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Use Skype

Warning: Skype is Addictive but there are NO EMERGENCY calls with Skype, it is not a replacement for your ordinary telephone and can’t be used for emergency calling.

I have been using Skype almost since the beginning and although I love Skype and recommend it to almost everyone, there are a few things I wish I knew before using their many different services. Skype isn’t just for calling your friends for free over the computer anymore; it is a virtual gold mine alternative to using regular landlines, long distance, voicemail and more. 

Update Jan 2010: My parents who are in their 60’s are now using unlimited long distance from Skype while they travel for several months (they were shocked that it only costs $2.95/month in North America!)…

I am going to summarize for you what Skype is capable of via features and hopefully point you in the right direction to save you time, money & headaches.  I will leave out and assume you know that you can talk, instant message & video chat with anyone in the world for free, as long as both computers have downloaded the free version of Skype.

Skype In

Skype Phone Number (SkypeIn): An online number is perfect if you have friends, family or business colleagues who don’t use Skype. Anyone can dial your online number from any phone or cell phone and hey presto, your Skype rings and you pick up the call – wherever you are in the world.

Skype Voicemail: People leave you messages when you’re unavailable. Personalize your voicemail greeting. Store your messages and listen later. Pick up your voicemails anywhere in the world. Voicemail is the simple solution to never missing a call. Your unanswered calls are sent to voicemail and you can listen to messages when you want, wherever you are signed in to Skype.

Unlimited calls to landlines with Skype: Starting from 3$ unlimited long distance with in your country to about $13 per month anywhere in the world. You can make calls any time of day, any day of the week without the need for a long term contract. All subscriptions contain online numbers that let your friends, family or business contacts reach you directly on Skype. And with your Skype To Go number you can reach your friends and family abroad at great rates using any landline or mobile phone.

Skype Out: You can pay as you go if you don’t want a monthly commitment. Calling rates as low as .02 cents per minute. Skype to Go: Service is no longer available.

Skype for Business: Now you’re up and running, utilize features that can help your staff keep in touch while they’re out of the office, like voicemail and call forwarding. You can also buy and distribute calling credit amongst your team so they can call phones and cell phones to talk to people who don’t use Skype, and save money at the same time. Plus you can set up online numbers so clients, partners and potential new customers have a number they can call you on from any phone or mobile, and you pick up in Skype.

Small Business Pack: Get business phones, headsets and everything you’ll need for your business on Skype.

Use Skype for cheap SMS (.09 cents): Sending a text message directly from Skype is perfect when you want to quickly reach a friend or colleague. You can even group a bunch of people together and send them the same message with one click. You can send text messages to phones on any network, in any country.

Take texting to a whole new level whether you are in school, in business or in love!

Hope you found this helpful, and again if you think I have missed an important feature (or feel something is out of date) please let me know and I will update this posting. You can connect with me on Skype using my user name leeraito. I decline all connection requests on Skype unless you send me a message commenting on my blog, or where you found me online. I would recommend you do the same if contacted by anyone you would consider a stranger online!

It’s not hype, just click on…

Skype - call the world at rock bottom prices

Sales Conversion and Lottery Odds

I was in the convenience store the other day and watched a lady buying Scratch & Win tickets. Her selection methodology, I am positive was based on pure emotion, color and the name on the scratch & win game itself.   

Believe it or not this encounter got me thinking about sales conversion & statistics, so I made a mental note to check on this lady’s odds of getting lucky. I was amazed to find on the local lotteries website not only the odds of buying a winning ticket for each type of scratch & win game (e.g. 1 out of 3.51 or 1 out 4.96), but as well the amount of outstanding prizes and their dollar values. In other words, with some simple math, not only could you calculate which scratch & win tickets were more likely to pay out, but as well target which games still had the most money outstanding. This lady’s odds at 1:5 were much better than the regular 1 out of 6 Million Lotto 649, but unfortunately she chose a ticket that only had about 16 low value prizes left. In other words, she was statistically hooped.  

So what does this have to do with sales conversions? 

Well, just like the scratch & win ticket buyers selection methodology was skewed towards emotion, and not to the best statistical odds of winning. So too are many sales conversion efforts directed by emotion, gut & chance. This is not to say that luck and gut have no place in seeking sales conversions, as they often do, but if that’s the entire focus then you have lowered your odds of converting sales and like the lottery lady may be statistically hooped. 

