Sales strategies

Top 5 ways to NOT cold call #socialselling

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It’s the dreaded word….Cold Call.The old school practice of “cold calling” gives the important stage within the sales process a bad name. The stage is still important, but it is all in the delivery and your process that determine your success and how you are perceived by your target audience.  Instead of delivering interruptive messages there are several approaches to consider before you make that first call to a potential client. Below are 5 best practices that I have found to be most effective when contacting a prospect for the first time.

  1. Review your prospects social media posts pertaining to a trigger event that your product is relevant to. In your correspondence share ideas of how others in their space solved a similar issue with your product.
  2. Research your prospect and their company thoroughly and start the conversation with something relevant and current to both their position and their business.
  3. Send out a persona targeted message before you call to soften the conversation and provide familiarity with who you are and what you do. I find it helpful to include my LinkedIn profile to add a human side.
  4. If you’re not already using an application to see when a prospect has opened/clicked/forwarded/ your email, I highly suggest doing so. Understanding their engagement level to your message is key. (Two great options are Yesware and Sidekick)
  5. Join LinkedIn Groups and business associations where your prospects talk and learn what matters to them.

Vince Lombardi once said, “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare to win”. This is the best approach to cold calling and being successful in sales.

What steps do you do before you pick up the phone and make a “cold call”?

 

Technology Trends

#technologytrends iPhone:Storage Space hacks

 

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I depend on my iPhone for a lot and one thing that is challenging is making the most out of the space available on it. One question I have been asked a lot is how do you manage to store apps, photos, music and more on limited space and keep from filling the phone up to capacity?

In this blog I want to share what I have learned from my research when my kids had 8GB 5c’s.

Tip #1: Delete any app that you do not use on a monthly basis. It is very easy to redownload an app that you seldom use.

Tip #2 Delete old documents and data that you no longer need. Go to settings>general> storage & iCloud usage> manage storage and click on the arrow beside each app listed. Here you will see how much data each app utilizes as well as any documents or data that are attached. You may not even realize that certain apps are monopolizing your space and worse yet you may not even need it anymore. The more you delete the more space you can use for things you want.

Tip # 3 If you do not need your photos to download to your other apple devices than turn off photo stream. This quick step can free up a lot of space quickly. Simply go to Settings> Photos & Camera and deselect my photo stream.

Tip #4 Stop downloading music on your phone. Instead, sign up for Itunes Match which provides all of your music on the iCloud. Now delete all your music. It’s saved on your iCloud don’t hyperventilate. This tip alone probably just freed up a ton of GB’s.

Tip #5 Delete all of the photos you have edited in the various photo editing apps that you use. Once you have created that awesome collage or filter image and saved it as a picture delete it out of the app.

Tip #6 Are you a list maker or note taker? Delete all of your old lists and notes that are not useful to you in the various apps that you use.

Tip #7 Delete your old iMessages. This one is a hard one for me as I like to reference conversations and keep photos etc. This practice can free up as much as 512 MB of space.

Tip #8 Using Photo stream isn’t the only way in which you can back up the photos you can take on your iPhone. You can use the camera upload feature in apps like Shutterfly to store your images.

Try these tricks and tips to maximize your space so that you can keep your iPhone optimized and ready for those never ending updates that add the features we grow to love.

Did I miss a trick or tip that you swear by? Share with the group below.

In my next blog I will be writing about boosting your iPhone battery. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Technology Trends · Uncategorized

#technologytrends: Apple Update

 

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You may have noticed that Apple released yet another software update. This one is iOS 9.2.1 and is 38.1 MB. This update is for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. This update is focused on bug fixes, security fixes, and performance improvements.

It will not fix the battery meter bug, but this intermediate update allows Apple to address it in the next update along with the ability to add live photos in messages and passcode for notes.

Other updates to watch for are “Night Shift”, “Car Play” improvements, and yes even addressing why your battery meter gets stuck when you change your time zone.

