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The Essential Ingredients of an Effective Phone Sales Scripts

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From time immemorial, cold calling has been an effective way to get clients for products and services. Existing in various forms, its effect is known to increase sales exponentially. The role a great cold call sales script plays in the cycle is exceptionally crucial. Although coming up with out-of-the-box sale scripts takes time, it’s worth every bit of it.

Similarly, the amount of time put into rehearsing and filming a 3-minute advertisement that converts viewers to customers is the same for a phone sales script. Irrespective of the time spent in perfecting your cold calling sales script, the result will always outweigh the effort, which is why you should design your sales script meticulously, paying attention to every detail; most importantly, the unique selling proposition of what you are offering and the needs it fulfills. A successful sales script connects potential clients to the company and turns them into loyal clients.

What’s more, though a sale script is advised for cold calling, it should not be followed verbatim i.e word for word.

Every salesperson should be versatile and be able to answer any question concerning the products and services offered. You should ensure that you have all the benefits of what you are selling at your fingertips, even if it’s not in the sales script you follow. In essence, you should be able to improvise.

sales script
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Essential Ingredients of an Effective Sales Script

Some essential ingredients are necessary for a near-perfect sales script, and they are:

Opening Sales Script

A cold call script should start with an interesting open-ended question that lures the prospect to be more interested in what you have to say. Try using an ice breaker or a basic greeting. Once you get your response, move straight to your pitch.

Your pitch

Certainly, there will be no call if there was no pitch to be made, so you’d want to do your best to impress the person on the other end of the line. This is how it goes – You should start with a brief introduction of the company or organization you represent and explain why you are calling, all in the same breath.

Refrain from going round in circles, you don’t want the person to get bored, but give them enough information to help them paint a clear picture of why you’re calling and where you’re calling from.

Stephan Schiffman opines that a cold call’s introductory statement should be a straight sentence. That is, it should be summarized into a statement or two, let your focal point be on how to make the prospect understand why you should be offered an appointment. After your pitch, you must find a professional way to work on the psychology of the prospect you are speaking to by shaping the response you intend to receive.

 Shape the response

Allow the prospect to desire an appointment with you by shaping the response you receive. But how do you achieve this? It’s simple, by reiterating affirmative statements such as “I am convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that you will be interested in this product (or service) just as my other clients such as James Ruthler of Apple and Sharon Smith of Samsung.”

In a nutshell, you just need to give few recognizable names, but if you don’t have one, you can simply stop at “my other clients”. Try not to ask if your prospect is interested in your product or service because most times the answer will be ‘No’. So, pre-empt their response by shoving the popularity and benefit of your product or service in the prospect’s face, without apologies. The worst reply is a ‘No’ but most assuredly, there will be more positive responses than negative ones says, Schiffman.

Finalise your call

After you have successfully done all that’s to be done, the last step is to make your prospect agree to what you are offering. In this part, you want to ask a direct question and most likely if the prospect has not cut the call by now, you are in. Peradventure the result is negative; keep the door open by asking for the email address so that you can follow up. You can also offer to send a newsletter or brochure and you are home and dry!

Tom Abbot’s recommended elements for an effective phone sales script are worth taking into context, and these are:

  1. The Introduction
  2. Building Rapport
  3. Establishing credibility
  4. Provide the reason why you are calling
  5. Gain Commitment
  6. Conclude

Take a look at this example which follows the points above:

Good Morning I am Jason Anders from My ex and I Ltd. I work with My Ex and I as the production manager. We met at the Mall when you were picking out a dress for your god-daughter sometime last week. I told you about our services and you asked that I give you a call. 

What we do is assist companies with logistics and supply chain management and in turn, help them reduce the overhead cost of carrying out this service on their own. This is our 15th year specialising in this and just like Carson’s and Sons took up our services, we are sure that you will be interested in what we have to offer. Do you mind if I come for a presentation at a convenient time next week? 

Summary

In a sales call script, avoid the temptation to recite what you may have memorised. Rather, flow with the direction of the call. This is because, no matter how much you cram, you may fail to get the key points of your pitch to the prospect.

Don’t forget that every prospect is different and will in most cases have different questions so you cannot be like an answering machine but a natural salesman or woman who is well armed with the knowledge of the products and services being offered. The most important thing is that you pass the message across as clear, concise and juicy as possible.

Read 4 Great Sales Scripts for Contacting New Prospects on the Phone

6 Most Important Customer Service Skills

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sales script
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For any business, great customer service skills are not easy to gain, although not impossible. Every employee in a company should have some level of customer service skill as each is an ambassador whether employed as a customer service agent or not.

The customer service received by customers in a company is one of the reasons why many remain loyal. Everyone wants to be treated specially and with love, some look forward to being treated right in a company due to several reasons, and getting it right may mean you just made that person’s day. And without great customer service skills, that can’t be done.

Recently, there’s been a great deal of research around customer service skills and on how to understand if customers are truly being satisfied by the quality of service received from different companies.

Hence, most organisations urge their customer service representatives to improve their customer service skills. Without further ado, here are some of the most important Customer Service skills worth emulating.

Customer Service Skills to Keep Handy

 1. Heightened Speaking Skills

 A customer service personnel must be a persuasive speaker to the highest level. This customer service skill is very valuable to the production of great customer service.

Think about how a sales representative talks, how they get around turning absolute strangers into loyal clients, how they placate a customer to ensure he stays happy irrespective of whatever perception the prospect has about the company. A sales agent has to speak with every confidence and sobriety so that his communication is extremely effective.

Bottom-line is, as a representative, a customer service skill to be equipped with is how to speak with a polite tone yet firm and friendly.

2. Don’t sympathise but empathise

As a customer service representative, you should not sympathise but empathise with clients. When a customer is aggrieved, you should think as though you are the aggrieved one and how you would want to be addressed in such a situation should form your customer-centric approach.

According to psychology today, emotions are more important to customers than facts. The truth is that, many customers want to know you understand the issue at hand and that you will be patient enough to resolve it within a short period. With Customer Relationship Management software, you will be able to respond speedily, in any form the client prefers, be it through social media, emails or calls.

3. Have a positive attitude

Irrespective of a customer’s aggressive attitude, especially one laced with anger, irritation and frustration, a customer service personnel must be able to maintain a positive attitude at all times. When an aggrieved customer calls with every bad language that exists in the world, your thought should be that it is nothing personal towards you but a reaction due to what she is experiencing or has experienced. 

Read this blog post to learn how to deal with angry customers via email.

Ensure you replace the “cants” “may not” and “possibly not” with “we will do our best”, even in situations where the problem occurred due to an act of God (such as storm, rain, flood ) that you simply can’t control. Evade statements such as “we do not control the rain” or “we can’t do anything at this time”, and replace it with “we will do all we can”, although it may take a while”. Then thank them for their continued patronage and loyalty.

4. Excellent Communication Skills

 Not every customer service representative has the ability to communicate effectively. Customers will ask questions and want to know more about products and services. Whatever a customer desires, a customer service representative should be able to answer any and every question at the speed of light, without a second thought. He or she must be able to pay unwavering attention to each customer per time.

Customer service skills

If you worry about your communication skills then you may consider getting theoretical and practical training. You would do better if you go through a short training so you can provide longer customer service than keep the lack of skill hidden and deliver for only a short period, because, as articulacy is to a legal practitioner so is excellent communication skills to a customer service personnel. None is separable from the other.

 5. Patience and Self-control

 In a customer service position, you never know how your day will look like. You cannot determine the types of customers who will call and what their problems will be, so you must be well trained to exercise self-control when the need arises.

A customer service representative should be able to take in many negative behaviour and words at various times and be mentally prepared for the worst. That way, when you get the worst reaction you will respond with a smile and focus on rectifying the issue at hand rather than fume up and respond harshly.

Still need a reason? Words spoken cannot be taken back and these are consequences of an uncontrolled temper, actions, decisions and reactions based on anger are usually irreplaceable, so your best bet is to remain calm and positive at all times.

6. Time Management

 As a customer service representative, you must be able to work with the time you have for office hours. If you receive over a hundred emails in a day, you must be able to prioritise effectively and resolve issues one after the other, within a short time frame. You should also remember that rushing an email to be sent to customers is one of the worst mistakes that can be made because once the ‘send button’ is used, the message cannot be recalled and that will mean you cannot right your wrong.

For easier time management, invest in software to lessen your hard work or get the supervisor to escalate the matter to the management so that you are efficient while delivering flawless service. In a world where social media sites are the next best thing, where customers would rather communicate online than place a call or send an email, you must be able to manage various platforms effectively so that your output yields better results for the company.

If only we have the power to see the heart of others, then we will know who to pay attention to and who to ignore, but since we have no such power, we must try to respond to every message, call and comment as quickly as possible, proffering the right solution with the right tone; which usually takes a whole lot of time.

Summary

The most important customer service skills have been listed and explained but that’s not the end. Various other skills were not mentioned but are equally important. A customer service representative must be able to serve at all times and therefore take on the attitude of someone ready to serve all and sundry and not act as a leader giving instructions. With this list of great customer service skills, you will be able to carry out your functions effortlessly.

Do you have other important customer service skills not mentioned here? Feel free to spill it in the comment section below.

How to Pass Your Online Interview and get the Job

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Online Interview
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What is an Online Interview?

An online interview is an interview conducted through an online audio, video or chat platform, with both employer and candidate at different locations.

With the development of the internet and technology, it is becoming increasingly convenient and cost-effective for job interviews to be conducted online. Online interviews have reduced the cost of transportation and sped up interview processes.

The covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world years into the acceptance of more or entirely remote work. Tech giants like Amazon, Uber and Twitter have all allowed their employees to work remote indefinitely.

Virtual interviews and remote working in general, have allowed companies to embrace hiring talents irrespective of location.

If you’re actively searching for a job, you might be participating in an online interview sooner or later. In this post, we learn what an online interview is and how to excel at it.

Kinds of Online Interviews

Employers can conduct online interviews using different methods. Before your appointment, make sure to ask your interviewer what kind of interview to expect. This includes finding out if the call will include audio, video or both. Additionally, make sure you know where the interviewer will be calling from as time zones vary depending on location.

There are different methods employers can conduct online interviews. It could be audio, video, or both, this is usually specified in the email or message you receive from an interviewer before your interview.

1. Video Calls

Video calls are the most common types of online interview. When preparing for a video interview, some things are requirements that can’t be done without. Luckily, these are things found in most laptops; built-in cameras and mics.

The interviewer will have a preferred program for the online interview like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or Hangouts.

During an video interview, the interviewer would be able to converse with you like they would in an in-person interview.

The key to acing video interviews is preparing thoroughly beforehand.

2. Recorded Video Interview

The recorded video interview is a method for online interviews where you record a video yourself answering interview questions. For this kind of interview, the interviewer sends you some questions beforehand and a deadline for submission.

You will record a video of yourself answering these questions and after answering all the questions on the list, you send or upload the recorded video back to the interviewer.

This kind of interview allows you enough time to prepare before you give your answers, unlike real-time video interviews.

To ace this interview, the rules are the same as with video calls, you need to prepare adequately before.

How to Prepare for your Online Interview

The need to prepare for your online interview cannot be overstated. Some steps have been listed below to help you prepare effectively.

1. Test the program/software

If you’ve not used the program for the online interview before, you must familiarize yourself with it before the interview. To do this, you could watch a tutorial online or schedule a call with a neighbor or a friend to test run the software. Make sure you have a solid internet connection that supports high-quality live video. Do this test run at least once or twice to make sure everything runs without a hitch.

2. Practice your interview questions

The next step is to practice interviewing techniques. If you’re unsure of the right questions to ask yourself, we wrote an article on the best ways to answer common interview questions here

Practising your interview questions helps you prepare further for your online interview. Practice listening carefully and learn to speak clearly and slowly. The more you practice before the online interview, the more confident you’ll be during the interview.

