Category Archives: Accounting
One of the biggest problems sales people face with social media and technology is the lack of real, meaningful contact and communication. Sure, it’s quick and easy. But when it comes to closing deals, does it really produce the results you need?
Joanne S. Black, author of the new book Pick Up the Damn Phone! , How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal, is on a mission to help people learn the importance of personal contact. Her manifesto is simple – to make a real connection and achieve true, meaningful communication, you have to make a personal and even in-person contact. Her goal is to get people to tweet less and talk more to the customers and contacts who really matter.
“It’s easy to get sucked into technology,” she says. “But the personal touch is the best deal maker there is. Relationships matter more than anything else. The digital world—as great as it is—threatens personal connections. Humans need personal contact with others. Email, texting, social networking—these certainly have a place in business today, but none of them replaces the power of a personal connection.”
Based on years of research and experience, her book describes what she sees are the critical elements for success, particularly in business, where the creation of the powerful personal trust with executives and clients is necessary to produce immediate and long-term mutual economic benefits. Here they are:
- Stop Typing. Stop Texting. Get Personal Right Now. Pick up the phone and call. Go down the hall, take a walk, get in your car, take a train, get on a plane, hop on a bus, take the metro, and GO AND SEE THE RIGHT PERSON OR PEOPLE RIGHT NOW. Make arrangements to see the people you work with face-to face. Go and meet your prospects and clients in-person. Thrash your competition. They are still tapping away on the keyboard. Even in our technology-driven world, nothing replaces a handshake and in-person interaction for both building and maintaining business relationships. Face-to-face meetings aren’t luxuries.
- Our Smart Phones Are Not So Smart Everyone looks down at their phones–bumping into people on the street, at networking events, on muni, at restaurants, in bed, at home. Our addiction to technology is bleeding into our personal lives. There’s no conversation. Kids are ignored. When you used to go into a public place, you assumed everyone was in that place with you. Now everyone is somewhere else. No one is talking. No one is connecting.
- Are You Spammed? Salespeople think that technology can do their job. They are under the mistaken beliefs, that if they do some research, identify specific trigger events and mutual connections that they can now spam away. It’s like digital snake oil. Executives don’t have “Meet with Salesperson” on the top of their list. They will always take a meeting with a personal introduction from someone they know and trust.
- We’re Smarter Than Our Buyers The digital buyer, Buyer 2.0 learns all about us with a click of the mouse. Salespeople are armed with the same tools. Even though buyers may know a lot about us, we know just as much or more about them. Clients don’t usually recognize exactly what they need. We do. Because so much information can be found online, the standard is now higher for sales to add value. Information isn’t knowledge. Knowledge comes from wisdom and experience. Just being tech savvy doesn’t mean you’re smarter than your buyer.
- Message to Marketing: Keep Your Hands Off My Clients It’s up to salespeople to nurture their own relationships—not just with marketing automation, but with one-on-one conversations. Marketing should not be qualifying leads. That’s our job. Not only is generating leads our responsibility, it’s a task you don’t want marketing (or anyone else) doing for you. These are your clients, and you must continue to cultivate these relationships. These are the people who can send you the best, hottest referrals. So marketing–keep your hands off my clients.
- Bring In Your Team! Don’t be a lone ranger. If you are the manager, bring your technology experts with you. If you are the technology expert, bring your manager with you! Knock people’s socks off by giving them access to the right people that matter to the solution of their problem.. Show clients that you trust your teammates and that they can trust you. When we share data, strategies, best practices and even people, you make the best impression and win loyalty that lasts for a long time.
- There’s No Such Thing as a “Warm” Call. If you don’t have a referral introduction, your lead is freezing cold—even though you mistakenly think you’ve been able to avoid sounding like a pesky telemarketer. Walk straight into meetings with your ideal prospects—without cold calling or trying to figure out how to bypass the gatekeeper. If you’ve been introduced by a trusted source, these gatekeepers will welcome your call. The secret isn’t duping them (trust me, they’re onto you). Make referral selling your primary sales driver and convert more than 50% of prospects to clients.
