All posts tagged Facebook

6 People Skills You Need to Succeed

6 People Skills You Need to Succeed

Six People Skills You Need to Succeed from the http://dsef.orgThere are many people who are good at what they do, but there are always a few who are exceptionally successful. Often, these individuals are highly successful because they also possess excellent people skills. The good news is that we can learn these skills and make them work for us too. Here are six people skills that will help you succeed:

  1. Learn to be calm and to think clearly. Have you ever seen a mother helping her child who just fell off a bicycle? She is calm and collected. It seems like she has practiced this moment hundreds of times and knows exactly what to do. In life and in business people who can stay calm, think clearly, and act quickly are better able to evaluate the situation and react successfully.
  2. Acquire knowledge and build self-confidence.  Have you ever heard the saying “knowledge is power”? Obtaining knowledge and then using it builds confidence in yourself and in your peers. People want to be around someone who is confident and has a proven record of success.
  3. Develop communication skills and apply them. The key to being a great communicator is being a great listener. Take the time to really listen to people and think about what they have to say before responding. When you genuinely value people’s feelings and ideas, they will reciprocate and feel that they can trust you.
  4. Develop a never give up mentality. There are many stories of people who ultimately became successful simply because they never gave up. People like Thomas Edison, who gave it a thousand tries before developing a working light bulb. His comment on his failures was that he successfully found 999 ways that a light bulb would not work. You must develop the same attitude, even if do not really believe it in the beginning. Practice this attitude until it becomes a part of your own beliefs.
  5. Acquire a win – win attitude. We live in a very competitive society. There is almost always a winner and a loser. But this does not have to be. Especially, when it comes to business, you do not want your customers to feel that you sold them something they did not want. You want them to feel that they purchased a great product/service at a great value and that you helped them. Focus on converting every situations into a win – win for everyone involved and success will be the by-product.
  6. Develop great networking skills and a network of supporters. Find out where your target market is and get involved with their dreams, needs and concerns. Learn how to talk to people and make them feel comfortable. Build relationships based on mutual respect, caring and benefit. The larger your network is, the greater your influence and success.

Most successful people possess all or some of these skills. For some of them these skills came naturally, but for most of them it was learned. Develop and apply these skills to help you succeed in your endeavors. What do you think? Did we leave any people skills out? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment below.

Five Areas of Focus to Generate Sales

Five Areas of Focus to Generate Sales

MP900443105[1]There are many factors that go into the amount of sales you may generate in a given day, week, or month. Sometimes the difference between falling short of your goals and exceeding them is focusing your efforts in the right place. Here are five things to focus on that can help you generate sales:

Focus on:

  1. People. Remember that you are in the people business, so focusing on the individual can greatly increase your chances of closing the deal. Figure out the person’s need or problem to be solved, reasons for hesitation, knowledge of the product or service, etc. Furthermore, remember that these vary widely from person to person. Listen carefully. Get a feel for what makes the person comfortable, and demonstrate your genuine desire to help. Being able to read people quickly takes practice, but will take you a long way on your path to success.
  2. Results rather than effort. You may feel that because you have put in a certain number of hours or a certain amount of heart, that you are doing all the right things to generate sales. However, if your results are less than you’d hoped, all that effort may not be contributing to your success. If something isn’t working, look for different things you can try, and keep adjusting. Keep your results in mind to maintain motivation and continue moving forward.
  3. Creativity. Although you may have a lot of competition in your business, there is only one you. Tap into your individuality to spark some creativity. Don’t be afraid to take more risks because playing it safe all the time may prevent you from learning and growing. For example, the owner of a dancewear shop has an extensive dance and singing background, which she incorporates into her business from time to time. During her slower times of year, she promotes certain items and puts them on special. Any time a customer purchases one such item, he or she is treated to a 30-second serenade by the staff. This seemingly silly practice has gotten the shop lots of attention and even more foot traffic.
  4. Excellence and wowing your clients. A disgruntled client is usually one who won’t return. Make sure you put a great deal of focus on excellence and impressing your clients with your attention to their wants and needs as well as your ability to anticipate and extinguish any problems before they arise. Impressing your clients will keep them loyal and motivate them to recommend you to others.
  5. Asking for the sale. So many people forget this all-important part of selling. You may have a whole strategy in place for making a prospective customer say yes, but none of that will matter if you don’t come out and ask for what you want. If nothing else, posing this obvious question will allow the customer to explain why he or she is saying no. Since each “no” can help you find a yes, don’t pass up the opportunity to hear it. And as is often the case, the customer wants to say yes, but won’t initiate that part of the conversation himself. It’s up to you to get it.