To view this update on your iPhone or Ipad, go to the settings app, click on general, and click on Software Update page.

To view more technology trends visit my blog. #technologytrends

For more information click n on: https://support.apple.com/HT201222

Marketing

Top 4 steps to defining your personas

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Creating buyer personas help marketers determine what kind of content is needed.  When you understand your target audience you can create content on relevant topics for them and gain credibility with them. Defining your personas is the driving force behind garnering the attention of your prospects.

Here are four steps to creating well-defined personas….

1.) Check your site analytics

Your website analytics provides data on where your visitors came from, what keywords they used to find you, and how long they spent once they arrived. This is valuable when identifying personas as you can begin to identify needs.

2.) Involve your company in the process

Have conversations with your entire team—not just marketing, but Customer Service, IT, Sales, Integration, and more. Include everyone that interactions with customers and have access to customer data. Gaining the perspective from all departments provides a clear picture of your customer needs and practices.

3.) Social media research

You can also do some research within social media. Review prospect and customer social sites and website comments. Here you can read what their customers are asking for and identify the problems your product can solve.

4.) Ask your target audience questions.

Who better to ask than the people you call customers or are looking to attract? Use Surveys and set up interviews to answer questions regarding your target audience. Hubspot offers a great checklist to use for this process.

What do you think the key components are to persona creation? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marketing

Inbound Marketing Tips for 2016

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Expect social media to continue to be an integral part of your inbound marketing strategy in 2016. Social media is a proven strategy for building brand awareness and for engaging with target audience. Here are a few best practices to consider…

1.) Have a presence in all of the social media networks that your target audience frequent.

Facebook is a great for reaching a broad audience and a good place for companies who are just starting out and LinkedIn is known for great b2b interaction, but what about Instagram? According to Social Media Today, photos bring higher engagement than videos. Create a story about your brand and it’s okay to use humor. Give your target audience a look into your brand that they normally don’t get to see. Just like facebook you can attract a broad audience and build brand awareness in an unique way.

2.) Pick 1 or 2 keywords and SEO them 100% of the time.

In order to successfully gain traffic to your website, you have to consistently use relevant keywords. These keywords should be the longtail keywords utilized most often to find your type of offering or service.

3.) Don’t just post on Social Media…Have conversations

It’s not enough to merely have a presence on the social media platforms. Conversions are typically generated from organic search and email, so if you want to reach your audience ask questions and answer comments to build rapport and begin lead nurturing. Be alert of mentions of your brand and respond proactively.

4.) Content creation that is an engaging machine

Content Marketing is can be an exhausting machine to feed. Content creation platforms, such as SnapApp help marketers develop fun and engaging assessment, quizzes, calculators, videos and infographics from existing content. Publishing these content pieces within social media provides engagement with your brand. Analytics provides data on  what aspects appealed to various user demographics within social media platforms.

What do you think is the key to great communication? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Communication · Uncategorized

Three Effective Ways To Communicate

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When asked, many individuals believe that they possess strong communication skills and are able to connect with their audience effectively.

This is contradictory to the numerous case studies that report  deficiencies in workplace communication.  The University of Chicago School of Business conducted a study recently that identified familiarity as the main source for communication breakdown within the workplace.

When peers communicate with each other there is an assumption factor that causes miscommunication because there is a  belief in a false pretense that the person they are sharing information with is as informed about the subject as they are.

In order to reduce misunderstandings and to be effective in communication here are three tips to ensure your intended message is received.

1.)  Be Clear and Concise

Take a breath and take the time to articulate your message in a clear and concise manner.

Talking so people will comprehend your message means you must adjust your message to your target audience and their understanding and if possible, their personality.

Do not use big words or buzz words to impress rather gauge your success on good dialogue. If your audience is asking good questions, you know you’re on the right track.

2.) Listen

When you communicate, you must give people the opportunity to speak their minds too. If your conversation is a one-way street it is not communication rather a lecture.

