Contents

OPPORTUNITY: n., A favorable juncture of circumstances.There is no security on this earth. There is only Opportunity. -- General Douglas MacArthur --The reason a lot of people do not recognize an opportunity when they meet it is that it usually goes around wearing overalls and looking like hard work.-- Christian Science Monitor --Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.-- Thomas Carlyle --

A Favorable Juncture Of Circumstances

A Favorable Juncture Of CircumstancesWhenever decision-makers are willing to meet with you, you have reached a favorable juncture of circumstances. If you are then prepared to take advantage of this opportunity by building a level of trust with these individuals, there is a good chance that they will tell you enough about themselves so that you can easily recommend the appropriate package of your products and/or services that will meet their express needs. Many top sales representatives feel that the sale is as good as closed if they can just obtain an appointment or meeting with a decision-maker. Their feeling is that their prospective customer must need their products or services or they would not be willing to set an appointment in the first place. The following checklist has been developed to help you make the most of a favorable juncture of circumstances and build the trust levels that are vital to your overall sales success:Smile! No matter what kind of day you are having, if you will smile it will give those people you contact a feeling of acceptance. It will also help you feel better about your day. Tape a smiley-face or the word smile on your desk or telephone to remind you of the importance of a smile on your face and in your voice. Top sales professionals use the technique of thinking of a funny story or the latest joke they have heard just before meeting a prospective customer. Thinking about the story or joke almost assures them of having a smile on their face as they meet a decision-maker for the first time. Make sure you are smiling as you call for appointments or are conducting a sales presentation.Shake your clients or prospect's hand. A warm, firm, friendly handshake goes a long way in building a trusting relationship. It tells your clients or prospects that you are a friendly person and that you are glad to see them. If your handshake is limp it can leave a negative impression. It can be equally as bad to grip someone's hand too hard. Remember you only have one chance to make a great first impression. Ask an open-ended personal question. (Open-ended questions require an explanation and can rarely be answered with a yes or no). Psychologists tell us that when a person reveals something personal about themselves, it builds trust. Its vital for you to practice using open-ended questions to create a short period of small talk (the prospect doing 80% of the talking), at the outset of your presentation. Remember, people buy from people that they trust. When people start to talk about themselves, they start to build a trusting relationship with you so that later, as you discuss your products and/or services, the things you say will be believed.Research shows that people decide whether to follow the advice and buy from a sales professional in the first two minutes of the conversation. By following the track outlined above, you can make the most of your initial contact and truly turn each meeting of transaction into a favorable juncture of circumstances (a sales opportunity).