Ultimately, your main focus point should be the prospective customer. Incorporating these points, combined with improving your people skills, can have a profound effect on the sales you generate.

What would you add to our list? Please share your ideas below!

Three Ideas to Improve Your Business Scripts

Three Ideas to Improve Your Business Scripts

Three Ideas to Improve Your Sales Scripts from

It’s no secret that creating a script for a sales pitch or other type of meeting can be extremely helpful. A script can prevent you from forgetting to include important information, can make you feel more prepared, and can increase your confidence. All of these benefits increase your chances of achieving your desired outcomes.  Here are some ideas for making those scripts even better.

  1. Build in time to listen. Much of your presentation probably consists of you doing the talking and the audience doing the listening. However, there should be specific parts of your script where you engage the audience in a way that gets them thinking about something in particular. For example, you might pose a rhetorical question and give them time to silently come up with an answer for themselves. Encourage active listening as much as possible to maintain their attention.
  2.  Include a Q & A session.  A question and answer portion of your script is a wonderful opportunity for you to gauge how effective you have been in presenting your information. The types of questions asked will give you some insight into how the audience perceives your message. Furthermore, a Q & A allows you to clarify important talking points and add new information where appropriate. To maximize the effectiveness of the Q & A, ask the client to be more specific with a question or to explain what is meant by it. This helps others who may have the same type of question in mind.
  3. Allow time for your audience to process the information and provide feedback. Perhaps you can assign a small group activity where your audience breaks off into groups of 2-4 people to discuss a question you’ve posed to them. Doing so allows you to circulate, give each group some individualized attention, listen to feedback, and make suggestions and recommendations. For example, if you are training a batch of new employees on how to handle a difficult customer, consider assigning them a role-playing activity to act out and then discuss its outcome. As you circulate the room, observe each group, interject and guide them when necessary, answer questions as they arise, and offer positive reinforcement. All this increases the likelihood that your audience will get the most out of your message.

To maximize the effectiveness of your scripts, make sure they are well-rounded and allow the audience a variety of ways to engage.

What suggestions do you have for improving scripts? Please share your ideas below!

4 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking

4 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking

Four Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking from http://dsef.orgIf public speaking is a regular part of your role as small business owner, and you are like many people, it may be one of your biggest fears. Fortunately, it does not have to be that way. There a few easy ways to ease your public speaking fears and improve your skills at the same time. Here’s are some things you can do to improve your public speaking:

1      Prepare, prepare, PREPARE! There is almost no worse feeling than being unprepared. If you haven’t done the legwork before a public speaking engagement, you may feel flustered, nervous, and incompetent. These worries will be evident to your audience, so prepare as much as you possibly can. Write down or type out your content, and frequently rehearse using your notes; also, make adjustments where necessary. For example, if you find that you continually lose your place when reading from your notes typed on an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper, switch over to note cards, on which you can write just a few bullets before getting rid of that card. Find a system that works for you. You may also consider recording yourself on video to get a sense of your own body language, and how you appear to others.

2      Show confidence.  This is easier than it may seem, especially if you have adequately prepared. You know the material, you are a successful leader, and you have been given the responsibility to speak in front of a group of people. Take pride in this role by holding your head high, making frequent eye contact, and speaking in a strong, clear voice. Give yourself a positive “pep talk” before going in front of the group, and tell yourself that you are well able to give your speech effectively. What you tell yourself matters!

3      Focus on key points, but provide personal stories to balance them. Your main focus should be on the key points, or main ideas, of your speech. If you nail those, the rest won’t matter as much. However, it is also important to give your audience a way to relate to you personally. So be sure to provide a few personal stories that will illustrate your main points. These are the things that people often walk away with as a result of your talk. So choose 2 or 3 of your main points, and plan a brief story you can tell that will illustrate those points.

4      End with a call to action. You don’t want your speech to fall flat because of a boring conclusion. End with a call to action from the audience. Doing so helps give your speech purpose and drives your point home. For example, if you are speaking to a team of employees about improving customer service, an effective call to action might be, “Ask your next customer for their honest feedback before you let them leave. Then the next, and the next, and so on. Make this your new protocol.” Concluding with a call to action also helps your audience figure out where to start.

With careful preparation, self-reflection, and a firm grasp on the content, public speaking can become yet another skill you master. And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others either in a practice setting or after the real thing. This will help you continuously improve your skills!

What else would you add to our list? Please share your ideas below!

