0044 – Overcoming Sales Objections

“In this episode…”

We’re handling sales objections. What do you do when the customer is trying to say ‘no’. What does it mean? and how do you overcome it.

Teaser Bullets

  • How to empathize with your customer
  • Sample objections and responses
  • How to handle, “I’ll think about it”

The Problem

If you’ve ever had a sales job, you’ll recognize that it’s usually comprised of two distinct sections. The first part is training, where you have the best time ever and everyone wants to buy your stuff during your role playing sessions, then there’s the real job where people would rather shoot children in the face than buy anything from you. On a lighter note, this show is about handling sales objections…get the sale, save a baby’s face.

  • Tom Hopkinshttps://twitter.com/TomHopkinsSales
  • Closing Tough Sales – Put the Shoe on the Buyer’s Foot – http://www.tomhopkins.com/blog/sellingskills/closing-tough-sales-put-the-shoe
    • When it comes to closing tough sales, it’s wise to mentally walk the proverbial ‘mile in the other person’s shoes’ so you can gain a clear understanding of their feelings about your company, your brand, or the specific product you market. In order to lower their defenses and open their minds to allowing you to serve their needs, it’s also critical that you put the shoe on the buyer’s foot.

 

 

  • Mistakes
    • Alyssa Gregoryhttps://twitter.com
      • 4 Tips for the Non-Salesperson on Overcoming Sales Objections – http://www.sitepoint.com/overcoming-sales-objections/
        • One of the worst things you can do when faced with a sales objection is tell the client what you think they want to hear. First, it almost always sounds disingenuous, and second, you might be wrong. Instead, after you’ve listened closely to what they’re saying, and what is not being said, approach their concerns with honesty.
    • Patricia Fripphttps://twitter.com/PFripp
      • How to Overcome Sales Objections – http://www.fripp.com/blog/how-to-overcome-sales-objections/
        • One of the oldest and most used smokescreens in the book is the, “I need to think about it” objection. So many sales reps struggle with this one because they think the prospect isn’t saying no, and so they don’t know how to respond to it.
        • whenever I tell someone I need to think about it, I usually mean one of three things: 1 – I’m not going to be a deal for whatever reason and I just want to get them off the phone, 2 – I kind of like the idea but I’m going to have to find the money or talk to my partner, or something else is holding me back, and 3 – I really like the idea, and I just have to move something around before I say yes.
        • Be honest with me ________, which one of those things is it for you right now?
    • Kathryn Aragon – https://twitter.com/KathrynAragon
      • 5 Common Objections Your Sales Page Must Overcome to Make the Sale – http://blog.crazyegg.com/2013/04/24/overcome-objections/
        • I can get the same results on my own – Early in your sales presentation, you need to present your product and clearly state what people gain when they use it. Never beat around the bush. Make it as plain and simple as possible, so there’s no doubt about what you’re selling.
        • To overcome the “I can do it myself” objection, make your benefit as big as you can without losing credibility.
    • Michael Zipurskyhttps://twitter.com/MichaelZipursky

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.  

0043 – How to Find Great People to Network With

“In this episode…”

How to find great people to network with, and increase our social and professional circles

Teaser Bullets

  • How to approach an intro
  • The real key to connecting with people
  • One surefire way to meet great people

The PR problem

We want to connect. We really do, but the people we are connecting with aren’t the kind that we need to be around. How do we find these amazing people that will help us grow personally, and professionally? By the end of this episode, you’ll be able to go out in any crowd and pick a winner to network with.

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon. 

0042 – How to Sell High Priced Items

“In this episode…”

We’re discussing the perils of selling high cost items. How do you get someone to buy things that cost alot of money?

Teaser Bullets

  • Tips on how to approach high cost sales
  • Selling high priced products online
  • Three keys to selling high priced products
  • Handling objections to your high price

 

  • How to Sell High Ticket Items in a Dwindling Economy – http://www.copyblogger.com/selling-expensive/
    • Show Them How Much Money They’ll Save – And that doesn’t mean putting some puffed-up value on a simple e-book or adding a copious amount of zeroes to the end of a dollar sign. Put into real, concrete numbers how much someone might spend looking for and buying all of the services or pieces needed to get something comparable to what you’re offering.
  • Drayton Birdhttps://twitter.com/DraytonBird
    • How do you market an expensive item? – http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/marketing-strategy/how-do-you-market-an-expensive-item-
      • Continually qualify your prospect – Every so often, politely ask your prospect whether they’d prefer if they didn’t hear from you again. This not only saves time and money weeding out duff prospects. Another real advantage is forcing your other prospects to ask, “Are we interested in what you have to say and offer? Naturally, when you do this, you get more people than normal asking not to hear from you again. But at the same time you get more people letting you know their intentions and where they are in the buying process.
  • Samuel Junghennhttps://twitter.com/samueljunghenn
    • How To Sell High Priced Products On Your Website – http://www.thinkbigonline.com/how-to-sell-high-priced-products-on-your-website/
      • Rule #2: A Lead Is Better Than No Lead
      • Not all websites are designed to generate sales, sometimes it’s best to generate a lead rather than generating a sale.  If you’re selling a complex item at a high price then you may need to generate a lead for you to call and follow up rather than a straight sale.
      • Don’t disregard a website because you can’t generate an online sale, you’d be amazed how many leads you could generate, and with a high priced product you don’t need to generate many sales to cover your costs.

