Archive for July, 2009

How to Improve Concentration and Focus07.30.09

This one time, when I was just starting to use Hubpages as a medium for marketing, I noticed that they have an area to request hubs. People who want answers to a burning question ask it in that area, and then people like you and me see the question and have the option of writing a web page (hub) to answer it.

I decided to try it out, and created a hub answering someone’s question:

How do you improve focus and concentration?

I sat down in my hallway, of all places, stared at my webcam (this is when I was still fresh at doing videos as well), and started to talk. As a yoga teacher, I’ve had plenty of experiences helping people focus and concentrate. If you’ve ever had “one of those days,” then you know how hard it is sometimes to just stop thinking about things and move forward – to let things go. But this is something I do regularly for myself – and something that I help others do as well.

So anyway, as time went on, I continued to focus on things that I thought were important to build my business. I continued creating hubs on hubpages, continued recording videos…

But the thing is, I kept getting more and more comments and views on my concentration & focus video. In fact, I’ve had more views on it and more comments than any other video I’ve ever placed online. Even videos I’ve embedded on squeeze pages and sent PayPerClick to.

Today, I went back to the video to respond to some comments. And I saw that the video has over 2000 views. No promotion – just people’s natural searches for some help.

And I thought, “you big dummy.”

So here’s a lesson for the rest of you, now that I’ve gotten mine: if you get a good response to something you do, and it’s something you enjoy, you should probably keep doing it.

Anyway, I thought I’d celebrate 2000 views by making the video available to even more people.  Here it is: how to improve your concentration and focus:



Posted in How To..., Making Moneywith 36 Comments →

Cold Calling – Sales Prospecting B2B07.25.09

Okay.  Some people are amazing at prospecting and making cold calls.  Others, like me, are rather bad at it.  So I was pretty excited when my wife called me from her conference in California to tell me that part of her training for her new position was on making cold calls (in person) and closing sales.

I recently began offering my web promotion services to local businesses in my area, and making cold calls is a huge part of that.

So I stayed on the phone with my wife for over an hour getting all the juicy details, and finding out that I wasn’t as bad as I thought – some of the things she mentioned I was already doing. But there was a LOT I didn’t know.

Anyway, here goes.

Here’s the down-low on how to make cold calls and prospect, business to business, in person.

Start with your pitch.

Come up with a 30-second pitch.  Introduce yourself, say 3 things about your company, and 3 benefits for the potential client.  To hear the pitch I came up with, click play:

Next, ask the business owner if he is interested in learning more.

If not, it’s no big deal.  You just lost 30 seconds of your day.  Leave in a way that allows you to come back some other time.  You can say something like, “Maybe it’s not the right time for you right now.  Have a great day!”

If he is interested, schedule a second meeting.

Come to that meeting prepared to educate him on what you do, and how it can help him.  Bring lots of screen shots, examples, and so on.  Show him what you’ve done for other clients.  Also tell him what your fees are. Answer all his questions. If he’s doing 80% of the talking, you’re doing well.

After that, you need to find out if he wants to work with you.  So ask!  “Now that you’ve seen what I have to offer you, let’s move forward!  Are you willing to invest in (your service here) to increase your profits?

If the answer is yes, BE CAREFUL!  Don’t just ask for payment. First, go back & review all the benefits he’s going to receive.  Justify the purchase and make him feel really good about it. Then, tell him how you work – how you accept payment…and have him sign a contract.  Better yet, if you can accept credit cards, get his credit card information right then and there.

But he might say something else…

If he’s not sure he wants to move forward, he probably has some concerns.  You can say something like, “sounds like you still have some questions.”  Let him talk and tell you his concerns.  Then, respond.  Make him feel better.  At that point, ask for the close again.

Or he might say he needs to speak with someone else.  If so, you can ask him about the process.  “What does it take to make this happen?”  Get a time when you can follow up with him.  And follow up to ask for the sale again.