When you are communicating face to face you are able to pick up nonverbal cues that are just as important as the words that are being spoken. Take advantage of this communication and you will understand the true message that is being communicated.

3.) Connect

Communication is about more than just exchanging ideas. It’s about understanding the intentions behind the information. We hear a lot of conversations in a day and forget, most of what is being said, however, we remember how people make us feel. If you take the time to be connected with those who you talk with you will find that you have a better understanding of what is really being conveyed.

Communication is an important element of leadership that is a part your everyday responsibilities. Taking the time to be intentional in how you engage others is key to achieving your goals.

What do you think is the key to great communication? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

 

 

 

Technology Trends

New Tech gadgets to consider

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When it comes to new technology I am always reading about the next cool new thing.  In the last few weeks, I have read quite a few articles relating to new items to consider for 2016 and I thought I would share the ones that have caught my eye in no particular order because in my opinion they are all great.

  1. Smart Crock Pot

A slow cooker that is integrated with webmo technology that allows you to turn on or off the cooker or adjust cooking temperature while you are away from your house from your smartphone and free accompanying app. The crock pot is made by Crock-Pot and is available on Amazon for $117. This crock pot gets 4 stars out of 5 by amazon reviewers and are for the most part all positive.

2. Ulo

Ulo is an adorable surveillance camera that looks like an owl and has eyes that project video surveillance to your smartphone app. The cost is $169 and is a fully funded Kickstarter project.  If you have not seen the video on facebook this small camera will alert you to any movement in the area it is placed and will send you an alert notice to your phone. The device looks like a kids toy and will go undetected by the normal individual.

3.      Airwheel Airboard 

It’s the hoverboard we dreamt about ever since watching back to the future. This board responds to your foot’s pressure for turning and just lean in the direction you wish to go. There are in malls across the country for more money they I am willing to spend, but a cool invention that I am sure will become more affordable in the near future.

4. Laser Projection Keyboard

There have been several times when a keyboard would have been helpful in taking notes on my mobile device, but who wants to carry around an actual Bluetooth keyboard in their portfolio or bag.Now you do not have to. With laser technology paired with Bluetooth wireless technology a virtual keyboard projects on a flat surface that track your fingers. The laser projection keyboard connects with your smartphone, laptop or tablet. Compact, keychain design makes our virtual keyboard super portable. The charge lasts for up to two hours of continuous typing.

And the last one is just because the sheer cool factor. I have searched Amazon for a cool Jedi Lightsaber, but nothing compares to the fun you can have by showing off to your friends and kids with your “real” saber.

5. Ultra Sabers

Ultrasabers is at high-end Lightsabers with a price tag of $399 and above. This is that cool toy you can display as the StarWars FX Lightsaber is an “elegant weapon, for a civilized age.” I love the ability to customize and construct your blade with different soundboards and LED colors. If the  StarWars nut in your life has everything, this might be something to purchase rather than a drone or other high price toys like the Yoda, R2D2, or BB8.

These are my picks for best new gadgets on the market. Send me links to your favorite.

 

Budgeting

5 Holiday Savings Tips

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During the holidays, money is always in short supply and for many, budgets are tight. Below is a list of some best practices I have picked up over the years to keep myself accountable and to avoid some of the Holiday fund frustrations.

  1. Create a 50/30/20 household budget on an excel spreadsheet that you stick to and use a budget calculator to assist you in figuring out your income after tax. The idea originated from the book “All You Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. The book advises that you limit your needs to 50% of your monthly income, 30% to wants and 20% to savings and debit repayment. By definition, a need is your electric bill and your cable bill is a want.
  2. Set up a Christmas fund with your financial institution to create a ready-made saving for Christmas shopping and events out of that 30% that you are allocating for wants. Do not allocate more than 1.5 percent of your household annual income to your Christmas fund.
  3. Create a list of everyone on your gift list and create a budget per person based on the 1.5 total amount.
  4. Download an App such as Mint to track your spending. In minutes, this app provides a complete picture of your account balances and transactions together. Mint automatically pulls together all your financial information into one place. This allows you to see spending patterns, investment strategies, and budgeting views as to how well you are keeping to the 50/30/20 rule all year long in categories you create.
  5. Use GASBUDDY to help you find the cheapest gas prices for when you are filling up and heading out to your Holiday events.

