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Challenging the Master

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From Loren Nelson, NelsonEcom
Internet Solutions | Visual Design
Web Sites & Multimedia & Usability Engineering
We May Dose, but We Never Close

August 3, 2007 – Vol. XI, No. 20

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NetBits is the weekly newsletter keeping your informed of various chatter and other tidbits of potential relevance.

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In This Issue:

Item One: “Father of scientific climatology” speaks on global warming
Item Two: How Much Money Are Your Salespeople Leaving on the Table?
Item Three: Challenging the Master
Item Four: Word of the Week
Item Five: 15 Easy Ways to Grow Your Subscriber List
Do you know…

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1. “Father of scientific climatology” speaks on global warming
 

The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it.

http://www.madison.com/tct/mad/topstories/197613

 
2. How Much Money Are Your Salespeople Leaving on the Table?
 

Are your customers buying all of the products and services they could be? Are you getting all of their orders or are some going to the competition? Are you getting repeat orders? How many customers do you lose each year?

The easiest way to increase business is by getting more business from your existing customer base. The second is through referrals from your satisfied customers (so they all should be satisfied, right?). The third is through networking. The hardest is prospecting for new customers from a list and cold calling. Don’t do the hardest thing first. Get those salespeople to go out and sell to the customers that know and love you.

Gather your salespeople and do the following:

1. Take a look at your customer list.
2. Mark the ones who haven’t purchased anything in the last year.
3. Mark the ones who only buy one of your products or services regularly but could buy others.

Plan a strategy to go out and get all the money you are leaving on the table.

Current customer list

Who’s on the list? Should they all be there or should some be removed because they went out of business, moved away or aren’t an ideal customer? Clean up the list. Then follow these steps:

1. Look at the customers who haven’t purchased in a year or more and develop a campaign. You can use phone calls, e-mails, visits or mail to reach them. Decide which contact method to use based on their potential to purchase, not on their current purchases. Phone calls are a great way to start.

Here is an example of what one of my clients is doing: They started without cleaning the list and had approximately 700 customers to call. The inside salesperson called each customer. She cleaned the list as she went along, asking on every call if their information was still correct. It took about three weeks to get through them all and maintain her current work. Here is what she said: "I’m calling to find out how if all of the equipment we installed is functioning properly? Does anything need to be fixed? Are you interested in having any features added?" Also: "I’m updating our database. Is the following information correct?"

Three of the first 10 calls yielded new business.

2. Mark the customers who only buy one of your products or services regularly but could buy others. Again, you can use phone calls, e-mails, visits or mail to reach them. What you want to do is determine the best way to introduce new products. I recommend a visit if that is how you usually sell to them. The best way to introduce items they may not know about or purchase is to determine their needs.

A client of mine who sells medical supplies is having their salespeople do the following:

The sales manager asked each salesperson to identify 10 of their best customers and identify one to five other products they thought these 10 customers could use. The next step was to have the salespeople develop questions they could ask their customers to determine whether they did indeed need those products. The next step was to determine the right buyer. Then they planned the questions they would ask. They made appointments, went in and asked the questions and almost all of the visits resulted in the sale of a product the customer was not currently purchasing.

All of these methods will decrease the number of customers you lose each year, not only because you’re keeping in touch with them, but also because you’re interested in their business and their needs, not just what you can sell to them. Remember, selling is all about problem solving. If your customer has a problem or a need and your products and services can fill that in a cost-effective way, you will most likely get the sale. Stay focused on what you can do for your current customers to help them attain their goals.

 
3. Challenging the Master
 

Chess, a game that is believed to have originated sometime before 600 AD, was my father’s favorite. I have fond memories of sitting around the kitchen table trying to out-wit him which didn’t happen very often.

He taught me a lot of tricks many of which I now use when challenging my friends to a "friendly" game of Net Chess.

Net Chess lets us play on the same computer no matter where we are. Our computers are connected using the local network or the Internet. We have a choice of different computer opponents (chess robots), sounds, color schemes and skill levels. It does not matter if you are a beginner, intermediate or professional player. There is a level for everyone.