He could also say he’s not interested at all.  If that happens, you go back to the original response – maybe it’s just not the right time for him at the moment.

Anyway, the teacher in me got crazy and created this:

workflow for cold calling / prospecting

Cold Call Workflow For B2B Service Prospecting

Prospecting Cold Calling Workflow

Okay…all you natural sales types…does this sound similar to what you do? What do you do differently that’s worked?

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A Crazy Story – With a “Work From Home” Lesson07.17.09

Me at a picnic in Palm BeachWell, I’ve promised you a crazy story for some time now.  Actually, the first time I posted on twitter that I would tell you a crazy story, it was June 27th, and I was on my way to Palm Beach.  Before I got a chance to tell it, though, it got even crazier. So here’s the story, as promised, along with a little lesson for all you business types 🙂

It started when my wife got tired of waiting for our honeymoon.  So she just went and booked us a flight to Palm Beach…a hotel in Key West, and a car to drive from one place to the other.  Seems simple enough, right?  I work from home, so I can pretty much go whenever and wherever. And I’m easy like that – I go with the flow.  My wife, on the other hand, is a planner.  Without her, I’d probably just stay at home and work 24/7.  Okay, so I’d probably go out and kayak, or hike or something – but I definitely wouldn’t plan a honeymoon!

Anyway, we left very early Saturday morning and headed from Toms River, NJ to the Newark Airport.  Boarding time: 5:45 am.  Yep.  Early!  I was still very sleepy (who wakes up at 4 am?? not me!).  Donna took the wheel.


So we took off, got in our SUV and got on the road.  And man, was it foggy!  You couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of you!  Our plan was to stop at Donna’s parents’ house (15 minutes from the airport), drop off our car & get a ride to the airport.  But the fog slowed us down, and we ended up calling her parents – at 5 am – and asking if they could BOTH come to the airport & get our car.  We were just about to hang up the phone when a deer appeared right in front of  us.

It was like a game of football – we swerved, the deer swerved, we swerved again…and BAM.  We slammed right into it.  So the fog was crazy #1.  And this was crazy #2.  Now, I cooled off pretty fast, and it’s a good thing, because my wife was COMPLETELY freaked out.  I have no idea how she managed to keep the car controlled, but in truth, it didn’t feel like much happened – except for the fact that something flew up in the air, and she was sure it was the deer’s head.

Our CRV at the Airport

We considered stopping – looking at the damage, looking at the deer – but thought it might be more dangerous with the lack of visibility.  The last thing we wanted was for someone to hit us from behind.  We kept driving.

When we got to the airport, Donna took a picture of the car.  It looked much worse than it felt when we collided with the deer.  I’m including a picture for your “viewing pleasure” ;-)…

So anyway, we walk into the airport – on time – and notice that there’s a LONG line to check bags.  Long enough that if we waited on it, we wouldn’t make it to our flight.  Heck, we went through so much to get there on time…we just threw out our shampoo, conditioner, body soap, sunscreen…and took an extra carry-on instead.  That wasn’t so bad, but it sure added to the crazyness.  So that was crazy #2 1/2.

Donna’s finally starting to calm down (especially since she realized it was our decal – and not the deer’s head that actually popped off the car) – and we’re in our seats.yellow-fish

And then the pilot lets us know that the fuel gauge isn’t working properly…and it’ll take about an hour to fix.  That’s crazy #3.  Also not so bad, but it adds up when your wife is already in a cruddy mood.

20 minutes later, we’re on our way.  Smooth flight.  And then, 45 minutes later, the pilot’s back on.  Looks like the fuel gauge isn’t working after all.  We’re gonna have to turn around and go back to Newark.

Not so bad, right?

Except that we fly around for 2 hours to burn fuel so that we’re light enough to land.  2 hours around Newark Airport, after 45 minutes in the air.  That’s 2 hours and 45 minutes.  The flight to Palm Beach is 2:30 hours.  Hmmm…are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Yep, crazy #4.