- Shine the Light! Prove that Live and in Person is the Best! Social networking isn’t the next big thing. You are! It’s not technology, but rather the person using the technology, that sets people apart. Social selling is a great way to expedite the first few important steps in prospecting; researching potential clients and identifying referral sources. Beyond that, it’s not social intelligence we need; it’s relationship intelligence that seals the deal.
It’s people, not technology, that seal the deal. It’s the real thing.
About the Author
Joanne Black is an expert on referral selling—the only business-development strategy proven to convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time. She is the author of the book No More Cold Calling, and a popular speaker who teaches people how to build their referral networks so they can quickly attract more business, decrease operating costs, and ace out the competition every time. Her clients include Autodesk, KPMG, Bank of Marin, California State Automobile Association, Colliers International, Sage Software, and many other companies. She is a member of the National Speakers Association.
She has a Bachelors Degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Certificate in Training and Human Resource Development, with Honors, from the University of California Extension. Joanne lives in San Francisco, California.
Last time, I wrote something about how wood pulps can be used to make biodegradable plastic cards for retailer and business promos. Of course, we all know that this will definitely require an expensive machine, or an equally huge fund, in order to pull off. This virtually renders smaller businesses unable to make these eco-friendly cards. These cards are very helpful with promoting your business, and you can’t just stop using them for your promos, memberships, and gift cards. If you’re one of those businesses who are looking for a cheap, eco-friendly alternative to plastic cards, then you are in luck. I’ve listed down a couple of alternative media and materials that you can use to market your business the same way as how you use your standard Plastic cards!
Paper – Paper is the obvious choice if you’re looking for the cheapest alternative. It’s easier and cheaper to produce paper cards than their plastic counterparts. They are made of resources such as wood or used paper, which are quite renewable. The card itself is biodegradable and easily disposable. This card is the perfect choice for one-time use cards such as discount vouchers or gift cards. The only flaw with paper cards is that it is not practical to use them for data cards with magnetic strips – but you can definitely add QR and Bar codes in it, just as long as customers make sure these paper cards won’t get wet.
E-Mails – E-mails are the fastest and easiest way to get in touch with a potential client or customer. However, using e-mails for marketing will also require you to make a decent-looking webpage. There are also unwritten, ethical rules regarding the use of e-mails for marketing. Rememember that people do not want spam, so don’t send it to just anyone! You’ll want to post a “news feed” subscription in your site so that you’ll be able to have an e-mail list where you can send e-mails without worry. You should also mention that you’ll be randomly giving away discount promos via e-mail to encourage folks to subscribe.
Mobile Gadgets – I was planning to list “alternative” to your typical plastic cards but this one is more of like the plastic card’s “next step in evolution”. The invention of smartphone innovated how common folks gain access to resources that you can’t usually get from outside your home, such as electronic cash and Internet. Your business shouldn’t get left behind by this technology, so start taking advantage of it! Electronic credit is already accessible via smartphones so folks can pay for your products or services on the dot. A lot of freeware sites provide ways for clients and customers to scan QR and Bar codes with their smartphone’s cameras. The image above is a great example for using these scanners: Koreans placed a virtual grocery store for customers to scan. Each item for sale has its own QR code to be added to your shopping cart. With electronic money, customers can pay for the item and have it delivered to their home while they’re still in the train. Of course not every business can afford electronic billboards like that. For a cheaper alternative, use posters, stickers, or tarpaulin banners.
These 3 tips are both eco-friendly and cheap for small businesses to use. You can even do most of these things on your own! Hopefully, this can help your small business to stay afloat and compete with bigger business rivals.
Therese Shaw is an advocate of recycling through turning clutter into art and other practical items. When not doing arts and crafts, she does freelance writing occasionally for companies like Cardprinting.us, a print service that uses environmental friendly plastic cards and offers keytagprinting.
CLICK ON THE PHOTO
When Isaac Lamb decided to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, he knew he wanted to do something over-the-top. but not even Amy was prepared for the elaborate proposal he staged with 60 of their closet friends and family members. The video went viral – and has already amassed almost 6 million views on YouTube at last count.
The video even got Bruno Mars’ stamp of approval!
