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Open New Doors for Prospecting

Posted By Tracelyn Sutton, American Cancer Society, Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sales are contingent on the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect. William Clement Stone

In your business, how often does your salesforce actually recruit new clients? I know some companies make it mandatory and other places leave it up to each salesperson. Are your salespeople sharing  the results with others and do they find their own competitive spirit helps to push them to continue to seek out new clients? I believe in a consistent approach to prospecting.


For prospecting to be successful make sure you always choose a time for scheduling sales calls. See the list below of the various ways we can search out new clients. I would suggest early in the day but pick a time that is the most productive for yourself and your prospects. Make sure your team is prepared and knows what they will say ahead of time, but remember to be flexible and never read from a script. Last you must remain professional and don’t let a negative attitude get in your way.


Let’s think about your ideal client! Remember you can fulfill the needs and wants of your ideal customer so go after them. Be confident. Conduct research to determine who benefits from your product. The information that you must find beyond how your product meets client needs includes the following:

·       Values and priorities

·       Budgets

·       Age

·       Gender

·       Buying habits

·       Profession

·       Interests


Once you have identified the ideal customer, you will be able to focus your time on prospects who are likely to become your clients.  My ideal buyers that I enjoyed helping were retirement homes, teachers unions, schools, camps, health care, nonprofits and at one time I called every funeral home in CT. Every call I made got me closer to the sale. I learned from each call and enjoyed making sure I asked the right questions. By the way, the minute they answered the phone I introduced myself and asked if this was a good time to talk. Asking this question is important, and I get many calls each day trying to sell me, and not one person asks me if it is the right opportunity to have a conversation. It shows respect when you ask that question. Don’t just assume because I answer the phone that it is a good time to chat. I often respond to the phone in case the call is an emergency regarding a family member.


Start with a plan. End with a plan.

There are numerous prospecting methods available, and each one can be discussed more in detail. While you will probably choose multiple methods of prospecting, you must focus your energy on ways that your prospects will respond to when they are exposed to them. For example, younger buyers are less likely to answer to cold calling and more liable to answer to social networking and webinars. Prospecting methods commonly used include:

  • ·       Cold calling
  •         Direct Mail
  • ·       Referrals
  • ·       Content marketing
  • ·       Email marketing
  • ·       Networking
  • ·       Seminars
  • ·       Social networking
  • ·       Webinars
  • ·       Advertising

Develop a habit. It is like a virus, the more you make connections, the more you want more. It will be hard to stop.  The excitement of cold calling will drive you to continue to push out calls.  I can spout number facts for you but the point is that you not only need to, but you will want to call every day.   I found that it did become a habit and looked forward to making time to connect each day.

I realize there are thousands of articles on cold calling, but I want to add my voice. I enjoyed cold calling, and I made hundreds of calls each week when I worked with MDA selling Shamrocks Against Dystrophy. I was successful because I worked each call to its fullest ability. I did the same at BSC because even when I felt extremely busy, I knew it there could be a time when you lose a client, or sales would slow down. I believed every call I made was my insurance policy for future sales. These calls would protect me and guarantee that I continue to gain new clients and orders.

The success of cold calling often depends on the attitude of the caller. A sales person who does not believe in the effectiveness of cold calling is not going to project the confidence necessary for success. Maintaining a positive attitude will go further than you think. Cold calling has become increasingly difficult, but it is worth the reward. Do not expect to close a sale with a cold call. While it may happen, the purpose is to connect with the prospect. It is not for everyone; you need true grit and motivation. If your sales people are highly competitive, then I would probably suggest an incentive sales program. Start this process with the team and when the habit is formed then everyone will already be prepared.

Successful cold calling requires extensive preparation. You need to understand the prospect and how your product relates to the prospect’s needs. You need to focus on:

1.     Introducing yourself and your company – make sure you know your unique value proposition. To understand this, you need to know your competition.

2.     Finding out the prospect needs – you want to make sure these questions flow freely so it does not sound like you are asking them, but you should try to get this information.