Magic Number Calculator - A Diagnostic Approach to Sales Performance

Magic Number Calculator - A Diagnostic Approach to Sales Performance

We discussed the most overlooked Key Performance Indicator is the "magic number," which refers to how many new appointments a sales rep must generate each week in order to achieve their revenue goal. In early 2000 I walked into a VP of Sales mission with a sales organization consisting of 120 reps spread out over 12 sales regions. They were running at 38% of revenue goal for over 2 years. I ran a KPI study and determined they were running 2 new appointments per week/rep, but their KPIs dictated they needed to achieve 7. So I announced a training objective to enable them to do it effectively, (now branded the X2 Sales System) and threw quota out the window for 90 days. But I replaced the monthly quota with the weekly magic number.8 months later sales units sold increased by 520%.(See the Resource Box below to calculate your sales teams Magic Number.)A rep's magic number is determined by looking at several of her other KPIs. Say, for example, that your company sells copiers (for which an average sales cycle is 45 days) and that a rep's monthly sales revenue goal is $15,000. Her average revenue per sale, meanwhile, is $2,500; her current first-appointment-to-proposal ratio is 60 percent; and her closing ratio is 40 percent. What's her magic number? In other words, how many new appointments does she need to set each week in order to achieve her sales revenue goal of $15,000 per month?The Magic Number FormulaMonthly sales revenue objective: $15,000Divided by (/)Average revenue per sale: $2,500/First-appointment-to-proposal ratio: 60%(What percentage of the time do reps gain commitment from prospective clients to "take the next step" in the sales process after the first appointment?)/Closing ratio: 40%(Proposal to close--measures proposals submitted vs. new business achieved.)/Weeks in the month: 4=Magic number: (approximately) 6 new appointments each weekOnce you have identified the magic number, the next step is to determine how many new appointments a rep is currently generating each week. If she is falling short of her six-appointments-per-week goal, your job as a sales trainer is to find ways--through targeted KPI training--to help her bridge that gap and achieve her "magic number."Here are some tips for doing just that:1. As an organization, announce that the ability to convert conversations into appointments will become a KPI of the sales process.2. Define an appointment-setting objective and train to that objective. For example, if the average weekly amount of time that sales reps devote to prospecting new clients is 22.5 hours (out of a 45-hour workweek), your organization's objective might be to cut that prospecting time in half (to 11.25 hours per week) while simultaneously exceeding current appointment-setting levels. With your objective in place, it's now time to break down and document the steps in the prospecting process and train reps on how to make better use of their prospecting time during each step.3. Map out all possible scenarios that might occur during the prospecting process. Once you have done so--and documented best-practice strategies for handling each scenario--create mini training modules and/or job aids that show reps how to handle each scenario effectively.4. In addition to enhancing reps' prospecting skills, another way to ensure that they achieve their "magic number" is to help them improve other KPIs in the "magic number" formula, such as their closing and first-appointment-to-proposal ratios.> To increase their first-appointment-to-proposal ratio, for example, your training might encourage reps to start at the "top" with those who have fiscal authority and can "call the shots." Training might also pinpoint ways for reps to avoid "selling" products during the first appointment by providing them with an outline of the diagnostic steps they should follow in order to evaluate the fit between their solution and a prospective client's business objectives.>To increase reps' closing ratio, meanwhile, the training you develop might show reps how to ask pertinent questions to determine what a prospective client's decision-making process entails, what the client's internal criteria for change include and which players need to be involved in the sales process in order for proper evaluation of a product to occur. In addition, your training might show reps how to catalog risk factors (e.g., possible objections or reservations a client might have regarding purchasing a product or service from your organization) for each player involved in the decision-making process and then provide reps with strategies, tactics, and tools for direct communication with clients based on those risk factors.In the end, targeted, effective sales training can make a critical difference to your bottom line, and so can effective goal-setting. In today's high-performance sales culture, it's up to trainers and sales management to work together to focus more on daily and weekly goals and less on monthly or quarterly quotas. Success in doing so rests on the ability to switch paradigms from looking merely at required end results to also determining the necessary KPIs it takes to get there--and then building supporting tools and training to help sales reps along the way.And, above all, don't forget your magic number!

