Anna Smith's Posts (809)

  • It’s no surprise that consumers love shopping  online. It’s quick, convenient, and incredibly easy to comparison shop, find product reviews, and ship directly to anywhere you want. It’s forcing industries from retail to banking to insurance to battle for consumers who have more choices than ever before.

    For many, clicking the buy button or moving on to the next web site often comes down to the experience that a company delivers on the web. According to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. So, what’s the key to providing a great experience on the web? Engaging customers at the right time.

    Understanding behaviors to increase conversions

    Time is always of the essence when it comes to online conversions. Consumers demonstrate a short attention span when shopping online. In some ways, consumers treat the web the same we used to treat the traditional printed catalog. Shoppers quickly scan sites, spending little time to research products before moving on to the next web site. In some cases, web sites offer little more than a form for customers to use to request a price quote.  Is this enough to convert today’s highly informed, digital customer? According to Forrester, organizations need to understand that their customers expect effortless service. In their Customer Experience Online Survey, 2013 they reported that 52% of customers will abandon online purchases if they can’t find a quick answer.

    Web conversion rates often fall below expectations

    Increasing sales conversions and decreasing shopping cart abandonment rates in a cross-channel environment is an incredible opportunity for organizations. To do this, you must identify and capitalize on the moment of opportunity within each online experience – empowering the agent to engage at the right time. And within that opportunity, a single view of the consumer needs to be seen by the company and engaging employee. A customer doesn’t differentiate purchasing from a company’s in-store consultant, online site, or contact center agent. Therefore, the customer experience should be seamless and consistent no matter the channel.  A single customer experience platform is the key to capturing and closing opportunities across channels – on the web and across digital channels.

    Rapid identification of leads, proactive human assistance are key

    Studies consistently show that anywhere from 35-50% of all sales go to the agent or employee that makes first contact.  The key is for companies to be able to identify when a customer is likely convert to a sale, then engaging them with the right agent – proactively or at the customer’s request. As a result, you can improve online conversions, as well as web “first contact” resolution rates for support issues. Your contact center should support a full set of capabilities for e-commerce including social, web callback, WebRTC, co-browse window-sharing, and proactive engagement.

    Moreover, businesses need to be able to make online customer engagement decisions based on customer context, at the right moment and with the right representative to keep driving higher sales conversion while reducing customer effort.

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  • What is your shopping cart abandonment rate?

    It is estimated that online shoppers abandon their ecommerce shopping carts during checkout at a range between 25 percent (Andersen Consulting) on the low end and 78 percent on the high end. The following are among the most cited reasons for cart abandonment.

    • Lack of product and contact information
    • Prices on site too high
    • Shipping/handling costs too high
    • Site requires setting up an account to purchase
    • Site unclear about delivery times or how items are shipped
    • Shopper changed their mind
    • Shopper comparison shopping
    • Shopper saving items for later purchase

    Some of the issues above are simply part of the shopping process. However, areas that you have direct control over should be reviewed. Sometimes the smallest bit of additional information can reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate. The more information you provide to make your online shoppers feel secure and trusting in purchasing from you, the more likely they’ll complete the checkout process.

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  • It’s All About the Product

    In my previous articles, I covered major trends in credit card cobrand profitability and how banks calculate the profitability of your credit card program as well as the key drivers of revenue and expenses.  In this article I will discuss the credit card product.  

    A quick and accurate rule of thumb is that everyone who is eligible for your co-brand credit card program has a credit card already.  It is bad news that there aren’t any “green fields” any more for new account acquisition.  Therefore, to win with your co-brand program you need to have a product that displaces the incumbent credit card.  That of course sounds easier said than done.

    This article will address a few hurdles from the customer perspective:

    • Are the rewards or benefits material – is it worth switching?
    • Is the new card special use or first in wallet?
    • Are there short term and long term benefits to switching?
    • Is it worth overcoming inertia?

    The key is whether or not you can attract the “right” people to apply for your credit card program.  These hurdles aren’t answered once for everyone, but need to change and evolve over time.

    Are Rewards and Benefits Real?

    From a customer’s perspective, the question is whether the rewards are material.  This is a difficult question because the value comes from three places; the earn side (how rewards are accrued), burn side (how you use rewards), and rewards tiers.  Your offer has to be better, not just sufficient, to generate success.

    • Rewards Earning – This is what most consumers usually focus on -how many points or percent back do they receive as a part of the rewards program.  Unfortunately, the value is often obscured by currency (what is a “point” really worth?) and earning schedules with rotating categories and opt-in requirements.  You can’t expect consumers to give your credit card program much share of mind, so you need to make it easy for them to understand.  The Fidelity American Express card with a straight 2% back fulfilled as a deposit to their Fidelity cash management or brokerage account is a great example of fantastic value that is also simple.  On the other hand, cards that are based on obscure points values that customers don’t understand can make it difficult for customers to value the true offer.  A tender neutral frequent shopper program offers no alternatives, so customers take what they can get, but credit cards have alternatives, many with valuable earning structures.
    • Rewards Redemption – Some programs have rewards redemption structures that are murky and difficult to understand while others are simple and straight forward.  Statement credits and automatic redemptions are favorites among customers because they don’t have to take an active role, but this tends to reduce breakage and is more expensive for the program economics.  Many retail and cash back programs generate a reward or statement credit based on a threshold. Programs that require the cardholder to take a positive action to redeem the reward have the benefit of lower redemption expense and more customer control.  Discover is an interesting case in point because you can redeem dollar denominated “points” for more value than a dollar.  This is very different than the original Discover value proposition where Discover sent a check each year.  Blue Cash has also moved more to the Discover model.  Balancing customer preference with economic drivers is an important balancing act.  Another interesting case in point is the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card where the redemption side is more valuable than the earning schedule.  Devotees understand the value of the card and love it, but less engaged members may not understand its unique value.
    • Rewards Tiers – Blue Cash and Fidelity Visa Signature both have rewards tiers to drive incremental spend.  Discover has eliminated the tiers on Discover It, but still has the rotating categories.  Tiers are a great way to reward more engagement and encourage customers to spend more.  The trade-off is complexity.  It is hard to explain and if customers don’t see a path to rewards, then the Tiers can be demotivating.  They are an excellent way to manage rewards expense and provide incentives for engagement, but only if used with a high level of skill.
    • Implications – Developing the rewards structure is a complex and very important task.  Understanding how customers value the earn, burn, and tier components of a program are essential to creating a program that resonates with customers at favorable economics.  There isn’t one “right” answer, but rather answers that work for specific groups of customers at specific times.  Matching the right rewards to the right customers is essential to a thriving program.  The rewards need to “feel” valuable and worth the effort.

