Thursday, August 13, 2009

Four-letter words get all the attention

Four letter words get all the attention ... but I learned a couple very important lessons this week, and they both involved three-letter words and both paid big dividends towards my bottom line. If you incorporate these three-letter words into your daily activities, I know you'll experience the same successes I did. Give it a try.
The first word is ACT!
All the seminars, all the webinars, all the manuals, all the workbooks and all the classes are worthless unless we take what we have learned and ACT upon on them. ACT upon what's on your to-do list. ACT upon what's required to meet your daily goals. Be proACTive with your daily ACTivities.
The second word is ASK!
There is no place in business today for the shy, modest business owner. Be bold and come out ready to play. If you want the business, ASK for it. ASK for the appointment. ASK what their needs are. ASK how you can be of service. ASK for the sale. ASK for the referral. ASK your colleagues and co-workers for advice in their areas of expertise. You know you'd share yours, so ASK for theirs.
So what does this have to do with marketing?
ACTually a lot! If you're still hobbling along with no collateral materials to promote your business, take ACTion and get them. Learn how to produce an e-newsletter (we highly recommend Constant ContACT) or ask for help in creating one to keep your name in front of your clients and prospects. Post your ACTivities on your website or blog to keep your clients and prospects aware of what you're up to.
Let your marketing materials do some of the ASKing for you. In your brochure, remember to ASK people to call you. In your newsletters, ASK potential clients to visit your website. In your e-mail signature, ASK people to join you on your blog.
Using ACT and ASK, keep up with your marketing efforts and soon you'll soon be enjoying a four-letter word—SALES!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is a Self-Publisher?

I recently came across this description for a self-publisher:

A self-publisher is all of the following: writer, editor, designer/artist, typesetter/compositor, printer, financier/accountant, marketer, shipper/warehouser, legal adviser, financial underwriter, and business manager.

That seems to be a little overwhelming, but I think it's misleading as well. That's like saying the guy who owns the restaurant down the street is a chef, waiter, dish washer, toilet cleaner, menu designer and printer, accountant, bus boy, napkin folder, and grocery buyer.

Yes, those are all things to be done in order to provide his customers with food, but the restauranteur would be foolish to attempt to do it all himself. He is not all those things. Instead, he finds people to handle the jobs that he is not an expert in or doesn't have the time to complete.

Self-publishing is no different. Authors are authors. They write books and shouldn't be expected to do every other job related to producing books. Authors could compare themselves to that restaurant owner and find experts necessary to complete the tasks in order to serve up their books.

By hiring a self-publishing expert to partner with, authors also don't have to learn an entirely new business. If they concentrate on hiring well and using common sense, they'll only wear only one hat, the hat of the successful, self-published author.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Human Answering the Phone, What a Concept!

In the current world of business where it seems every company has replaced the most important first touch with clients — the receptionist — with an answering machine, what a breath of fresh air when an alternative is experienced.

Let me first say that I am not connected with the company I am going to tell you about, in fact, I know no one who works there and I definitely am not getting kickbacks from them. They are simply incredible.

The company is Answer 1 Communications. They provide remote receptionist services with humans! According to their website, they "provide your businesses with fast, reliable, personal, and bilingual attention that you and your customers demand of your business." Although I can't say know what all of these services actually entail, here's what they say they can do: telemessaging, appointment scheduling, voicemail, unified messaging, order taking, e-commerce solutions, customer support, remote receptionist and dealer locator.

What I do know is, every single time I call one particular business and these folks answer their phone, the Answer 1 people are organized, articulate, comprehensive, polite, friendly ... they are a delight and I have every confidence that my client will get the message. I want to keep talking with them, they are so pleasant!

Can you say that about the people who answer your phone? If not, I would recommend you give these folks a call. Their website shows many awards they've won for their service, and I am not surprised.

Go check them out at ... they are located in Phoenix, but heck anymore I don't think it matters from where a company provides their services.

Better yet, I found this toll-free number on their site, call them, they're in the answering business and I bet you will be impressed. 1-800-408-3408.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Business Lesson in Cancun

While on a recent vacation to Cancun I witnessed a valuable marketing lesson I will never forget and will apply it every opportunity I can. And you should too.
Here's the story. We were getting off a party boat having taken a short trip out to an island to participate in any of a number of activities. We'd decided to take a snorkel excursion, a $60 investment for my husband and I. According to the captain of the snorkel boat, all we had to do was to go into the resort lobby, pay our fee and off we'd go. When we got inside, there was no one to help us. Ten minutes passed until the snorkel boat captain reappeared, followed shortly thereafter by a representative of the hotel.
As we stood there with money in hand, we were told, the trip was running a little late, to come back in 90 minutes. We offered to pay at that time but were told, "No, just pay right before we go."
We had 90 minutes so headed off for a late breakfast. That didn't take 90 minutes so off to the pool we went to fill the time. Soon we were absorbed into a fabulous water-volleyball game with a couple dozen other hotel guests. Next time we looked at the clock, it was 20 minutes past the time the snorkel boat was to leave. We missed it, and the $60 stayed in my wallet.
Had we already invested in the excursion, there is no question that our attention would have been on the clock and not on the pool fun. Because the boat captain did not take our money when we were willing and able to pay, he never got it.
So the lesson learned was this: When at all possible, get a financial commitment ASAP. When the client is standing there with money in hand, take it, say thank you and start to work!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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