 

  • Brett Welchhttps://twitter.com/brettw
    • Never Too Expensive: A Guide To Selling True Value – http://www.businesscatalyst.com/bc-blog/never-too-expensive-a-guide-to-selling-true-value
      • Expectations. Your expectations about a product and it’s price or quality are shaped by your experiences with comparable things.
      • Image. The look and surroundings of a product affect the perceived value of the product.
      • Words. The words and attitude you and your customers take when describing the product affect the perceived value of the products.
      • That’s it. If people are saying you’re too expensive, then you’ve messed up on one (or all) of the above three.
  • Jim Connollyhttps://twitter.com/ThisIsJimsBlog
    • How to sell ANYTHING! – http://jimsmarketingblog.com/2008/11/03/how-to-sell-anything/
      • If you are finding it hard to sell something, the temptation is often to lower the price, especially during a tough economic climate.  This is almost always a REALLY bad idea! Ironically, when we speak with buyers we find that price is not primarily what they base their buying decision on!  We find that quality, support, utility and backup are ranked higher than price.
      • Fourthly, review your marketing material. – Take a look at your marketing material, everything from; your sales letters and advertisements to your website, blog and any marketing emails you might use.  When you read them, does every sentence and every paragraph pump value into your products and your business?  If a potential client reads your marketing, is it going to motivate them to take action, call, email or meet you?  Is someone reading your marketing material going to feel compelled to call, meet or email you?  If the answer is no, you are losing a fortune in sales.
  • David Brockhttps://twitter.com/davidabrock
    • “But Your Price Is Too High” – http://partnersinexcellenceblog.com/but-your-price-is-too-high/
      • When the customer say, “Your price is too high,”  the first thing we need to do is understand the basis for the statement.  Why do they think the prices is too high?  Are they just saying it because they are obligated to saying it?  Are they comparing your pricing to competition?  Are they comparing your pricing to something else?  To make that statement, the customer must have a basis for it.  Our job is to probe and understand that basis.
      • The customer must have a clear basis for making a choice, we have to give that to them, we have to make sure they demand that from everyone they are considering. Don’t let anyone take the easy way out by saying, “They are all the same, it’s just a matter of pricing.”  The alternatives are never the same—even in commoditized products.  Risk, vendor stability, vendor confidence, relationships, vendor reliability, quality, and the list goes on.  Nothing is ever the same.
  • Wim Wilmsenhttps://twitter.com/SalesSells
    • “You Are Too Expensive” – Eight Ways To Handle Price Objections – http://www.salessells.com/selling/handle-price-objections/
      • Explain what you don’t charge for

      • The customer might change his opinion about your price as soon as he realizes what he’s not paying for e.g. time spent on planning or implementation.
  • Jamie Adamshttps://twitter.com/JamieWetLeisure
    • Marketing an expensive product – http://wetleisure.co/blog/marketing-advice/marketing-an-expensive-product/
      • Once the sale is made then, in this market, the job of marketing is far from over.
      • Recommendations and referrals are the most powerful tools when selling expensive items so you need to make sure that the customer is delighted with both the products and the service that you have provided.
      • If you can offer to keep them informed of any innovations or up-grades that might appeal to them, relevant to the purchase they have just made, then that gives you a chance to keep in touch. If you keep in touch and keep looking after them then you’ll stay front of mind and they will mention your business to their friends.

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.  

0041 – Creating a Marketing Strategy

“In this episode…”

We’re talking about how to create a marketing plan.

Teaser Bullets

  • Suggestions on Marketing Plan sections
  • Tips for marketing strategy
  • Things your plan must address
  • Talk about how to measure your plans effectiveness

 

  • Marketing Plan Tips
    • John Boyenshttps://twitter.com/JohnBoyens
      • Creating a Sales/Marketing Plan – http://johnboyens.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/creating-a-salesmarketing-plan/

        • So what are some of the key elements in a Sales/Marketing Plan?  Let me suggest the following:
          • Mission/Vision Statement/Statements
          • Vertical/Target Markets
          • Client’s/Market’s Needs and/or Requirements
          • Distribution Channel Options
          • Competitive Landscape
          • Market Messaging (Internal and External)
    • Chad O’Connorhttps://twitter.com/chadoconnor
      • 5 Tips for Effective Content Marketing Strategy – http://www.boston.com/business/blogs/global-business-hub/2013/06/5_tips_for_effe.html

        • “Color” your content. When most people think of the term “content,” text usually comes to mind and can feel like a time-consuming initiative. Text is certainly a critical part of content, but don’t underestimate the value of an image, such as an infographic. Images can often influence an audience even more than text, as it may be more attention-grabbing right off the bat. An image can be the lead point of a particular article, or it can complement your text. It’s a great way to keep your content exciting and different for your readers. Furthermore, infographics are often shared by the original reader, especially with encouragement, which means that a reader’s audience is now seeing your content and spreading your message.