We’ve all done it before – called in sick when all we really wanted was an extra day off to lounge on the couch or hit up the mall. Most people in this situation simply tell their boss they’re sick and can’t make it into the office, but you might be surprised at the excuses some people come up with for missing work.
CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey, released at the end of 2011, revealed some of the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work. And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill “my car broke down and I can’t get another ride” excuses – they’re much more creative.
The top 15 unusual excuses for calling in sick include:
- My 12-year-old daughter stole my car and I have no other way to get to work.
- Bats got in my hair.
- A refrigerator fell on me.
- A truck accidentally dumped flour into my convertible while backing up.
- A deer bit me while hunting.
- I ate too much at a party.
- I fell out of bed and broke my nose.
- I got a cold from my new puppy.
- My child stuck a mint up his nose and had to visit the emergency room.
- I hurt my back chasing a beaver.
- I got my toe caught in a vent cover.
- I got a headache from visiting too many garage sales.
- My brother-in-law was kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel.
- I drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
- A bucket filled with water fell through the roof of a bowling alley and hit me in the head.
The moral of this story? Make sure you have a real reason for calling in sick, or simply be honest and tell your boss that you need an extra day off. Otherwise you might find yourself in danger of being caught.
In fact, the survey found that 15 percent of employers have fired a worker for calling in sick without a legit reason, and another 28 percent have checked up on an employee by:
- Requiring a doctor’s note (69 percent)
- Calling the employee (52 percent)
- Asking another employee to call the worker (19 percent)
- Driving by the employee’s house (16 percent)
The survey further found that employees are most likely to call in sick between January and March, and that 29 percent of workers admitted to playing hookey, mostly to run errands or do things with family and friends.
Writer and content creator specializing in everything from recruiting and job searching to social media and technology. Check out PCRecruiter.net for more.
Aside from the humanitarian aspects, I have personally experienced and witnessed that unhealthy employees cost a company far more than healthy ones do. It has been estimated that unhealthy staff costs billions of dollars each year for businesses, related to:
- Costly temporary staff replacements;
- Backlogged work;
- Ineffective workflows that create business disruptions;
- Increased heath care premium costs; and
- General lower productivity.
Lessening Stress Promotes Healthy Staff
I also noticed that as a healthy worker, I was far more productive than when I was ill. Nearly every sickness I ever had was related in some way to the often needless stress from:
- Lack of organization;
- Unrealistic workloads;
- Being continually exposed to employees who were sick.
Doctors have recognized how stress plays a large factor in illness. Stressed out, overworked staff will spend more time at the doctor’s office which drive up health care costs. Additionally, unhealthy workers greatly contribute to business disruptions.
Many European businesses have been way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to the overall treatment of their employees. For example, when I worked with a bank that was based in Amsterdam, I was shocked to learn of the various health-related perks:
- 100% paid health care plan;
- Fully paid gym memberships;
- Three weeks of paid time off for vacation immediately;
- Unlimited, paid sick time;
- Doctor visits counted as paid sick time;
- Twelve days of personal time;
- Every major holiday off;
- Extra bank and European holidays; and
- Bonuses paid in cash or time off.
I had thought that allowing employees to take unlimited sick time would encourage abusing this privilege. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Because I knew that I would be covered financially should I become ill, I found that I almost never needed to take a sick day off. Of course, part of the reason that I stayed so healthy was probably due also to:
- Realistic workloads;
- Positive, thoughtful work environments;
- Communicative management; and
- Less chance of contracting an illness, since people stayed home when they were ill.
Rarely did anyone in the office need more than a few hours to a day or two. Usually, “sick time” was used to go to the regular check-ups that the company also encouraged that each employee take advantage of, through its fully paid, no-co pay health plan.
What’s more, I was never made to feel badly about visiting the doctor or staying home if necessary. Rather, I was encouraged to do so. This company understood that having sick employees in the office was not good for business. Illnesses are spread and there is nothing productive about insisting that employees who are sick come to work. For this reason, I now choose workplaces not entirely by compensation, but by the culture of overall health that they adopt.