3. Prepare your location

Before your scheduled time for the interview, be sure to have a location that’s right and fit for an interview. This location should be a very quiet room with little or no background noise and no distractions. Also, make sure it’s naturally lit and nothing is distracting behind you.

Make sure there’s no intrusion of any kind during the interview as it would look unprofessional if people kept coming into the room you were having the interview.

4. Keep your materials close

Keep a notebook and a pen within reach during your online interview. You may also want to consider keeping a copy of your resume close so it’s easy to consult during the interview.

It is also important to make a list of talking points or questions you would like to talk about during the interview.

While these materials are important, make sure they do not distract you during your interview.

5. Prepare your questions

While you’re preparing to answer questions during your online interview, it is also important that you have several questions of your own. Ask the interviewer about the benefits, the job requirements, the salary, what they think about the company, and the plans they have for it. You should ask the interviewer questions that would make them share additional information about the role you’re being interviewed for and the company at large.

Any information they share about what they expect from the right candidate will help you understand the role better and help you prepare more for the next stage of the interview.

Additional Tips for Acing Your Online Interview

When the time for your online interview comes, you’ll need to make a good first impression on your interviewer. Below are additional tips to help you prepare better for your online interview.

online interview
Source: Freepik

1. Dress Professionally

This is usually downplayed mainly because you’re not meeting your interviewer in person, but it is still important to dress professionally. Dress clean, business casual and conservative. You may also want to consider wearing a pair of nice pants and shoes, because for one reason or another, you make be required to walk away from your computer during your online interview.

Your mode of dressing says a lot about who you are and how serious you are about the role you’re applying for.

2. Body Language

It’s especially harder to read body language through video, so be careful of your body language, this includes nonverbal cues. Do not forget to smile and nod whenever your interviewer speaks. During an online interview, you obviously won’t be able to shake hands when the interview is over, this is why you need to show your good manners and professionalism in other ways.

3. Keep Eye Contact

Making eye contact during an interview can be a tricky situation. This is because to make eye contact, you’ll need to focus your gaze directly on the webcam and not your screen or the interviewer’s face. Maintaining eye contact during your online interview and nodding appropriately shows the interviewer that you’re listening attentively.

4. Take a Deep Breath

While it is physically impossible to have nerves of steel, you need to develop the second-best thing for an online interview. Your own nerves could be your worst enemy during an interview.

Take a deep breath before your interview and try to remain calm throughout the interview. You’re more likely to leave an impression on an interviewer if you’re able to keep calm and collected while you answer questions.

One of the best ways to deal with anxiety during an online interview is to have your questions prepared and practised beforehand.

5. Have a Second Option

As reliable as technology is, it is notorious for malfunctioning at the most inconvenient times. During or before your interview, contact your interviewer and agree upon a backup plan in case of any unforeseen circumstance or technical glitch during your online interview.

6. Follow up after Your Interview

You will need to send a thank-you note to your interviewer after your interview. This can be an email or a call, whichever means you have of contacting them.

If you don’t hear from your interviewer after the stipulated time they stated they’d get back to you, you should reach out to them to find out if the hiring is still going on and if they need more information. It is also important to always thank your interviewer for their time.

Conclusion

These tips are necessary to acing your job interview. While some may seem unnecesasry given the fact that it’s not an in-person interview, it’s still important to stick to them. It’s important to stick to these formalities as it puts you on the safe side and could be the difference between you getting the job or not.

Highest Paying Remote Jobs and How to Find Them

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remote jobs
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The world is becoming more connected via the internet, as such, companies are offering remote jobs and are relying more on remote workers to bring their skills and expertise to their companies. Employers from different fields are searching for more remote workers to either work entirely from home or carry out fieldwork from their respective locations.

There are lots of careers now available for people with varying levels of experience to work from wherever they want. In this article, you’ll learn the benefits of working remotely, which remote jobs have the best pays and what the job entails and how to find remote jobs.

Benefits of having a remote job?

A lot of people are gradually becoming more interested in remote work. Having a remote job can save you time and money especially from having to commute to and from an on-site place of work and from all the costs associated with working in a traditional workplace. There are two facets to remote jobs: Freelancing and working for an employer. The only difference between freelancers and employed remote workers is simply freelancers accept jobs from wherever and whoever they please. Employed remote workers receive a salary and benefits from an employer while still working remotely.

Best High-Paying Remote Jobs

1. Graphic designer

National average salary: $3,444 per month

The primary duty of a graphics designer is creating visual representations of ideas with computer applications. Graphic designers work remotely to create logos, fonts, advertisements, layouts and other design elements and also making adjustments based on client feedback.

Graphic designers are often people who enjoy being creative, who enjoy working in a variety of aesthetics and styles.

2. Freelance writer

National average salary: $22.05 per hour

The primary objective of a freelance remote writer is to create written contents based on their particular niches or the directive of the client. This could be technical writing or creative writing. People who enjoy interacting with others via various mediums are best suited to be writers.

3. Digital marketer

National average salary: $61,719 per year

A digital marketer’s primary duty is using work with social media, email, and web content to attract customers for their clients. A digital marketer’s remote job description also includes managing a client’s or their employer’s web presence, this includes their search engine rankings, blog, advertising strategy and website. A digital marketer can work on their remote job from anywhere in the world, as long as there’s internet access. Digital marketers constantly learn scalable skills that can both be applied to small businesses and large corporations. If you’re ambitious and have a passion for growth, you may want to consider a career in digital marketing.

4. Sales consultant

National average salary: $67,558 per year

Sales consultancy is another remote job where the consultant is required to examine a company’s sales technique and proffer solutions for the challenges or suggest improvement. A sales consultant in some cases is also required to create training programs for a company’s sales representatives to enable them optimize their sales processes and attract more customers.

A lot of companies offer a lot of remote job for sales consultants, most especially if the company is in a niched market that requires distinct expertise.

5. Software engineer

National average salary: $107,275 per year

The remote job of a software engineers is to build software. This could be anything from video games to network systems as per client needs. Software engineering is easily the most popular and highest paying remote job available. A software engineer’s capacity to solve problems using computer science gives them the added advantage which reflects in their salaries.

6. Project manager

National average salary: $83,454 per year

It doesn’t matter where the company is located or in which industry, every company needs a project manager.

Project management technologies have seen exponential growth and increase, this makes a project manager’s remote job easier than ever.

To be an effective project manager in your remote job, you need to know how to assign tasks, take charge of workflows, task management, etc. There are hundreds of project management software available to pick from to get the job done.

A project manager’s remote job is relatively easier if they’re working with a team of remote workers.

If you’re organized, good at managing and paying attention to details and exceptional at seeing a project from inception through to completion, then you may want to consider a remote job as a project manager.

7. Customer success engineer

Do you have experience being customer service representative? Or have a knack for handling people? If you do, then the remote job of a customer success engineer might be the right fit for you.

Everything you need to know as a customer success representative about a company can be learnt online. The company’s products, their FAQs, how to answer client enquiries, these can all be learnt online.

The remote job of a customer success representative can be done over the phone or on a computer. Nothing about a customer service representative requires you to be physically present to be able to handle a client’s needs.

If you enjoy helping people solve problems, the job of a customer success representative might be the right fit for you.
As an added perk, the job of a customer success representative is one of the highest paying remote jobs available.

The 8 Best Sites for Finding Great Remote Jobs

A lot of job-hunting websites don’t have proper “remote work” filter, due to the absence of this missing filter, users spend hours sifting through other gigs before occasionally stumbling upon one or two remote jobs.

All this has changed in the past years. The remote job websites here have done the sifting for you and feature remote jobs specifically.


1. FlexJobs

Flex job is a remote job website that offers part-time, full-time and special jobs that are perfect for testing your way into being a freelancer. Companies post remote jobs here for free, but applicants have to pay $14.99/ month for the service. Weighing $14.99 a month for access to unlimited job opportunities, it’s a relatively small price to pay.

Flexjobs offers a ton of free resources to remote job seekers outside the paid service. Flexjobs jobs from a wide variety of industries and the jobs are frequently updated.

2. JustRemote

JustRemote is a powerful remote job searching platform that posts over hundreds of remote jobs monthly. They have a variety of industries including- writing, customer service, design, editing, HR, marketing, project management, business, sales, social media, SEO and a lot more.

This platform posts jobs from all over the world across all industries, they don’t focus on a particular location or industry. They have a new paid job searching product called Power Search, that allows you to subscribe to their job listings and get update on the best remote jobs across the industry that don’t get advertised but are actively recruiting. The paid product costs $12 per month. If you’re a serious remote job seeker that’s interested in applying for jobs that a lot of people don’t know about, this is a small price to pay and is the best fit for you.

3. Remote.com

Remote.com gives access to a lot of remote jobs from start-ups and publicly traded companies. Applicants can apply for any job of their choice. Remote.com has a premium option that costs $19/ month. The premium plan gives you additional exposure to these listings.

Remote.com has a “Companies” page where applicants can see available positions from big companies. Remote.com shows the compensation for each job before you apply to them.

7. Remote.co

Remote.co is a subsidiary of Flexjobs, but with some additional job postings. This site has a lot useful resource. Remote.co posts great jobs daily. They also have a companies page that allows you learn about big companies that hire remote workers.

Remote.co has a great blog resources and an FAQ section that’s great for remote job searchers. While Remote.co offers great jobs, it’s also a great way to learn about remote working and remote culture.

8. WeWorkRemotely

While not entirely, Weworkremotely is a great site for software engineering/ design jobs. If you’re a software engineer or a designer, you may have a little more luck with Weworkremotely than others.

Conclusion

The world is gearing towards more remote work. If you’re trying to position your career for remote work, this article should serve as a guide to help you decide the best paying remote jobs and where to find them.

Email Automation 101: Everything you need to know

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Email automation

Continuous communication with your customers is extremely important as a business owner. You need to let your customers know about upcoming promotions, sales, update on their orders and even a personalized birthday message if you have the data.

Without email automation, composing and sending each of these emails would be a herculean time-consuming task, especially as your customer base continues to expand. This is why it’s never too early to begin your email automation journey.

What is Email Automation?

Email automation lets you send your subscribers and customers emails based on already established variables or actions they take when they visit your website.

These emails can range from welcome message, account setup, password change, order confirmation, order shipped or delivered, sales events, etc.

Benefits of Email Automation

Not only will email automation save you the time and hassle of having to compose and send emails individually, it’s also a great way to increase your subscribers while sending them personalised messages.

1. Manages Customer Relationships

Businesses often make the mistake of trying to acquire new customers instead of retaining the customers they already have, disregarding that the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times more than retaining an old one.

Automated emails will keep you in touch with your current customers by providing them with the information they want and request.

2. Email Automation Helps You Segment Your List

It’s been a long time since companies sent one email to literally everyone on their mailing list (they still do this, but seldom and for specific reasons like holidays, etc).

Now, sending emails has become more specified and tailored to suit different customers and campaigns. Now, email campaigns can be segmented based on the recipients buying patterns, location, demographic information, to any personalized variable that segment them. This isn’t specific for business-to-customer (B2C) marketing alone (online retail sales for example), but also for business-to-business (B2B) email marketing.

3. Helps You Track Performance Metrics

Marketing used to be more traditional, this means newspapers, billboards, etc. One of the biggest disadvantages of traditional marketing was how impossible it was to measure how effective they were. With email automation and online advertising in general, that’s no longer a cause for concern. Now, you can track metrics, know how many emails were opened, forwarded and how many links to your website or shop were clicked.

4. Email Automation Allows You to Personalize Emails for Specific Customers


Personalization of content is great for email automation because it lets you send specific content to a more tailored set of customers. With data gotten from your leads and subscribers, you are able to develop more tailored content that your users can actually enjoy and take action on.

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Source: Freepik

5 Steps on Setting Email Automation for Your Small Business

The most important part of email automation is planning. This includes selecting the best email marketing software, the kind of emails you intend on sending, how it resonates and impacts your business.