 

 

  • The first four things you need to know…
        • Clearly define the business problem. Be specific and realistic about what’s going on, including the root causes. Above all, void the temptation to quickly characterize the problem as a solution: “what we need here is __”. Take it again from the top.
        • Envision the ideal solution. What is it that uniquely makes you better and more attractive than the competition? Confirm that the solution truly answers the defined problem.
        • Identify and eliminate the barriers. Every solution includes obstacles to getting started. Determine what, if any, roadblocks stand between the problem and the solution, such as the need to acquiring equipment, scheduling staff or align resources.
        • Proven experience lowers risk. Consult with marketing professionals for a reality check. Determine what has worked previously and how your solution has played out for others.
    • Ashani Mfuko – https://twitter.com/ashanimfuko

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.  

0040- Creating a Email Marketing Strategy

“In this episode…”

We’re talking about intermediate tips on how to build your email list and get your mail opened every time it shows up in a user’s inbox.

Teaser Bullets

  • Email campaign tips
  • How to get people to take action from your emails
  • Tips on how to excel at email marketing
  • Email Marketing Mistakes

Describe the problem

We’ve been unofficially talking about email marketing for a while and I wanted to raise the stakes a bit. Let’s dig into what you need to know about creating, and keeping people on your email list. More importantly, how do we get people to read the darn things?? By the end of this episode, you’ll be able to craft an email that will keep your readers firmly entrenched on your subscriber list…by choice.

  • Email campaign tips
    • Brian HonigmanJumplead Blog
      • 30 Tips for a Profitable Email Marketing Strategy
        • Find the right frequency – Test what times your email list is most responsive to your messaging, as compared to industry best practices. After analyzing both open rates and click thru rates, determine when emails should be sent by days of the week and the time of day.
        • Balance content with product and service offerings – It is not a good experience for your list to be constantly bombarded with sale after sale, but instead to build their trust over time with quality content and engaging information. Ensure a healthy balance of visual, and editorial content that informs subscribers on a topic, alongside product announcements and news about the company.
  • How to get people to take action from your emails
    • Mark SusterBoth Sides of the Table
      • How to Get Busy People to Take Action When You Send an Email
        • State your most important ask up front – Many people write email without a “call to action” or reason they’re writing the email. Make sure to state yours and if there is no action required say so upfront as in “this is for information only – no action required.” Often emails are complex and require you to list lots of background. If so, it’s still ok to list what your expected action is near the top of the email.
        • Time of Day Matters – Don’t send important emails on Friday afternoons unless it requires immediate action. Often I’ll write emails on the weekend and then send first thing Monday morning. I want to be on top of the stack, not at the bottom of the pile. Most people process email first thing in the morning (although productivity experts say not to!).
    • Pamela VaughanHubspot Blog
      • How to Turn Your Blog Subscribers Into Valuable Business Leads
        • Warm Up to New Blog Subscribers With a Welcome Email – Don’t just start shoving lead conversion opportunities down your brand new subscribers throats right off the bat. Start warming up to your new subscribers with an automated welcome email. Use this email to show recipients how much you appreciate having them as subscribers, remind them what they signed up for, and let them know about any other action items.

 

  1. Have I opened one of your emails in the last month?
  2. Do you send me personalized emails based on my past behavior?
  3. Is this email relevant to my life? Do I need what you’re selling?
  4. Is it easy for me to connect to your site via links in the email?
  5. Does it take me more than two minutes to read your email?
  6. Is it easy to unsubscribe if I choose to in the future?
    • Ginny SoskeyHubspot Blog
      • http://blog.hubspot.com/guide-creating-email-newsletters-ht
        • Set expectations on your ‘Subscribe’ page – Once you’ve figured out your newsletter’s focus and content balance, make sure you’re properly communicating about them on your subscribe landing page.
        • Get specific: Tell potential subscribers exactly what will be in the newsletter as well as how often they should expect to hear from you.
  • Email Marketing Mistakes
    • Hal LicinoBenchmark Email Blog
      • The Most Dangerous Email Marketing Mistakes & How To Prevent Them
        • Capitalize on disasters. Boloco, a burrito chain based in Boston fired off emails to its entire subscription list in late October 2012 informing them that they were going to stay open through Superstorm Sandy, which raised considerable anger among the recipients as not only was the city shut down, but the company was endangering its employees (let alone anyone crazy enough to brave Sandy for a burrito). The storm of negative coverage over this ploy made national headlines and just six months later when Blizzard Nemo hit the area and the Governor of Massachusetts ordered cars off the roads and told the population to stay home… they announced once again that they were staying open. The best way to prevent this grievous error is simple: Don’t try to make a few bucks when a disaster hits, be sensitive, and don’t put your day’s bank deposit ahead of the safety of your customers and employees.
    • FInancial Talk.co.uk
      • Five common email marketing mistakes you can easily avoid
        • Making it difficult to sign up – The most important factor in email marketing is collecting an email address and the person’s permission to send to it, so don’t make it difficult! It should be obvious where people can sign up for your messages and you should keep the process simple. They would not be on your site unless they were interested in your business, but they will not often want to spend more than thirty seconds typing in their details or ticking boxes. If you build a relationship with them via email there will be other opportunities to collect extra information further down the line.
        • Not testing enough – Test your subject lines, how the email looks on different devices; is it mobile optimised? Do all the links and images work? Is your call to action compelling, your content interesting? Have you made any spelling or grammatical errors? Make sure you have not made any mistakes by testing and testing again.
    • Boomerang Email Marketing Solutions Blog
      • Are You Making These 5 Common Email Marketing Mistakes?
        • The I-Don’t-Have-Permission Mistake. Before you send anyone email-marketing material, you must have permission. If you buy a list – no matter how “targeted” it is – you’re risking your reputation. Also, don’t confuse transactional emails – the email addresses you receive when a customer makes a purchase – with marketing addresses – the addresses you receive when someone signs up to be on your email-marketing list. The former hasn’t given you permission to send marketing materials and you could be marked as SPAM.
        • The I-Didn’t-Proofread-Or-Test Mistake. Broken links. Typos. The wrong list. Or missing images. If you’ve ever received a follow-up email that has “Oops” in the subject line you know how easy it is to hit send before an email is really ready. The biggest fix for this is to slow down. A second set of eyes is always helpful at catching mistakes. And send a test email, so you can see what your campaign will look like when it hits the inboxes of your subscribers. Rushing through your email creation can have a big impact on your click-through rate and it will also reduce the trust factor with your potential customers –the very thing you work so hard to build.
    • Tea Kurpalowww.CharityInfo.ca
      • 6 email marketing mistakes and how to fix them
        • You’re not making me feel special – …to always make me feel like I’m one of a kind. If you’re nurturing leads effectively, you should know something about your prospects and donors, such as their gift record, website activity and download history. Use this treasure trove of information and incorporate elements of personalization to speak to readers and resonate with them. Segment your list and consider adding their name in the greeting.
        • You’re not telling me what you want from me – Your call to action should be near the top, above the fold – meaning, I don’t even have to scroll. I open your email and bam! – there’s the purpose of your whole spiel. Your readers aren’t going to dissect your email to find out why you sent it to begin with. Make sure you tell them up front and make it easy for them to respond by using callout boxes for important links or instructions.