12 Tips for Successful Online Virtual Events

12 Tips for Successful Online Virtual Events

12 Tips for Successful Online Virtual Events from http://dsef.orgWhen was the last time you purchased or sold something online, or hosted an online gathering or meeting? There are many venues and sites out there where you can use to host events, from Facebook to Forums and more. As a business owner, the big questions about virtual events are: How do you get people to come? and How can you encourage people to buy from you once they get there?

Today it seems like everyone is connected on social media, and that makes virtual events more attractive than ever. People don’t have to live in your backyard to participate. However, there are some specific steps you should take to enjoy more successful events. Here are some tips:

  1. Have a clear goal for the event. Will you be looking for sales? Encouraging people to network? Share an opportunity? Be very clear about what you want to happen so that people who come know what to expect.
  2. Invite several ways. Don’t just set up a Facebook Event and forget about it. Text, evite, call (gasp!)…let people hear from you BEFORE you send the official invitation, so that they know that it isn’t just spam. And then send 1 or 2 reminders leading up to the event, including an hour or so before, so people remember to log on.
  3. Make the invitation special and fun. If your event sounds boring they won’t come. So jazz up your invite with some personality, and make sure they know how much fun your event will be.
  4. Special offers. Be prepared to offer a discount, promotion, or other special to encourage attendance. People are more likely to come when there’s something it in for them.
  5. Be brief. Most online events are most successful when they are 30 minutes or less.
  6. Pick up the pace. Online, pace is everything. So be sure to keep things moving with new content and conversation pretty regularly during your event, so people remain engaged.
  7. Make it visual. Images and video clips can help your event remain engaging. Have several of these prepared so you can share them at the right moments during your event.
  8. Don’t overwhelm. If you try to pitch too many products or too many details, chances are you’ll turn off your audience. Instead, focus on a handful of reasonably-priced products or a few well-chosen details and schedule follow-up conversations with those who would like to learn more.
  9. Be social. Make sure you provide plenty of prompts and opportunity for conversation. People are more likely to convert if they are having fun interacting with others.
  10. Provide a call to action. At the end of your event, be sure to provide a clear call to action related to your goal. If you want people to shop, tell them (and offer free shipping if they do so in the next 15 minutes(! If you want people to join, give them a link where they can do it. But be sure to ask for what you want, and provide an incentive to do it within the next 15 minutes.
  11. Get their contact information. Online events are a wonderful way to make new connections, but be sure to follow up! The personal connection you can make with people comes after the online event is over. So send a message to each attendee asking if they have any questions, offering help based on conversations they’ve had during the event, and so on. The personal touch is likely to encourage those on the fence to make the leap.
  12. Stay online after the event. Some people may not share their questions during the event. So be sure you let them know you’ll be around for another 30 minutes to offer personal service, answer questions, and provide help. The more available you are, the more likely it is that you’ll reach your goals for the event.

Today, online events are a part of the ever-evolving business landscape, and the ways we do business create great opportunities for those who can keep up and make business social. When you solve problems and position your business as easy and reliable, you can win customers who keep coming back, and refer their friends.

Have you attended or run online events for your business? What was the experience like? What would you like to improve about the experience? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments!

Three Ways to Close the Deal

Three Ways to Close the Deal

Low angle view of two business executives shaking handsSo you’ve gotten that sales meeting, prepared for each possible scenario, made friendly conversation, and have conveyed your ideas and pitch to the best of your ability. Your job is not finished yet, however, because you still need to close the deal. This, for the majority of people in sales, is the most difficult part of the business. The key to successfully closing a deal is to be proactive about why a person may say no and to eliminate his or her reasons for doing so. Here are three techniques to help you close more sales