By applying thoughtfulness to your email automation campaign, you’ll produce quicker results and hit targets earlier. The earlier you set up your email automation, the more time you’ll have in the future to tweak and optimize it rather than setting it up afresh.

1. Select an Email Marketing Software

The first thing you’ll notice when selecting an email marketing software is how many there are, and each one claiming the title of “best email marketing service”. While they perform generally the same functions, there are some distinct differences.

To find out more,read Top Seven [7] Email Marketing Service Providers. 

NB: You don’t need a full suite email software to start with, as this could cost over hundreds of dollars. Better, choose a provider that has a free plan to start with and then upgrade as your business demands.

2. Create Your Email Strategy

When creating your email strategy, you should create a simple and easy strategy. This means you don’t need to have ten emails ready to be sent out from the beginning. It’s best to choose one or two emails for important and specific actions taken on your website. As you grow, you create more complex strategies for different actions.

NB: A standard message that should be sent out to all customers is the welcome email. Whenever a customer registers for your newsletter or sets up an account, a welcome email should be sent immediately. To spice this up, include a coupon, a gift card or a discount for a sale, or a free resource.

3. Draw out Your Workflow

Consistency and excellence are the two most important requirements to maintaining credibility when it comes to having a great email automation campaign. This spans everything you need to know from how to start an email, to its layout/design and careful writing and proofreading.

4. Create a Segmented list

Segmenting your email automation list is key to getting the best from your overall email list. However, segmenting your list will allow you to personalize your emails based on their preference, demographics, etc.

It is also advisable to segment your subscriber list. This ensures that your subscribers are getting emails tailored to them and this goes a long way to improve conversion rate.

NB: With a segmented list, research shows it’s more beneficial to focus more on clients that have made the most purchases. Research has shown that customers that have purchased from you before have a higher tendency to make another one in the future.

5. Understand the Metrics

Email automation allows you to collect a variety of data from your recipients regarding how they interact with your emails. Email automation metrics include bounce rates, open rates, clicks, etc.

NB: A/B testing is important because it allows you test different samples of the same email automation to see which works best. You could use two different email subject lines of the same content to determine which has the highest open rate. With this, you can model future subject lines after the subject line with the highest open rate.

To find out about best email automation tools to use, read this article.

Take the Stress out of Cold-Calls, Learn Simple Tricks

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cold Calling
source: freepik

Cold calling a stranger to pitch successfully is a challenging task. Only the bold and courageous pick the phone to make cold calls, as no one knows what is waiting on the other end of the line.

The thought alone in itself is stressful but actually calling is even more stressful. If you are new to cold calls or you have long years of experience in cold-calling, the unwavering point remains that, getting stressed does not bring about positive results in your cold-calling campaign. So, it’s better to learn tricks to alleviate stress as it would not make any difference but rather put you off your job role earlier than expected.

Having said that, the positive aspect of cold-calling is that no matter how bad it seems, you will make a sale at some point.

The driving point is to remain positive until you make your sale and disregard all other negatives that may arise in the course of your calls. By focusing on the positive, you will begin to believe more in the process and that is all you need.

Ever wondered why cold-calling hasn’t fizzled out of strategies used for making sales? It is because it works. Now, here are some simple tricks to get you going on your daily work routine and to keep you focused throughout the process.

7 Best Ways to Make Cold Calls

  1. Check your perspective

Do you fear rejection so much that it makes you pessimistic when trying to make a cold call? This is usually the normal reaction especially for a newbie. Regardless, you should try not to allow this thought- process to cloud your mind as it is the beginning of stress, and once you get stressed, the job is usually left undone; you get discouraged and give up on your goal.

So what should you do? Think the other way, this means imagining that you are trying to give out a benefit to the person you are cold calling and not that you are asking them for one.

  1. Get mentally prepared

cold call

No matter who picks up the phone, (because in cold calls, you do not know whose number you called) you shouldn’t get nervous or lose your breath, so, before you make the call, think, what’s the worst response I could get, a ‘No’, and that’s it. Then you can make that call with every ounce of confidence you got.

Imagine yourself sounding confident and being asked questions whilst providing every necessary answer. Envision giving out every necessary information as much as possible, and visualize making a sale.

  1. Prepare a Script and a non-Script

Aside from mental preparation, you should prepare possible answers to frequently asked questions, such as a cold call script, but also know the benefits of your products at your fingertips. Know what you are selling excellently well so that you can always answer any question posed.

Study your materials before attempting to make a call. If you must, go through the “frequently asked questions” page on your website to get familiar with possible questions and provide your version of answers to them.

The point here is, be so immersed with the knowledge of your product that no question catches you off guard. One of the things consistent rejection does to people is that they feel they are not up to the task or somewhat not as brilliant, intelligent or as talented, which is usually untrue.

To work against these feelings, you must be aware of the features and benefits of the products you sell.

  1. Practice makes perfect

Sure you’ve heard this long old saying, but it remains evergreen. The more you practice a skill, an act, a phrase, a language, a thought-process or state of mind, to get better at it, you do not give up or give in to fear but only keep crossing the Ts and dotting the Is until you get the result you need.

You can act out a script so well that it starts to feel natural. If you get a tongue-twist halfway through your practice, don’t be discouraged to start from where you stopped before you start all over. If you feel overwhelmed, you can take breaks and forget that the script exists, occupy your mind with other important things on purpose and get back to it when you are well relaxed.

To keep you going, think about the enormous positive results you are likely to get from speaking confidently and answering every type of question thrown at you.

  1. How is your body language?

What does body language have to do with calls? When placing a cold call and you feel stressed, it can be sensed by the person at the other end of the line.

A positive body language gets you in charge psychologically and gives the recipient a positive perception of you. So why not, if not.

  1. Rejection is definite

The harsh truth about cold calls is that there is a higher rate of rejection than success. But as soon as you can adjust to this reality, stress is out the window. Yes, it may take some practice here and there but always remember that rejecting your offer isn’t about you, your company or the product, but more about them.

People have several reasons why they do not buy products or services at a particular time and that is perfectly fine. Moreover, a rejection now doesn’t mean a rejection forever, sometimes, with your call, you would have sown a seed that may be ripe for harvest later on. Some rejections do yield future sale, after all, so you can be hopeful that you will get a call rather than you calling them.

  1. Take a break

Cold calling has its ups and downs, many of which have been discussed in this post. To balance the feeling of rejection (which is usually the greatest fear) and making a sale, you will need to take deliberate long and short breaks. You can take regular 5 minutes break or once in a while 15 minutes break after several calls. Do things that make you happy at such times.

You can watch a short comedy on your smartphone, take a walk or have a snack, whatever resonates with you, just do it before getting back on the routine.

Conclusion

Stress is one huge negative result of cold calls, so once you can combat the possibilities of stress arising, you will be able to do your job with a positive outlook; which is necessary for successful cold calling.

Visualize making 500 calls a day and you get only one customer every day of the working days in a month. All the sales you made would have paid for your phone bill, so it’s a win-win situation, only keep your eye on the ball and ignore distractions in the form of rejection, and negative responses from others. Keep your eye on the ball at all times. Good Luck.

10 Best Productivity Tools to Better Work from Home

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If there is one lesson we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world, it is that working from home is becoming a preferred option. Bans on all kinds of gathering have seen everyone developing means to carry on with their lives, including work. Statistics in the UK shows that remote work is a successful experiment. Specifically, O2 and YouGov discovered that 45% of British workers would continue to work remotely after the Covid-19 dust settles. 

However, while we want to recline in our chairs and work, productivity remains a constant debate. We need tools to boost our productivity. In this respect, this article proffers ten tools that make you lead from home while making remote work an enjoyable experience. 

  1. Evernote: Evernote is one of the most versatile applications you can download today. Available on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, Evernote helps you take down notes and record essential audios. It is also a useful tool for consulting time tracking, saving photos as notes, among other features that you can sync with other devices. In a nutshell, Evernote is an app that helps keep you sane.
  2. Asana: Asana is a software designed to manage teamwork and improve work management. Remote work, especially if it involves teams, requires a linchpin that can hold everyone together; Asana does that entirely. Asana is a go-to tool that helps the team create, assign, and communicate projects as a team. Furthermore, Asana allows you to move your previously handwritten notes online, monitor meetings, tag essential documents, and so on. The joy of working with Asana is that everyone knows his tasks from the onset.
  3. Timenotes: Timenotes has a simple and interactive interface that allows all categories of users to interact with it. Timenotes attracts millions of users worldwide because it is relatively affordable when compared with some other time-tracking platforms. Timenotes give you control of your time. It is available on Chrome for Android devices and is free for up to five people. Timenotes’ other features include start and stop time trackers, various kinds of time formats, manual time entries, project time reports, and so on. Timenotes remains one of the best time tracking software. 
  4. Zoom: Zoom is a remote video call platform that makes communication very easy. Zoom is one of the most reliable applications for working remotely. Zoom is designed to accommodate various participants from the comfort of their respective places of habitation. Furthermore, everyone is allowed to send in their inputs at any point in a Zoom meeting by turning on their microphones. Also, you can use Zoom to handle seminars, lectures, and presentations. There is a comment section that allows for feedback as the meeting holds. 
  5. Todoist: Todoist is an application you do not want to miss as a remote worker. This is because you can use Todoist for a lot of functions. First, Todoist is very useful when it comes to decluttering your workspace. Secondly, with Todoist, you can prepare a very sound to-do list and ease yourself of mental stress. 
  6. Google Drive: Remote work becomes more comfortable with Google Drive. After all, working from home means less paperwork and more digital space. Google Drive is a storage system based on the cloud where you can save and access files. With Google Drive, you can store, edit, and upload files without leaving the usual paper trail.
  7. Brightnest: While many might see Brightnest as a bit out of place, it’s still an application that helps productivity if you work from your home office. You need Brightnest to help you with tips on setting your place up all the time. Brightnest will show you ways to keep your residence neat and tidy, as well as helping you organize your home schedule and tasks. Brightnest is available for Android and iOS. 
  8. Slack: Take a messaging application, expand it so much that it makes your life comfortable, and you have Slack. Slack is redefining how remote communication is handled. Slack is a reliable companion that lets your team give accounts for their activities, create various channels for conversations, and give you alternatives to emails, amongst others. When it comes to delivering you a convenient workspace, this application cuts you some slack, as its name implies. 
  9. Skype: Everybody is on Skype these days. Skype is a leading platform in video call technology. Its high-quality graphics allows you to make video calls without glitches. Skype functions excellently on computers and mobile devices. It’s a must-have tool for boosting productivity when you work from home.
  10.  Microsoft Office 365: Microsoft is known to virtually everybody. You are almost certainly using a Microsoft program at one point or the other. Microsoft Office 365 contains those familiar platforms like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and so on. 

Undoubtedly, you can be more productive working remotely than rushing to do your daily 9-5. Remote work has gained much prominence due to its convenience. What other tools do you find useful when working from home? Perhaps you can share tips for remote team management, or you have experience of hiring employees online. How does it work in your company? How do your employees or colleagues feel about using time tracking tools? Let’s share more useful information than ever.

How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity

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alternatives to email

There’s been an accelerated increase in remote workers over the last decade, more even these last few years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies have either completely abandoned on-site work for entirely remote or partially remote work.

Working from home is entirely different from working traditionally. Challenges and trials are bound to happen while working remotely. But with the right remote tools, planning, collaboration and communication are seamless. And with this, your remote team will increase productivity and perform tasks with the same efficiency as with remote work. Your remote “tool-shed” should be filled with tools to help you maximize your remote worker’s productivity, communication and organization.

Remote Working with Digital Tools

Working from home is different for everyone. While some people can do it effectively, others have a hard time maintaining productivity levels from home. Luckily, we’ve curated a list of the best tools to help optimize productivity and make the workflow as seamless as possible

In selecting these tools, we took a lot of things into consideration, this includes accessibility, pricing, and effectiveness. These remote tools are easy to use and are available on all platforms. These possibilities with these tools are limitless. These tools have everything a remote team needs to stay productive while working remotely.