These are just a few ways to be aware of your spending ability and stress-free while you are holiday shopping.

 

Uncategorized

Top 10+ 1 Christmas Traditions

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Can you believe December is almost here? It might be the lack of lines during black friday shopping or the lack of snow in Michigan, but it just doesnt feel like its time to string the lights and hang the mistle toe.

That all changed this morning though when the kids and I started to haul the endless totes of decorations up from the basement. Once I put my favorite Christmas albumn on Christmas Number 1’s and watched the kids eyes dance with excitment as they carefully unwrapped the nativity sceen  I felt the childlike wonder in my own heart as I took in the scene of my kids diving into our family traditions we love so much.

I believe it is so very important to be intentional with the limited time you have with your family and create lasting traditions.Traditions are a lot like heirlooms that are handed down and they strengthen our sense of belonging to a particular “clan” and become priceless when those who once were near have passed on.

Here are my families Top 10 Christmas traditions to help spread a little Christmas cheer!

1.) Elf on the Shelf.  On the evening of Thanksgiving this little guy makes his grand appearance and the kids wake very early while I am preparing to go Black Friday shopping to see what mischeive he has created. Each night the elf appears in a different part of our house doing some crazy activity and each day my kids share with the elf secret ideas for gifts. The best part about the elf is that he watches over the house and the kids know he reports all of their behavior to Santa so they are on their best behavior for almost 25 days straight.

2.) Black Friday Shopping.  I have arose as early as 3am and one year I never went to bed to take advantage of the door busters. It is always a good time with family and friends and we never take it too seriously or camp out with the crazies. Rather we just enjoy endless shopping at our own speed without kids. This opportunity is something that only happens once a year and I enjoy it.

3.) Nativity setup. My kids know that the very first thing that we put out before anything else gets hung or decorated is our very old and special Nativity. It is a good reminder for my family as to the meaning of Christmas and it has a prominent place in our home. Now that my kids are in their tween years they get to set it up on their own. I take a picture of them standing near it every year when they have it how they want it.

4.) A tree in each bedroom. I have bought the kids each a small pre-lit tree for their room that they get to decorate on their own. The ornaments are ones they have made or that we have bought and are mostly their favorite characters. I have one even in my room and it is typically ordaned with Starbucks cups or hallmark ornaments that I have collected.

5.) 1 Family Ornament must be obtained at our local Christmas store, Bronners. I drag my husband and kids every year to bronners for a singular objective…Find the perfect ornament we can put our name and date on for our tree. We have done this every year since we were married and I have told greg he will be pushing me down the huge store when I am 80 because I love it so much.

6.) Santa at Bronners. While we are at the worlds largest Christmas store we send the kids to see santa to share all their Christmas wishes and we get a picture of the moment. What is great about Bronners is that they allow you to take your own pictures and they do not charge you to see Santa and get the pic.

7.) Christmas Tree selection. Dragging home the christmas tree is always the Saturday night after Thanksgiving and the tree must be a “Real” tree. No fakes ever! We have gone to lots, home depot, and farms over the years and have enjoyed going different places to select our tree, but the tradition is that daddy is the one who has the last say and is the one who picks the spot. The kids always touch the branches and smell the trees to be sure that they approve. I look for the holes and sparce areas while Gregory is always concerned if the tree is too tall.

8.) Christmas cookie baking before tree decorating. A simple rule in our house is that cookies must abound before we take on the chore of adorning the tree. It is a lot of work and the kids love frosting the cookies and such while daddy is wrestling with the tree and stringing the lights. It gives the kids something to do while we are prepping the tree for all the millions of ornaments new and old.