    Special Use or “First in Wallet”?

    When a customer applies for a credit card, the key question they are looking to answer is whether the card is used for special purposes or intended to be a “first in wallet” credit card.  Private label cards are designed to be used for special purposes at the retailer in order sometimes to provide a rewards platform (i.e. Target) and usually more importantly to provide purchase financing (i.e. Gap, Appliance Stores).  Knowing when to use co-brand vs. private label products is a subject for a future article.  For a co-brand program, it is important to provide reasons to make the card a first in wallet card.  The first in wallet card generates more profitability (interest, lower loss rate, etc.) as well as more engaged customers at the retailer.

    Three key traits of first in wallet cards:

    • Annual fees are the Holy Grail.  If you can get customers to pay them, they have an incentive to use the card.  If you have a unique hook or benefit that can be tied to an annual fee, the power of the fee is key to engagement; without the hook it is one of the fastest ways to kill a card program.  Traditionally airline programs have been the bastion of sponsored annual fee cards.  Over the last few years the armor has begun to chink with the introduction of First Year Free Annual Fee cards that widen the appeal of airline cards beyond those traditionally willing to pay an annual fee.
    • Low interest rates are also important.  Even transactors who don’t usually pay interest are sensitive to the rate charged.  A high interest rate is important with risk based pricing or where the goal is only to get accidental revolve, usually not the case for most programs and what they aspire to achieve.
    • Strong rewards is not only about earning at the merchant, but also in other categories that helps the card gain usage for everyday purchases.  Capturing items like gas, groceries, and restaurants are important to gaining first in wallet position.  Although these can be expensive categories, they also are the path to overall profitable behavior.

    Are there short term and long term benefits to switching?

    Up front incentives have become a major motivator to encourage credit card switching.  Whether it is 75,000 membership rewards points (with an American Express OPEN Card) or $100 with some Bank of America Programs, these incentives are key to gaining attention of prospects and getting them over the hurdle to use the card. However, they don’t necessarily generate long term behavior.  Developing the right hurdles so that they create ongoing behavior without being confusing or onerous is the challenge.  Since these are usually upfront costs and much larger than the behavioral benefit, they can easily turn a program unprofitable.

    When designing a program, it is important to use this tool carefully.  It can generate accounts, but profitable accounts are the true measure.  Research is useful, but the best way to assess if customer incentives are working is to develop a marketing test that evaluates the impact of more accounts compared to the total cost.  It is the only way to measure whether you are attracting just “gamers” or are meeting the objective of gaining trial from customers who really will become committed to your program.

    Overcoming Inertia

    At the end of the day the improved credit card value proposition won’t make a big difference in your customers’ lives.  That is the unfortunate truth.  A 2% or even 5% reward won’t transform their purchasing power.  A lower interest rate can make a bigger difference, but it doesn’t usually have the scale of savings that a lower mortgage interest rate provides.

    Given that gloomy reality, it might be hard to believe that people switch cards, but they do in droves.  Credit cards are an impulse decision for the most part.  By creating a simple, clear, and valuable credit card you can generate both trial and usage.  However, it’s important to note that this is a major project and needs to be addressed as such.

    The contextual relevance of the offer (i.e. Amazon in checkout), linked with a valuable offer (Amazon shows the cost after the incentive), and speed (can easily apply) can generate all important trial.  In retail as well as online channels, the speed, relevance, and upfront value can help to overcome inertia. 

     What should you do?

    When developing or refreshing you co-brand program make sure you understand your customer, their alternatives, and what behaviors you are trying to drive.  With these in mind it is possible to develop the product to win with your target cardholders and become first in wallet.  This isn’t a simple process, but all important.

    Many people ask what credit card I use.  For most of my purchasing I use the Fidelity American Express Card (2% back) and the Fidelity Visa Signature Card (1.5% up to $15,000 and then 2%).  While I must disclose that Fidelity is a Partner Advisors client, the value proposition we helped create drove the decision.  It was striking when I did the math to see how much the value of the spend is in real dollars, but also how small the 0.5% difference in rewards is.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • The Key is Under the Mat

    From a purely financial perspective, memorable service may seem hard to justify. In a call center environment, we are often taught to minimize call length in order to contain costs. Efficient transactions are the trend, but what is sacrificed in terms of quality? What is the value of a human touch that can relate to your customers?

    Let me tell you a true story that’s a great case study for memorable service.

    An elderly travel customer wanted a copy of her itinerary for her trip from chilly Tennessee to West Meyers, Florida the following week.

    In St. Louis, Deb, a Senior Travel Consultant, answered the customer’s call and began preparing to email the itinerary. But before she could send it, there was a crash and Deb remarked, “That didn’t sound good.” The customer didn’t reply. There was silence on the other end of the line.

    With quick thinking, Deb and her colleagues looked up the number for the local police in Tennessee and alerted them to the possible emergency.

    Officers were quickly dispatched while the team in St. Louis stayed on the line, trying to re-establish communication with the customer.

    Still on the line, the customer, who had fallen in her kitchen, was slowly regaining consciousness. But the phone was out of her reach. The team could hear her screaming that her arm was broken. As she realized that the team was still on the line, she began yelling out numbers. Deb and her coworkers realized that she was giving them a phone number.  However, when they dialed the number, there was no answer so they left a message.

    Meanwhile after 25 minutes on icy Tennessee roads, the police and paramedics arrived at the customer’s home, but the door was locked. Through the phone, the team in St. Louis could hear the customer yelling that the key was under the mat, but the police kept banging on the door. The team realized that the police couldn’t hear the customer. So, remaining on the line, the team placed another call to the police department to tell the officers on the scene that the key was under the mat.

    That message got through quickly and within minutes, the police and paramedics were inside helping the customer.

    That evening, the contact center received a call from the customer’s daughter-in-law. Her father-in-law had planned this trip, but he had passed away within the last three weeks. The daughter-in-law added that a day or two may have gone by before she or her husband would have called to check in on her mother-in-law. The family was most grateful for the action the travel service team had taken.

    “The key is under the mat.” It’s a phrase that close neighbors or family might say to one another. It’s a phrase that grants access—an invitation to enter a home, to visit or to assist. It says, “I trust you. I know I can depend on you. You are an important part of my life.” 