Project Management Remote Tools

Working on a project remotely comes with a lot of tests and challenges. These challenges mostly revolve around the delegation of tasks, effective communication. There are lots of remote work tools that make project management easier. To navigate through the challenges that remote work pose, you need these tools.

So, make your choice from our carefully curated list of remote tools to help successfully manage your tasks and help you navigate the murky waters that are remote working.

Asana

Asana
How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity 12

Asana’s functionality and ease of use makes it one of the best management remote tools. It has a web and mobile app that was designed to help teams manage, track and organize their work. What makes asana stand out is its variety in project outlining with its timeline, list and board. You’re able to create and customize workflows based on a team’s individual need to boost productivity and you have a bird’s eye view on everything keeping everything in order and check.

With regards to pricing, Asana has a free paid plan for personal use and small teams. For large teams, they have premium and business plans, both going to $10.99 and $24.99 respectively. They also offer a free trial to enable test out the program before committing to it

‍GitHub

Github
How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity 13

If you handle or work with a team of developers, then the best remote tool to help your remote workers maximize their potential is GitHub. GitHub is a development platform for developers to host code, review code, build software and manage projects. GitHub is an open-source platform with over 50 million developers worldwide, essentially making it the numero uno of software del. Tools.

GitHub has a variety of plans to suit various organizations or individual. It has a free plan, that goes for $4 per user/ month, and an Enterprise plan for $21 per user/month.

If you’re working with a small team, the free option might be the best option for you. The free plan is also a great option for independent developers or freelancers. Still, if you’re part of a large team that requires a little more coordination and collaboration, you may want to consider the more advanced plans.

Trello

Trello 3
How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity 14

Managing a project remotely from planning to fruition is a task on its own and you need all the right remote tools to make this an actuality. Trello is an encompassing tool that solves the problem of management, task delegation, communication and to crown it all, Trello gives project managers the power to monitor the progress of their team while carrying out a project.

Trello is a very well-designed program that’s extremely easy to use regardless of how encompassing it is.

The price for this remote tool depends entirely on how many people use the tool. There’s a free plan that gives unlimited personal boards and up to 10MB/ file attachment. If you have a bigger team of fewer than 100 people, Trello charges $9.99 per user per month. If your team consist of more than 100 people, it is $17.5.

Remote Tools for Easy and Effective Communication

Communication is the most important aspect of any team or organization. Without effective communication, there’s no success whether remote or on-site. Managing a remote team can be a hassle. Keeping track of everyone and everything, conveying and implementing your ideas can be a burden if you don’t have the right communication tools. It could be a meeting with your team, a brainstorming session or project planning, without the right set of tools your team’s communication isn’t going to be effective and your productivity would be far from seamless.

Zoom

Zoom 2
How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity 15

For video chat solutions, Zoom is the fastest and most easily accessible remote tool. Wherever members of your team are, Zoom will help you chat with them and share information without any hassle. It even offers the option of recording your online meetings so you have a copy to revisit or send to participants that missed the meeting. Zoom also allows screen sharing so any member of your team can see whoever’s sharing their screen and get a real-time update on anything that’s being worked on. Zoom pricing is free for personal meetings which are limited by time (40 minutes). The paid plans range from $150 to $200 per year depending on the users and time frame for these meetings.

 

Slack

lack 3
How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity 16

Slack is easily one of the most essential tools for remote communication. It’s responsive and has an interface that’s easy to use it’s an extremely useful remote work tool you must have. Outside the usual perks such as instant messaging for groups, pinning messages, tagging, file-sharing and the usual team chat features, Slack is a tool that saves all your chat history on its cloud storage if you opt-in for the paid plan. With this, you don’t have to worry about losing any of your chats or information you’ve sent or received.

Also, this remote work tool lets you video call up to 15 people (the paid plan). Granted, Slack is not the best tool for video chat but it’s a must-have remote work tool for all other forms of communication.

With regards to pricing, this collaboration and communication remote work tool provides two pricing plans. The standard plan is $6.67 per user per month which is great for small businesses while the plus plan goes for $12.50 a month which is ideal for large businesses or companies.

Tandem‍

Tandem 1
How to use Remote Tools to Optimize Productivity 17


Remote teams regularly consist of teams from all over the country or world. Without proper communication, it would be impossible to get the best out of your team. Tandem is a remote work tool that makes communication effortless. Tandem is a great tool both for check-ins and extensive collaborative efforts while working on bigger projects.

Tandem is equipped with all the tools you need for effective and proper communication from screen capturing, instant video calling, screen sharing etc. With the assortment of various communication options on this remote tool, nothing is too difficult to explain.

In addition to all of this, Tandem allows integration from over forty other applications including office suits this further maximizes your remote team collaborative efforts. With regards to pricing, this remote work tool has 2 pricing plans $20 and $40 for 5 users. If you pay annually, you get to save 5%. Tandem also comes with a free plan that gives you all the basic features you need to get started.

With the remote work tools listed in the article, working remotely can go from being a herculean task to a walk in the park. With the proper remote communication and project management, your team becomes more effective and productive.

7 Best Practices for Managing a Remote Team

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remote team
Technology photo created by master1305 - www.freepik.com

Companies and businesses worldwide are either partially or completely remote. Companies and employees have leaned toward remote teams and remote working culture. Thanks to the advancement in technology, this isn’t as impossible as it seemed a decade ago.

Like traditional on-site work, remote working has its challenges and obstacles as well. To manage a remote team, an entirely different approach is taken, why? Because remote working is an entirely different thing from on-site work.

We understand the challenges and difficulties that come with remote working. This, however, is not the case in a traditional work environment where you’re surrounded by physical meetings, colleagues and meetings, the challenge to be productive is relatively lower.

In this article, you’re going to learn effective strategies that will come in handy when managing a remote team.

While this article will be encompassing, managing a remote team would be extremely difficult if members of your team aren’t determined, self-driven and disciplined. There are challenges that remote workers face that you have to be aware of as a manager, and you should know how to deal with these challenges and spot them in advance.

How to Best ways to Manage a Remote Team.


1. Have a Remote Work Policy.


Like with traditional in-house policies, you need to have one for your remote team as well.

This is useful for several reasons.

Firstly, it sets a standard that employees both new and existing should follow. This keeps the work environment balanced and eliminates any united special treatment.

A remote work policy is important for your remote team to know what’s expected and required of them.

With a new remote policy tailored to suit running a remote team, everything will run as efficiently as it should, like a well-oiled machine.

A remote working policy saves your remote team from confusion, surprises and discrepancies.

2. Cultivate Effective Communication

Effective and frequent communication is the key to successfully managing your remote team.
If you’re fond of disappearing for days on end only to resurface and point out mistakes, you’re going to create a disgruntled remote team and this would greatly affect productivity.

To avoid this, you need to cultivate the act of regularly communicating with your team, not only when things go off the rails.

This doesn’t mean constantly bombarding your remote team with messages on slack or other communication tools. Know when to draw the line so you don’t become an overbearing manager.

To communicate effectively with your remote team, you need to set daily, weekly and monthly meeting with your team. And if you’re not handling a lot of people, a one-on-one would be equally ideal.

To do this correctly, set daily, weekly, and monthly check-ins with your team. Your daily check-ins do not have to be elaborate full-on meetings, it could be a simple “Good morning” message, before proceeding to remind everyone of their pending tasks, deliverables and deadlines.

These regular check-ins keep your remote team on track and motivated to complete their tasks. Effective communication also helps you manage projects more productively and combat inefficiencies before they become serious problems.

It is also advisable to weave in occasional video chats to keep the human connection going. Remote teams don’t want to be on the camera every day, but seldom video chats are achievable.

Using these communication steps helps foster team bonding and even with everyone working in their respective locations. It makes your remote team feel like they’re a part of a joint unit working towards a collective goal.

Do not neglect to mention these communication rules in your remote policy.

close up woman working from home 1
Source: Freepik

3. Have a centralized project management tool

Project management (PM) tools are an incredibly vital part of remote teams and remote working. Here, members have access to all the pending and future tasks at a given time.

As a remote manager, PM tools help you keep track of what your remote team should be doing or are doing, and you’re also able to keep track of their deadlines.

PM tools let you comment, add additional information or resources to tasks in a centralized platform.

PM tools must be used by every member of the remote team. If a PM tool is set up and only a select few use it, tasks start to slip through the cracks and this could affect the efficiency at which the jobs are done.

So, instead of waiting for things to deteriorate to that point, choose an efficient project management software.

Update projects, and tasks constantly on the PM tool to keep members aware of any and all changes. Whenever you notice a team member may have missed an update, tag them to make sure they check it out.

Lastly, make sure the project management tools you’ll be using is included in the policy and every one of your team is aware of the information.

4.  Flexible work schedules

According to Buffer, 40% of remote workers feel the flexible work hours associated with remote work is the best perk of working remotely. As a remote manager, you should be aware that different people in your team have different time zones and different work hours. You should be compassionate, accommodating and understanding to your remote team members with regards to their time zones and flexible work hours.

That said, as a remote team leader, setting up schedules for your remote team members could be a little counterproductive

5. Have the right expectations

If you handle on-site teams and are transitioning to managing remote teams, it is important to be aware of your different expectations. Managing expectations is important both from the employee’s perspective and the remote worker’s perspective.

These expectations range from regarding work hours, availability, meeting schedules, e-mail correspondence, availability should be discussed and clarified from the on-set.

This greatly overcomes the challenges of miscommunication, scheduling and daily interactions in a remote environment.

Getting past these challenges from the get-go as a remote manager makes working more productive and generally smoother.

6. Be constructive and motivating with your feedback

Employees grow with constructive criticism and feedback. As a remote manager, commenting constructively at the right time is key to managing your remote team. Motivating your remote team with feedback is a great factor towards getting the best out of them. This also adds a personal touch to a working system that has everything but personal connection.

For most remote employees, it quickly shifts from being part of a team and working in an organization to becoming a one-man show. To overcome this, you need to schedule chats and review meetings for employees while going through their work. This gives them a sense of belonging and fosters a healthy work relationship.

7. Invite remote team members to meetings and events.

What other things can you do to make remote members feel like part of the team? Invite them to all meetings. Make sure to emphasize that they do not need to attend if they don’t wish (unless it’s crucial to their tasks and the company)

Inviting your remote team to meetings and events keeps them in the loop about the company and reinforces their sense of belonging and will also motivate them to share their ideas more in brainstorming sessions.

In conclusion, managing a remote team is not an easy task. It’s not just your task, it a joint task comprising of everyone you’re managing.

However, with the steps laid out in this article, you’ll be able to build an effective remote team. The benefits of remote working cannot be overshadowed by the hurdles and pitfalls that are attached to it.

To make a remote team work, you need respect, communication and consistency.

5 Phone Sample Script for an Unresponsive Client

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unresponsive client

Usually, an unresponsive client who’s been sent a proposal or a follow-up email becomes unresponsive for several reasons, but the most common of them is that the unresponsive client cannot make you his priority over other agendas on his schedule. Their business, family and social life in many ways will supersede the reason why you need them to be responsive. However, you don’t have to give up just yet, if you can persevere, be persistent and unrelenting, you may soon shift to the top of your prospects priority list.

This post will give you an insight into how to handle telephone conversations with an unresponsive client.

Sample Telephone Scripts

So you have made a cold call or bumped into this client somewhere and you had a chat. You have equally placed several follow-up calls and emails to them but nothing is forthcoming. Now you want to pick your phone up the umpteenth time and you are wondering, is talking to this unresponsive client worth it? Should you spend another minute expecting a positive response or would it be better to give up?