  • Understand hesitation and address it by solving the problem. From your point of view, there is no reason to hesitate. You know what a great value you are providing and have no reason to doubt yourself. So put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you can understand the reason why they may be hesitant, you can deal with it head on, and may be able to overcome the objection altogether by demonstrating how your product or service can solve a problem. For example, a hair stylist and colorist operates her own business doing her clients’ hair in the privacy of their own homes. She is offering new and current customers a package for purchase in which they can have monthly coloring touch-ups, all paid for in advance. While pitching this service, a prospective customer seems hesitant to pay for services that wouldn’t be rendered for months into the future. The stylist validates this concern, and also points out that because customers wait too long in between coloring treatments, the service takes longer and costs more. So by having monthly touch-ups, money would be saved in the long run and hair color would always be properly maintained. She winds up closing the deal because she did not dismiss the client’s concern, but rather confirmed it and then followed up with a solution to the problem.
  • Fine tune your market and focus on a niche. In an effort to cast a wide net and appeal to as many customers as possible, you could be missing out on success within a niche. The hair stylist mentioned above certainly provides services that likely appeal to a broad range of people, but because she makes house calls and provides a monthly touch-up service, she focuses mostly on working mothers over age 35. This population of women have several things in common that make the stylist a valuable asset to their lives: they’ve started coloring their hair to cover up grays, they need to maintain a professional appearance, their work schedule is too demanding to regularly visit the salon,and when they are not working, they need to be home to care for their children, so an in-home appointment is most convenient. Knowing her target market allows the stylist to put the most time, money, and energy into attracting clients in this population for increased success. Think about a niche that might be most interested in what you have to offer, and come up with ways to specifically appeal to the needs of this market.
  • Take the focus off business/sales and make it fun. More and more companies are looking to gamification to attract new clients. Consider simple ways to incorporate more fun into a sales pitch or other type of client meeting. For example, to educate potential clients about your product or service, consider a mini-trivia game in which your prospect guesses the correct answers for a small prize. Use whatever fits the situation and personalities of those involved, such as music, video, gaming, comedy, etc. A sales meeting should not be an unpleasant experience for either party, so by making it fun, you are increasing your chances of closing the deal. However, be sure to balance fun with the professionalism needed for the situation.

Closing the deal requires that you understand the needs of the customer, and then highlight how your products or services meet that need. Remember to always be honest, and let the strengths of what you have to offer and your enthusiasm shine through. When the customer understands how your product or service fits their situation, and trusts that you have their best interests at heart, you are more likely to close the deal.

What tips do you have for closing the deal? Please share them below!

Making Facebook Work For Your Business

Making Facebook Work For Your Business

Do you use Facebook for your business? With nearly a billion people using the social network internationally, it’s a great tool to connect with existing customers and prospects, while also finding new ones. But you can’t just advertise your business indiscriminately on the service. Keep these points in mind when using Facebook for your business:

  • Start with a Plan. Before you begin using Facebook for your business, be sure you know what you want to gain as a result. Are you trying to encourage repeat business? Find new prospects for your business opportunity? Get customer feedback? By starting with an end in mind, you’ll ensure that the actions you take on Facebook are focused and results-oriented.
  • Engage Regularly. Facebook is a SOCIAL network. You can’t be social if you don’t show up. So be sure to set aside time daily, even if it’s just 10-20 minutes, to engage with people on Facebook. Ask and answer questions, comment on photos and status updates, listen to what others have to say, share interesting content that the people you’re connected with may enjoy. The point is to be social, and not just post an update and move on to the next thing.
  • Set Up a Business Page. Facebook Terms of Service is very clear about where businesses are allowed to promote themselves, and it’s NOT within a personal Profile. (SEE: What is the Difference Between a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Page?) If you are planning to ask people to do anything on Facebook from which you will make money, you MUST do those posts within the context of a Facebook Page. (Don’t know how to set up a Facebook Page? SEE: How to Create a Business Facebook Page)
  • Run Contests Within Facebook Guidelines. Contests are a fabulous way to build momentum for your business, and create addtional awareness. But you must follow the rules. Rules??? Yes, Virginia, Facebook does have requirements when it comes to contests. You may NOT use any Facebook feature (liking, commenting, etc.) as an entry for a contest. Instead, you must use a 3rd party application to administer your contest. (SEE: How to Run a Great Contest on Facebook.)
  • Consider Facebook Advertising. Facebook advertising can be a great way to generate additional awareness of your business. Be sure you’re advertising in a giving spirit, however. Give away something free (such as an ebook or a coupon) to encourage people to click and learn more. (SEE: 8 Tips for Effective Facebook Advertising.)
  • Have Patience. Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your Facebook community. It takes time and nurturing to build an engaged community. Focus on providing great content, listening to and connecting with others, and making relevant offers that are interesting to your community. And ask your community to share your Page with their friends! If they find you valuable, they’re more likely to do so.

How do you use Facebook to build your business? What additional tips would you give? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Using the Facebook Page Timeline to Succeed in Business

The DSEF's Facebook Timeline
Using the Facebook Page Timeline to Succeed in Business

The DSEF's Facebook TimelineAs of March 30, 2012, all Facebook Pages will automatically be switched over to the new Timeline format. Like any change, there are of course some new features to get used to. But by using your Page strategically, you can benefit your business which can help you build success. Here are some strategies you may want to consider:

  • What do you want your cover image to say about your business? 
    Much has been written around the blog-o-sphere about selecting a cover image. Whatever image you choose to use, make sure that the image tells the story you intend. If your business is primarily about cooking, perhaps you want to show people enjoying delicious food or having fun in the kitchen (this says you’re about making cooking delicious and fun). If your business is personal coaching, perhaps you want to include an inspirational saying along with photos of groups of people who seem connected (this says you’re about building people up emotionally and connecting them). If your Page is more about team building, perhaps you want to include enthusiastic pictures of your team (this says your team is a fun and active place to be.) The important thing is to think about what you want to express as a brand, and then choose or create a cover image that reflects that message.Here’s a useful article that provides some examples of Facebook cover photos (some by direct sellers):
  • Keep the conversation alive. As an entrepreneur, one of your biggest advantages on your Facebook Page is the opportunity to connect with people personally, and engage in conversation. So be sure you’re continually checking out the comments that others make on your page, and responding in a timely manner.
  • Post engaging content. Just like with the old Page layout, the majority of interaction with your Page will occur within the News Feed (Facebook home page) and NOT on the Page itself. So be sure you’re using the type of content that engages. Here’s an article with 7 essential steps for writing updates on your Page that engage:
  • Track your stats. The best way to improve something is to track it. And Facebook makes it easy to do just that with Insights for Pages. Click on “See All” next to the Insights snapshot on your new Admin panel, and take a look at the stats on each of your posts. This will give you a really good idea of the kinds of posts that resonate best with your Page community.  (Do more of them!) Review the parts of the world where people talking about your Page come from. And so on. By understanding who is using your Page, and how, you can replicated the actions that are bringing you the most results.
  • Highlight your apps. Maybe you’ve got a tab set up on your Page where people can sign up for your newsletter, or a custom welcome tab. Even though you can’t set these up as default landing tabs anymore, you can still highlight them. Arrange them underneath your cover image (you can change the order), and choose custom photos for each. Here is a set of free custom Facebook app icons you may want to use:

Change can often be a challenge, but like it or not the new Timeline is here to stay (for now!) Best to embrace the challenge and find ways to make the new format work for you.

What would you add? How are you using the new Timeline for Pages to build your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Seven Ways to Increase Friends and Build Your Network

Seven Ways to Increase Friends and Build Your Network

In this digital age, it is now easier than ever to interact with people all around the globe, so a solid network is within your reach.  Increasing your friends and building your network is a cost-effective marketing strategy that can lead to sales opportunities in a variety of ways.  Read on for seven ways to get started.

1. Don’t just attend events, be an active participant.  Deciding to attend workshops, conventions, and the like is a great start to meeting new people in your field.  However, you should make the most of your time there. Speak up, be helpful and get involved. Set a goal for how many new people you will meet at an event, and be consistent.  The more you do it, the easier it will become.

2. Hold off on the sales pitch.  When introducing yourself to potential contacts, DO share your name, business, and other relevant information.  DO NOT break into a prepared commercial in hopes of selling yourself then and there.  The relationship you want to build must be based on common interests and shared goals.  Save the sales pitch for a follow-up meeting or phone call.

3. Ask good questions.  When talking to people you’ve just met, asking questions shows that you are interested in what they have to say and that you are truly listening.  Take this strategy to the next level by asking the right types of questions that facilitate a worthwhile conversation.  For example, “So how do you like the food here?” will doom you to several minutes of small talk and get you nowhere.  On the other hand, “So what is your role in your business?” and “What are you hoping to get out of this convention that will help you in your business?” are more effective questions that get people talking about themselves.  Not only are you learning more about them, but you are building the foundation for a professional relationship. As you perfect your conversations skills you may want start with and develop a script to help you with this process.

4. Follow up.  So you’ve met several potential contacts; now what?  Don’t be lax about initiating the first phone call or email.  Remind the person where you met him or her, mention that it was a pleasure to meet, and set a time to discuss what you talked about earlier.  Furthermore, don’t wait more than a day or two after meeting the person to make contact. Make this a weekly habit to meet with new people.

5. Incorporate your online presence with your offline presence.  When you meet people at a networking event, be sure to give them what they need to find you online (your website URL, Twitter handle, etc.).  It’s also a good idea to arrange for face-to-face meet-ups with some of your online business contacts.  By integrating your networks, you enhance those relationships and build your business.

6. Ask friends to make introductions. When you’re at a social gathering or event, don’t be shy to ask your friends to introduce you to other people. Just like in tip one, set a goal for how many new people you want to meet.

7. Do something new. Don’t sit around and wait to be invited to a party or event. Make it happen. Find something new that peaks your interest or something that you have no concept of. Once you get there have fun, engage in conversation with others, and tag along with individuals you like. Again, set a goal for how many new people you would like to meet.

What are your ideas for building your network?  Please share them with us in the comments section below.

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!