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.  

0039 – Creating a Social Media Strategy

 “In this episode…”

We’re discussing how to create a winning social media plan. How do you start to wade through the billions of users and hundreds of platforms to find your ideal customer?

Teaser Bullets

  • What is a Social Media Plan
  • What platforms should you include
  • Steps for creating the perfect plan
  • Mistakes to avoid when planning

Describe the problem

I tried to hold off for as long as I could, but I can’t hold back any more…we’re gonna talk about social media marketing. Luckily we’ll begin at the beginning and talk about how to create a strategy that will avoid leaving you like so many former social marketers, out in the dust, with an abandoned profile. By the end of this episode, you’ll know who to plan your course through the treacherous social media jungle.

  • What is a Social Media Plan
    • Elijah R. Young
      • Social Media Strategist vs.Social Media Managers
        • A Social Media Strategist (SMS) is someone who plans or creates the direction of a brands interactions as they relate to reaching a certain goal or benchmark on one or more platforms.
        • In short, your SMS is like your online marketing business planner, or online field general.  They take all of the variables of the social world, along with all of your goals, shake them up in a snow globe and chart a path to profit for your company.
        • Sound good?  Damn right.  Tons of companies want to jump into the social space and just start ‘doin’ stuff’.  A strategist will tell you what stuff to do, why you’re doing it, and how that stuff will get money in your pocket.
  • What platforms should you include
    • Natalie SissionSuitcase Entrepreneur
      • Which Social Media Platforms Should You Be On and Why?
        • If your audience is at all corporate, professional or employee related, LinkedIn is a great place to be, especially if you’re in the services-based industry of coaching, consulting, copywriting, web development, business development, partnerships and recruitment.
    • Brianna SmiithSocial Media Today
      • How to Choose the Most Effective Social Media Platform for Your Brand
        • If your main objective for social media is to reach the largest community, you will definitely want to focus on Facebook. But, don’t forget that a large community does not mean an engaged community or a community of potential customers. Try not to focus only on the size of the community, but also on the potential to convert those community members into customers or brand advocates.  
  • Steps for creating the perfect plan
    • AngelaThe Marketing Zen Group
      • 8 Steps in Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy
        • Clarify your goals. What is it exactly that you’re trying to accomplish with your presence on social media? To drive awareness? Increase website traffic? Improve conversion rates? You won’t be able to create a useful game plan unless you know what it is you’re trying to do – simply throwing random content up on a blog or Twitter feed without a specific purpose in mind will not lead to results.
        • Define your audience. Who is your ideal customer? Defining your audience is crucial to your online marketing efforts. If you are trying to reach women between the ages of 18 and 29, you’d be smart to focus most of your attention on Facebook. If, on the other hand, you’re aiming your marketing at men with graduate-level education, you’d be better off using LinkedIn. Your audience determines not only where you spend your time marketing, but also the type of content you will be providing, as well.
    • Mouse and Man
      • Creating a Social Media Marketing Strategy that Runs Itself
        • Learn Proper Etiquette – While it’s okay to be a little controversial as well as having a strong opinion, you don’t want to tick people off so much that they avoid your posts and you like the plague – or worse, get you banned from the site you’re marketing on. Make sure you follow the rules set out for each site – especially if it has a specific area where marketing messages are allowed and other areas they aren’t allowed. They might cut you a little slack in the beginning, but if you’re scolded more than once a twice, you’ll be “outta there” in no time.  
    • John BeveridgeSocialMediaToday
      • 7 Hot Tips for Executing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
        • Use the 10-4-1 Rule – Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen, authors of the B2B Social Media Book, have developed a formula to optimize your social media posting called the 10:4:1 rule. For every 15 social media posts, 1 should be a link to one of your landing pages, 4 should be links to your blog posts and 10 should be helpful content from other sources. This is a good mix of content that lets you sell and promote your solution without coming off like a used car salesmen.