The Untapped Potential Of Reseller Programs

The Untapped Potential Of Reseller Programs

I am part of the growing population of people who are looking to earn a living working from home on the internet. I am constantly looking for new and better ways to earn some income. I participate in multiple forums having to do with affiliate marketing and working from home. Very few people participate in reseller programs and I think they are missing out on some big-time money.A reseller program is as simple as it sounds. You become a retailer for a particular company. This is different from an affiliate program because you set your own prices, in some cases you even handle the billing of your customers and then you are charged by the supplying company for what you sell. Let me be more clear. You sign up for a web hosting reseller program for example. That company will then tell you what you are allowed to sell for their products and how much they charge you for each account. Then you create a website (in some cases) and you put the products on your website. A customer signs up for the service through your website and you take payment. Then you need to go to your reseller control panel and enter all the customers information and the supplying company then sets them up for the hosting program they chose.I chose web hosting as the example because that is what I have researched and signed up for so far. There many other opportunities however. Some of the hosting companies will provide you with a website and all you do it build it to your liking and set your prices. Others will just let you know which of their products you can sell and how much they charge you, like I mentioned above. Then you need to go in and enter all the customers information when you make a sale. Some programs are free and other charge for membership and a set-up fee. I researched the following:iPowerWeb.com- They are one of the companies that require you to put their products on your own site and then you need to enter the customers information in your control panel when you make a sale. They only allow you to sell one hosting package. So, if you want to give a lot of options to your customers you either need a different program or use numerous programs, which can be confusing. There is no charge for this program. I got no response on one communications with them asking questions about the program and a terrible answer on a second question. This concerned me a bit because how helpful will they be if I have a question concerning a customers account.Globat.com- This is one of the better programs I researched. They also do not give you a website, you would have to put their products on your site. No charge for this program either. They had very good prices on their programs. They also had a live person communicating with me via email to answer my questions. What I didnt like about them is the fact you had to prepay for the accounts. In other words, I would have to buy, lets say 10, hosting programs before I even sold one. The more you bought the cheaper they were. They were running a special, if you bought 10 you got 10 free. So, for 20 programs it would cost me $500. This is $25 each for a year. The problem is, they were only good for one year from the date of purchase. If I didnt sell them all for some reason I lost them and had to buy more the next year.FatCow.com - On the surface a very appealing program. They claim for a one-time set up of $99 you get a fully functioning website. So, I signed up with them. That $99 got me NOTHING. I couldnt resell, I couldnt even host my fully functioning website. So, I called and found out I needed to spend another $99 for the ability to host the website. It sounded reasonable and I was assured this is all I needed to do. WRONG! I had a website now but still did not have the ability to resell anything. That was yet another upgrade and charge of $25. I went for this as well. I now had all the access I needed. They failed to explain however that the 7 hosting plans they show pricing for in their initial sales pitch you do not have the ability to sell. They only give you 3 options and 2 of them are eCommerce. For $225 I figured it was a good deal if I had access to all 7 of the packages they offer. I have since requested my refund and would not recommend this program to others.Aplus.net- They have 2 plans. The most basic is their gold plan. This plan has a set-up fee of $149 and a monthly fee of $59. The plan only comes with one option for selling, their ePro hosting plan. They offer a platinum plan as well. That one requires a set-up fee of $995 and the same monthly charge of $59. It requires a minimum of 500 customers.GoDaddy.com- This is the plan I finally went with. https://www.securepaynet.net/gdshop/rhp/hottestreseller.asp?se=%2B&prog%5Fid=329810&app%5Fhdr= As you can see from the website, they have two packages. The basic for $99 a year and the Pro plan for $199 a year. The only real difference is the amount you pay for the products. The Pro plan charges less for the same products as the basic plan. You have access to ALL of the products GoDaddy offers. You can decide not to sell them if you want but you do have the option. It is a fully functioning website. You set the prices and they pay you the profits. Here is an example of the website you would get if you signed up for this program: https://www.securepaynet.net/gdshop/rhp/default.asp?prog_id=329826With the Pro plan you also get $250 credit toward Google Adwords. They also have arrangements set up with some of the top affiliate programs if you would like to promote your site through them.Considering the ease, the wide range of products, and the fact everything they advertised in their program was true, unlike FatCow, I felt $199 for a year is well worth it.One other difference between a reseller program and an affiliate program is the fact that when a customer signs up you have access to that customers information. Now you can work to build your mailing list this way in addition to other ways you may be using. As an affiliate you do not have this option. Also, if you are an affiliate you usually do not get residual income, as the reseller you do. All of the sites above offer both affiliate and "reseller programs" . After reading this email you will hopefully see there is much more potential as a reseller, regardless of which company you go with or which product you go with for that matter. To prove my point I wanted to do some quick math, using very conservative numbers.Lets say I sell just 5 hosting packages per month for 5 years and they are only the economy package. I have it currently on sale where I only make $3 a month profit.The first year I will have sold 60 plans for a profit of $2160 for the year. This does not include the domain names or any additional services they buy. After year #2 I will have sold 120 plans for profit of $4320. By the end of year 5 I will have sold 300 plans total for a profit of $10800 that will keep coming every year as long as I dont lose any customers. If I just kept that same sales rate for 10 years I will have sold 600 plans for a profit of $21,600. Now, $21,600 is not megabucks but I am assuming I will sell more than 5 plans per month and I dont think they will all be the economy plan either. That figure also does not include the other services offered or any sales that will result from the mailing list that will be built either. If I sold 50 per month using all the same terms for calculations I will have made a profit of $21,600 in the first year and $216,000 in ten years.You can play with the numbers anyway you want but I tried to use very conservative and achievable numbers for the first example and then used more aggressive, but still achievable, for the second example.Hopefully the article has shown there is a tremendous potential for earning a nice living using reseller programs over the more popular affiliate options. If you are already successful on the internet or you are deciding how to get started hopefully you will now see the potential in reseller programs.

Online shopping boom

Online shopping boom

The expansion of the online retail market is evident again this week as figures for 2005 were released. UK consumers bought 8.2bn ($14.3bn) of goods from websites last year a 28.9% increase in internet marketing over 2004, according to market analysts Verdict. In cash terms that means shoppers spent an extra 1.8bn online in 2005. Verdict says the figures show internet shopping is closing in on the 9.4bn spent in department stores in 2005. Its retail analyst, Nick Gladding, said online shopping was now a "formidable competitor" to the High Street as it allowed people to do the work from home, searching the web for the best value and service.A quarter of all UK buyers now shop on the internet, for goods and services, as the "online shopping" community grew by 25.5% to 14.6 million people between 2004 and 2005. The surge in "e-retail" means online shopping is now winning its biggest-ever slice of the UK retail market. Overall UK retail sales grew by just 1.5% in 2005 - the slowest rate since the early 1960s.In its e-market 2006 report Verdict says "internet marketing" enables customers to shop at times to suit them. With many more people working from home, the pattern of high street shopping has changed. One of the biggest growth sectors in online shopping is among the over-50s, with numbers almost doubling to 2.7 million users between 2004 and 2005. The amount spent by this sector rose 46.7% to an average 458 per head. The report comes a month after a report from e-commerce trade body IMRG said online shopping among UK consumers soared almost 50% in the 10 weeks before Christmas. Shoppers spent 4.98bn online during the period, compared with 3.3bn for the same time a year earlier.Online shoppers need great customer service as they can easily click on to another retailer who serves them better. To keep these clients, website owners must use the right advertising media and launch regular email marketing campaigns. Online marketers can get unbiased advice from dedicated niche websites. The top home based businesses are giving online shoppers what they need: building a relationship, giving excellent service and following up with their customers. Many offline businesses face huge change to retain the modern consumer against this new competition.

