InfusionSoft – Think twice before sinking your money in this CRM tool

Champion Assistants Technology TeamI’ve seen a number of clients invest in CRM tools that are far more powerful than their businesses require – and more expensive than they can currently afford – because their business advisers have told them that they should invest in technologies now that will support their future business plans.  These business advisers instill the fear  in their clients that their company won’t be prepared in the future when their prospects and clients outweigh the capability for the company to manage them.  I have never witnessed a case where this was the reality.  In reality, the sudden onslaught of clients never comes, and even if it were to, most CRM systems are built so that all current data can be easily migrated with a learning curve for using the technology.

The biggest example I have seen in unfortunate CRM purchases is InfusionSoft.  I have seen InfusionSoft touted by so-called industry experts and gurus (think Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, Ali Brown) who advise info-marketers to invest in this CRM solution now in preparation for future business.  InfusionSoft has a number of drawbacks like not being able to paste text in various modules and difficulties pasting links to name a couple quick irritants.  The biggest thing about InfusionSoft is that it is NOT for info-marketers.  InfusionSoft is for businesses with actual sales teams.  To use InfusionSoft effectively the business needs to be sales-oriented, equipped with a multi-person sales force, have a database with hundreds of thousands of contacts AND have the budget to effectively implement this technology.  The time to migrate data, implement the tool and train a salesforce how to use it – and continue to update it – is extremely time intensive.  This is not the responsibility of a business owner either.  This is the responsiblity of an IT Leader.  While Champion Assistants provides the service of IT Team Lead, we are very careful to only work with clients who have a business that is both financially and mentally prepared for a company-wide CRM rollout.

Sadly, I have seen a number of solo-preneurs buy InfusionSoft on the recommendation of their marketing or sales advisor and start implementing the software only to find that it’s extremely cumbersome to use and their business only requires a fraction of the power of the tool.  InfusionSoft is not for contact management.  It is in fact a full-scale CRM tool.  Also, I have seen that the people referring this software get a handsome referral bonus, and I know there are ulterior motives at play as well.  For instance the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer Inner Circle has made huge amounts of money through their referrals to InfusionSoft.  They make so much money they actually hold presentations on buying InfusionSoft at their SuperConference and InfoSummit conferences!  It’s great business for them, but not necessarily the right decision for all of those people trying to follow the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer methods.

I advise against purchasing any technologies that require your business to grow into.  It’s difficult to predict if the tool will be outdated by the time you need it or if there would have been a better solution based on what your business actually needs at the time. Save yourself time and aggravation and focus on strategic growth instead.

Best,

Heather

Advertisements

Improving Sales Through Social Interaction

Sales isn’t just about making money, it’s about building relationships. Business slows when companies forget the human factor. Businesses that maintain a connection with their customers thrive. Why is this? One of the basic fundamentals of human nature is a need for connections. When a connection is broken we feel it both physically and mentally.

The number one thing professionals forget is the importance of the human connection. Some of the best ways to maintain this connects are with: newsletters, promotions, and thank you notes. These things may seem simple, but they have a large impact on the way your customers perceive you.

Thank you notes are a simple way to make a customer feel special and know you appreciate their business. When someone feels special and appreciated, they tell others. A Thank you can be as simple as an email or a hand written thank you card. However you choose to do this, keep the customer in mind.

Promotions are a great way to drum up business. By sending an exclusive promotion to past customer you again make them feel special. Remember to always have a reason behind the promotion. The reason could be as simple as “we’ve run out of room” or more personal such as ‘My wife’s tired of my piles, please help clear out my closets’.  Putting a reason behind a sale or promotion can drive up business as much as 20%.

Newsletters are a good way to keep your clients interacting and up to date with your business. Giving out information on new products is only a small piece of this puzzle. The main draw and what will keep your customers reading your newsletter over time is to have articles that interest your customers. This can be a time consuming process because you have to stay current on market trends, new and existing ideas and anything and everything else relating to your market and products. Your readers are going to be relying on you to keep them informed, so in turn keep yourself informed.

There are many other ways to maintain a connection with your clients. Do what feels right to you and your business. Never forget that your customers are working for you only when they feel a connection. If you want the word of mouth advantage, work for it.

What are the results you’ve had with these methods?  What other methods have you tried that are effective?  We can all benefit from each other’s suggestions!

Best,

Kristi

Sales Strategies That Really Do Work!

Selling is not rocket science. In fact, if you know the basic principles behind why we buy, sales can be the simplest part of doing business. I know, you are staring at this article going, yeah right! But it’s true. No matter what culture we come from, what country we live in, or how old we are at some point in almost every day we will buy something. If you understand the reasons behind each sale, than increasing those sales becomes child’s play.

One of the basic fundamentals to remember, when thinking of human nature in relation to sales, is that everyone loves a deal. The reason we like deals varies from person to person. So what can you do to make people feel they are getting a deal? There are several paths you can take to reach this goal.

Short Term Availability – When something is only available for a short period of time there is usually a reason. If you let your customers know the reason they are more inclined to buy during that short window of availability rather than miss out on the product or the special price.

Have A Sale – Again, the time thing works in, but here they also feel like they are getting a deal. A bargain if you will. Would you rather pay full price for a book or get it at half off? Here again, describing the sale is a sure way to entice buyers. If something, especially something online, is marked down but doesn’t give a reason our first thought is that the product has a fault.

Quantity Customer Discounts/Rewards – Making someone feel special is a good way to make them return and when they do let them know you appreciate it by giving them a deal. A customer who returns and gets the same or better treatment is more likely to tell their friends, colleagues, or peers about it, which will in turn bring more potential sales your way!