9.) Placement of the Star. The tree decorating is the job of kids and well mostly mom. Once its perfect we put away all the boxes and call for dad. We watch as he carefully asends the ladder and puts the star in place. It is the final step in making our Christmas decorating complete.

10.) Christmas Eve PJS, cookies and a note for Santa, and feed the reindeer. Since the kids were born we  dress them in holiday pjs, write a note to santa, leave a plate of cookies out for santa, and make reindeer food and sprinkle it out on our front lawn.

Reindeer Recipe we use:

In a small ziploc bag, mix:

  • 1/4 cup oatmeal.
  • 1/4 cup sugar.
  • sprinkle of red or green sugar crystals (for cake decorating).

As the kids get older I wonder how soon this tradition will end, but this is one I am sure they will remember when they are grown and have little ones of their own.

This year I am adding a number 11 as I know our santa traditions and Elf on the shelf moments will be coming most likely to a close..maybe…its never too late to add new traditions to replace those that are no longer possible.

11.) Read the Christmas story before gifts. I have to admit this tradition has not always happened, but now that the kids are older they will read the story to us and no present will be opened until the story is done and we take the time to remember why Jesus was born.

What traditions do you hold dear and carry out each and every year?

 

Budgeting

Top 4 tips for saving time and money during the holidays

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If you are like me, the next six weeks is packed with details, lists, shopping, and responsibilities. Keeping it all straight is always a challenge and staying on top of it all is truly an accomplishment.

Here are my Top 4 tips to saving time and money during the Holidays

1.) Create notes that are interactive and cloud-based

When it comes to jotting down notes and having it when you need it, is essential. Evernote is an indispensable tool that is available on all your devices. The glory of this program lies in its flexibility and accessibility. You can take notes, record audio, add images, and add hyperlinks. One of the ways that Evernote saves me time is that I type up the kids Christmas lists and link the items to the sites with the best price. I then share the link to kids Christmas list with family members. They do not have to download Evernote to view it and when they purchase the item they can mark the item purchased.

Evernote is cloud-based storage service that lets you store and access all of your data from any device. You can create folders called notebooks, search by keywords or organize with filters. The paid version gives you the full cloud-based features.

2.) Keep everyone on the same calendar

I use Siri on my iPhone in conjunction with the calendar provided on my IPhone to keep myself organized. I dictate event creation to Siri as well as ask her what is on my itinerary every morning. I keep my iPhone calendar as my main calendar and all family activities are shared via ICloud between my spouse and I, so we stay up to date.

3.) Don’t waste time searching for receipts

Use shoeboxed to keep track of all of your holiday shopping expenses.  Like other receipt-organizing apps, shoeboxed allows you to “scan” a receipt by taking a picture of it with your phone. It’s standout/must have feature is how it pulls email receipts from your Gmail or Yahoo account and arranges them into one convenient dashboard, sorted chronologically. So many stores send e-receipts and this program helps you collect them all in one place. This app also separates out each category of the item you purchase so you can track types of things like for kids, work, household, taxes, etc. I especially appreciate the monthly spending summaries that shoeboxed emails as well as its “return alerts,” which reminded me to hurry up if I have a return to process. Available for iOS  and droid.

4.)  Save money without wasting time or gas

Part of managing the holidays is saving money whenever possible. I do not like to collect coupons, store catalogs or conducting multiple searches to find the best prices. RedLaser is an app I use to scan product barcodes to while I am out shopping to be sure I am getting the best price. For example, if you’re at Target shopping for a WII U, and you scan the box, RedLaser will compare the price with other retail stores and tell you if you are getting the best price. I then click on the store with the cheaper price, show the cashier and get the best price without driving around.

These are my top 4 ways to save time and money during the Holidays. What tools and applications do you prefer?