Linux Software is Cool, Linux is Edgy, Linux is Free

Linux can save your business money. Powerful Linux applications power servers, desktops and laptops across enterprises and small businesses each day. Here in our business, our websites are open source, our support module is Linux, the CRM application and the Accounting system we use to run our business is "open source" software. Best of all our Linux tools, operating systems and applications, are all freely distributed. Linux people are different. They search for power and function, but that is not all sought. Linux people believe that software should be freely distributed. The Linux community respects Microsoft; fantastic company whose apps like Office have improve millions of lives, really cool. But the dark secret in Linux circles paints Microsoft as a dinosaur, Linux people believe that expensive software with painful upgrade fees is headed for trouble. Bill Gates Sees a "Sea Change" in Application SoftwareMicrosoft sells operating systems and applications, and keeps on selling them. Backward compatibility with applications like Word can be hard and is this pain is by design. Microsoft wants to create pain and then fix, with upgrades. Microsoft wants upgrade dollars. This software model is starting to collect some rust. And the reason for this: free software is good. Free software is now available; free business applications to run your business, which are maintained, supported and best of all, are freely distributed. Bill Gatess vision has focused on the on-line delivery model and even the free application delivery model. Please read his on-line business application comments right here. Linux Distributions are a Personal ChoiceLinux is built in distributions or releases, all slightly different. Ubuntu, a terrific linux distribution, is so good that it may be nudging Windows off desktops. Ubuntu is easy to deploy and easy to use plus it is loaded with applications for home users and business users. The Ubuntu desktop market share numbers are still viewed with a magnifying glass, but not too long ago, you needed a microscope. Ubuntu is easy to install and easy to use. Just get the software at the website and burn a CD. Ubuntu has just one CD or one ISO which loads in a snap. Red Hat, another distribution has 6 and takes much longer to complete. Ubuntu is lean because after the initial setup the user can craft his Ubuntu system just how he likes. The internet has Ubuntu distribution sites that power a tool called apt-get. All you do is apt-get install from a command line or user the Add Software GUI tools and you are getting the best linux apps right off the shelf and put right into your menu. Ubuntu DistributionThe Ubuntu distribution has an Office suite with word processing, a spreadsheet, and presentation modules. All work can be saved in common formats like .doc or xls and are completely compatible with Microsoft products. The base Ubuntu application is loaded with graphics applications, CD, DVD burning and creation, multi-media including music and movie players, back-up apps, powerful anti-virus tools and networking applications that are best of breed. There is built in VOIP and message clients and many cool apps like Sticky Notes to make you more efficient. Free Business Linux ApplicationsGNU Cash, free financial tracking, similar to Quicken. Cut an invoice, track bank accounts, run a budget and report your cash flow. Import your bank files and create buckets of spend for your financial analysis that will make an accountant jealous. PBX and Phone SystemsElastix will power up your phones. Did you know that most PBX commercial software is run using a freely distributed tool called Astericks. Elastix has re-packaged Astericks to ease the deployment and offers support. Expensive PBXs are not necessary. Linux has adapted other telephony tools like VOIP, predictive dialers, and call center solutions. Do you need a content management system? A website or an intranet for your company. Plone, Drupal, Joomla deliver big. The functionality in these freely distributed tools match the priciest CMS software. The tools are supported and you can even buy how to books at your local bookstore. Customer Relationship Management and CRMHow about sales tools, CRM or order management, even inventory management software?. Full power CRM or customer relationship management tools are available for free or for super low prices. DataForceCRM, based in Dallas, is deploying a sugarcrm linux derivative that has been enhanced and strengthened and customers are shaving 80% off typical user fees. DataForceCRM offers wikis, forums, full documentation and will make sure user adoption is high. The tool is super flexible, has Outlook integration, manages marketing, tracks sales, eyeballs inventory, push button order management, gives customerss a support tool and is Freely distributed to companies with less than 10 users. If your business has over 10 users, prices are still a bargain. Companies pay high prices for customer support modules. OTRS, another open source backbone application in commercial applications, is there for the download and configuration. After set up your business will have a fully featured, professional trouble ticket tracker helping your clients get what they need. Virtualization is taking IT departments by storm. Virtualization turns your single computer, you need some memory, into many virtual machines. This streamlines hardware usage and turns hard ware utilization way up. State of the art Virtualization called Xen comes with many linux distributions. In Ubuntu do apt-get install vmware-server and a fine tool is on its way to your machine. The coolest thing about Linux is that in the 30 minutes I took to write this article, more applications were probably released. Sourceforge.net, a depository for linux tools is one of the busiest sites on the internet and full of Linux value added applications. Just yesterday I needed to edit a PDF. I google up pdfnet and there I went, for free. Very cool, ERP, or enterprise resource planning is free too. Linux support was targeted for genius level IQs but not any longer. Conclusion Companies realize good training and support drives value. Applications, even if free, are expensive if the learning curve is steep and if users are not guide. Smart open source companies are rolling out support modules to all service all learning types, wikis, live chat, forums, documentation and live phone contacts. Now with support in place, training available communities grow and grow. The applications I mentioned hit the tipping point where the user community is user support. Just this morning I was stumped with a virtual machine question. I googled the error code and added for Ubuntu. The page came up faster than I could call support, and the answer was clearly defined. Cool. New technology can be daunting to learn and use. The linux world knows this and just in the last few years, has put strong arms around user friendliness. Opensource software is easy to deploy, easy to use, powerful and supported. I just covered a tiny fraction of applications available today. Just for fun, visit the sites in this article. Check out the super cool applications and then put a number to your potential savings. You may become a Linux Geek.