So in seeking sales conversions, there is a huge advantage for people willing to do a little research and ultimately track and test sales conversions.  

Research your odds and set an acceptable ROI for your sales efforts, and this will force you to focus on activities that will provide a good Return on Investment and avoid those that don’t.  

Online: As an example online, would you pay Google Adwords to send visitors to your page if it will cost you more than you can convert to sales? If you aren’t tracking and recording these numbers, how will you ever know the answer? Use Google Analytics or a similar service online to monitor and improve every aspect of your sales conversions. Who knows, maybe blue font on your page will pull 10% better than black…you just won’t know if you don’t track and test. 

Offline: Regardless of what type of sales industry you are in, if you aren’t tracking your sales efforts, then how do you know your odds of converting sales. Quite simply you don’t and are similar to the lottery lady operating on gut feeling and emotion. If you excel and are a sales leader in your field, then of course this is all hogwash and doesn’t apply to you. Your experience far out weighs statistics. But, if you are part of the other 95% of sales people, then giving your self a statistical advantage is more than important. I would recommend tracking sales efforts offline with ACT or some other Customer Relationship Management program that can calculate conversions to sales.  

Odds are odds, whether they are the unlikely odds of buying a winning Scratch & Win Lottery Ticket, or the odds of an internet visitor converting to a sale. With a little research and testing you can often give yourself an unfair advantage over your competition! Armed with the right information, odds are you’ll find yourself holding a winning ticket to better sales conversions.

Shut Up and Listen

Warning: This story is fictional. If this bears any similarity to sales people you may know or have seen it is purely coincidental!  


Shut Up and Listen

Prospect: Glad you’re hear, I really need help with… 

Interrupting Sales Person: I know what you need, we have this awesome product it would be great for you! It’s the number one product in its class, it wins awards every year, and all your competitors are using it!  

Prospect: Umm… but what does it do for me? 

Sales Person: It’s going to blow your socks off, it’s going to change the way you do business.  

Prospect Blow Off: I just forgot, I have to get running to meet my partner for lunch, or I am officially toast. Call my assistant and reschedule next week and we will talk some more. Gotta run! 

This may be a little exaggerated, but is always a good reminder when in a sales meeting, sales call or talking with your spouse to shut up and listen. If you don’t, you run the risk of never finding out what your prospect actually needs, so that you can have a snow balls chance in hell of selling a BENEFIT to your product or service. If your prospective client sees a strong benefit to doing business with you, they are ten times more likely to close.  The only way any of this happens, sales or spouse related, is by listening first to find out what they truly need. 

Most people, including spouses, don’t want the smoke & mirrors of feature after feature, accolade and awards. They want to converse and be heard, and for you to expertly help solve their problems or improve their life. OK, maybe that’s a stretch with you partner, but it’s sure true in sales.

Now… I’m going to shut up and listen!

Sales Name Idea Generator

Just a short thought this evening, as I have been asked as a favor for a friend to come up with a kick ass name for an amazing piece of software that generates leads for sales professionals in various markets. I can’t discuss the niche, but what I though I would give you is my simple technique for generating names! Generating new ideas & names will help your sales efforts period, as you need to do this every day to create catchy subject lines for your emails, tag lines for advertising campaigns, and countless other sales based communicables!

Warning: This isn’t for generating cool names, this is for generating highly targeted names that your potential customers will immediately recognize. There’s a reason Microsoft named their browser Internet Explorer… because that’s what it does!

Here it is:

1. Immediately put yourself in the mindset of your audience, in this particular case they are looking for  (Lead) (Generation)(Software) (Specific Niche)… that’s my starting point. If you have no knowledge of your audience, it is very unlikely your idea (name) will appeal to them. Know your audience.

2. Now I go and analyze the competition by doing a Google search for, you guessed it, “lead generation software + niche” I’m not going to bore you with the results, but what I found were that most names were obscure and unrelated to the niche. In fact, 99% of companies had to heavily advertise to be noticed 1st page on Google. You can pay attention to whose advertise if you want, as its good to know your competition, but I think its really important to zone in those names and tag lines that make their way to the top of Google naturally.

3. Armed with my audience in mind, and ideas from the strongest competitors, its then time to get down to business generating a kick ass name.  But I do so something crazy here. I try and forget about the task for at least an hour, or best case scenario overnight, then come back to it. You will be amazed what you come up with when you sit down with a piece of paper or open up a .doc on your PC. The ideas will flow.