 
4. Word of the Week
 

Walter Mitty • \wawl-ter-MITT-ee\ • noun

: a commonplace unadventurous person who seeks escape from reality through daydreaming

Example Sentence:
"Many readers seem to be Walter Mittys, content to experience danger vicariously." (James Kelly, Time Magazine, August 19, 1985)

Did you know?
The original "Walter Mitty" was created by humorist James Thurber, who wrote the famous story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." In Walter’s real life, he is a reticent, henpecked proofreader befuddled by everyday life. But in his fantasies, Walter imagines himself as various daring and heroic characters. Thurber’s popular story, which was first published in The New Yorker in 1939, was later made into a movie. Walter Mitty has since become the eponym for dreamers who imagine themselves in dramatic or heroic situations.

 
5. 15 Easy Ways to Grow Your Subscriber List
 

While there are seemingly endless ways to promote your e-zine and attract new subscribers, here’s a list of my favorite 15. Which ones are YOU using?

Print this out and check those you already do, and note those you should "get a move on."

1. Tell your clients, associates, and friends. Send out one of your best issues (or your first issue) as a sample issue, inviting them to sign up if they like it. (Never sign anyone up without his/her permission.)

2. Put a signup form on your home page and every page of your Web site. No matter what page people may land on, this way they’ll know about your amazing e-zine. Don’t let them click away and lose them forever!

3. Use a pop-up or pop-under box on your site. Studies show pop-ups/unders can increase your e-zine signups by up to 10 times! Give it a try and test it. (Automatic popup creators like Ad Impact make it super easy.)

4. Offer a free goodie for new subscribers. We all get so much e-mail these days, that you have to work hard to get anyone’s e-mail address. Offer new subscribers a valuable free article, report, resource list, e-book, etc.

5. Offer a free sample issue on your Web site or have one available by e-mail autoresponder. Some people won’t sign up for anything until they can see it first.

6. List your e-zine in free e-zine directories. There are hundreds of these on the Web where people visit to search for e-zines on particular topics. Make sure you’re here so you can be found! (One of the best is Charlie Page’s Directory of E-zines.)

7. Swap ads with other e-zines. Search online e-zine directories for other e-zines whose target readership matches yours, and contact their publishers. Swap at least three ads in a row for best results.

8. Buy ads in other e-zines. Again, search those directories for other
e-zines whose target readership matches yours, and see their ad specifications and rates. Purchase at least three ads in a row for best results.

9. Plug your e-zine in your e-mail signature. After your usual contact information at the bottom of all your e-mails, be sure to include a two- or three-line plug for your e-zine.

10. Get published in OTHER e-zines. There are dozens of Web sites where other publishers visit to pick up free content for their e-zines. Why not post YOUR articles there for them to use? You get free exposure and plenty of traffic back to your site.

11. Do a co-op with other e-zine subscribers. You can cross-promote with other e-zine publishers on your own, or use an automated service such as Subscription Rocket, which I used when I got started years ago.

12. Try a pay-for-subscriber service. These services advertise your
e-zine for you and bring you subscribers automatically for as little as 10 to 30 cents apiece. One with a decent reputation is Lead Factory.

13. Announce your e-zine to all of the professional organizations and associations you’re a member of. They usually allow you to make announcements in their newsletters or on their online bulletin boards.

14. Advertise your e-zine on the back of your business cards. In the text, be sure to tell people how they can sign up for your e-zine.

15. Become active in a few online forums where your ideal readers hang out. In your posts, position yourself as a resource in your area of expertise, and include a signature file that promotes your e-zine!

 
6. Do You Know…
 
On this day:

  • Niger Gains Independence from France (1960)
    In 1884-5, the Conference of Berlin placed the territory of Niger within the French sphere of influence. In 1900, Niger was made a military territory within Upper Senegal–Niger, and in 1922 it was constituted a separate colony within French West Africa. National political activity began when Niger received its own assembly under the French constitution of 1946, which established the French Union.
 
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Mahalo,
Loren
NelsonEcom
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