 

  • Mistakes to avoid when planning
    • Jason Keathhttps://twitter.com/jasonkeath
      • Top 7 Social Strategy Mistakes According To The Experts
        • No Business Goals – One of the biggest mistakes companies make when they formulate their social media strategy is that they let their social aspirations drive the thought process, not their business aspirations. By contract, businesses have to make money and they have to deliver products and services that drive long-lasting preference and loyalty. Without these, there won’t be a social strategy because there won’t be a business
        • No conversation – Don’t forget the basics. Brands seem to formulate strategy around what content will produce likes or shares. Yes, you can develop creative, beautiful and funny content for your social networks but don’t forget about engaging your audience with a dialogue. Too many brands are now taking their communities for granted and posting content but not participating in the conversation. Listening, responding and engaging should still be the core of any social media strategy.
    • TatianaBusiness 2 Community
      • 15 Ways To Make Your Social Media Strategy A Complete Fail  
        • You’re not Using the Right Platforms – Does your ideal customer spend their free time on Facebook? Are they an early adopter dedicated to Google+, or a busy professional who uses LinkedIn as a news source? All too often, organizations will pour their time and resources into Facebook and Twitter since they have the most members, without really considering whether it’s the right platform for their business. Failing to dedicate your social media strategy to the platforms which align best with your prospects’ interest can cripple your best laid plans for lead generation and content promotion.
        • You’re Not Using Visual Content – Relying solely on text and link-based posts can seem like a simple way to cut back on the time associated with managing social media. However, this tactic is tantamount to social media strategy suicide. Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn are all visually-dominated platforms, and failing to provide images, videos, and infographics can cause your posts to be overlooked entirely. HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella has found that visual content on Facebook can lead to a 65% increase in engagement for brands.
    • Kim GarstDeborah Shane Toolbox
      • 9 Social Media Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs
        • They do not measure, track and adjust – Social media is thick with data, and for every social media site there are usually dozens of free analytics tools, either built-in or third party, that tell you how you are doing. Stop every now and then to measure your success, not just overall but piece-by-piece. Which types of posts get the most interactions and which are bombs? What sort of feedback is your community giving you? Keep doing the things that work and change the things that do not.
        • They quit too soon – Social media takes time. Why? Because it is about relationship building and there is no shortcut to building a relationships that result in community. However, once you have the relationships built, the momentum you have created starts producing returns. I have heard way too many entrepreneurs say “I tried social media once, but there was no ROI”. There is an ROI, but the investment window is longer than the 30 days you gave it. You need to make a solid 6-month commitment to social media to start getting the significant returns you had hoped for. The revenue is in the relationship!

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.

0038 – Outsourcing 101 Part 3

“In this episode…”

Teaser Bullets

by the end of this episode you’ll learn:

  • The Five-Step Interview Process that will leave you with the Freelancer that you really want to work with
  • The one thing you HAVE to say to those who you don’t choose, but do interview
  • Tips Tricks for Communication/Review
  • How to give great feedback, and not feel weird about it.

 

  • The Five-Step Interview Process that will leave you with the Freelancer that you really want to work with
    • Confirm what you need
      • Confirm the following
      • Project details
      • Rate or Project Cost
      • Independent or Agency
      • Available hours
    • Get Personal
      • Ask them what their favorite project was, or something they created and loved
      • Rapport and understanding will build a stronger relationship than just tech talk
      • You want to build loyalty, not just hire people over and over
    • Answer Their Questions
      • This should be the longest part of the interview
      • Log all of their questions in a text doc so you can answer them quickly in the future (put
      • them in your spec doc, not in an FAQ section…keep the context)
    • Present Your Terms
      • My Rules
      • All code on Github
      • Commits every day
      • All hours logged on Platform
      • Make sutre they agree (they will) this gives you something to judge and hold review conversations by
    • Make a Final Decision
      • This is your project, act like a boss
      • These are professionals who are waiting for a job. Put yourself ion their shoes
      • You know who you connect with
  • The one thing you HAVE to say to those who you don’t choose, but do interview
    • “I want to work with you, but I don’t think this project is a perfect fit for us to start with. Can I contact you directly when I have another project I think you’re perfect for?”
      • Contact that person (really keep in touch)
      • Two reasons
        • They can be your ‘expert eyes’
        • They can jump in quickly if your first choice doesn’t work out

 

  • Tips Tricks for Communication/Review
    • Communication
      • Talk as often as necessary
      • Use review tools for asynchronous conversation
        • Skype
        • Message Board
        • Project Management Software
        • NOT email!
      • Real time convo is rarely necessary
      • Use Dropbox for Design, Blogging, Marketing (Turn on the $4 packrat feature)
      • Use Github for anything text based or development
      • If you don’t know it (The tool), make someone on your team learn it, or learn it yourself. Take ownership of your project
    • Review
      • Review code at least 2-3 times a week (if you are paying hourly, if not, at every milestone)
      • Review Design at every update
      • Ask yourself ” Is this the direction that I want to go in”
  • How to give great feedback, and not feel weird about it.
    • Be Prompt and Clear with your feedback
      • English is a second language, so they will not your gour slang No subjective words like “good’, or feeling words like ‘happy’. Instead find examples that you like and point out the specifics that you want them to emulate
    • Let them know how to get better if they are not up to par
      • If you know what you want, they’ll give it to you or die trying
    • Hire and Fire by Your Rules
      • Don’t make up new rules as you go, you’d be pissed if your boss did that to you
      • Keep your rules for termination in your terms that you discuss on Skype

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.

