January, 2011 Archive

How to Sell Like a Car Dealer

January 25th, 2011 by Ric in Financial Freedom, Lifestyle

Most sales are emotional decisions, but car purchases are probably more emotional than most. Yes, numbers for horsepower, torque, top speed, and acceleration are always thrown around, and other things such as safety ratings, insurance premiums, and warranties are usually in the discussion. In the end, however, it’s still an emotional decision. Practically any car can get you from point A to B, but the one that feels right, feels safe, looks good, and of course, fits in your budget – that’s the car that ends up in your garage.

Selling yourself (or anything you have to offer) is not that different from selling a car. You can paint yourself as an expert and list your accomplishments, yet still not make any sales. Like the list of specs on a car brochure, your credentials don’t mean a whole lot to prospective buyers – at least not now. They care about how you make them feel. Trust comes a bit later.

So the question now is, how do you start? I’ve come up with a few tips that might help:

1. Choose your target

In her article How to Get Prospects to Value Your Expertise up on Healthy Wealth n Wise , Allison Babb explains that you want to “discover what type of person or business would be an ideal match for what you offer.”

If, for example, you were selling a 2-seater sports car, you probably shouldn’t pitch it to a couple with 2 young children looking for a daily driver. If they were looking for a second car, then maybe, but a single executive would probably be a better match.

Allison gives an example of a social media marketing expert. “If she’s talking to a person who has zero interest in understanding Facebook or Twitter, it’s unlikely that person would value her expertise.” Somebody who already shows interest in social media would be a much better prospect.

2. Get them emotionally involved

“First, you need to gain attention by using a provocative title.” This is one of the first ideas Cathleen Fillmore shares in her Internet Marketing TNT article entitled Gaining Trust with Your Prospects. You want to appeal to your prospect’s emotions first, whether by presenting them with something they desire, a problem that irks them, or a story that simply grabs them. With cars, this is how the car looks and feels. A car with a shiny paint job and a plush interior invites you to get inside and drive. One that looks dirty – not so much.

“Your promo material is a kind of invitation that needs to have great copy and great graphics and a very compelling promise,” Cathleen explains. By appealing to your prospect’s emotions, you make them receptive to you and what you have to offer. When you do this, then you start answering the question, “why should I pick you?”

3. Blow your own horn (but not too much)

This is when you start talking about yourself and what you have to offer. This is when you discuss your credentials, describe your offer, present testimonials, and basically prove that your prospects can trust you.

This is much like showing off what’s under the hood of your car and going for a test drive. This is when you gain your prospect’s trust. By giving proof that what you have to offer is good, are more likely to make a sale.

I’m sure there are dozens of other lessons we can pick up from car dealers, but I’ve decided to highlight only three of my favorites here. What other tips can you suggest?

Ric


Image by: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Watch Your Mouth

January 18th, 2011 by Ric in Lifestyle

Communicating with others is a very important skill, not just in business, in our day to day lives too. We communicate in different ways: through writing, our body language, facial expressions, and of course, talking and conversing with others. This last topic, conversation, is what we’ll be tackling today.

Peter Murphy has a post called 5 Conversation Tips for Dealing with Awkward People up on Healthy Wealthy n Wise, and he raises a few bad conversational that habits many of us develop. We all do these things from time to time, and we also encounter people with these habits often – that’s why it’s good to know how to deal with them

1. Talking on and on

“Also known as a blabbermouth,” according to Peter, “these people tend to monopolize the conversation.” They won’t stop talking, and in some cases, may not even realize that nobody is listening.

Peter explains that some people tend to talk non-stop when they get nervous. He suggests trying to “make them feel at ease by showing interest in them and asking questions.” Maybe when they calm down a bit, they can stop talking and let others participate in the conversation.

2. All about me

“The goal for them,” Peter explains, “is to get the attention on them and allow them to speak.” They try to do this by injecting a personal opinion in the conversation, or empathizing with the person speaking. This is fine in small doses, but some take it too far, really trying to make the whole conversation all about them.