    Understanding the deeper meaning of this simple phrase reveals the wonderful metaphor it is for memorable service. It communicates how we should take care of our customers—how we should assist them. Properly understood, it gives us the key to creating value and emotional loyalty. While it may look different for different businesses, the common thread will be customer loyalty that transcends concerns such as price and results in customers becoming advocates for a brand.

    Obviously, not all service calls are as memorable as Deb’s, but all service should be. Deb went above and beyond to help a customer with a medical emergency. She and the company she represents will be long remembered for that. But the key to memorable service is not in responding well in a crisis, but in responding well every single day.

    Setting aside the remarkable circumstances of that situation, let’s consider the original reason for the call—the request for service—from the customer’s perspective. The trip she wants to take is not merely about flying to Florida. No, her trip could be a chance to collect seashells with her sister’s children or to reconnect over dinner with lifelong friends. Perhaps she’s going to the wedding of her first grandchild.

    The opportunity to serve and assist customers with these life events is never simply about the nuts and bolts of accomplishing a booking or making a reservation. It’s about the moments that our customers will experience.

    And that all sounds great, but can customers really associate your brand with these kinds of memorable experiences?

    In fact, they can and do. A growing body of research shows that this “brand bonding” is evidence-based, not merely marketers’ wishful thinking. Consider recent findings from the Journal of Consumer Research, mentioned in Marketing News, the American Marketing Association’s magazine: “Brands ‘extend the self’ and become powerfully linked to their users’ psyches at deeply emotional levels… Humans, after all, are not merely rational, functional beings. Emotions are fundamental to who we are. Objects, possessions, and, yes, brands, often engage our emotions in ways that bind us to these inanimate targets. Consider heirlooms, souvenirs, gifts, special locations, celebrities and sports teams. These can become imbued with personal meaning, memories and feelings that transcend the ‘object’ itself… Deep attachments form.”

    What we’re talking about here is brand love and active endorsement—true advocacy.

    Think about your business. Are you valuable to your customers? Does your level of service inspire their trust and dedication to the point that they will give you access to the key that is under their mat?

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • Are you looking for a gig or a client?

    "Succeed" is in the eye of the beholder...

    Most likely to hit a home run

    Most likely to please my boss

    Most likely to do the work

    Most likely to work for free

    Most likely to stick it out

    Most likely to change everything

    Most likely to be trustworthy

    Most likely to attract attention 

    Most likely to be invisible

    Most likely to be worth it

    There are many versions of most likely to succeed. When you're looking for a gig or a client, the category you are placed in by those that choose is up to you. And no category = invisible.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • When selling online a picture isn’t just worth a 1000 words – it’s worth 1000’s of sales. This thought holds true for every picture you post on your website. As the old Nike slogan goes, “Image is Everything”, and nowhere is this more true than online.

    The images your website uses are among the first things that affect whether or not a site visitor is going to continue exploring your site or leave. This is even more important at the product level where the sale is being made. If your product images are less than desirable, so is the perception of your product offerings.

    With today’s technology, providing excellent product images shouldn’t be any problem. Digital cameras can take thousands of photos that are ready for immediate use in the attempt of capturing the perfect image. Also, if the perfect photo isn’t quite perfect it can usually be made so with some crafty image editing software. Sometimes all it takes is a little cropping and brightening to turn an image from blah to buy!

    Keep in mind that the better the quality of your product photos, the more confidence you provide your potential customers to follow though and make a purchase. If applicable, provide additional photos of other colors or designs available and alternate views.

    In some cases, taking a picture of an item yourself may be impossible or simply impractical. If this is the case, ask your suppliers if they can provide you with images for your website. Most manufacturers have professionally done web ready images available simply for the asking.

    Remember, on the web your product images can make the difference between getting the sale and losing it. Make sure you’re making the right impression with all of your product images and converting your site visitors from shoppers to buyers!

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • Lowering the price is a one-directional, single-axis choice. Either it's cheaper or it's not.

    At first, the process of lowering your price involves smart efficiencies. It forces hard choices that lead to better outcomes.

    Over time, though, in a competitive market, the quest for the bottom leads to brutality. The brutality of harming your suppliers, the brutality of compromising your morals and your mission. Someone else is always willing to go a penny lower than you are, and to compete, your choices get ever more limited.

    The problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win. Even worse, you might come in second.

    To cut the price a dollar on that ebook or ten dollars on that plane ticket (discounts that few, in the absence of comparison, would notice very much) you have to slash the way things are edited, or people are trained or safety is ensured. You have to scrimp on the culture, on how people are treated. You have to be willing to be less caring or more draconian than the other guy.

    Every great brand (even those with low prices) is known for something other than how cheap they are.

    Henry Ford earned his early success by using the ideas of mass production and interchangeable parts in a magnificent race to the most efficient car manufacturing system ever. But then, he and his team learned that people didn't actually want the cheapest car. They wanted a car they could be proud of, they wanted a car that was a bit safer, a bit more stylish, a car built by people who earned a wage that made them contributors to the community.

    In the long run, to be the cheapest is a refuge for people who don't have the flair to design something worth paying for, who don't have the guts to point to their product or their service and say, "this isn't the cheapest, but it's worth it."

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  • If you’ve read any of our previous blog posts you’re probably starting to pick up on a theme; being successful online takes effort. As a matter of fact, building a thriving ecommerce business takes the same amount of hard work and discipline as building any other business, if not more so.

    The following tips will help you to grow your ecommerce business into a success if you apply them on a constant basis.