0037 – Outsourcing 101 Part 2

“In this episode…”

We’re back on the horse with more teaching about the world of outsourcing. In this second part of our series, we’ll dig into creating your job description and begin talking about screening applicants.

Teaser Bullets

by the end of this episode you’ll learn:

  • The 3 Deadly Job Description Mistakes That Keep the Best Freelancers From Looking at Your Job
  • Two things you’re asking for that makes you look like a complete amateur (NDA’s), and four reasons you should just stop asking for them.
  • What an ‘Agency’ contractor is, and when you should use them (Agency vs Freelancer)
  • The profile feature guaranteed to deceive you and make you choose the wrong applicants (Portfolios), and 2 ways to get around it.
  • 4-Pass process to trim hundreds of applicants down to a manageable few before you ever hold one ‘live’ interview.

Describe the problem

You’ve decided to hire a freelancer, but what in the world does that mean? What do you put in the job description, more importantly, what do you leave out? How do you choose from the 100 people who are all clamoring for your job, and your money? How do you spot the fakes from the hidden treasures when every profile looks exactly the same? By the end of this episode, you’ll be confident enough to post a job that draws the best of the best, while keeping the riff raff out.

 

  • The 3 Deadly Job Description Mistakes That Keep the Best Freelancers From Your Job
    • Offer a percentage (I want free work)
    • Tell them you will only give details to the chosen freelancer
    • Be vague or just say you want to copy someone else (Lazy)
    • BONUS: You need to pay a real wage (depending on what you want).
      • QUOTE: want “War and Peace” written for a penny or the Sistine Chapel designed for a dime
  • Two things you’re asking for that makes you look like a complete amateur (NDA’s), and four reasons you should just stop asking for them.
    • NDA
      • What is it?
        • Freelance SwitchHow to Handle a Request for Confidentiality – it’s a legal contract that specifically notes knowledge or processes that a company wishes to share with you for the purposes of doing business — but doesn’t want to be widely available. By signing an NDA or similar contract, you agree to consider any information shared with you as confidential and not to discuss it with anyone besides your client — or any other individuals or companies your client says that you can work with.
      • Why you shouldn’t ask for it
        • You’re not going to travel to Bangladesh and sue anybody
        • You don’t have the budget to sue anybody in America
        • You’re pretty much counting on the honor system so just be up front about it.
        • Success is more than being able to build/design/write something. Don’t be naive and eliminate good people for silly reasons
  • What an ‘Agency’ contractor is, and when you should use them (Agency vs Freelancer)
    • Define Agency
    • Agency vs. Freelancer
    • Pros and Cons
      • CONS Agency – Talk to the worker directly, playing telephone is risky and dangerous. Over time, you can build trust
      • PRO Agency – Work with many people, with one contact
      • CONS Free – They can disappear at any time
      • PRO Free – More likely to work longer hours or weekends for you

 

  • The profile feature guaranteed to deceive you and make you choose the wrong applicants (Portfolios), and 2 ways to get around it.
    • Ask for source code
    • Ask for Design PSD
  • 4-Pass process to trim hundreds of applicants down to a manageable few before you ever hold one ‘live’ interview.
    • Pass 1 – Quick delete – remove all low scoring freelancers
      • PROTIP – Remove all freelancers with hidden comments (odesk)
    • Pass 2 – No New Friends – Remove newbies (especially if you’re new)
      • 2 reasons they are new
        • New to freelancing
        • New to platform
      • As you get more experienced, you can give specific skills tests to newbies, but at first, just delete them
    • Pass 3 – Shortlist Shining Stars –
      • 3 ways to spot ‘Shining Stars’
        • They didn’t send you a ‘form letter’
        • They have LONG history with multiple reviews
        • Minimum 4.5 stars and 7 projects
      • Keep these names whether you hire them or not (Make a swipe file with contact info
    • Pass 4 – On-platform Interviews Final elimination
      • Create Project Specific questions that you can send every single provider.
        • Give them a time frame for response (this lets you know who will be late) 24 hours works
        • Check the answers all at the same time
        • Eliminate those who don’t answer in your time window
        • Eliminate those who don’t answer well
      • Ask What Would You Do (WWYD) questions
        • This gives you a sense of their skills
        • Interesting answers get chosen, go until you have 2-3 candidates
  • Final Tips
    • Know the holidays/customs of the country you’re working in
    • Expect updates on Tuesday if you are really respecting the weekend
    • Remember to translate job description into real language, not boring corporate talk

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.

0036 – Outsourcing 101 Part 1

“In this episode…”

We’re talking about outsourcing. How do you get other people to do the work that you neither want or need to be doing in your business.