The truth is, it’s up to you to give up or give more time to this unresponsive client. It is normal for unresponsive clients to act as though they are not interested and if you are not patient enough, you may have lost one of your biggest clients. Just as you are busy doing all you can to get their attention, they are busy tending to other important things on their schedule. If someone was pitching a product to you, you would spend more time following up with your existing or prospective clients, so also, they are all about their businesses and not you. With this knowledge in hand, you should allow every unresponsive client to evolve the way they can.

Sample Script for an unresponsive client 1

You: Hello Bob, How are you doing today? Trust you are fine. A quick one, I just called to let you know I sent a proposal to your e-mail, please have a look at it and I will call you same time tomorrow.

Client: Alright Trisha.

Did you notice that this is a one-ended answer from Bob? and it doesn’t sound encouraging that he will check the proposal on the same day but, if you were Trisha, you have put a sticky note as a reminder to call the next day.

When you call, you expect he has either read or not read the proposal, where the latter is the position, you may have to allow him some more time. But, in all you do, don’t give up immediately.

Sample Script for an unresponsive client 2

If you are yet to get a response to the sent proposal, send a reminder email and then call to inform him in the reminder email. Your conversation can go this way.

You: Hello Bob, I just called to inform you that I sent a reminder email with respect to our last discussion, I understand that you are busy and may not have enough time to check the proposal, however, I will wait until you do.

Client: Erm, yes, I sure will Trisha, thanks for understanding.

This is a typical way of saying, Bob, I understand that you need this product or service but I also know you are busy and I am flexible enough to let you decide when to get back to me. This way he feels obligated rather than under pressure.

Sample Script for an unresponsive client 3

Now, let’s talk about people with partners or board members.

In instances where you are pitching to only one member of the Board of an organization or a partner in a firm, you will need a long stretch of perseverance. The reason being that, in a case where the partner or board member you are pitching to has decided, the decision to carry on business with you cannot be taken in isolation of other members or partner, except he or she is charged with such duty and it is among his or her job description. In this situation, you may have to set up a reminder to contact them often as these types of decisions would usually take longer than that of an individual or a sole proprietor. Here is what your communication should sound like:

You: Hello Bob, how are you today? The last time we spoke, you wanted to check with your partner if he had the same opinion as you concerning the percentage we offer on our loans, I am calling to know if there is any response or would you prefer I give a call back sometime this week?

 Bob: Yes, please give a callback, he is yet to check.
Or
 Bob: Oh no, he is yet to make a decision but I will get back to you as soon as he does 

If Bob gave the first response, then you should call back in 48 hours, but if it’s the second response, please wait for him to get back, you can either send a reminder email and follow up with a call or just call after about 2-3 days.

Sample Script 4

After about a week and no calls or email feedback, anyone will feel exhausted but you shouldn’t. As much as they haven’t said an outright NO, there is hope. They may be having a tough time with finances or it may just be a general tight work schedule. So, at this point, you should give them about a week before another call, and when you call, you should gently intimate them on your lack of enthusiasm to continue with follow-up.

You: Hello Bob, I am calling to thank you for your interest in this project, I have been keeping my schedule open for the presentation you require to move this project forward, however, if you are yet to decide as of now, it's totally fine, please let me know.

Many times, the response will be

Bob: Ok, Trisha, thanks for the call and I do appreciate your persistence. I apologise for not getting back, it’s just that work has been so busy in recent time but let’s do this, why not meet me up at my office on Thursday, say, 1 pm, is that fine by you?

Or

Bob: Yes Trisha, we have decided to take another route, sorry we did not get back on time, should our interest take on your services in the future we will contact you.

Whatever response is given, you know you have either achieved getting yourself on their tight schedule or putting the follow-up on hold. At this point, you just add them to your newsletter list so that they can benefit from your emails and maybe you will get a call from them in the future.

Sample Script 5

Depending on the sequence of your follow up call to the unresponsive client, you can make a final call in this line (especially if there is no positive feedback). It’s a way to close the loop.

You: Hello Bob, I am just calling to say thank you for listening to me all this while, however, should you require my services in future, I can be contacted through this number or via email. It was nice meeting you. Hope to do business with you sometime soon.

Bob: Ok Trisha, thank you too.

By placing this last call, you have closed the door gently and your attitude will go a long way in getting him to do business with you or if not him, he may refer you to anyone in need of your services.

Tips

  1. Set up auto-reminders using apps and software such as ‘Bonsai’ or ‘Freshbooks’.
  2. Always send an email with a call to action. Doing this keeps the process on for a long while.
  3. Don’t forget that an unresponsive client doesn’t mean an unresponsive referral. If a client does not give you the right audience, keeping the best attitude in your calls may land you a better referral from him so keep your mind open and less emotional. You never know who your next client will be.

Conclusion

Always prepare your mind for a positive and negative response when talking to an unresponsive client, so that when you send an unresponsive client a proposal or a follow-up email and you don’t get a positive response, you are not caught unaware and you know the next line of action.

What are other telephone scripts you have used for unresponsive clients? Let us know in the comment section below.

8 Important eCommerce Shipping Considerations – A Startup Guide

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eCommerce Shipping Considerations

The retail landscape has been changing rapidly since the introduction of eCommerce. Advanced technological progress and the current Coronavirus pandemic have paved the way for people to rely mainly on online shopping for their needs.

Businesses, both large and small, need to adapt to the eCommerce landscape to survive. Online shopping is becoming so significant in today’s economy that retail shares for eCommerce are expected to rise even further—mainly due to the pandemic that drove the spike up from 13.6% in 2019 to 19.5% this year. Current data available suggests a continuous upward trend in eCommerce market shares for the next few years. It’s safe to say that the pandemic changed the way people shop, maybe for good. 

Traditional businesses are keeping up with the status quo and transitioning to online platforms in selling their products. Online marketplaces foster an environment where small businesses can expand without the extra components and costs of physical stores. Growing despite a low budget is possible in the eCommerce stage if you only know how to do it. 

One of the most vital things to contemplate is eCommerce shipping, it is the bread and butter of online stores and having a reliable delivery service could be the key to your business’s success. It is essential to start thinking of some eCommerce shipping considerations you’re going to have from the moment you plan your online venture.

  1. Shipping Goals

Lay down the objectives you want to achieve in the eCommerce area of your business. Make your goals realistic and set a time limit on fulfilling them. This will help you organize your general business plan. Here are some examples of the aspects to consider:

Prioritizing Profit

The main point of entering the eCommerce world is to make revenue. This should ring true in all aspects of the business. From the conception to the completion stage, business owners should always find ways to maximize their earnings. 

Choose a shipping partner that can save you money with their deals. Look for companies that align with your business plans. 

Getting Great Reviews

Feedback is everything for an online business. Unlike physical stores, customer reviews for eCommerce shops are posted online for everyone to see. Wise online shoppers always check reviews before buying something. With the rise of eCommerce comes a drop in trust from customers because of rampant misinformation and fake news on the internet. 

Customers review the whole shopping experience with a business. From the moment they check out a product to the time it takes for it to arrive, they post it all. Work with a shipping company that can deliver your goods in a timely manner. 

Expand the Business for a Wider Reach

As a business owner, it is crucial to think ahead and have goals to expand your business. In eCommerce, reaching a wider audience is easier to do. Your products are available to view from different parts of the world. Make plans in advance to deliver outside of the country. Check your options in advance for international delivery at an affordable cost. 

Method of Delivery

Once you’ve established your eCommerce shipping goals, it’s time to plan your method of delivery. Narrow down your options by focusing on whether you want to deliver locally first, or take the step and proceed with overseas shipping. 

Learn about the differences between standard or regular delivery and express shipping. Try to incorporate this into the shipping information upon checkout. As much as you can, keep the customer informed about their delivery options to avoid negative reviews. 

Choosing a Courier

ECommerce shipping services typically have a list of courier companies you can choose from. If your customers are from your own country, check out the local courier companies available. If you are delivering goods overseas, look for a shipping guide from Canada to the USA to prepare. 

Keep in mind that courier companies predict time of arrival. Local deliveries take less time to arrive compared to shipping abroad. Manage your customers’ expectations by letting them know the projected time to ship their products. This can save you from any negative feedback about shipping delays. 

You can also enhance your customer’s shopping experience by giving them a choice of the courier they want to handle their orders. To do this, choose an eCommerce shipping service with several courier options. 

Packaging
8 Important eCommerce Shipping Considerations - A Startup Guide 21

Packaging 

Aesthetics play a crucial role in the eCommerce industry. Your product listing should have good pictures to entice buyers. This focus on aesthetics extends to the product packaging as well. Unboxing videos are popular on the internet, so you have to deliver and up your game as an online store owner. 

Product reviews usually contain pictures of the product from the moment they arrive in courier boxes to the “product reveal.” Packaging your goods thoughtfully can earn you positive feedback. 

Packaging can also be a critical statement of authenticity. Distinguishing your product from counterfeits carries on to the wrapping materials you use. Plastering your business label (even on the packaging) will remove suspicions of counterfeiting. 

Avoid delays in shipping by having everything you need to pack your goods at hand. Print the labels of your store and paste them on the inside and outside of the parcel. Make sure you have more than enough wrapping boxes and materials to prepare your orders. 

Promos

Product promos are an old trick in the marketing book. The wonders of promotions were not lost when physical shops converted to online businesses. To keep up with the fast pace of eCommerce, you have to think on your feet for strategies to sell your products. 

From product bundles to discounts, online shops try many marketing methods. A tried and tested method you can use is to have free shipping promos. A study on online shopping behavior suggested that 53% of shoppers proceed to checkout because of free shipping options. 

Though there is no such thing as totally free shipping, you can still use that marketing method on your goods. You can up the price of your goods to cover a portion of the shipping fee, impose a minimum amount for shipping to be free, or incorporate the shipping cost into your expenses. 

Costs

One of the gruelling aspects of an online business is calculating how much shipping costs can set you back. Consult the eCommerce shipping service you are partnered with to have an estimate of how much the couriers charge for deliveries. 

If you have buyers from outside the country, international shipping costs should factor in your expenses as well. Overseas shipping is a little trickier and more expensive to deal with than local shipping—ready yourself for customs fees and other costs to send your product to a foreign country. 

Safety Net eCommerce Shipping Considerations

Conducting business in an industry that is heavily reliant on the help of logistics companies to distribute your goods can have many problems. Disaster stories like products getting lost, damaged, or shipped to the wrong address can happen to anyone dealing with online stores. 

Unfortunately, in shipping horror stories, the customers go to the online shop directly to complain. If you’re not ready for these situations, you could lose everything you worked hard for. Be prepared and make sure to have insured shipping on your products. Don’t make the same mistake countless others have made before. 

Work with an eCommerce shipping company with tracking options as well. That way, you can communicate the progress of the shipping to your customers until it reaches their doorstep. 

Documents
8 Important eCommerce Shipping Considerations - A Startup Guide 22

Documents in eCommerce Shipping Considerations

Finally, when all your planning is done, get your legal proofs in place. Process the registrations you need as an eCommerce business. Get your permits to operate and distribute your goods. 

Research about what courier companies need from you to legally deliver your products. This is crucial when you are shipping abroad. Check the country you are shipping to for the papers you need to prepare before sending goods across the border. 

Look at the limitations on what kind of goods can enter the country too. Get in contact with the customs department to know how long documents need to be processed or how long they are valid for. Make sure to have all the necessary documents on hand before shipping so that you are ready for any situation that can arise. 

Final Notes

Venturing into eCommerce can be fun and challenging. You will face many problems, but being prepared for them and surmounting them is extremely rewarding. Know that starting a business online is as massive a risk as starting a physical business—planning ahead and making contingency plans is always good practice.

In an industry that depends on external logistics to transport goods, choosing a shipping partner is a vital decision. Settle for services that align with your goals, get to know them and the options they offer thoroughly and build a safety net for worst case scenarios. Who delivers your goods is a principal contributor to your success, so take every precaution possible. With a trusted shipping service, your small business will flourish and eventually expand to the world!