Free Samples – The idea of giving something away for free is hard to swallow for some people, but it is a good way to draw in those unsure customers. When you give something for nothing it should represent your company and your products. This item will give potential customers a chance to try out your company and see if they truly want to do business with you or not. If they like what they get, they come back for the rest. But don’t go overboard with this item. Whether it’s a gift bag or an article on sales tactics, freebies are meant to give a glimpse of the possibilities your products hold.

Up Sell – When it comes time to checkout make sure to mention products that your customer may have missed that complement what they have in their cart. If they are buying shampoo, suggest a conditioner along the same lines. Whatever your products are, there are bound to be complementary products in your stock room.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to sales tactics, but the number one thing to keep in mind is that your customers are human. They are not numbers to be added or subtracted. Treating everyone with a personal touch will make them feel special and they will have the desire to come back and bring others.

Best,

Kristi

Get Your Book Ready to Sell

Most authors think that once the book is written all they need to do next is sell it. Actually, there are requirements that need to be met in order to get your book sold. Depending on your book you may need to consider applying for a copyright, especially if you wish to sell your book in stores. You’ll also need an ISBN, LCCN, and a specialized Barcode. Depending on the venue you wish to sell your book in you may also need a UPC, CIP, EAN or more.

If you go with a publishing house they will likely assist you in getting some or all of these numbers. If you decide to self-publish, you and you alone get the joy of filing in all the forms, submitting your work, and paying the piper. The process is time consuming and best done while the book is in its final stages. You can request ISBN numbers at any time and don’t worry that they come in blocks of 10. Every book you write will need a different ISBN number. Likewise, different formats of a single book need different numbers. Your e-book would have a different ISBN than the print book for instance.

Champion Assistants is ready to help you with your Book Publishing project. Please contact us today to find out what we can do for you. Call   425-821-2936   or e-mail info@championassistants.com.

Marketing Your Book to the Masses!

You took the time to sit down and write a book. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part – Marketing! If you published your book through a traditional publisher you are already one step ahead of the game, but don’t think you can leave the marketing to your publisher or even an agent. Readers today want a personal touch from writers, they want that connection. So as a writer, how do you make that connection with as many potential readers as possible?

If you want to find your readers, remember who your target audience is and find them. Blog with them, talk with them, connect with them, and advertise with them. Yes, this can take time. The benefits of doing this and truly connecting with your audience are astronomical. For every one person you connect with, they connect with 7 and so on down the line until your book becomes a best seller. (Of course if you’re a self published author this would be a good time to look for a publishing house to help with your newest fulfillment dilemma.)

So how do you reach your target audience? You ask. That is the hard part and most likely the best place for your assistant to take over. You’ll need to do the obvious, write about your book and its contents on your blog, email your current contacts, talk with your friends, colleagues, etc. After that you will actually have to search for your targets. Find writers associations that match your interests and your writings, find blogs that target your target audience, advertise where your market looks, get the word out and keep at it. Your momentum will drive sales, just as your ideas became the book.

If you think of the old adage “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” you will see the truth of it. Talking with other authors, even those who have books similar to your own, will give you a glimpse of where they are marketing and how. So they won’t come right out and say xyz blog gives me the highest sales. Neither would you. They will let on about whom their target market is, how they found them, how the stay connected with them.

Another group not to be missed is book clubs. These groups are full of people who read and moreover they love to read. Book clubs are always hungry for new books and the best part…they talk about those books. They talk with each other, they talk with their family, they talk to colleagues and friends, and well everyone they can find.

You can find out more tips on book marketing as well as defined marketing strategies in the 2008 SuperConference Notes. They are an invaluable resource!

Contact Champion Assistants when you decide it’s time to get help building your list and gaining more exposure for your business. Call (425)821-2936 or email info@championassistants.com.

What RSS Can Do For You!

RSS jumped into the market a few years ago, but didn’t really take off until just recently with the release of RSS 2.0 and more recently RSS 2.01. To give you the basics, RSS is a script that is added to many websites, ezines, and other online materials that gives specific information about that material to RSS Readers around the world.

RSS Readers are like newspapers in a sense, as they pool articles and interesting tidbits on many different topics into one location. Basically, an RSS reader will broadcast the information given in the RSS script on any website, article, etc that ranks high on search engine keyword lists. The benefit of using RSS script is that when something of yours does come across a reader, the world sees it.

RSS readers work like free PR in a sense as it doesn’t cost anything to add the RSS script to your online materials. Techie novices beware, RSS script is complex and will likely require a website specialist to add it to your online materials.

Champion Assistants is ready to help you with your RSS project. Please contact us today to find out what we can do for you. Call 425-821-2936 or e-mail info@championassistants.com.

What Do You Charge?

Deciding what to charge clients is a complex process based on factors including cost of goods or services, overhead and business expenses. Lately there is a lot of talk about charging a client what you think you’re worth, which seems vague and possibly self-defeating. What you charge should probably take into account your value to them!

In addition to the above factors, the price you charge depends on the following:

  • Who you attract. Price according to your target clients. If you market to upscale clientele your prices should reflect that.
  • Effective sales process. Define the sales process and make sure it works smoothly every time. Many of us have left a business frustrated by not being able to make a purchase simply because of the inability of the salesperson to take an order, ring it up and deliver. It may seem simple, but make sure your sales process is clear and functional.
  • Persuasive sales language. Using persuasive sales language creates images in prospects’ minds of what they can have by choosing you. A positive image will result in them choosing you and willingness to pay more for what they expect.
  • Congruency of the movie in their mind. Some prospects have a mental image of what their experience with you will be like before they even meet you. Living up to this expectation underscores your value.
  • Be honest about what you can or can’t do. People will pay more for honesty and accurate results.

I would welcome your thoughts and insights on this topic! What factors influence your pricing strategy?

Kind regards,

Heather