Teaser Bullets

by the end of this episode you’ll learn:

  • What is outsourcing
  • Things you can outsource
  • Outsourcing Mistakes
  • Getting the details right (How to Create Your Brief)

Describe the problem

Your business is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean that you need to do everything yourself. Business owners all over the world are overworked, and underpaid because they can’t figure out how to get more time in their day, and how to leverage their revenue to build their business while they sleep. By the end of this series, you’ll know how to outsource the right things in your business in no time flat

  • What is outsourcing
    • WiseGeek
      • What Is Outsourcing?
        • Outsourcing is the act of one company contracting with another company to provide services that might otherwise be performed by in-house employees. Often the tasks that are outsourced could be performed by the company itself, but in many cases there are financial advantages that come from outsourcing.
  • Things you can outsource
    • BloggingTips.com
      • 4 Writing Tasks to Outsource and Get More Free Time
        • Blog post creation – This is the basic outsourcing task that a lot of marketers outsource to other writers. You could ask them to write posts for your blog, so you keep your blog updated and your readers become engaged. It’s that simple. But you should decide from the beginning whether he will get credit or not. If not, then you need to check the next task.
    • Small Biz with Melinda Emerson
      • Top 5 Tasks To Outsource in Your Small Business
        • Outsource Your Bookkeeping – Bookkeeping is the #1 task in small business that owners routinely neglect and struggle with managing in their operations. Do not let this happen to your small business. By the 15th of the month, you need to know how well your business did last month so you can make any adjustments. By outsourcing your basic accounting services to a seasoned bookkeeper, you will have the ability to use updated financial information to run your small business.
  • Outsourcing Tips
    • Simplicity Marketing Inc
      • Home Business Outsource Tips
        • Research – Take a look at your business. Only you know what types of tasks will work best in someone else’s hands. Just because it can be outsourced doesn’t mean that you will want another to be in charge of it. Consider customer service. If you want to build the trust of your customers, this might be a task you prefer to handle in-house.
  • The Wrong way to approach outsourcing
    • Business 2 Community – Laney Pilpel
      • 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing Your Lead Generation Program
        • Be communicative at all times especially during the implementation period. The best programs are the ones where the customer is highly engaged right from the get go. There is only a short window to get your rep up and running, and it’s crucial that training meetings occur and timelines stay on track.
    • Advantage Marketing for You – Rebbekah White
      • 10 Common Outsourcing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
        • Giving Too Much Work to an Untested Person – When you first work with a contractor, avoid giving them huge projects. Start small and test their responsiveness and the quality of their work. Then and only then should you get them more to work on.  
        • Being Afraid to Give Feedback – If you don’t give feedback to your outsourcers, and things aren’t being done right, you’re going to feel resentful. That will erode your relationship with your outsourcers. Give corrective feedback, even if you feel uncomfortable and even if they’re small things. Not speaking up on the small things makes it harder to speak up on the bigger things.
    • Hodgson Consulting & Solutions
      • Online Business Owners: Avoid These 5 Outsourcing Mistakes
        • Forgetting to Budget Wisely – In order for outsourcing to work properly, you’ll need to keep a good eye on what you are spending for the work being done. While some projects will require single payments to your assistant, others may involve recurring or retainer payments and you will more than likely have some type of contract or agreement that binds you. Some of your assistants may charge by the hour while others may invoice by project or expect payment based on a commission of some sort. Take the time to figure out how much money you can afford to spend on certain tasks and budget appropriately.

 

  • Delegation vs Absolution
    • Delegation – entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself.
    • Abandonment – give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking). Desertion – the action of deserting a person, cause, or organization.
  • Getting the details right (How to Create Your Brief)
    • TLNT.com
      • Three Awesome Examples of Great Job Descriptions
        • Clear and Concise – It’s simple: you must speak like a normal human being. Consider chucking phrases like “core competency,” “leveraging assets,” and yes, even “best practices.” If you must use business speak, couch the terms in simple sentence structures.
    • Erica SwallowMashable.com
      • HOW TO: Write a Standout Job Description
        • Bullet Point When Possible: Make your job description easier to skim by using bullet points within the responsibilities and qualifications sections and anywhere else that makes sense.
    • SBA.gov
      • Writing Effective Job Descriptions
        • Structure your sentences in classic verb/object and explanatory phrases. Since the occupant of the job is the subject of your sentence, it may be eliminated. For example, a sentence pertaining to the description of a receptionist position might read: “Greets office visitors and personnel in a friendly and sincere manner.”   

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll get deep into creating your job that professionals want to apply to, and you won’t believe some of the things people do that keep the best professionals away from their job.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.

0035 – How to Write a Killer Sales Proposal

“In this episode…”

We’re discussing sales proposals. How do you create a proposal that will knock the socks of the decision makes of your choice?

Teaser Bullets

by the end of this episode you’ll learn:

  • Key elements of a winning proposal?
  • Pre-proposal questions
  • Tips for writing a great proposal
  • Top proposal mistakes

Describe the problem

You’re ready to go, you set the meeting, bought the lunch, bantered as wittily as your heart would let you. Then you got the killer line: ‘Why don’t you send us a proposal?” Ugh…bummer. Writing a proposal ranks right up there with tweezer eyelash removal on the excitement scale of some folks, but by the end of this episode, you’ll know how to put your proposals togeher like a pro, and look forward to your next client saying yes.