Best Practices for Negotiating with Email and Samples

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Negotiating with email is entirely different from negotiating physically or over the phone. Dr. Gunther opines thus: we risk miscommunicating with one another if we fail to use one of the five modes of communication, that is:

  1. Tone of voice
  2. Words
  3. Posture
  4. Touch
  5. Facial Expression

But how do we use this while negotiating with email when the recipient cannot see any of these? This, in fact, is the purpose of this post. In our day to day lives, we’re often negotiating without being aware but when it comes to negotiating with email, we just have to do it right because bad negotiating skills may cost us a fortune.

Unlike a telephone conversation where spoken words are clear, with an opportunity to explain any misunderstood point and oftentimes adjust to the other person’s tone; when negotiating with email, you only get one chance, once the sent button is used, that ends the conversation until a response is received. Be that as it may, negotiating over the phone cannot fully convey body language and facial expressions, something that’s most important when negotiating.

To give you a heads up when negotiating with email, here are a few ways to add the right tone, emotions, and context to negotiating with email, alongside a customizable sample you can adjust when the need arises.

email negotiating
Source: Freepik

Writing Tips for Negotiating With Email

  1. Using the example of a co-worker working with you on a project.
  2. Get emotions in place and express empathy.
Dear James,

I have just resumed the sick leave I took a couple of weeks back and I can understand you must have been weighed down by so much work, as my inbox is not an exception. However, work has to go on, which is why I am writing this mail with respect to the cafeteria issue we spoke about. As much as I don’t intend to add to your already filled work schedule I was hoping we could find some time to talk about it. Would you let me know when you can?
  1. Use feelings that most business communicators ignore then emphasise the fact that you can figure out what you both need.
Not making progress isn’t something I am proud of. I am distressed and I know you are too. Nevertheless, I am certain that if we throw the net again, this time we will catch the fish this time. With your unending prowess and my ever-trusted skills, I know we can find a lasting solution to the problem that is before us, so what do you say?
  1. Ask questions where necessary, make suggestions and do all you can to get the other party to solve the problem when negotiating with email.
Following up on our last discussion, attached is a document containing possible solutions to the issue with the Falcons as suggested by your team and mine. In addition, you will see there are other suggestions included in a bid to further resolve the issue totally. Do peruse it and if you have additions or where I have left out any important points, please call my attention to it. Your input is so important for this issue to be resolved.
  1. Do you have any doubt while negotiating with email? mention it.
In all honesty, just as you pointed out, I do think there may be some lapse in the proposal I sent over. For better collaboration, can we fix a time to talk about this and how to improve on it?
  1. When closing negotiating with email, show a great level of confidence in your ability to provide the desired solution for mutual benefit.
Thank you for believing in my ability. I respect your comportment and dedication to this project. I believe that if we can keep working together, this project will be actualized, and among others, this project will be a reality in a few months from now.  With your input and mine, the sky is only the beginning.

Now let’s use the example of a seller supplying you with some materials but you want a lower price.

  1. Ensure your tone is polite and professional, that is, the other party should feel well respected When you’re negotiating with email. For example, if you need a price reduction on goods with a vendor, gently tell him what he needs to do so that the price reduction is accepted.
  2. Use words that show you believe in his ability.
  3. Make him empathize with you. When your tone is not confrontational or passing off that you are weak, but one that gets the reader to empathize with your position, then you are on the winning side.
  4. Subtly let the vendor know the action you intend to take if he does not accept your proposed price.
  5. Intimate him about your desire to continue doing business with him in future. However, when you do this, be careful not to commit too much so that your words are not used against you.

Here is a sample just for you.

Sample for negotiating with email

Dear Carol,

I received your proposal, and I must say I am extremely impressed. I appreciate the effort you put into sending such a comprehensive and well-tailored proposal to us. Indeed it must have taken a lot of your time and resources to ensure that all we require was succinctly outlined, with nothing left out.

My partner and I reviewed the proposal and we are happy to let you know that, with all indication, you got our needs right and proffered adequate solutions to them. However, there is one thing that may not allow us to accept the proposal and it’s nothing more than the attached price.

You see, our budget for this project is below your stated price, and we have received two other proposals which seem to fall within the budgeted price. As much as I know that you have been the best hand for this project, it is sad to say that if you will not be able to bring this price down to our earlier stated budget, we may be forced to consider other suppliers.

As a reminder, the budget we have is 10% lower than your stated price and we would love to hear positive feedback from you in this regard. Should you reject this offer, we may be forced to use another supplier until you can agree to our terms. I believe you will find a way around getting the job done within our budget so that we can remain in the good working relationship we already built from previous years, one we believe will result in future contracts between your company and ours.

We look forward to your positive response within the coming week.

Sincerely,
Brandon Justice
Derain Ltd.

Conclusion

Winning at negotiating requires tactical skills, but, it is as simple as it gets. You only need to master the art of getting your point across in a way that a mutually beneficial outcome is reached; that way, everyone is happy. If you’d like to learn how to negotiate a salary increase via email, click this link to read our post on it.

Social Media as a Tool to Building Your Career

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Social media
Source: Freepik

Social media, if used correctly, can be an integral part of your career or job-hunting process. If used incorrectly, your career will be at its mercy. Every comment, post, picture, or tweet could cost you your job and in the worst case, ruin your career.

In this blog post, you’ll learn the different ways your online presence can either make or break your career, you’ll learn personal branding and why it’s important to your career, also what and what not to do when it comes to navigating the “murky” waters of social networking sites.

How Social Media can Help Your Personal Brand

Social media is an amazing tool to establish and develop a personal brand, stand out in your industry and build your image.

The importance of personal branding online is rapidly increasing due to the number of benefits it brings to one’s career and professional goals.

 A personal brand online can’t be built in a day. It demands the right mix of tactics and continuous effort.

Here are some ways to personally brand yourself online:

It is important to state and define what you want to achieve on social media with your brand. You need to have a reason for branding yourself.

If you want your professional skills to improve your chances of discovering a new job in your field, then your attention and focus should be aimed at building your LinkedIn profile.

When you want to reach a wider audience, you should build your Twitter profile.

If you’re specialized in different arts and crafts, Instagram and Pinterest should be where your focus is.  

Every platform is tailored to suit specific needs and niches, this is why you need to understand your career and know the platform you’ll thrive in. This doesn’t mean ignoring the others, it just means understanding where you should apply more effort to get the best results.

Now the importance of personal branding has been discussed, it is important to move on to the next question…

social media
source: freepik

What is Social Media Job Searching?

This is job searching is using channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Social Media isn’t used by just job seekers, it’s used by job seekers and companies looking to hire as well.

The growth of social networks has changed everything. It has made communicating in a digitalized world easier and more effective. And this is more evident when job searching.

How to Job Search Using Social Networks

It is important to build your social media before when you need it. You should always be ready to be found on social media. A recruiter could be looking at your profile or an employer you reached out to first, could be viewing your profile.

Having a social media presence is more than just having a social media account or merely being online. You’ll need to do more than that if you hope to improve your job searching prospects using social media.

There are loads of social media platforms available, but they’re not all necessary for job searching. The most important social media for building a career is LinkedIn. To make your profile stand out to recruiters, you need to make sure your LinkedIn is built out thoroughly with your most current employment information, and make sure it is always kept up to date.

Being forward-looking when it comes to social media will position you so you’re prepared to search for a job at any time whenever you need or you’re looking to change your current place of employment.

It is important to ensure that your profiles are work-appropriate. What this means is that you ensure that your profile, comments, pictures and post are fit and suitable for a workplace environment. It is common for employers to go online and do their due diligence on a candidate by searching online and on any social media platform a candidate is on. With this, you must make sure there’s nothing on your social media profiles that could hinder you from getting a job.

Your Interests and skills should be available in all your social media profile descriptions. These will serve as keywords that will help your profile appear in relevant search results whenever people search for information relating to your skills.

Beyond the need for your profile to remain professional, you should also ensure to be active online, this doesn’t mean being on social media, but you should put an effort into making sure you’re proactive online.

How do Employers Recruit Using Social Media

More and more employers are expanding their hiring processes to include social media websites. Recruiters use social media to source suitable candidates, post jobs and accept job applications.

Social media websites help recruiters to get a clearer sense of who their possible employees maybe even before any formal contact is made.

Social Media makes it easier for companies to know if you’ll fit in a company or not.

Best ways to Grow Your Career Through Social Media

1. Operate a Professional Profile

If you’re not tech-savvy, you may be oblivious to the fact that some social media applications allow users to create professional profiles. The difference between a regular profile and a professional one is that a professional profile allows you to have optimized profiles and this is important because it allows recruiters to find you without having to apply for job.

2.Use Social Media to Showcase Your Talents and Expertise

The untamed growth of the internet has made it extremely easy for employers and job seekers to look for each other on these platforms. To use this to your advantage, you need to showcase your skills for the world to see and the best way to do that is by posting your skills online, this way you’re able to reach a large audience. 

3. Participate in Social Media Online Job Forums

Engaging in career platforms online is an important way to build your career. These online platforms are filled with career-related conversations that focus on trending topics in your career and the corporate world. These platforms are great ways to connect with influential communities that will be monumental in building your career.

Participating in these career communities online is a great way to gain valuable information in building your social media presence, network and essentially grow your career.

4. Follow and Interact with like-minded People.

Social networks are full of people with different knowledge, diverse skills and experience in different fields. Interacting with the right people on social media can guarantee you both career and personal growth.

It is important to create connections both in your area of specialization and outside, but more in your area of specialization. Connect with these people and engage in meaningful discourse with them. This way, you’re building connections that will be relevant to you and your career.

5. Upload Your Certifications and Achievements

Building your career online is about showcasing your achievements for the world to see. Got a new certificate? Post it on LinkedIn. Worked on an interesting project? Post it on your social media. This way, you’re building your reputation online as someone worth their salt and someone’s that is a master in your field.

There is a list of certifications available online both paid and for free, examples of these includes HubSpot, google certification, et cetera.

These courses and certifications would be vital in your current job or prospects. 

6. You can use Social Media to Locate Companies in Your Industry

Growing your career with social media is associating with the right individuals and companies. All the companies you’re interested in working with are all online. Find these companies and stay updated with the companies’ salient information such as vacancies.

Social Media is now used by all and sundry- the young and old, the job seekers and employers, sellers and buyers’ businesses and customers, etc. In regards to improving your career, it can be an extremely vital tool. You just need to plan and execute wisely.

It is important to always optimise and improve your social media profiles; researching and learning, showcasing your expertise, increasing your network by making and nurturing vital connections. These ideas listed above are meant to help you kickstart your career by using social networks in a way that is more than just connecting with friends and family.

How to Maintain Morale and Inclusion Among Remote Teams

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The arrival of COVID-19 was a shock to companies around the world. Teams that had been working together in an office setting were suddenly sent home to work remotely for the sake of social distancing and public safety. While many people like the idea of working remotely, it is not for everyone, and even those excited by the idea were likely caught completely off guard and may still be adjusting to a new work routine that can sometimes be lonely and uninspiring.

As a manager, you need to do your part to keep your employees engaged, included, and motivated to do their jobs day after day, even in this unique circumstance. The good news is that although you often cannot see them face to face, it is possible to create a positive atmosphere that will keep your staff engaged and happy to return to work every day. 

Stay Connected

Constant communication is a key aspect of maintaining employee morale. Management needs to have an open-door policy, and employees should be able to come to their supervisor whenever they are in need. Both personnel and human resources managers are involved in ensuring employees are aware of and use the company’s perks and processes to collaborate and to maintain work-life balance. Many HR managers recommend using a tool like Yammer, which allows everyone on the team to collaborate and get the same information so no one feels left out. Mass communications are especially important when introducing and delegating new tasks and processes so that each team member gets the same instruction and can begin at the same starting point.