The key here is to play the role of a moderator in the discussion by paying them attention and allowing to “feel like they are a valued member of the conversation.” You may only need to do this once or twice, but if “they try to turn the conversation about them,” you may have to play it a bit tougher to keep the conversation on topic, or allow others to speak too.

3. Lectures

Peter describes this person better than I can: “This person always has an answer for any situation. They are most often known as a know it all. They seem to know everything on every topic. They also have a way of making their way the only way to do anything.”

The problem, as Peter says, is that the lecturer usually means well. This makes it more difficult to deal with them than with the other awkward conversationalists.

His advice: “listen and thank them for their advice, then change the subject.” If they persist, draw a line, telling them you want to do things your way, and that you’ve already heard their piece.

4. Not contributing

They stand there beside you, listening in on the conversation and rarely saying anything. “They may interject occasionally,” Peter says, “but usually with just a brief sentence or one word answer.” I personally don’t feel awkward around them, but some people do.

The silent types are usually shy, and need to be actively drawn into the conversation. Ask them questions, and ask them to expound on their answers. Just be careful though – sometimes, the silent type is just a blabbermouth waiting to happen.

5. Gossip

Peter makes it clear: “everyone has told a juicy piece of gossip at one point or another.” The problem is that gossip rarely amounts to any good, and is often full of lies, or at least errors.

Low self-esteem and a desire to “fit in” are common motivations for gossip. Gossips usually see their own lives as boring, and as such would rather talk about others. The trick is to ask them questions about their life. Find about their interests, or introduce other topics you can talk about.

Like I said at the beginning, we all do these things from time to time. Personally, I’m probably a bit of a wallflower myself, but anybody who knows me already knows that. I keep working on that though, and that’s one of the keys to becoming a better communicator, or better anything for that matter – work on your weaknesses.

What habits do you find yourself caught in often, and what do you do to try and improve that? Tell is in the comments.

Until our next conversation,

Ric


Image by: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Crowdfund Your Next Project

January 11th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success

I spoke with my good friend Tellman Knudson a while back about a great way to get funding for your projects: Crowdfunding found in Internet Marketing TNT July Issue and in the  April Issue of Healthy Wealthy n Wise entitled Run Tellman Run As the name suggests, crowdfunding involves getting a crowd to fund your projects – that’s pretty self-explanatory, right? It’s a very simple, but very effective concept. The key, however, is actually convincing the crowd to do the funding.

Before we go into that, I think we should go over how crowdfunding works. It’s involves four steps:

  1. You share your idea on Kickstarter.com or other crowdfunding sites. You also specify how much money you want to raise, and your time frame.
  2. You drive as much traffic as you can to that page.
  3. If people like your idea, they can pledge a certain amount to your project. The key here is that they only have to follow through on that pledge if you reach your specified goal.
  4. If you reach your goal, you now have funding for your project.

It’s pretty simple, right? Tellman highlights one of the best things about crowdfunding, and that is that it minimizes risk for all parties involved. For the people making pledges, the key is that “they’re not going to give the money to an initiative that’s only going to raise half the funds and not ever happen.” Since they won’t be charged unless a project is fully-funded, they know that whatever projects they actually put money into are backed by a whole community of people who believe in that project.

For the people behind the projects, there are several benefits. I’ll share just two of the benefits that Tellman shares:

  1. “It’s a great marketing test.” As Tellman explains, “it’s a way for nonprofits to gauge what type of good work they should do in their community: Put out a bunch of ideas and see what other people think.” In the end, your best ideas are the ones that get funded.
  2. Related to this, crowdfunding means never failing again – or at least drastically improving your success rate. When a project gets funding, you know that people not only like your project, but are actually willing to put money into it. Taking that even further, crowdfunding allows you to only work on “projects or products that people have already paid for in advance.”

There’s a whole lot more that Tellman and I discussed in the call, including ways to increase the chances of your project of getting funding and finding better ideas for projects. There’s so much we cover that I suggest you follow the link above and get the whole interview. You can try and figure everything out yourself, but you can also save yourself a whole lot of trouble by learning from Tellman himself.

