Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Perfecting the Meet and Greet

Many sales today are won or lost in the first five minutes! There are many reasons why this is so, but poor business etiquette skills are to blame in a lot of cases. We all know that selling today is as cut-throat and bloodthirsty as it has ever been, with many salespeople spending their days relentlessly chasing their next pay check, commission, or accolade. Because of this many fundamentals are overlooked, including the important meet and greet. But simply being 'too busy' is no longer an excuse!
One of the most critically important and yet frequently overlooked aspects of selling is creating a solid foundation of trust and rapport. Practising and learning to relate to other people is not something a lot of salespeople are well educated in. In the sales game relating to others is the single most important success determinant, with the foundations being laid in the first five minutes. So what are the key areas of the meet and greet and how can we all become better at it?
First Impressions Count
When it comes to building trust and rapport in the sales environment, there is nothing more important than making a favourable first impression. You are being constantly scrutinised and factors such as appearance, attitude and time management are all part of your impressionable package. Always ensure you are well groomed, smiling and on time - nothing ruins a first impression more than tardiness and lateness.
Introduction and Handshake
When a handshake is offered it is impossible to avoid reaching within an arms length in distance. This automatically encroaches on the other person's personal space and many people are put out by this incursion and they become defensive. By invading their comfort zone you now have to face many of their defence mechanisms, but the best way to counter these is to use eye contact, body language and a tone a pace of voice that sets them at ease.
Remembering Names
A typical exchange of pleasantries will usually include name, occupation and then health and wellbeing. However, only seconds after the initial introduction most salespeople and customers cannot remember each other's names, so what hope do they have to remember them throughout the sales presentation. The two fundamental aspects of rapport building during the meet and greet process are the lowering of apprehension levels and attending to their name. Salespeople should focus as they greet people then listen closely to their name, repeating it in the next sentence in order to create an imprint.
Positive Environment
Customers obviously respond more favourably to positive experiences than negative ones. Therefore, it is the role of the salesperson to create a positive environment in which to 'exist' for the duration of the presentation. Enthusiasm, humour and stories are great fuel. It is important to realise that your actions and results are directly linked to your thoughts, so a positive pre-sale programming session might just be what you need to kick-start your positive energy again as you greet your customer.
Common Ground
The meet and greet is the sales warm up and it is here where you can establish common ground by discussing the weather, sports or a local news story. Also try to find out the other person's hobbies, awards or past accomplishments, for positive conversation on these topics will cement a good grounding for a business relationship.
Customers today have many options available to them and will turn to these if they do not find you to be likeable and trustworthy. Avoid leaving this backdoor open to your competition by developing strong relationships right from the outset.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Starting SEO the Organic Way

In the beginning it appears difficult and frustrating. Essentially, knowing that you have to spread your website and its information across THOUSANDS of sites can bring you down. On the contrary, simplicity, patience, and persistence will win this battle sooner than you think.
Organic, or Natural Search Engine Optimization begins with looking at any form of website optimizing that does NOT involve paying search engines, other websites, directories, or blogs. Basically, if there is no SEO company working on your organic search engine optimization, you should not be spending any money. Our recommendation is that any small business starting up should not seek any paid method of advertising unless there is a comfortable available budget for online marketing. Why is this? Well, in the beginning, it is always best to start small, and build your way up!
Through progressively creating, adjusting, and monitoring these Organic methods, success will follow!
- Social Media Networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc...)
- Directory Submission
- Blogging
- Article Submission
- Press Release
- Content Building
- Link Building
- and more!
Social Media Networking
Understanding the power of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is only half of the battle. Currently, Facebook is ranked 2nd, Twitter is ranked 9th, and LinkedIn is ranked17th in the world.
What does this have to do with you? Well, if you properly utilize these three social media sites, website popularity for your business or company will come. First on the list is setting up the account. By setting up an account, you can put up logos, pictures, videos, and much more on your profile. In addition to this, if you link your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts on your website, it is easier for viewers/potential clients to view your web pages which can lead to conversions. In the eyes of a potential buyer of your product or services, branding and website popularity is very important. Getting the person to your website, and then selling is hardest part.
This is why having simple profiles set up on social media sites will help to build your online profile. You can also think of it like this...the larger and more professional your online resume is, the more likely you are to receiving impressions-->clicks-->views-->conversions.