The solitary aspect of working remotely can be especially stressful for more outgoing folks, so take advantage of video conferencing for your meetings and social gatherings. This gives everyone on the team a chance to see each other and regain that sense of community that many employees desire. You don’t have to only use video conferencing for business either. Instead, you can have social outings after work where you talk about life or have a digital happy hour event.

While the manager must encourage their staff to come to them with issues, some employees may feel better talking to a coworker when they are feeling down or stressed. To that end, consider implementing a buddy system where you pair up two coworkers that feel comfortable with each other, and they can reach out to when they need that extra vote of confidence to keep them going. Management can also set aside a time when these groups can get together during the workday.

Give Them Something to Work Towards

A good manager knows that being thrown into a sudden remote work atmosphere can be jarring for some, and that uneasy feeling won’t go away overnight. With this understanding, it is important to keep your staff motivated so they continue to do their best work, and there are several ways to make this happen. For starters, remember to praise your employees whenever they show positive results. Even a quick email can make their day when you send it right after the event takes place and give it an informal but celebratory subject line that gets them excited to open it.

Employee perks are another great way to improve morale in a remote environment. They can be as simple as an award or certificate sent out to high sales earners, or they can be a bigger gesture like providing an extra day off that they can use at their leisure. Being cooped up inside for too long can also cause stress, so consider setting up outdoor activity challenges, like a competition for who gets in the most steps for a month and reward the winner with a free lunch.

While certificates and perks are nice, what can really motivate an employee is the opportunity to work hard and advance up within the company. Make this program a reality by setting achievable goals that can put them in place for a promotion, like selling over a certain threshold to become a Senior Sales Associate. If you do create advancement opportunities, make sure to follow through with the terms you announced at the start. 

Inclusion is As Important As Ever

When you have a remote team, extra planning is required to make the inclusion of all employees a priority. When you don’t see your staff face-to-face, it can be easy to let someone fall through the cracks, but you absolutely cannot let this happen. Managers should have empathy for any employees who are having a hard time, and you should do so by reaching out to every team member each week to see how they are feeling or if they have any concerns.

Team building is especially important during this time. There are many virtual team-building exercises that you can use to help everyone on the team get to know each other a little better. This can be as simple as using your video program to create a virtual campfire where the team can take turns telling icebreaking stories or share what they love and dislike about remote work. The manager can take this information and work with those with issues later on.

Working parents are often underappreciated these days, especially those who still have children that are learning virtually from home. For them, it can be tough to juggle both, and the struggle can impact their work, family life, and cause dangerous anxiety. Managers can ease this stress by talking with employees, and if they have a lot on their plate, you can offer a flexible schedule where they help their family in the morning and come to work afterwards. This arrangement will help out the employee and improve their morale since they know their management truly cares about their wellbeing.

As you can see, there are many ways to maintain morale and inclusion with a fully remote workforce. With active listening and action by management, your team can remain effective and happy.

Why Branding Your Social Media Graphics Matter & How It Can Bring You More Business

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The prevalence of visual information on the internet saw an astounding increase of 9900% since 2007, according to data from NeoMan Studios. At a glance, this figure looks incredulous. However, there is a valid scientific and biological explanation as to why we crave visual information. Up to 70% of all sensory receptors in humans are visual, according to Elaine N Marieb’s book, Human Anatomy & Physiology

And when it comes to social media, using graphics and visuals form the forefront in marketing. Venngage’s annual report on visual content marketing reveals that more than 70% of marketers incorporate visuals in their content. The same report also shows that nearly 50% of brands believe that visual content is very important for their marketing strategy. 

image
Why Branding Your Social Media Graphics Matter & How It Can Bring You More Business 31

The information above shows that graphics and visuals are pivotal when it comes to marketing and branding experience. So today, we take a deeper look into understanding why branding your social media graphics is just so important and what it can do for your business. 

Why Branding Your Social Media Graphics Matter And How It Can Bring You More Business.

Social media content is heavily centered around visual graphics. Therefore, there are many advantages in which branding can benefit your business.

However, we focus on four compelling reasons behind branding that can be transformative for your business, big or small, in today’s post.

Delivering an effective and quick message 

A survey on Venngage reveals that up to 80% of businesses plan to use visuals for marketing in 2021.

image 1
Source: Venngage.com

This is not surprising since a picture can convey messages a lot quicker than text. 

According to the picture superiority effect, we tend to remember 10% of text contents. However, the ability to remember details from a picture is almost 65%, which is an impressive difference. This proves that using graphics in the form of pictures, graphs, and illustrations can be instrumental in delivering messages effectively to your audience. 

How it helps your business

Branding with graphics is essentially an advertisement for your brand. Therefore, how you portray your brand will establish awareness and recognition. In addition, a standout social media post will also achieve more engagement. This is fantastic for your business, as posts with a high engagement rate will receive higher recognition by search engine algorithms. 

How to ensure your brand graphics deliver an instant message.  

A striking feature of all successful businesses is their consistent and uniform layout and design. This can be in the use of the same fonts or color schemes and other designs. Nevertheless, the overall presentation allows consumers to connect with the brand almost instantly. 

Generating visual interest

image 2
Source: NeoMan Studios

The picture about shows that up to 50% of the brain’s processing unit centers around visual processing. This is a fantastic piece of information for brands on social media. Whether it is a logo, a statement, an illustration, or a short video, visuals are the first representation of your brand to the visitors. 

Naturally, brands with unique and personalized graphics on their social media page will generate interest. The use of eye-catching designs, colors, and strategic placements of fonts can be detrimental in making your brand a standout among a thousand others. 

How it helps your business.

Once you create interest with your branding, you get more traffic. And businesses thrive on an influx of traffic as it means more potential customers. 

How to incorporate more interesting graphics.

The use of personalized graphics is not the only way to make your social media content interesting to your followers. You can also incorporate short videos, photos, graphs, and pie charts to make the contents more engaging. 

In addition, you can also use the right colours that best reflect your brand. According to a research paper, Impact of Color on Marketing, colours plays a significant role in influencing users to differentiate a product from their competitors. 

Creating a connection and brand loyalty 

Social media users are spoilt for choice. In addition, there is a staggering number of brands all over social media from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, among others. Therefore, it is easy to assume that social media users are fickle in their choices.

However, according to prnewswire, an increasing number of consumers make their purchase decision due to brand loyalty.

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Why Branding Your Social Media Graphics Matter & How It Can Bring You More Business 32

For many consumers, products from brands are more than a purchasable commodity. It reflects their lifestyle, their standing among their peers, and ultimately, their reputation.

Therefore, if you create a memorable connection with your followers with engaging content, it creates brand loyalty in the long run. 

How it helps your business.

Experts in the world of marketing agree that it is more profitable to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one. Therefore, brand loyalty translates to sustainability for your brand in the long run. 

In this regard, Bonnie Sainsbury has rightfully said, “Social media will help you build up loyalty of your current customers to the point that they will willingly, and for free, tell others about you.”

How to create connection and loyalty through graphics.

Strategic use of infographics is one of the best ways to actively engage your followers on social media. In addition, consistent updates with creative and personal contents will keep your followers coming back for more. 

Since brand loyalty is strongly connected to trust, being consistent with interesting graphics on social media lays a solid foundation for a good business relationship with your audience. 

Establishing your ownership while making the content shareable 

image 4
Source: cdn.business2community

One of the most popular activities relating to engaging social media content is sharing. Social media users love to share posts that are relevant and engaging. Jay Oatway’s quote, “When we are sharing stories to create bonds with other like-minded people, we want to give them social currency with the highest pass-on value we can,” rings true in this context.

How it helps your business.

When followers share posts with other users, it helps to get your message to a wider audience. In essence, this is free advertising at its best.

What can you do to allow sharing your content, rightfully?

Unless you brand or mark your social media posts, copyright infringement can become a problem. Branding your content with graphics, including a logo, a watermark, or a social media handle, can make the content uniquely yours. Therefore, even if your followers do share your posts, you get the credit as the original creator. 

Final thoughts. 

The number of active users across all social media platforms, according to Statista, is 4.2 billion. And it is not going to slow down if the graph below is any indication. 

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Source: Statista

Therefore, if you are a business owner of any size, you cannot ignore the importance of branding your social media graphics. 

Setting Up an Autoresponder: The Do’s and Don’ts

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Autoresponder

Autoresponders guarantee customers their emails were received

One of the biggest reasons for setting up an autoresponder is that it gives your customers or consumers a clear notification that their email was received and when to expect a response if for whatever reason you can’t reply at that particular moment.

For a customer, it’s often nerve-wracking to send out an email and get no response for a while. An auto-response email, however little it holds can set that customer’s mind at ease, knowing their message was received and that a response is incoming.

Autoresponders makes it easier to respond to inquiries faster


The growth and credibility of some businesses are tied to how fast their responses are. Some businesses have ratings attached to them, and the ratings are dependent on how fast the business replies to customers. If your business fits this category, then for this sole reason alone, an autoresponder is exactly what you need.

Autoresponders also reduce the pressure of having to reply to inquiries immediately they come in. With an autoresponder, you can take your time to understand the inquiry and know the best response to give to that inquiry.

With that, an autoresponder is not the same as a personalized reply from you or anyone from your team. We’ll explain this as we go further.

Automated responses reduce the chances of duplicate emails

If a customer emails you and they don’t get a response from you, they may email again, try to reach you on social media, or in some cases go on Yelp or Google Reviews to give you a one star rating.

What an autoresponder does for you in a situation like this is to clear the clutter and remove the risk of having replied to the same person twice.

An autoresponder sates this customer by saying, we got your message and we’ll get back to you soon. With this, the customer is less likely to follow up on other social media channels. Unless in case of an emergency, read on to find out what to do.

Should you always have an autoresponder?

There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer to this question. If done right, setting up an autoresponder is a great idea. But, when setting up an autoresponder, it’s better to have none than to have a terrible one.

If your autoresponder is monotonous, robotic and cold, it could create the impression that it’d take longer to get back to them and this can do more harm than good.

Setting up an autoresponder that doesn’t feel personal can make your customers feel left out and unattended to. In this case, it would be better to wait and reply with a more personalized email.

On a different note, if your email volume is low and you react to messages quickly (inside, say, 30 minutes or less), an autoresponder may be a pointless excess. On the off chance that you can react to all messages immediately (assuming this is the case, good for you!), you may not need an autoresponder. Or you may need one only for explicit sorts of requests that meet certain conditions, an example of this would include emails that come from your website when a user fills a form.

All things considered, there’s no last word on the issue. We’d contend that autoresponders are a great instrument and a great choice for almost all circumstances, yet that it’s smarter to not have one at all at that point have a terrible one.

Here are the things to remember when you set up an autoresponder, to ensure it’s aiding you and not harming your business

Setting up an autoresponder
Autoresponder
Source: Freepik

Make sure your autoresponder does not sound robotic

While an autoresponder message is a layout, the objective is to make it seem as personal as possible, and not like something that came from a robot. That doesn’t really mean acting like every response is custom, but make sure to add some personal touch to your content.

The core of a great autoresponder message is that it causes your clients to feel that they’re being listened to and that their concerns matter. If your response feels too mechanical, then it could be perceived worse than if a reply wasn’t sent at all.

How do you avoid this mistake then? When setting up your autoresponder, make sure it’s sincere and human.

Setting up your autoresponders to sound human is extremely important. In the same way your regular out of office is simply you telling people you’re going to be out of the office for a particular period of time.

If an autoresponder is coming from a customer service representative, it is important that your message reassures the customer in a way that they feel they made the right decision by contacting you and that they contacted the right channel.

When done effectively, automated messages should feel custom-made and tailored to make the recipient feel they’re sending a direct message to you or a member of your team.

The importance of setting up an autoresponder to make the person on the other end feel like their issue is being take care of cannot be overstated. A tip to do this is by starting off with your name and continuing the email with a tone of appreciation, care and overall kindness and attention.