No, you don’t need Tellman’s help to get started. “The reality,” as he says, “is that you could have projects up and have people pledging to them tonight, even without buying the course.” Tellman just wants to “show you how to do it without knocking your head up against a wall.”

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d like to keep my brains from getting pounded into mush.

Until the next post,

Ric


Image by: Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Do You Want What You Have?

January 4th, 2011 by Ric in Lifestyle

“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

This quote has been repeated many times by many people, and it still rings true whoever says it. Happiness comes, not from something outside of us, but from within. Happiness isn’t the result of success. In fact, it’s the other way around – happiness leads to success.

So many people have written about happiness that I would be hard-pressed to come up with  original ideas about being happy. Whatever I say, somebody else most likely has already said before. The quote above, for example, has been attributed to H. Jackson Brown, Dale Carnegie, and Ingrid Bergman, among others. I really don’t know who said it first, and it really doesn’t matter – it still rings true regardless of who said it.

I won’t be sharing anything truly unique and original, but I can, however, share some of my favorite ideas on happiness as shared by some contributors to Healthy Wealthy n Wise.

Just Be Happy

“True happiness is not derived from favorable circumstances only,” shares Sanjay Joshi in his article Discover True Happiness Within You.  “It is all about maintaining the same degree of joy even in the face of most adverse conditions.”

Continuing this line of thought, Melody Larson’s 1st stone in her article 7 Stepping Stones to a Life of Joy is this: “Be happy for no reason. There’s nothing you need to become, nothing that needs to happen, in order for you to be happy.”

Both Sanjay and Melody highlight the fact that happiness is a choice you make. You don’t need a reason to be happy. Instead, you choose to be happy, whether or not things are going your way.

Stop Judging

“When we judge ourselves, our circumstances, or other people,” explains Lenora Boyle, “it leaves no opening to settle into and accept ‘what is’.” Sometimes, what may initially seem like the worst thing in the world could turn into the biggest blessing. Your failure could be the springboard to future success – but only if you let it.

When things don’t go your way, you still gain from the experience. Bobbi DePorter explains it well in her article 8 KEY CATALYSTS – Failure Leads to Success: “Whenever you fail or succeed, the universe has just handed you a piece of wisdom. Don’t let it go to waste. Mine it for all it’s worth.”

Keith Varnum explains further by saying “Be Specific, but Not Limiting” in his article Prosperity Can Be Easy and Fun! “Focus on the essence, the spirit, of what you want – not on the exact outer appearance you think it has to take. Center on the specific experience and qualities you want to create – not the form or box it has to be delivered in.” Accept that life doesn’t always give you exactly what you want, yet still gives you everything.

Be selfish

Melody Larson put it best: “You have to put your own needs and desires above everyone and everything precisely in order to serve everyone and everything.” In her 4th stone: Relish being selfish, she explains that “Selfishness in the highest sense of the word is about being yourself so fully that you can share yourself fully with others.”

Our blog title also highlights this, though maybe a bit more subtly. We want to give more to others, but in order to do that, two other things must come first. We have to make more and live more. If we don’t do that, we won’t have much to give to others.

Don’t hold back

Yes, being happy is a choice. This doesn’t mean that you choose to be happy and not feel anything else though – that’s a sure-fire way to drive yourself insane. Instead, Keith Varnum suggests that you “feel the pain as well as the joy. Shake with fear. Let the anger rise up and roar!”

“Feel Extravagantly” is how he puts it. “Feel. Feel the agony – and the ecstasy. Until you feel you’ll surely explode!” Many people go about their daily lives insulating themselves from negative emotions and thinking that this allows them to be happy. What happens to them instead is that they end up not feeling anything.

What ideas can you share to help others live happy and fulfilling lives? I’m sure there are a million other tips out there that I’ve missed out on, and I’ve probably skipped at least a couple of your favorites. What are they? Share with us in the comments.

Stay happy,

Ric


Image by: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net