    • Plan ahead for everything – It isn’t uncommon for a lot of ecommerce companies to miss significant selling opportunities due to not being ready ahead of time. This being the case, everything should be planned at least three months in advance. This includes seasonal promotions, product offerings, PPC and SEO campaigns, site design elements, etc.
    • Make continuous improvements to your site – Many online businesses start with an incredible amount of enthusiasm only to fizzle out due to unrealistic expectations. Once your online store is up and running this isn’t the time to sit back and see what happens. This approach is guaranteed for failure. In order to be successful online, you need to apply the same mentality of the major players of constantly improving and growing your website. Keep in mind that search engines as rule like larger sites and they thrive on quality content. With this said, make getting big fast and continually growing your content resources a top priority.
    • Keep it real – Some business people still view the internet as something different from their physical business locations. In other words, they think it’s OK to do things online that they wouldn’t do in the real world such as questionable marketing tactics to generate sales. Contrary to the “old school” way of thinking, your web presence is just as important, if not more important, than your physical business location. In today’s wired world, most potential customers will find you via the internet opposed to driving by your business or finding you in the yellow pages. If your online presence is not coming across as the most reputable and professional in your field, your competitors are only a click away.
    • Promote, promote, and promote some more – If you are not actively working on marketing your online business every day, the odds of success are not in your favor. Like any business, you don’t set up a store, load it with products, and wait for something to happen… This methodology does not work in the traditional retail world and it will not work online either. Any successful online business is constantly marketing their site 24 hours a day 365 days a year. In addition to online marketing methods such as SEO and PPC marketing, think about other things you can do such as sending out flyers and bumper stickers with your orders. Having strong email signatures that promote your business. Using signage on your physical locations and vehicles. The options are endless, and the more you market your business – the more successful it will be.
    • Don’t scare customers away – Have you ever visited a website, found their offers interesting, and then they got too nosy? You’ve seen these sites that want your zip code, your email address, etc. before providing any of the information you want. If you’re like most people you simply leave. With this said, if you apply such tactics, your potential customers will do the same. Don’t ask your customers to provide more information than necessary and by all means do not force them to set up an account to shop with you. This may have worked in the past, but today’s online shoppers aren’t going to do this as easily, which will result in lost sales for your business.
    • Be the expert in your industry – The quickest way to gain ground on your competition, online or off, is by being an expert. However, this is even more so the case online where people are seeking information on products and services before making a purchase. Now, if you were a consumer and a site attracted you with the informational content you were looking for, and they also offered the product for sale, this would be a double win since these folks know what they’re talking about and they sell exactly what you want or need. This comes back to what was said earlier about making continuous improvements and maximizing your content opportunities. Simply showing a little picture with a blurb of text about your offering is not going to put you in a competitive position with leaders in your industry that offer online instruction manuals, lists of complementing products and accessories, additional product views, detailed product specs, etc.
    • If you don’t know ask – If you feel your website isn’t living up to its potential, your marketing isn’t effective, or you aren’t applying strategic site development that works – by all means ask a professional for help. Sometimes all it takes is a minor change to make a website more successful and in other cases it may require setting up a new site that is up-to-date to compete in today’s online savvy world. Remember there’s no shame in asking for help, especially if doing so saves your business money and increases your online sales.

    The above principles should be a major part of your core thought processes and actions on a daily basis. Again, you can’t win in ecommerce without commitment, planning and continuous effort. If you’re not sure where to begin let us know. We can help you get started in the right direction.

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  • Three-Words Mantra of B2B

    If you sell to businesses, you're either calling on unsuccessful companies, who are panicking and afraid and don't have a lot of resources to spend on new things...

    Or you're selling to successful businesses. And in those organizations, most people walk around with a three-word mantra imprinted on their arm: Don't blow it.

    Far more points are awarded to people who keep things moving and defend the status quo. If you're the gambler, the one who risked and failed, well, it's understood at many places that this isn't good, that you're at risk and off the track.

    So, the story that resonates more often than not is a story that's built around those three words. 

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • Between 15 to 30 billion web pages are online today (Pandia Search Engine News). This huge population is largely due to the wide variety of “site building” tools available on the market.

    Today, anyone with access to the Internet can build a website. In a crowd like that, most websites come and go without anyone noticing. Building a website that has the potential to be successful is another story…

    Most websites fail due to the following reasons:

    • Poor planning: Many companies set up a website without a clear idea of what they want to achieve, and in doing so achieve nothing. Like the old saying goes, “no one plans to fail, they fail to plan.” Before putting effort into developing a website, you should have a clear understanding of your goals, such as increasing company sales by a specific percentage, or developing a larger email marketing list.
    • Website designers don’t know anything about marketing or converting visitors into buyers. Remember, it doesn’t matter how pretty your website looks if it doesn’t achieve your desired goals.
    • Marketers don’t know anything about design. The web isn’t a marketing platform such as television or radio. Therefore, most traditional marketing efforts are often ineffective on the Internet. Marketers are finally starting to catch up to the fact that well done web design can significantly affect their bottom lines.
    • Poor website development and code problems. Most anyone can go out and purchase website design software at the local office supply store. However, building a site that’s structurally sound on the inside (the code you can’t see) and good looking on the outside isn’t an easy task. Not only is this problematic from a web development perspective, but search engines have a tendency not to rank poorly constructed websites very high in the natural search results, if they even index them at all.
    • Lack of effective promotion. Many sites are built in the hopes that someday traffic and sales will come…and they never do. Largely in part due to not taking serious steps in their search engine optimization and search engine marketing efforts. There’s a reason why the most successful companies hire professionals to do this work. If it was easy they wouldn’t need to do this.

    Consider these points a basic compass to review your existing website or your website development ideas. Do you have a clear plan? Is your design and marketing in sync? Is your website code well built and free of critical errors? Are you effectively promoting your website? If you can answer 100% yes to all of these questions, you’re on the right track.

    If not, you should find a professional that can help you get started in the right direction.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • What Causes Procrastination? How It Can Kill Sales

    Ever have the feeling you’re expending more energy and time avoiding a task instead of actually diving in and doing it?

    I get a lot done, but I am a master of putting things off. I have an email sitting in my inbox about an offer that I’m keep telling myself I will look into. Oh, it’s from February.

    Procrastination is an ailment that debilitates salespeople. Not only does it create guilt and anxiety about not getting things done, it obviously pulls down sales results.

    What causes procrastination?

    Fear of failure, and/or of success, says Jane Burka, author of “Procrastination: Why You Do It; What to Do About It,” Regarding the fear of failure, she says that it’s more acceptable to believe you’ve failed to reach a goal by putting it off, than to believe you lacked the ability to reach it.

    Conversely, there’s the fear of success. Some salespeople put off prospecting, since they feel that by reaching and beating sales goals, they’ll be expected to exceed higher ones each month. They’d rather not face the new demands success can bring.

    Here are some ways to  deal with procrastination:

    Use power-blocking. Break your calling day into 45-minute, one-hour, or other segments that work for you. Take breaks in bet­ween.  And do nothing during your power blocks but call.

    Don’t putz away time talking to other sales people. They  won’t buy anything from you.