Autoresponders shouldn’t be your only response

As said earlier, your autoresponder message shouldn’t have the perception that someone in your group sent it in a hurry.

One of the greatest mistakes you can make with an autoresponder is assuming it as a substitute for a quick, customized reaction. It’s similar to a “read” notice—a notice that you’ve gotten a customer’s email and would be follow up with the inquiry.

When properly done, an autoresponder should give your clients genuine feelings of tranquillity that you got their message, and get you an opportunity to respond properly at a later time with a more detailed, encompassing, and personalized email. An auto-responder is not an actual response and it should not be treated as such.

If your business primarily involves providing customer support, then personalized, detailed and helpful replies should always be what you aim for. Do not make the mistake of replacing this with an autoresponder- it can only do so much.

Set a stipulated time to expect a response and stick to it


How long will it take you to respond to an email enquiry? An hour? A day?

If you know the exact time it’ll take to reply to an enquiry, then you’ve gotten your response time down.


If you’re not sure of your response time, don’t give a specific time frame in your autoresponder email. In a case like this, it is better to keep things vague.

Reply that their emails have been gotten and that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible.

Don’t tie yourself to a specific time. Giving a time frame for a reply and not meeting up is not realistic and could hinder your brand in the long run.

Do not prep yourself up for failure. It is important to reply within a stipulated time frame is any was specified.

In your response, state what to do in case of an emergency

In some cases, a customer has to get in touch with you ASAP. If the emails you receive often need immediate attention, make sure to specify what a customer should do in a situation like that.

If you can be contacted through one medium (which is not advised if your inquiries are often emergencies), state this in your autoresponder email. If you have other channels to get in touch with that have a higher response rate, make sure to specify while setting up your autoresponder emails for cases of emergencies.

To check out a sample on how to write a responder email in case of an emergency, read this blog post.

Why should you make this clear? This is because in case of an emergency, if a customer does not get a response as soon as possible, they may become frantic and look for other means of fixing the problem, or they would constantly contact you until you either respond to them or proffer a solution.

By alerting them what to do in case of an emergency, you cut down the chances of them constantly trying to contact you wherever they can.

Customers who have an emergency are often quick to leave negative reviews that could lead to you doing damage control. But replying to their email with a set of instructions to follow in case of an emergency helps prevent this.

Finally, setting up an autoresponder could be a huge benefit for your business if they’re done properly. When setting up an autoresponder, make sure it feels human, it’s helpful and is not used to replace an actual reply.

If done properly, an autoresponder helps in the quality of emails you send out, how helpful and detailed your responses are. Lastly, it enables you to provide a better experience and helps you serve your customers better.

Autoresponder tools.

7 Clever Methods To Follow While Starting Your Business On Instagram

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Instagram acquires above a billion active users monthly than other social media channels like Twitter or Facebook.

It helps every business with a golden opportunity to promote their services or products to targeted audiences without spending money on paid ads.

Instagram APIs permit every user to upload video contents and photos to a business profile on Instagram using third-party platforms; this makes it easy for brands to utilize the platform.

Whether you are a fresh bud to this platform or need an update for your strategy, you can get these seven clever steps to use Instagram business.

Showcase in An Innovative Way

Don’t focus on the products that you sell; focus on the conclusion that you provide. It is crucial to provide value for every customer. And don’t forget about the primary asset on the platform – visual contents.

Focus on showing the process correctly if you are a service-oriented business. Showcase your company trends, spread your mission worldwide, or share some how-tos and great tips. 

There are various formats you can use to work this on the platform. It is possible to share short-term video content (GIFs), photos, and videos in less than one minute.

     Try with Instagram Stories

It is a slideshow theme and disappears after 24 hours. You can add your stories in the highlights feature in the profile section to catch up later after disappearing. It was created in Snapchat’s stories at first and later developed by the Instagram platform.

Most businesses promote their new products on Instagram stories as it is a popular feature on the platform right now. The number of people who watch Instagram stories keeps growing every day, and over 75% of them are business owners. Creating and sharing visually appealing content related to your brand and products helps elevate Instagram story views to improve brand visibility for the long term. It emphasizes that businesses posting to Instagram stories is no more an option but a necessity.

     Try With IGTV

It allows people to post long-term video content to the network. The IGTV video contents are longer, providing more opportunities to make fresh, engaging, and fun videos for your brand or business.

Have an Eye-catching Profile

You may do more things as a brand and provide excess solutions. Make a catchy description explaining all your works within 150 characters. Keep more focus on your big things – it can be a product launch, event, or promotion.

Update your clickable link in the bio frequently since it’s the only spot to add a link on the platform. Many brands waste the link section’s purposes entirely through posting only their brand website. You can post purchases, driving registrations, or even app downloads.

The platform also introduced paid advertising and business profiles on Instagram. You can add a contact number to your profile bio in the Instagram business profile and provide access to analytics options that are not available in a regular Instagram profile. 

Show Them BTS(Behind-The-Scenes)

Most customers wish to know where their excellent products arrive from, and you could utilize the platform to showcase your lifecycle. It is more related to companies or industries that sell FairTrade or environment-friendly products. Otherwise, you could use the source pictures to show how your excellent products are getting finished – from the starting material, manufacturing process, packaging, and distribution. 

You could share – notes, filled blackboards, and sketches if nothing strikes your mind. Every business or brand acquires brainstorming ideas, and it is entirely up to you to click a stunning picture and post it to the platform. You could try out various types of posts until finding the kind that massively engages the viewers.

Work with Hashtags

Use the right hashtags to enlarge your content reach. It could be general or campaign-specific, but it needs to be relevant. Make your main hashtag your company brand name(#Companyname), and paste it on the platform wherever possible. It makes the people easier to identify your account and your content.

Using three to six hashtags is a great practice, but you can add up to 30 hashtags per post on Instagram. Use campaign-specific, trending, unique hashtags to bring more discoverability to your Instagram content. You can try out holiday hashtags on Instagram as it is more popular. You can also add hashtags like #throwbackthursday or #instalove (used in over a billion posts), and at last, don’t forget the brand-specific hashtags. The hashtags #tech or #IT makes your post a fine reach if you are in the IT field. 

@Mention Others and Collaborate

Instagram is the perfect social media network to highlight collaborators and share the success stories of the customer. You could do fundraising twice a year even if you’re not a non-profit. It is a good sign that aligns with the mission and values of your brand. Tagging accounts is an excellent option if you need to draw attention. 

Shout-outs are another technique you could use. You can join hands with another brand at no cost that has similar fans as you to advertise each other to your respective Instagram audiences. It helps both sides with increased exposure. 

The paid shout-outs involve influencer campaigns. You need to pay for influence or a brand according to the follower’s count they acquire to promote your services or products. It is the perfect way to gain huge fans within a short period.

Offer Exclusivity and Grow Anticipation

Keeping your buyers more interested is a vital thing in any marketing campaign. Honour your dedicated fans with potential content. Let them be the first to know about your new events, services, or products. Make a teaser about it and increase your audience’s curiosity.

Track Your Success 

You could use social media management tools to schedule your campaigns on Instagram and also utilize social media analytics to track their success. Don’t forget to regularly check your fans’ counts, clicks, and engagements, analyze them perfectly, and develop your marketing strategy.

Finishing Up

We believe that these clever methods develop your business performance and gain more customers to your business or brand on Instagram. Work out all these creative tips and get success with your business objectives.

5 Best Practices for Sales Follow-up Emails

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Do you send sales follow-up emails? Studies show that it takes as much as five contacts before a prospect makes a purchase decision. This is consistent with the consumer behavior theory that consumers go through several stages before making the decision to purchase a product.  It is your responsibility as a salesperson to professionally stir the client towards a purchase decision without being overly pushy and completely putting the client off. You can achieve this using sales follow-up emails creatively.

Salespeople have to find the balance between spending too much time following up with a particular client/lead and abandoning a potential sale prematurely.  This balance can be achieved by using smart sales follow-up email strategies that can be easily scaled for use with several prospects/clients. Strategies that communicate the value of your product or service and position you as an authority in your specific area.

Quick Tips for Sales Follow Up Emails

Here are some best practices to incorporate in your sales follow up emails to gain the necessary recognition for your product/service:

1. Make Communications Frequent But Valuable

If too much time passes between contact and sales follow-up or between follow-ups, the chances are that the client’s attention and resources may be captured by another product/service.  It is, therefore, best practice to communicate frequently.

Follow-up communication that just reminds the client of the initial meeting or inquires about the client making a purchase only works effectively immediately after the initial meeting.  If the sale isn’t closed at this point, sending such emails constantly is counterproductive.   Rather use your sales follow-up emails as further customer enlightenment and a marketing opportunity for your organization by sending informative articles, news updates, and product information.

A great way to keep the engagement with clients ongoing effortlessly is to plan and schedule your communications ahead of time.  There are several email management applications available that allow you to create and schedule emails ahead of time.  By outlining how many times you wish to make contact every week, the purpose of each contact, and the content, you are well on your way to following up like a professional using sales follow-up emails.

2. Make Emails Relevant

The primary objective of a sales follow up is to get the sale! Therefore, all communication must be relevant in stirring the client towards the purchase decision.  The content of your follow up messages must be consistent in their focus.  For example, receiving an email from a health product sales person about the latest fashion trend in summer is irrelevant, if there is no angle which ties your product in, no matter how well written.  An article about some of the health risks the summer weather poses and how the specific product you offer can help mitigate such risks is a far more effective article in stirring the client towards a purchase decision.

Keeping content client specific/relevant is also particularly important if your organization offers more than one product.  Clients should receive follow up relevant to the product they have indicated interest in except in cases where the objective is to cross sell similar or equally beneficial products.

Follow up emails are most effective when personalized to specific client needs and requirements. This is easier when dealing with few clients but can be tedious when you have a lot of clients to follow up on.

A strategy for creating the impression that communications are personalized when dealing with a lot of customers is to create groups with similar needs and interests. Email management software such as Constant contacts, Mail chimp etc. make this easier as they allow you to create contact lists/groups and use editable mail templates which allow you to send customized emails to each client.  Using this strategy every client receives an email addressed to the client specifically and content that is relevant to their engagement with you and your organization.

3. Use a Catchy Title and Keep it Brief

The title of your email often determines if your mail is flagged as spam by email services and whether the client opens the mail or not.  Email management software provides a list of terms and phrases detected as spam – do the appropriate research of your intended title.   The best title for your email is most often a short but accurate description of the content of your email. A good example of a title that can be used by the health products salesman to describe his article about the health benefits of his product in summer is “How to avoid the flu this summer”.

Content should be interesting, add value and get straight to the point.  This ensures that clients get to the end of your emails and get your intended message.  Lengthy emails that no one reads do not help you achieve your objective.

4. Make Your Call to Action Clear

Sales people often do not get the sale because they did not ask for the sale!  All follow up communication should have a call to action.  The call to action does not have to be part of the article or message but should be in the communication such as a clickable link to learn more about your product, order or contact.

A powerful call to action is necessary to prompt clients to take the next step by calling, making a booking or buying a product.

5. Test to Find What Works Best

The more you follow up with clients the better you will become at conducting follow ups and understanding what works and what doesn’t.   Evaluate the impact of your follow ups to determine what has the best success. Email management services often let you monitor factors such as how many people opened your email, how many people read the email and how many people clicked on your embedded links.

Send out emails on different days of the week and at different times and evaluate your open rates to determine the most effective days and times for sending out sales follow-up emails. A study by Harvard business school stated that Tuesdays and afternoon hours were the most effective times to send emails but it’s best to determine what works best for your unique market and clients.

Conclusion

It is important to stay relevant and in the mind of potential customers so as not to lose valuable business opportunities.   Position yourself as the first option when potential customers are in need of the product or service you offer by following up often in personalized, relevant, and value-adding ways that project you and your organization as experts.