  • Key elements of a winning proposal?
    • Lauren Licata (Base CRM Blog)https://twitter.com/getbase
      • 4 Steps For Writing A Winning Sales Proposal
        • Focus the proposal on the client

        • After pricing, the client is looking for your business proposal to explain the problem that the client is facing and how you can solve it. Take the time to tell your client why you are qualified for the job, but don’t make your business proposal too much about you — seriously, it’s not about you, it’s about them.  
    • Dan RamseyNetPlaces.com
      • Components of a Successful Sales Proposal
        • Requirements Summary – An important part of your sales document should be a summary of the requirements. You can lift them from the request for information/quotation/ proposal or, for initiated proposals, you can simply summarize the perceived problem.
  • Pre-proposal questions
    • Chris Lang (AG SalesWorks)https://twitter.com/#!/AGSalesworks
      • 5 Questions To Ask Before Sending Out That Sales Proposal
        • Do they believe in your industry? The first question you have to answer is whether or not the prospect buys not into your particular solution, but into the idea of using a solution at all.
        • Do you really know what the prospect needs? Have you taken the time to actually listen to what the prospect needs and then created an action plan that addresses those needs? Furthermore, are you confident that your team can provide exactly what the prospect is expecting?
    • Don Macnamara (http://twitter.com/eyesonsales)Eye on Sales
      • Sales Proposals: The Pre-Proposal Sales Proposal
        • What is the purpose of the proposal?Is it for budgetary purposes? Is it the first, last and only proposal they request of you, or for that matter from any of your competitors? If you are not sure, or if during the course of a long sales process the influencers and decision makers have changed, you had better find out before submitting your proposal.
        • Who will review the proposal? – The reality is, unless they are truly the only decision influencer and decision maker, they probably do not know what it will take to move your offering through their company’s decision tree. They may not even know what the decision tree looks like nor how to climb it.
    • Jennifer Riggins (Quote Roller Blog)http://twitter.com/quoteroller
      • Socrates Teaches Us to Ask the Right Questions for the Right Proposal
        • Frame questions to respond to resistance – Instead of responding to your client’s pains with, “Well, we can fix that easily! We have X number of years of experience in X number of things that will make your life so much better!” Go with something along these lines:
          • If you had someone who could do X for you, would that solve your problem?
          • If X happened, would your company be able to do X?
          • I’m sorry to hear that. What makes you feel that way?
          • I understand that normally Company X provides this service for you. May I ask why? What could make you consider another provider?
    • John Niland (Evan Carmichael.com)https://twitter.com/EvanCarmichael

 

  • Tips for writing a great proposal

  • Ask good questions and take detailed notes in the client meeting
          • It’s all in the preparation. A proposal is only as good as the brief taken in the client meeting. Asking clear questions which get to the heart of the client or prospects issues, priorities or needs is critical. Taking detailed notes is essential.
  • Never talk someone through a proposal
        • Communications expert Brett Rutledge says you should NEVER present your proposal to a client or prospect. The reason being is that you create a cognitive overload for the person(s) concerned. Looking at the proposal (visual processing) and at the same having to listen to you speaking (auditory processing) doesn’t work and only leads to people being distracted and confused.   
    • AZ Central.com – Tim Plaehn –
      • Key Elements of a Sales Proposal
        • Price and Terms – Selling by proposal gives you the advantage of setting a firm price for your product or service. A business typically sells high value items by proposal, so do not be embarrassed by your price — make the price easy to find on the first or second page. Your customer probably has a ballpark amount in mind and if you are close, you are closer to a deal. If you are too high — in your customer’s mind — the customer’s pricing assumption may be incorrect. The terms portion of this element show the customer other ways to buy your product, which may make it easier to handle the total price.
  • Top proposal mistakes
    • Mimiran Blog
      • 6 Killer Sales Proposal Mistakes
        • Vagueness – Your proposal should spell out who needs to do what, and when. Almost every proposal should have a timeline so the customer knows what to expect as the project progresses. You may not know enough to spell out every date and milestone in detail, but be as specific as you can. If you can’t give a date, give a range, and tell the customer what influences the estimate
        • Not Asking for What You Want – Small business owners are the worst offenders here. Most sales reps have enough constraints that they have to ask for certain things, whether they really want them or not. Don’t ask for what you think the customer wants you to want. Ask for what you want.
    • Less Accounting Blog – Allan Branch
      • 3 Common Business Proposal Mistakes
        • Simple misspellings & poor grammarAt the very least, have a co-worker read over your proposal so simple mistakes are caught. If you are a freelancer or don’t have co-workers, then hire a freelance editor to give your proposals a good look. If your proposals are high dollar $50,000+ you might hire a local writer to proof read them.

If you have any comments or questions, or just want to tell me that my face looks funny, you can do so in real time by sending a message on Twitter to @ideatoopen, or you can shoot me an email at info@ideatoopen.com.

In Closing

In closing, on behalf of myself, Elijah R. Young, and everyone involved in bringing this show to your ears, we hope you can move your idea one step closer to being open.

We’ll talk soon.