    Break huge tasks into manageable chunks. Opening an entire new territory could seem like a Goliath-sized task. But slicing it down into a series of bite-sized morsels makes the mountain easier to scale.

    Schedule unpleasant duties for your own “up time.”  Those parts of the day when your energy level is the highest. It’s easy to procrastinate when vigor is dragging, so find easy, mundane tasks to do during those times.

    Don’t anticipate how prospects will respond. Often, procrastination is a result of saying, “Oh, this person won’t buy. I know they’re from someone else who is cheaper than us. They wouldn’t be interested, I won’t call them.” Most successful reps realize that by simply calling instead, they’re pleasantly surprised.

    Schedule a specific time for tasks you’d usually rather avoid. For example, setting aside Wednesday morning as Prospecting Morning can provide the impetus to dive right in.

    Don’t let unpleasant jobs age and pile up. Just like rotten food, the longer it sets, the more foul it becomes, and the more you avoid it. Do these tasks the first thing in the morning. You’ll feel better knowing that you’ll quickly get them out of the way.

    Make tasks you avoid more pleasant. If you fear prospecting, learn more and better ways of doing it. You’ll boost your confidence, and won’t avoid it.

    Avoid procrastination, do it now, and you’ll watch your production skyrocket!

    Here are some DO IT NOW quotes for you.

    “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
    William B. Sprague

    “Yesterday you said tomorrow. Just do it.”
    Nike

    “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
    Bruce Lee

    “Do Something Now. If not you, who? If not here, where? If not now, when?”  
    Theodore Roosevelt

    “Well begun is half done.”
    Aristotle

    “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
    Walt Disney

    ”Everything you could have been, all the accolades you could have won and all the achievements that have been nagging about, didn’t happen for one reason only. You procrastinated.”  
    Unknown

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  • What Customers Want: More Privacy

    The business model of the early internet was all about collecting eyeballs. No, I’m not thinking about an outtake from the latest episode of Criminal Minds, I’m referring to building a gigantic audience and driving advertising rates on a website based on the total of all the “eyeballs” visiting the site.

    The current wave of business models from online entrepreneurs is heavily reliant on data. Eyeballs are still important, but collecting personal data from visitors and tracking their browsing behavior is the path to monetization favored by most.

    Facebook reminded us how important customer data is to its business model when it recently changed its data collection policy.  In doing so, Facebook advised its 1.2 Billion plus “monthly active users” that it will now collect data on other sites its users visit as well as activity on smartphones to supplement profile data and whatever they learn from hitting the “Like” button. The outcome of expanding what Facebook knows about its users is presumably to lead to increased ad rates through sale of the data to advertisers.

    The recent changes in data collection practices at Facebook tells us that the smartest minds in the company are highly convinced of the need to gather increasing levels of data about its users to sustain its business model, even maybe pressing up against the borders of its 2011 settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

    The fascinating subplot to the evolving big data play online is recently surfacing survey information indicating consumers either don’t care about or actively dislike the use of targeted ads by business.

    76% of responders to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports said that it was “little or no value to them” that advertisers display on the websites they visit or the apps they user.

    The great paradox of modern advertising is that the tactic most valuable to advertisers, and most essential to the progression of their business models, seems to be dismissed by consumers as something that doesn’t change their behavior and may even be perceived to be a threat to their personal security.

    It seems that in the rush to advance its business model, the one thing Facebook overlooked is whether their new practice is something amenable to its users. While users don’t exactly pay the bills at Facebook, they do fill the tank with data so valuable to advertisers. Facebook would be well advised to not do anything to punch a hole in the bottom of that tank.

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  • “Words, wielded wisely, can be a powerful instrument of seduction. The key, however, is making your inferences subtle. Consider the five make-or-break romantic situations below.”
    I”m taking each of their romantic scenarios–except one–changing them into sales situations more appropriate for this newsletter, and then paraphrasing their rationale as to why they work.
    (Again, you can see the original graphic I’ve posted from the magazine here.

    The Situation: You’re asking for an appointment for a face-to-face meeting.
    Don’t Say: “Want to get together on Thursday?”
    Try: “Want to get together so I can show you exactly how this system would cut down on the duplicate tasks you are now performing in your shipping process?”

    Why it Works: Eve Mark, author of Flirtspeak, says that unlike a “blank proposal,” a question like this puts the listener in the moment, and creates an experience he or she can visualize.

    Agreed. It is always easier for someone to say yes to the potential value they might experience, as opposed to the simple act of “getting together,” which they instead might associate with wasting time.

    The Situation: You want the prospect to do an online demo.
    Don’t Say: “Let’s go through an online demo.”
    Try: “Let’s go through an online demo because it will show you precisely how the software will integrate with your existing process.”
    Why it Works: The magic is in the “because.” Dr. Kevin Hogan, author of Irresistible Attraction, says “People comply 66% more often when they hear a phrase with ‘because’ in it.”
    This is the same principle at work when we do Social Engineering, which is asking questions of people other than the decision maker in order to gather sales intelligence. We call it the “justification statement.”

    For example, let’s say you reach an admin in the buyer’s department, after identifying yourself and company you’d say,

    “I’m going to be speaking with Ms. Bigg, and I want to be sure that what I’ll be discussing would be relevant. I’d appreciate your help with a few questions.”

    Or, “I’m going to be calling Mr. Byer  and want to be certain that what we have would be of interest to him. There’s some information you could help me with…”

    The Situation: You want the prospect to move forward with the sale.
    Don’t Say: “I want you to move forward with the order.”
    Try: “Can you imagine how many more qualified prospects this program will generate for your sales reps?”
    Why it Works: Reframing your desire as a question (especially one with a benefit) forces him/her to think about it, says Dr. Hogan. “The sensory word ‘imagine’ reinforces the visual picture.”
    The Situation: You want a customer to upgrade to a higher-priced premium option.
    Don’t Say: “Does the Premium Option interest you?”
    Try: “Let’s try the option where you get the highest level of support and free updates that others have to pay for.”
    Why it Works: Words like “try” and “maybe” give the listener a chance to say yes without feeling pressured, says Dr. Narissa Carter, a communications professor at Texas Tech University.

    OK, there was one more example in the article, that, unless you sell food, I couldn’t come up with an appropriate sales example. It involved the word “taste.” Check out the infographic from the magazine and let me know if you can develop one. These are all great suggestions. To really get the most out of this, I recommend taking a pen and paper and examine each situation. Then adapt them to your own sales scenarios. Or life scenarios for that matter.
    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • We pointed out that shopping cart abandonment averages as high 78 percent. However, a recent study by McAfee has found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of online shoppers who abandon their carts come back within a day or more to complete the purchase.