Mortgage Leads, Choosing the Best Option

Mortgage Leads, Choosing the Best OptionWhen it comes to buying mortgage leads, there are many good companies out there for you to research, and many avenues to travel down when considering which lead type will work best for you.While working as a loan officer, I dealt with my fair share of mortgage lead companies. Along the way, I bought my leads in bulk, I bought them fresh, and I bought them with a live transfer.Researching lead companies is an important aspect when deciding to invest in one, but lets be honest with each other, we really dont know what we are getting until we begin to purchase them.When I would purchase my leads in bulk, I would take $100.00 of my hard earned money, find what I believed to be the best cherry-picking site out there, and by about fifty leads at $2.00 each.Now I know that you get what you pay for, and my goal was to close two at the most, and at the very least, one. Over the years this approach would occasionally pay off, but I had the feeling of working harder, and not smarter.The next approach I took a shot at was the purchase of real time leads, or fresh leads. I would take that same hard earned $100.00 and receive approximately three to five fresh leads consisting of purchase leads and refinance.These leads I did not cherry pick, I would set up a filter before hand. The filter would be specific to state, type of loan, credit, ltv, loan amount. Etc.When a lead came in and matched my filter, it would be stream lined directly to my e-mail account, and it would be roughly ten minutes old. I had a lot of success with these leads, but continued to keep all of my options open.The other type of lead I decided to take a shot at was the live transfer lead. I believed this to be a wonderful concept, and a very efficient way of obtaining leads and increasing my applications.I basically sat at my desk and waited for the lead company to transfer customers to me by way of the telephone. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didnt. The problem was, there was no guarantee that I was going to answer the phone. I worked in an office with ten other "loan officer" s, if I stepped away from my desk, they would end up in my voice mailbox, or if the phone went unanswered, the potential customer would hang up. It is pointless to go into further detail, I think you get the picture, the live transfer at times could be a mess. Again, I felt as though I was working harder and not smarter.Before investing with mortgage lead companies, make sure you do your home work thoroughly. Read the companies terms of service, find out what their return policy is, call and speak with a representative, ask about a free trial. Does it consist of a free lead or some type of credit toward your first deposit? If they are confident in the quality of their leads, than they should not have a problem accommodating you.I have had, and know loan officers who have had success with all of the above mentioned lead type scenarios. Some may work for you and some may not. But remember, if you find yourself working too hard to make the lead work for you, consider a different type of lead!

Summary

OPPORTUNITY: n., A favorable juncture of circumstances.There is no security on this earth. There is only Opportunity. -- General Douglas MacArthur --The reason a lot of people do not recognize an opportunity when they meet it is that it usually goes around wearing overalls and looking like hard work.-- Christian Science Monitor --Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.-- Thomas Carlyle --