That’s it…quite simply really, but highly effective!

Since your still here I have a favor to ask, join my list off to the right there…download my book, and shoot me your thoughts!

Cheers,

Lee

Google Sales for Alpha Males- Increase Sales Using Free Google Applications

OK, so these essential sales tools are a godsend for anyone and everyone in sales whether or not you are a dominant female Guerrilla Marketer or the leading male in your pack. These 4 applications of free Google services can have an immediate affect on your sales ability. If you have other uses you feel I have missed, please post your comments below.

If you’re in sales, you probably already use one or more of these Google Applications, but I dare say you should be using them all. If your not in sales,  you’ll still want to check the power of these applications out!

Here they are:


Google Alerts

1. Google Alerts – In sales, if you aren’t using Google alerts you aren’t on top of you competition, your best clients, and your ‘to die for’ prospects. Quite simply using Google Alerts allows you to monitor keywords that are important to your business.  Monitor “ABC, Inc.” and Google will email you when any news, blogs, videos, pictures or more are posted amongst the billions of pages online. Be the first to call your contact and congratulate them, or strategically use the information to close your next deal. I think you get the point, but also consider monitoring keywords to keep tabs on your competition, your brand and anything else that is important to your success.

http://www.google.com/alerts


Google Finance

2.  Google Finance http://www.finance.google.com – If you sell to companies that are listed on stock exchanges, or would like to, then Google Finance can help you identify key executives, peruse financial information & determine the viability of selling to your future corporate clients. The research that you can dig into is nothing short of amazing.

Note: If you are in a country other than the US of A, try changing the domain prefix for the country you are in and go to town. For example http://www.finance.google.com versus http://www.finance.google.ca


Google Maps

3. Google Maps – If you have to travel period and you haven’t yet invested in a portable GPS system, then Google Maps & Mobile Google Maps is the next best thing. Not only can you arrive on time, or follow turn by turn directions on your mobile phone for free, you can truly use Google Maps to increase sales for your business.

  • Ensure your company is added to your local Google Maps for more walk in traffic, or search visibility. Encourage your clients to write positive reviews on your business, and potential customers will flock to your business over others via search. If you don’t tell them to write a review on Google Maps I’m sure your competition would love to!
  • When you are heading out on a sales call, try doing a general search for other similar prospects in the area. You might be surprised that the prospect of your dreams isn’t in your database, and is just blocks from where your appointment is. Time for a drop in introduction or a much needed update of your database!
  • If you have a website, use Google Maps on your site to drive customers to your door. If you don’t have a website use Google Maps to drive to theirs.

http://maps.google.com or http://www.google.com/mobile/


Google Search

4. Google Search – It’s probably a pretty safe assumption that you have used Google to look up customers, potential prospects and other research essential to your sales process. Google Search can either be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on whether you know the tips and trick of effective search. I am simply amazed when I discover someone has been using Google for years, and they can’t find what they are looking for. Hopefully you will never experience that again, by reading Google’s own short tutorials below:

Basic Search: http://www.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=searchguides.html&ctx=basics

Advanced Search: http://www.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=searchguides.html&ctx=advanced

My favourite search tip, is easier than breathing and uses quotations in the Google search box for highly targeting my searches. For example, let’s say you are searching for information on William Smith, you are about to experience a very long evening of sifting through 16 Million pages, and probably still won’t find what you are looking for. However, if you just narrowed your search to “William Smith” in Plymouth, MN, you are served 6000 pages and will probably find whom or what you are looking for much, much quicker.

In conclusion, knowledge is alpha sales power regardless of gender, and I hope you found these sales applications of everyday Google Services useful and applicable to your sales efforts. If you have even more uses of these or other Google Applications please leave a comment, or drop me a line, as I would love to hear about and use them.

Cheers,

Lee

Is Viral Marketing Dead

This is basically a retort to what Lain Thomson subjectively reported on www.Vnunet.com. No beef with Lain, but HP is off their viral marketing rocker chair!

Is Viral Marketing Dead?

According to HP’s Social Computing Lab research into social actions of Internet users on such services like Facebook or YouTube, Viral Marketing may not be dead, but it barely has a pulse. They suspect that because users only interact with in two to three subgroups no matter how many friends they have, this may be the cause for many failed viral marketing campaigns.  