Directory Submission
Submitting your website to directories also plays an important role in your Organic SEO strategies. Being able to spread your URL and biography across thousands of free directories is a great privilege! The only downside to doing this is you will not see these link backs immediately unless you are willing to pay.
Some directories offer Paid One-Way Links, with free Reciprocal links. Where as other directories offer free One-Way-Links, with paid Reciprocal links. In addition to this, free One-Way-Links usually take 2-3 months of review before they will link your web page. Having said all of this, it is still worth your while. Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing are changing their algorithms evermore quickly, so having progressive links to your site over time is a good thing!
Blogging is always an important part for site awareness, just like being outside, you are able to interact and communicate with other people that you have never met. This same concept translates into the web, and having individuals commenting, questioning, or remarking on your thoughts and ideas. Blogs such as Squidoo, Tumblr, and BlogSpot offer excellent rewards for activity on their site.
In addition to this, the writers of these blog posts get to learn more about what they do or write on. Setting up blogs is very simple and clean. Our suggestion is to fill out your profile as much as you possibly can with pictures, videos, biographies, and anything else that comes to mind! As long as it is profanity free, you will never have any issues with blog admins or other fellow bloggers.
A last point to make about Blogs is that it allows you to write what ever you wish, whether it be educational or for marketing purposes. Having that extra option to express your knowledge or expertise about a certain subject(s) is only beneficial in the world of gaining website popularity.
Article Submission
Submitting articles is very similar to posting on blogs. One main difference is that articles are more formally developed then blog posts. For instance, you can post on your blog that you are having a bad day. In an article situation, you are trying to demonstrate and express your knowledge and expertise out to the public in hopes of getting mass recognition which would then lead to more traffic on your site.
Article Submission sites, or press release sites, help put your information out to the mass public looking to read about a certain topic. For example, if somebody is interested in how to remove a virus from their computer, the benefit of a computer store writing an article on how to fix your computer from viruses would be beneficial. The mere psychology behind helping others out of good-will, and giving free information to the public can only benefit you. In addition to this, the search engines also will give ranking credentials to sites that expand their horizons across article and press release sites such as EzineArticles or GoArticles.
Press Release
Press Releases are a little more formal in the sense that you will want to utilize press releases for important news and events. For small business owners, press releases can benefit through releasing a new location, a new event, sponsorship, affiliate, and much more.
An example of this could be if you own a sports store and you sponsor a little league baseball team. If the little league baseball team wins a tournament or competition, you could press release that it was with the help of your sponsorship that they were able to achieve such success. Of course you don't want to take all of the credit, but there is nothing wrong with taking a little recognition for your hard work and kind heart.
Content Building
One of the most important ways to increase your organic or natural rankings is by creating content every week. By writing about your business or services, search engines will pick up on the activity on your website while giving you credit for mentioning your keywords or phrases in different context.
Although this sounds like you can just keep repeating the same word over and over again, the search engines are smarter than that. When creating content, it MUST be YOUR OWN, and not DUPLICATE from another competitors site or blog. If you're thinking about playing with this fire, you should be careful because the search engines are very intricate, and are more than capable of spotting duplicated content that is not your own. By being able to pick up when and where the content is put on, the search engines will know if a year later you duplicate another sites content, so avoid doing this at all costs. If you are lazy or don't feel like writing content, contact an SEO business or professional content writer.
A last point that is needed to say on this topic is that content should be structured so whatever the main subject is that your topic about, gets properly placed and mentioned. For example, if somebody was to write about SEO, you would want to avoid mentioning it at the bottom of the paragraph or story. Instead, try starting off with the sentence: In Search Engine Optimization....
Link Building
Link building naturally is also a very key factor in organic SEO. In order to build links, you must conjure up a letter targeted at webmasters of websites that are relevant or complimentary to your business. Moreover, adding a "links" or "resources" page to your website will also help to have a back-end page in which you can list the sites that you are link exchanging with.
Essentially, the more deep links, the more website popularity. Deep links are the most important and effective when trying to achieve rankings on the search engines due to the fact that another site is fully recognizing the existence of your site.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Important to Be an Expert to Write Online Articles

The other day someone asked me if it was paramount that an individual be an expert in the field to write an online article on any given topic? Well, yes, I do have some comments on this, and seeing as I've written several articles in my life, I thought I might explain some things; first, most reporters who write articles in the news are not experts in everything they write about, but they work hard to understand before they bang out those keys on the keyboard and create the article.
