is not hard find though as there are several meeting rooms for lease that can provide the needs your business colleagues as well as of the meeting to be done. These rooms can also be useful should there are events your company plans to organize.

There is not need to add to the crowd a cafe has just so you can discussion your dealings with your clients. Opting these meetings rooms will be able to provide you a way better place to have your transactions done with comfort and at no base at all or be bother by the sounds or noise of the nearby tables. And one other edge these rooms have is the fact that they are located in prime business places, which all the more the clients would prefer.

Booking your meetings in the said places would not be that difficult for there are personnel in the serviced offices that will accommodate you call as well as your queries. For the inclusions of the varying rooms they have, you will be educated on that for you to decide which one to pick. For the amenities, they got free information technology support ready for you and of course free wi-fi for use.

All in all having these serviced meeting rooms are your best choice and the perfect workaround if your place is too small to accommodate your clients. As for impressing potential clients, this is where you can best take them

Procurement Skills: How To Demonstrate Your Value To Your Organisation

As procurement professionals we have to continually demonstrate our value to our organization by focusing on the key activities that deliver the most added benefits. What gets in the way of doing this is the myriad of other things that we have to do each day. Often there is more to do than we are able to achieve in the time available to us.

At this point we need a good process for prioritizing our tasks, planning our work and working our plan. The best analogy I have ever heard on prioritizing work came from Stephen Covey; it is called the “rocks, pebbles and sand” analogy for time management.

The story as told by Mr Covey is that an expert was addressing a group of business students. He reached beneath the desk to produce a large glass container and proceeded to fill it with rocks. When he could fit no more in he asked the group whether the container was full to which the group replied yes it was.

He then produced some pebbles and through a process of shaking the container managed to fit them all in the gaps between the rocks. Similarly, he managed to fill the gaps between the pebbles with sand. The group then thought the container was full until the expert successfully poured a jug of water into the container.

The lesson of this story is clear. If the container represents the time we have available to us in a period of time and the rocks, pebbles, sand and water represent the tasks we have to carry out then we can only do them all if we do the rocks first and the rest in order of size. In other words, start with your biggest tasks first and only go to the next level of tasks once the big ones are complete. If you do the tasks the other way round, you will never get to the big rocks (tasks).

So what are the big rocks that procurement professionals need to do first before they give their attention to the smaller tasks? I would suggest the following:-

  • Understanding your supply markets – what is their scope, who are the major players, are they growing or declining, is there scope to bring in new entrants and so on.
  • Understanding the demand for products and services in your organization and how this relates to your supply market knowledge. For example, is there a need to develop a particular market by stimulating innovation or attracting new entrants?
  • Organizing price and cost analyses and carrying out bench-marking exercises to understand the opportunities for savings. This might be linked to value analysis and value engineering exercises.
  • Carrying out supply chain risk assessments so that you understand the potential vulnerability for your organization and then put in place effective monitoring and mitigation.
  • Working with key suppliers to bring about product, service and cost innovations, improve delivery processes and carry out joint planning and product/service co-design (all part of a supplier relationship management program).
  • Building effective working relationships with other parts of your organization.
  • Measuring performance (both the procurement organization and suppliers) as the basis of designing and delivering improvement programs.
  • Continually improving your capability through knowledge exchange, training courses and coaching.

Do these big rock activities well and you will show your organization what great value you can add. This then becomes a “no brainer” case for investing in more resource to do the other, smaller tasks if you can’t do them all yourself.

Isn’t It Time to Wake-Up?

People (at all ages), often say things like, “you made me feel this way”, etc. It just simply isn’t true. Only you decide how you’re going to feel. No one has that power over you.

You get to decide whether or not to react or respond to someone/something. Not the other way around. Now, if you notice you constantly feel bad around someone, you will want to look at why that is. Are you needing to work on setting boundaries with others, is there another reason why this is persisting, or does this person have a negative energy about them and it’s time to take control of who you’re surround yourself with? In any event, it is still your decision on how you react. I remember being told this by someone years ago when I was first entering the self-development arena. I got it intellectually, but didn’t really “get it” on a deeper level. This involves a lot of inner work, and it starts with taking responsibility for every single thing happening in your life.

It amazes me when people complain about not getting the results in their life. You are your only problem. If you aren’t getting what you want externally, something is off internally. What is happening on the outside of you is a direct result of your thinking. Always. Regardless if it’s negative or positive. You need to look inside. Who are you being or not being? What type of thinking is causing you to stay stuck? Do you believe you have to struggle or think the potential clients you are talking to just aren’t ready to take action? You are fooling yourself. This is your subconscious trying to keep you stuck. It has a positive intention, which is to keep you where you feel safe. Growing a business involves risk and putting yourself out there. This can be scary and to the subconscious it’s not a safe zone.

In order to figure out where your thinking is off, you will need to look. If you are speaking to your ideal client and they decide not to move forward with your service, the problem is you. Something is going wrong in the sales conversation. It is likely that you’re stopping yourself from asking those tougher questions because you care too much what they think of you. However, if you don’t ask those tougher questions, they will not see that they need your help and that you’re the one to provide the help.

Look at the results you’re getting/not getting and determine if you’re where you want to be. If they’re in line with your vision, then awesome! If not, take a hard look at your thinking. No one is to blame but you.

Those are some common themes that I see preventing business owners from moving forward. Running a business involves a commitment to doing whatever it takes to succeed. Are you willing to take responsibility for your life / actions / results? Once you do this, you will be amazed at what starts to happen.

Jobs You Can Do From Your Dorm Room

College students are going to head back to school soon and that means many of them will have to leave their summer jobs behind. While many students will try to find jobs on campus, others will try to stretch the money they saved during the summer. For those that want to make money, but don’t want to work on campus, working from a dorm room may be perfect. These telecommuting jobs are flexible to allow you to keep studying top priority while earning money.

Freelance Writing

Business owners want freelance writers to provide content for their websites. You can write for blogs on topics that interest you. All you have to do is find business owners in niches you like that need content for their sites.

You can find work on Elance, oDesk, and Craigslist. You may have to start working for a lower wage than others to gain experience and a reputation, but once you have that, you’ll be able to get higher paying work.

Data Entry

Many companies are outsourcing their data entry now because it keeps costs low. The data you must enter can be delivered to you via email, and then you’ll be granted access to their database. You will need to take the information sent to you and input it into the database. These jobs are paid by project or per hour depending on the company.

You can find jobs like this on Elance and oDesk, but you can also search large job sites such as Monster.com and Indeed.com for them.

Transcription

Transcription involves taking a recording and typing it out. Many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals need this service because they don’t have the time to convert their recordings to text. You’ll receive audio files via email or mail, and then you’ll have to type them. You can send the text file back via email, which makes it perfect for a college student working in a dorm room.

You can find these jobs on large job search sites because that’s where professionals usually post their needs for transcriptions. You can also work for transcription companies such as Aberdeen, AccuTran Global and Capital Typing.

Get Started Today

The best time to start looking for a job is now. The sooner you start looking, the more prepared you’ll be when you get to school. You’ll be able to learn the jobs you receive before you start classes too. Start with the sites mentioned here and then you can start exploring other options if you have the time.