Could it be true? Is Viral marketing dead? 

There is some marketing executive crying, “It was really, really good, it was a mega wicked viral campaign that just didn’t spread!” Now HP has given every failed marketing campaign an excuse, as opposed to saying it was just a real bad viral marketing campaign, or it was snuffed out by something better.

Viral marketing is not dead, nor will it ever be.  

On YouTube or Facebook, you have milliseconds to grab a user’s attention, and sometimes marketing executives mess up and miss their mark…period. They only thing that I can see that HP got partially right was that momentum has to be gained in the first day, and that’s logical for a campaign  to have immediate and exponential growth.

Viral Marketing Lives On… and marketing executives everywhere will forever be in pursuit of those crazy ideas such as the One Red Paper Clip, the Milliondollar Homepage, Mentos & Diet Coke! Dan’s has a pretty good list of viral campaigns here to read upon: http://danzarrella.com/examples-of-viral-marketing-campaigns.html

Say It Don’t Spray It

Say It Don't Spray It

For some strange reason when I was reading Seth’s latest blog post entitled ‘Sing It’, I was reminded of a saying I haven’t heard in a while, “Say it…don’t spray it!” I’ll get to that in a second, but really think you should take the time to read Sing It Please first! Its a great reminder to not just show up! In today’s business world and life period, showing up isn’t half the battle anymore, it is how passionately and well you sing when you arrive. Here is Seth’s post: Sing It Please

Back to my point, “Say it…don’t spray it!” reminds me of the quasi-polar opposite of the point Seth was making in his post. There are people who try too hard, and although they may be passionate, this isn’t how they are perceived in business meetings, sales appointments, musical performances or other interactions. Now don’t get me wrong, I would rather have a passionate loud talking occasional saliva sprayer in front of me any day, as opposed to someone who just shows up, lacks passion and goes through the motions.

Sometimes people love and are passionate about things they just aren’t really good at…YET! That’s why its always a good idea to seek feedback about your performances in life whether your are in sales, a professional presenter, musician or even dare say a blogger! If you have true passion, you will engage people even if you aren’t seething with raw talent!

So in Seth’s case he saw a band perform, and the singer just didn’t seem to have passion or gusto, so he reminded all of us to put some effort into our performances and ‘SING IT PLEASE’. Good point Seth, but what if the singer didn’t  know he/she gave a less than stellar performance, because everyone was too busy clapping. Group think tends to take over and we tend to applaud a performer just for performing, and a speaker just for speaking, and so on. All it takes is one clap of the hands. As a performer, the best thing and worst thing is to hear is constructive criticism, but it sure does the trick.

I leave you with William Hung.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJRnPn41jqM&NR=1[/youtube]

Authority Black Book

I have  just read one of the best guides on social marketing ever. It’s called the Authority Black Book by Jack Humphrey.

Authority Black Book

Authority Black Book

Jack is the go to guy who consults gurus and experts the world over on link building and social marketing strategies.

I’ve watched my blog and other website traffic and rankings improve drastically by applying what Jack has in the Black Book.

What’s strange to me is that Jack is just giving it away. Its jam-packed with resources and tactics to immediately start driving more website traffic and I know he could charge for it and make a bundle.

But its really a no strings attached download you can grab right now and start benefiting from immediately.

Authority Black Book

These tactics yield immediate results after reading and applying the first few ideas!

It wasn’t rated the #1 ebook for bloggers by Mashable.com for nothing. People can be found praising the Black Book all over the web in Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

You should grab it tonight and eat it up.

Bread

Next best thing since  __________ ! 

If you came here looking for bread recipes, bread history or world famous bread then your in the wrong place. Try Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread  This is about marketing in today’s messed up world of information overload, where people are now immune to good advertising.  

Next best thing since SLICED BREAD.  

Seth Godin is one of the world’s most premier experts on permission based marketing, and in a speech he did about a year ago he drives home the reality for people and companies trying to market in today’s world of information overload.  People ignore advertising and marketing today, even if it’s darn good. Unless it’s truly remarkable…you will be largely be ignored by potential customers. 

Bread was once not sliced….quite shocking!