PayPal is almost synonymous with online buying and selling, being used to pay for everything from online subscriptions to artwork to Ford Mustang parts, including classic Mustang parts. Of course, being a market leader means that you are under somewhat of a microscope, and PayPal certainly doesn’t always make the best PR decisions. Check out these biggest PR disasters that PayPal has had to live with.
Ordering an Antique Violin to Be Smashed to Pieces
One of the conditions of using PayPal is that you cannot use it to receive payment for counterfeit goods and if you do, the payment will be refunded once the buyer destroys the counterfeit item. Unfortunately for one seller, this simple-seeming condition gets a little more complicated when it comes to musical instruments.
Verifying the authenticity of musical instruments is quite complicated, and the buyer filed a dispute with PayPal. Instead of giving the seller a chance to take back her antique violin, they ordered the buyer to smash it to pieces, and reversed the payment.
In the world of music, instruments, especially older instruments, are almost sacred, and the treatment of this seller and her instrument caused a real storm. It’s likely that much fewer musicians will be using PayPal for such sales in the future!
Stopping Regretsy from Raising Money for Sick Kids
With Paypal accounts so ubiquitous and an easy-to integrate ‘Donate’ button available, it’s only natural to consider using PayPal to raise money for worthy causes. In fact ‘worthy causes’ are precisely what this button is for.
So, the Regretsy website community used the button to raise money to buy Christmas 2011 presents for sick children. Imagine the surprise when Regretsy’s fundraising account was frozen, along with the site-runners own personal account.
While essentially stealing toys from sick kids is bad enough, this is not the end of the PR disaster. After all, some publicity nous could have had it resolved quite quickly. Sadly, this is not what happened. Emails flew back and forth between Regretsy and PayPal, and the site owner was informed that while using the button would be okay if she had a sick cat, helping poor people was not allowed. PR disaster!
The PR problems that PayPal has are quite obviously due to the difficulty of coming up with one-size-fits-all policies. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse and should serve as an important lesson for anyone who runs an online business. The online world allows one complaint to snowball into a cavalcade of bad publicity, so make sure to start off on the right foot!
Post by guest blogger James, a writer who enjoys blogging about technology from online payment systems to CJ Pony Ford Mustang parts.
It can be a real hassle to manage a retirement fund. The stakes are quite high, because that fund represents someone’s life savings and is what they are expected to live off of for the rest of their life.
Getting to the point where someone has saved up enough money to retire is one thing. But that’s really only half the battle. Then comes the challenge of trying to make that money last enough years — and perhaps even do enough to where that nestegg actually grows, too. Read on for some quick tips on how to manage a retirement fund.
One of the biggest tips that makes it much easier to manage a retirement fund is to retire with enough money in that fund. Now, that might seem like common sense but many people rush into retirement with too little saved and then are unable to make the money stretch out for the length of their retirement.
Work with a money manager to make sure that there is enough money in the retirement fund to last. People are living longer and longer these days — many into their 90s — which means the money has to stretch longer than ever, too. Get some help understanding exactly how much money is needed, and how to make it last.
To manage a retirement fund is to understand all of the expenses that come with retirement. One of the big expenses is health insurance, which becomes more and more important as people age and require medical care. Make sure that the expense of health insurance is factored into any plan.
While it might not seem like a big deal now, especially if an employer is paying for insurance, it will become much more pressing once retirement hits. Health insurance can be a challenge but it does not have to be a scary thing if it is prepared for.
Lump sum vs. payout
It might seem like a good idea to get a huge lump sum from a 401(k) plan, but it is actually one of the common pitfalls of retirement. While seeing that huge amount upfront can make someone feel pretty well off, it is actually often a better idea to get a yearly payout. This can help someone budget and it guarantees that they won’t spend it all too soon.
Where to seek advice
Remember, any time that a client has a specific question about their retirement plan, a financial expert should be asked for help. There are a lot of standard replies to questionst that do not consider the specifics of a plan, growth rates and more.
Seeking advice online may seem easier, but the answers that the web provides are not as assured as the answers that are offered by an expert that actually manages the account or accounts in question.
Robert Seitzinger is a copywriter for Majestic Eagle Insurance, a Portland insurance group that can help with retirement planning.