Okay so, I don't actually believe that someone needs to be an expert in what they're writing about, however I can tell you that it's only fair to the reader of your online article that you do research on the topic, and/or know what you are talking about. Personally, I do a lot of research on each article I write, and I've done so much in my life it's pretty easy to write an article on quite a few different topics.
If a writer is serious about what they are writing, and does their due diligence to learn the subject matter, or happens to know it from previous experience, observation, education, or just plain flat doing their homework I believe that is to be adequate. I think what bothers me is when folks pay someone from another country $1-$2 to write an article for them, someone that doesn't even really speak English and has trouble with the languages and merely goes to Wikipedia and copies down the basics of whatever subject they're working on and writes the article.
Worse, someone in an emerging nation is probably taking half of the money and they pay their writers, perhaps 10 or 12 of them writing articles about things they don't know much about, and without the cultural perspective necessary to get it right.
Indeed, I also find it's very unfortunate when people give advice online, and use SEO strategies to get to the top of the search engine, and someone like me who spends the time to do it right and thus, knows what they're talking about has their articles, e-books, information, or real-world knowledge buried in the search engine. I don't find that to be funny, and it gets me rather upset at times. And I don't blame Google, and some of the other startup, but well-funded search engines who are trying to break into that market for trying to fix these problems.
Far too many people have put up websites with junk, and only for AdSense, trying to make trickle payments from people who click on ads. The Internet is the greatest communication device ever created in the history of mankind, but when people abuse it, and put up junk online, they are doing a disservice to everyone.
Sometimes I guess they think they are going to make money by doing this, and that makes it okay as long as they're making money, but it's not it's not okay - it's a disservice to the human race. And it is certainly not what the folks had in mind at Bell Labs when they started putting together the Internet with the ARPANET project. I'm not impressed, and I would say I'm as upset about it as Vincent Cerf, Larry page, and Tim Berners-Lee, etc.
As far as I'm concerned if you aren't giving valuable information to the Internet, or something that's worthy of being read, you're wasting everyone's time, including your own. Further if you are trying to pretend to be an expert in the field, and use informational marketing to attract people to buy your products and services online, don't you think you should know what you're talking about, I do. Think on it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Best Promote Your Products Online

If you have products that you need to promote online, the first thing to do is to identify your target audience. Figure out what kind of people would be potential customers and what there interests are, like sports, fashion, art, politics, etc. Identify them in these ways: males or females, age group, single or married, geographical location, occupations, or education level. Now that you have an idea of your niche market, you can get busy promoting your products.
Facebook gets first mention because of its viral marketing potential. Sign up and make an interesting and informative profile page and include pictures to build interest in your business and your products. Then start making connections with past colleagues, associates, co-workers, business partners and new friends who could be new prospective customers.
You can start by browsing groups where you think your target audience congregates. Write a short message and include your web address in your signature. Build a fan page and when a person becomes a fan, then that information will go out to all their friends. Recently, Facebook began offering the Like Button social plug-in for you to put on your website. When people are on your site and they click "like" then your content, and a link, will be shared with all their friends via the News Feed. This is another way to get caught up in the viral aspect of social networking. Lastly, consider buying Facebook ads. They provide selective targeting and are extremely cost effective when compared to alternative advertising methods.
Blogs are great ways to promote products online. Create a blog at Blogger or WordPress, etc. Use good keywords in the title and submit your blogs to blog directories like Blog Explosion or Weblog. Then you can funnel your Facebook friends to your blog. Offer something of value for free on your blog, like an eBook or video in exchange for a name and email address. Always assure your contacts that you will not sell or share their email address.
A valuable tool for marketing is a newsletter that you might want to host with MailChimp or even 3DCart who has a built in Newsletter. These can include specials, new products, and events. Let people know how often they will receive a newsletter and keep an archive of old ones on your website. If you have a brick 'n mortar, make sure your store address is included in the newsletter. Also, put an opt-in form for the newsletter on your website.
Another way to promote products online is through videos. Make an interesting video about your product and include a link to your store. Have keywords and a description in the file name and syndicate to You Tube, Metacafe, Digg Videos, My Space, Go Fish, etc. Add the video to your store, websites, and blogs. When you have a few, add a video site map to your store and websites so that search engines can index your videos.
Lastly, LinkedIn is a great place to communicate with like minded people, contribute your expertise and knowledge with others, network and find potential partners and customers who are interested in your offering. LinkedIn provides many ways to connect with others. You can join a group, invite others to join your network, showcase your professional work experience and send/receive messages from others.