But one man in 1917, Otto Frederick Rohwedder had an idea and a vision that the world would eat sliced bread. Due to a fire he lost his first prototype, and didn`t’ have a working slicing machine until the 1920’s. By the late 1920`s he again had a working model, and several bread companies started using it.

Wonder Bread

The world disagreed and didn`t jump all over the `Best Thing Since Sliced Bread` for  several years, until the 1930’s,  when a company called Wonder Bread came along, launched a massive marketing campaign and made sliced bread remarkable. What Otto and the initial bread companies that adopted the technology couldn’t do to spread the word, took Wonder bread only a very short time. Wonder Bread, at the time, was remarkable. People took the time to ‘remark’ to friends, family and co-workers the Wonders of Wonder Bread, pun intended.  

Here is the video of Seth Godin’s Bread speech, and it is well worth the 18 minutes of your time. Whether you are a consumer interested in how businesses are vying for your dollars, or in sales and marketing and need inspiration for your own marketing… this is a must see and covers a lot more than just bread!

  [youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=xBIVlM435Zg[/youtube]

National Do Not Call List – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Bell Do Not Call

If you are looking to register your phone number for the Canadian National Do Not Call List please click here: https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/insnum-regnum-eng

Bell Canada was awarded the 5 year contract from the CRTC in December 2007. It is official; The National Do Not Call list will be in effect in Canada by September 2008 at the latest.

I have been involved in sales in one fashion or another for almost two decades in Canada, and I have mixed feelings (Good, Bad & Ugly) about the CRTC’s National Do Not Call List. On one hand the reduction of telemarketing calls for useless products and services that most people don’t want to hear about does sound appealing, if you choose to add yourself to the list. On the other hand, there are some bad effects and seriously ugly flaws with the program that people just don’t realize how draconian the CRTC has made the rules surrounding this list, and it will have a negative impact on some very important industries in Canada.

Let first quickly recap what the National Do Not Call list actually is and isn’t. The National Call list is a choice.  Consumers with a phone in Canada can choose for free to add their phone number to a list of people who do not want to be called by telemarketers trying to sell their products and services (anyone soliciting with a phone is defined as a telemarketer…period). Does it guarantee you won’t get calls? NO, but for the first time in Canada you will be able to complain to BELL and actually have recourse in the event someone calls you when they shouldn’t. The company or person who breaks the rules can face heavy fines, to the tune of $15,000 per offence. In theory, the fear of punishment should make the National Do Not Call List work like a charm.

There are certain organizations that are exempt. Even if you are on the list the continuous calls from charities and surveys will not cease. So the do not call list isn’t a magical black box service that will stop your phone ringing. Also, any company that has an existing business relationship with you is permitted to continue to call you regarding the products and services of that company, this has primarily exempted your bank or insurance company from the list, but also will keep you on the list of many companies with whom you do business.

THE GOOD – it will reduce unwanted calls.

THE BAD – if you’re in sales life just changed.

THE UGLY – word of mouth referral based businesses are being forced to adapt and pay money to Bell to comply, regardless of whether your business is a one person shop or hundreds of people.

The term referral in Canada may no longer be safe for many businesses. Let’s say I am talking with Mike my life insurance agent, and I think it would be a good idea for him to give my friend Sam a call as they just had a baby, and I know he doesn’t have an agent. According to the CRTC, if Mike calls Sam, and Sam is on the Do Not Call List, he is in contradiction of the rules and his company could be fined up to $15,000. Now, Sam may not complain and it may go unnoticed even if Mike did call, but that’s not the point. Mike is taking a risk, and is at the mercy for paying for cross referencing Bell’s No Not Call List, adding an extra layer of administration and cost to his business. Not to mention who knows what Bell will be charging for these lists?

There are many industries in Canada that have been built on word of mouth, and the CRTC has now made it even harder for one person to recommend a service to another. When the Do Not Call list officially launches later this year, many businesses are going to have to rethink their telemarketing strategy.

The one immediate and safe solution is for businesses and direct sales forces to focus on introductions, instead of referrals. Asking for an introduction lunch or coffee with a ‘referral’ can be very effective. Of course, referrals are still the life blood of many businesses, and that’s why it will become very important to become familiar with the rules and ensure you or your company follows them.

Looking for more detailed information you can get it from the horse’s mouth here: Bell.ca/DoNotCall

Want to read the 500+ page CRTC Ruling: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Decisions/2007/dt2007-48.htm