    Study shows more than 150 million online transactions identified the following reasons why online shoppers often delay purchases after placing items in their shopping carts:

    • Brand Recognition: Well-known brands experience shorter purchase delays than lesser-known brands since shoppers will often research lesser-known brands before making a purchase.
    • Competition: If items being sold are in a highly competitive market, it will take more time for shoppers to come back and complete the purchase since they want to shop around before finalizing their order. On the other hand, items that are unique or harder to find will experience quicker order completions.
    • Information Gathering: Online shoppers often add items to the shopping cart so they can easily purchase them later if they want and also to find out what’s required from them in the checkout process.
    • Price: Higher priced items will usually take longer to lead to a completed order since shoppers will often want to think more before committing to making an expensive online purchase.

    Although the information found by McAfee is highly insightful, online retailers should study their own abandonment and conversion numbers very closely – and not simply hope shoppers that abandon their carts will come back. In other words, you should always be looking for improvements to your site’s content and offerings to reduce your cart abandonment rate.

    When was the last time you analyzed your site’s cart abandonment and conversion rates? With the holiday shopping season literally around the corner, this is information you should be looking at and taking action on immediately.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • Clearly, something has to change in an increasingly global marketplace — one in which customers expect personal, immediate and satisfactory customer experiences. Traditional solutions for business process management (BPM) and customer relationship management (CRM) create workflows and processes, but they can’t effectively handle today’s myriad requests, employees, systems, and workloads. As a result, gaps prevent managers from effectively and efficiently assigning tasks and monitoring performance against their specific business metrics.

    Enterprise Workload Management (EWM) addresses the business need for the intelligent assignment and monitoring of work based on skills, availability, service levels, and priority. CRM, ERP and BPM tools are designed to automate the capture and forwarding of work: BPM systems manage the volume and complexity of customer requests and move data among systems, while CRM and ERP solutions help users leverage data to deliver business results. But none of these manage workloads, workforces or workflows, matching people to processes and information based on their skills, knowledge and availability. With EWM, you can understand which workers are available, where they are, what skills they possess, what pending work they have, and any existing priorities they need to focus on first.

    That intersection of people, data and processes are key: in today’s fast-paced business environment — in which contact center agents must juggle multiple tasks, access reams of back-office information, and leverage the knowledge and expertise of line-of-business employees in real time.

    And the results of using EWM can be dramatic:  Imagine a customer service operation in which each and every agent is performing to maximum effect – rather than cherry-picking customer calls, each rep answers the ones that are funneled to him based on his unique expertise and experience. Instead of performing to average response times, each agent handles customer interactions as quickly and efficiently as she personally can. Every agent is armed with the information and access he needs to deliver first-contact resolution, as well as handle cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.

    In the real world, companies are seeing significant EWM impact: An insurance company implementing the Genesys Enterprise Workload Management solution improved average response to customer requests from an average of 21 tasks per day handled by each worker to 36 tasks per day, an improvement of more than 58 percent. Likewise, a large bank is using just 560 employees to finish work that previously required 1,000, nearly doubling productivity; and a communication service provider increased productivity by 16 percent to 32 percent across provisioning and support teams.

    Today’s customer expects whomever he is interacting with to know everything about him and his relationship with the business; but he also expects contact center agents to be knowledgeable about this particular problem, and empowered to solve it then and there. By optimizing workload assignments and prioritizations, enterprise workload management solutions ensure that every customer experience is supported by an agent with the right skills at the right time, thereby lowering customer effort scores and increasing overall customer satisfaction, as well as driving productivity throughout the organization.

    For more on the benefits of enterprise workload management, and why back office productivity is so important to a successful contact center, check out the Genesys webinar on the Top 5 Plays to Improve your Back Office Productivity for 2014. Genesys has outlined key strategies and capabilities that will help you provide your customers with a consistent ‘end-to-end experience’, increase operational efficiency and boost employee morale.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • Tim Russert's Eternal Sales Lessons

    I never met Tim Russert, but having spent many hours watching him on Meet the Press and other news and interview shows, I certainly felt like I knew him well.

    It’s amazing how Tom Brokaw maintained his composure when he announced Tim’s death, and delivered subsequent tributes. I certainly didn’t.

    Part of Tim’s popularity was how lots of "regular" people identified with him. Growing up in a a blue-collar, Catholic, hard-working family and neighborhood, holding down several jobs throughout high school and college…and then competing for real-world jobs with the more "privileged" people. I experienced the exact same things.

    He was the regular guy many of us would like to sit at the bar with and talk football, baseball, hockey, and politics. Those ARE the guys I hang with.

    From a professional perspective, I always marveled at how he could take something seemingly complex at times and bring it to an understandable level.

    That’s what we need to do as well as salespeople.

    For months in my "idea file" I have had an outline of a Tip about Tim I had planned to write about…something he was a master at. I have mentioned it many times at seminars. I’ll share it with you now.

    The Principle of Consistency
    He’d get a guest to answer a tough question, then pause, and spring a video on them, where they were shown maybe a few years prior, contradicting the answer they just had given. The senator or candidate would then squirm and have to defend why the things they said were not consistent.

    But of course, he didn’t do it in an adversarial way. You always just wondered why the person said what they did.

    In the science of persuasion this is known as the "Principle of Consistency." Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of "Influence: Science and Practice," says that most people desire to remain consistent to beliefs and commitments they have previously stated.

    You can use this as well on your sales and prospecting calls.

    The first step is in crafting and asking questions to prompt prospects and customers to tell you what they value, want, and need. The things you provide, of course.

    For example, in my own case, I might ask,

    "What is the main factor preventing your salespeople from selling at full price?"

    If they answer, "A lack of confidence in asking for full price in a competitive environment because they do not know the right questions to ask to build value," I would then ask how much money they felt they were leaving on the table.

    After establishing a figure to "dollarize" the problem or pain, I would employ the Principle of  Consistency in the following ways.

    …In The Sales Recommendation
    I preface my explanation of the benefits with what they had said, therefore framing my comments with their own words, and putting them in a more receptive frame of mind to hear, and agree with my recommendation.