We land back in Newark and get on a different plane.  And we have a nice, smooth flight to Palm Beach, where our friends have been waiting for, oh, about 4 hours to pick us up.  And we head straight to the beach.  Nothing like snorkeling right off the plane.

In fact, the whole purpose of our trip was to snorkel – every single day, as much as we could.

liane-donna-on-the-mopedNow, if you’ve ever gone snorkeling before, you know that there’s a mask you wear – that covers your eyes and nose, and seals the water out.  And you breathe through a tube.  And if you wear glasses, you definitely want to take them off – because glasses kind of keep the mask from sealing…which means that you want to put your contacts on so that you can actually see the fish!

So anyway, we find a place to get changed, and we head off to the beach.  And as we’re walking from the car, Donna suddenly realizes that she forgot her contacts at home.

Yep, crazy #5.

Not that you can’t overcome something like that.  Her doctor faxed over the prescription to the nearest WalMart, and she had her contacts before the end of the day…


…and anyway, we wouldn’t have been able to do much snorkeling, since 2 minutes after I got into the water, a huge storm cloud rolled in, and we found ourselves running back to the car.  But that’s not crazy enough to get a number.

Okay, so all’s well.  Now, there’s nothing better than snorkeling and seeing some amazing things.  But it’s even better if you can photograph it & actually show other people what  you saw.  So it’s Sunday, and we head off to Best Buy to grab a waterproof camera – the Olympus Stylus Tough.

And then we head off to the beach.  Not 2 minutes in the water, and the camera is SOAKED.  Filled with water.  Useless.  Crazy #6.
What’s worse, the Best Buy employee we bring it to that evening stares at us funny like…”you got water in the camera?  We don’t cover that…”  Another employee actually had to show the manager that YES, they do in fact carry waterproof cameras, and since it’s supposed to be waterproof, and we purchased a plan…it WAS covered.

So we got a new camera.

Okay, so are you thinking, “what else could go wrong?”

But actually, we had a great time.  When we got to the hotel, we got upgraded to an Ocean-view suite with a beautiful view, our own private balcony & spiral stairs leading down to our own private beach.

And we snorkeled almost every single day – and saw some amazing things – and got them on camera.

Sundowner's: the best key lime pie ever!And I have to add, the food in Key West is AMAZINGLY good – they spice things just right – though the best Key Lime Pie was in Key Largo – at Sundowners.

But I promised a “work from home” lesson, right?

So here are two.

First, despite all the “crazy” we went through, things were fine.  In fact, things started being fine when we were on the plane, flying around Newark for 2 hours, and my wife finally calmed down.  The thing is, if you let things rattle you, everything will rattle you.  But there’s no point in freaking out about things that you can’t control.  Just stay calm, and you’ll find a solution to everything.  We weren’t hurt when we hit the deer.  Our car got towed to the shop while we were away and we picked it up today.  It looks great.  We did finally arrive to Florida, and Donna realized early enough on Saturday that she was missing her contacts – so she was able to pick them up that same day.  Best Buy replaced our water-logged camera, and we took some amazing photos – and videos – of our trip.

And we just had an amazing time.

And here’s lesson number 2.

I brought my computer to Key West.  And I used it once – to get information on the catamaran that would take us to Dry Tortugas (highly recommended) – but I did absolutely no work.  Didn’t even look at my email.

And when I got home, it took me about two hours to go through all the emails.  And you know what?  Things that I would waste my time on before became “not so important” in the grand scheme of things.  I had clients to catch up with and work to do, and the squeeze page that 20 gurus wanted to send me to just wasn’t high on the priority list.  Sure, I could learn a lot from it, but what really gets done when you’re watching 20 hours of amazingly-good-content videos every week?  Yeah, not much.

So next time you look at your inbox and feel yourself getting pulled in different directions, pause and think – will this get me the results that I want today, this week, this month?  And if the answer is no, leave it be.  It’ll be there when you’re ready for it.

Posted in Making Money, Personal, Random Stuffwith 33 Comments →

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