    "…and as you had mentioned earlier, you feel your reps need to be asking better questions to establish value, which in turn will give them more confidence to ask for and get full price. Here’s exactly how we would do that…"

    …As a Trial Close
    After the recommendation, we want to move toward the ultimate commitment, the sale, appointment, or next step. By again using their words, they are less likely to disagree.

    "Do you feel that would help your reps ask the right questions to build value? Would that help you to keep more of the profits you’re leaving on the table?"

    …If an Objection Arises
    If they state an objection, perhaps price, we need to understand why they say what they do, and in this case, reframe the value.

    "That’s interesting. Let’s go back and address what you said was really preventing your salespeople from selling at full price. It was asking the right questions, right?"

    Think of ways you can use the Principle of Consistency in your own calls.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.

     

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  • Reduce Customer Effort with Proactive Web Chat

    Today, billions of global internet users are driving growth in digital sales, support and customer service. As these customers surf the web, they are increasingly looking to connect and chat with the companies from whom they purchase products and services.

    As this rise in digital channel usage continues, the dangers of negative word-of-mouth are greatly amplified by the Internet and the power of social networks. Depending on the industry, each time a bad customer experience occurs, the affected customer is likely to tell between five and 10 people they know. Research also shows that as many as 50% of your customers may actually be experiencing problems, even though you may hear from only five percent of them.

    Be Proactive – When the Time is Right!

    There’s no doubt that online customer engagement and assistance needs to be easy, quick and efficient. But, did you know that live web chat has some of the highest customer satisfaction rates of all customer service channels? If you are not providing proactive web chat today, you are missing out on opportunities to engage with visitors to your web site.

    However, web chat invitations should be offered in such a way that the customer is carefully selected and does not feel offended, annoyed or discouraged to further explore your website.

    Reduce Customer Effort and Improve the Customer Experience

    Proactive chat makes it significantly easier to manage a customer conversation that may stretch across time and multiple touchpoints. Proactive chat solutions that leverage business rules enable you to make real-time customer engagement decisions based on context. In short, you can engage customers at the right moment and with the right representative to achieve the following:

    • Respond quickly to web visits with experienced agents via chat to walk customers through their options or pivot to a co-browsing session when needed.
    • Reduce customer confusion by providing a human resource to answer questions and guide them through their journey to complete their goal.
    • Increase trust through a relevant, low pressure personal touch that is focused on educating and assisting the customer. The agent acts as the trusted advisor.

    If you’d like to learn more about reducing customer effort on the web, check out Genesys Proactive Chat for Customer Service. You’ll discover how you can now manage personalized online assistance decisions, map those decisions to individual customer journeys, and share progress information across communication channels.

    The results can come in the form of a dramatic decrease in customer effort, while significantly improving overall customer experience.

    ARTICLE SOURCE: This factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.
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  • Traffic was never an issue for you until one day “BAM!”, your site traffic drops. Your once bustling online store is quieter than a ghost town. Potential customers have suddenly disappeared and you’re left with an online store with no customers. Where did your traffic go? How do you get your customers back? Today we’re sharing 7 strategies to implement when your website traffic drops.

    If you already use Google Analytics, you have access to demographics of your visitors. If you do not already have Google Analytics, set it up today. It provides statistics like percentage of returning vs new visitors, bounce rate and referrals source which will help you decide which strategies to implement.

    1) Improve Your SEO

    If majority of your traffic originated from organic searches, Google’s new search algorithm may be penalizing your site for making one or more of these SEO mistakes. After addressing one … or many of these issues, submit a reconsideration request. You can also submit your updated URL to other site engines like Bing and Dmoz to increase traffic. Prepare for Google to re-index your site by updating your Meta descriptions. They should not only describe your online store but be enticing enough to draw customers in. Next, generate a new site map, which outlines the layout of your website (from the PrestaShop Back Office, Google Sitemap Module, Configure, Generate Sitemap.)

    2) Drive Traffic with Social Media

    Your online store should have at least one social media account, preferably the one your target customers engage with the most. Not sure which is best? Check out these demographics of social media users put together by PewResearch. After setting up an account, your first order of business it to complete your profile. Your profile should include an appropriate and relevant profile picture as well as a link back to your store. Check out PrestaShop’s Twitter Account for an example! Be sure to contribute relevant information on a regular basis and occasionally promote your products.

    3) Leverage Content Marketing

    Have you set up a blog for your online store? Get started by reading our previous blog post about content marketing for ecommerce. The important takeaway? Content marketing is a strategy that takes time and dedication. To successfully run and maintain a blog, you must write good and relevant content. Here’s a look at how content marketing drives traffic:

    Already using content marketing? Here are 3 tasks to take on today.

    1. Set up Google+ Authorship (to have an author image appear next to your article)
    2. Incorporate color, images and headers tags (such as <h1> )
    3. Use relevant keywords
      • Here’s sample text for an online store selling pens:
        1. Bad: I enjoy selling products online *no keywords used
        2. Very Bad: I enjoy selling pen, pens, cheap pens, blue pens, and personalized pens online. *keyword stuffing
        3. Good: I enjoy selling pens online *specifying with relevant keywords

    4) Reach Out to Customers

    Email customers to get feedback about your site and suggestions for improvements. Try questions like:

    • “What are your first impressions of our website?”
    • “On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your experience?”
    • “How can we improve our online store?”

    For more examples check out SurveyMonkey’s Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Respect your customer’s time by keeping response times to 5 minutes. Focus your attention on Problems and issues that are often repeated. Also, give customers an incentive to provide feedback by offering an online gift certificate. By doing so, you also drive traffic to your online store.

    5) Share Your Knowledge

    What are you a self-proclaimed expert at? What need does your online store fulfill? Think of questions potential customers may ask. Then find those customers on forums and answer their questions and suggest an appropriate product.

    An example for online stores:

    Retailer: PrestaShop Jewelry Store (Harry Fay)
    Sample Question: What to get my girlfriend for her birthday?
    Sample Answer:
    “Necklaces are a good choice as they’re easier for guys to choose.
    If she already wears necklace, get a similar one.
    Here are two completely different ones that I quickly found.
    Owl Necklace
    Heart Necklace
    Good luck. I know how difficult it is to find presents.”

    Also, check out how our Community Manager promoted PrestaShop for the best ecommerce solution on Quora:

    6) Start a PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising Campaign

    Run an online advertising campaign on search engine affiliated advertising networks like Google AdWords and Yahoo Bing Ads. Both platforms offer similar functionalities like daily max budgets, Geo location targeting and campaign analytics. Start by determining the budget for your advertising campaign. Next, create a list of keywords or terms that potential customers might search. Finally, write the copy for your ads and start your campaigns. Keep in mind that these two factors drive up the cost of your ads 1) non relevant keywords and 2) the popularity of a keyword.

    Aside from PPC Ads, there are many other ways to advertise online. Some examples include Facebook Ads, Promoted Pins, and even through affiliate marketing on ShareASale.

    7) Upgrade Your Online Store

    Invest in your online store to improve visitors’ user experience. Where exactly should you invest your time? Start by analyzing your site with Google’s Page Speed Insights. The results give you a report with problem areas segmented by a mobile and desktop views. Address mobile/ responsive issues by upgrading to PrestaShop 1.6. If you’re not sure how to make those changes, consider hiring a PrestaShop certified web developer.

    Other upgrades to consider include:

    • Upgrading hosting to increase site speed
    • Increasing your advertising budget
    • Purchasing mistyped URLs (Such as www.PrestaShop.net for www.PrestaShop.com)

    Which of these strategies will you consider implementing? Try it out and let us know how it works!

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  • It’s Masters week, the week that most of us golf geeks look forward to all year. What’s really cool about the TV telecast is the number of commercials are limited to just four minutes per hour, as opposed to the normal 12 or so for regular tournaments.

    I find most TV commercials really stupid. I can’t believe that supposedly smart executives actually pay for some of the ridiculous TV ads. If I see the guy sitting at the kindergarten table asking little kids questions again might head might explode.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I do enjoy golf-related commercials. I saw one for Ping, the golf club company. The theme of the commercial was how Ping built its fine reputation by always asking, “How?”
    HOW could they make a better putter?

    HOW could they make golf more enjoyable with their equipment?

    That’s when I dragged my rear out of the chair, grabbed a pen and started scribbling lots of ways that we as salespeople can use “how” with our prospects and customers.

    A few points on these questions:

    -I’ve grouped these questions into categories, but you’ll see that many of them are interchangeable.

    -They’re not in a particular order, although some could be used as good follow-up questions in response to their answers to a previous question.

    -Also keep in mind that you wouldn’t necessarily use just “how” questions exclusively. Mix in the Who, What, Where, and Why questions.

    -As you read them, think about how you can use and/or adapt these for your own calls. Better yet, take notes.

    -This list is not all-inclusive. Matter of fact, how about YOU adding one or more of your favorite “how” questions below in the comments?

    Oh, and remember, the most important thing about questioning is that you LISTEN to their answers, use the information, and react accordingly.

     

    FACT-GATHERING AND QUALIFYING QUESTIONS

    How do you get new business?

    How could you get more?

    How could we help you get more?

    How do you plan on achieving your sales goals this year?

    How does the purchasing process work at your business?

    How are decisions like these typically made?

    How is money normally budgeted?

    How did you make the decision last time?

    How could you use our product/service?

    How did you select the previous vendor?

    How do you evaluate new vendors?

     

    NEED IDENTIFICATION/DEVELOPMENT AND PAIN-ENHANCING QUESTIONS

    How did that work last time?

    How often does that happen?

    How does that affect other departments?

    How are you doing it now?

    How is your situation unique?

    How could it be done better?

    How can we help you do it better?

    How do you see this developing?

    How could it be improved?

    How would you describe your present level of service/satisfaction?

    How are you going to fix the situation?

    How did you handle it last time?

    How does that problem impact other departments?

    How long has it been going on?

    How much does it cost you?

    How much time does it take now?

    How is it being handled now?

    How will you handle it?

    How did you/your employees/your customers react?

    How does that make them feel?

    How does that make you feel?

    How did that happen?

    How will you prevent it from happening again?

    How would you define good service?

    How would you describe …?

    How does poor quality affect the final product?

    How much do you think you would save if that problem was solved?

    How would you use it if you had it?

     

    CLOSING/COMMITMENT QUESTIONS

    How can we make this work?

    How can we make this happen?

    How about starting out with a trial order?

    How can we get approval?

    How would you like to proceed?

    How soon can we get started?

    How about starting now?

    How many do you want to start with?

    How do you see us proceeding?

    How fast will you need this?

    How much will you need to start off with?

    How can we be the ones that you’ll choose?

    How can we be part of the bidding process?

    How do you want to pay for this?

    How do you want this delivered?

     

    ADDRESSING RESISTANCE AND OBJECTIONS

    How much is “too much”?

    How could we solve that?

    How much resistance do you expect internally?

    How can we both make this work?

    How much of an issue is that, really?

    How do we get around this issue?

    How can you/we find the money?

    CUSTOMER SERVICE
    How can I help?

    How can I be of service?

    How could we improve?

    How are we doing?

    How can we change?

    How can we do it better?

    How can I fix it so you’re satisfied?

    How have we done for you?

     

    QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

    How can I change?

    How could I increase my sales and production by 30% this quarter?

    How am I going to reach my goals?

    How should I start?

    What are your HOW questions? Leave them in the comments below.

     

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  • As online retailers have gained more experience over the years, they’re finding that trying to hobble together numerous temporary fixes to their existing websites no longer makes economic sense. In most cases it’s better to simply toss the old site, upgrade their online business to a higher-level ecommerce solution and start with everything tied together correctly.

    It is important to assess your current ecommerce platform on occasion to determine if it’s meeting the needs of your evolving customer base, as well as your internal operations and marketing requirements.

    • Is your current ecommerce solution in a position to evolve your site to double or even triple your online business?
    • Is your site structurally capable of large scale growth and development, while being easy to manage?
    • Is your current ecommerce solution provider a partner that’s there to help you with the growth of your business?
    • Are the components of your current ecommerce solution capable of advanced features, such as integrating with accounting software, or allowing customers to provide product reviews on your site?

    It’s very important that you’re honest with yourself about your current position and your long-term goals. It’s easy to wait until the holiday season to think that you should have taken appropriate actions, but it’s already too late…

    Like some smaller online retailers, you may believe you’ve already gone as far as you can online, which doesn’t make any sense if you stop to think about it. There is always room to develop, improve and grow your business online. You are only limited by your imagination and your current technology.

    If you’re serious about being successful online, it makes functional and economical sense to move your website operations to an integrated ecommerce platform that can handle all of your online sales, management and marketing activities.

    The holiday season is coming up quick. Is your website ready to take full advantage of it?

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