3.     Educating the prospect about how you can meet needs

4.     Maintain contact with the prospect. Find out their social media information, let them know you are interested and also connect on Linkedin! Have an offer so you can stay connected. Try an email blast showing specials, or sign up to read great blogs of education. Confirm their street address and then follow up with a direct mail for a great double whammy!

Next article will focus on Direct Mail.

Where we are today in regards to email and social media, really makes direct mail something that is new and unusual. We need to realize this is another great way to show your creative side and snag a new client.

Be sure to visit www.promoindustry.guru for up to date news stories showcasing the promotional product and manufacturing industry.

Tags:  cold calls  direct mail  Sales Prospecting 

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HOBBY OR BUSINESS

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

HOBBY OR BUSINESS

The March issue of “The Tax Advisor” published by the Tax Division of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) contained a number of articles on whether an activity was a hobby or a business.  Having raised horses for years we always took a deduction for our horses.  We bred horses, sold the offspring, and although we always had the intent to show a profit, rarely did we profit from our horse breeding business. All it would take was one ‘world beater’ that would put us on the map as world class horse breeders.  Although we thought we were close a few times we were never able to breed that million dollar horse.  So, these cases mentioned in “The Tax Advisor” are of interest, not only to us personally, but also to many other tax payers who may be in the equine or other non-hobby business. 

Background:  Internal Revenue Section 183-2 (b) provides relevant factors on whether an activity is engaged for profit or a hobby. No one factor is controlling but intended to be taken into account in determination of the taxpayer’s intent. These factors are:

1.     Manner in which the taxpayer carries on the activity – i.e. is it business like.

2.     Experience of the taxpayer or his advisors –

3.     Time and effort expended by the taxpayer in carrying on the activity –

4.     Expectation of appreciation in value of the assets used in the activity

5.     Success of taxpayer in carrying on other or dissimilar activities

6.     History of income or losses with respect to the activity –

7.     The amount of occasional profits ,if any, which are earned –

8.     The financial status of the taxpayer – if there is substantial other income it may be a hobby

9.     Elements of personal pleasure or recreation –

The first case cited in “The Tax Advisor’ was a Horse Breeding activity.  That is obviously what perked my interest in the article.  The taxpayer started the horse breeding activity as a hobby, but in later years turned the hobby into a business.  (Not unlike our situation) The tax court disallowed the horse breeding expenses for two years, but on appeal the Seventh Court ruled the start-up expenses were a hobby, but allowed the later years deductions.  The court stated, “…it may have been a fun business, but fun doesn’t convert a business to a hobby.”

Next was a car restoration business.  A close friend of mine does this – and since his wife prepares tax returns I would imagine it is a business for him.  In the case reported the taxpayer was a very successful patent attorney.  His passion was restoring 1955 and 1956 Plymouth cars.  The court ruled that although the activity was unsophisticated, it was businesslike, and allowed his deductions.

The car restoration business was followed by a Hair Braiding business.  The taxpayer never showed a profit.  She leased a space in a shopping mall under a long-term lease for nine years.  The tax court found she had a profit motive and had a loss primarily because of her rental contract. The court found there was no personal pleasure in operating the salon activity, “Although the taxpayer had a nostalgic fondness for hair braiding, sitting in an empty booth in a shopping mall is not as much fun as (say) riding horse.” 

In another case a wealthy taxpayer lost his deductions for his aircraft leasing business since he failed to prove that he was in the business for a profit, even though he had positive cash flow from the activity.  The reason the taxpayer did not avoid “avoidable losses’ and did not abandon unprofitable activities that would indicate a profit motive.  The taxpayer deducted over half-million in losses attributed to the activity while reporting other income of over $2 million.

Something many housewives might be engaged in is selling Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, and other products.  In this situation the taxpayer was engaged in selling Amway products.  The taxpayer had seven years of losses from being a distributor.  For these seven years the taxpayer did not seek any outside business advice and did not show that it was operating as a business.  All she had were receipts for expenditures, and no receipts for sells to customers.  The losses were not allowed. 

Whether your activity is a hobby, or you are in the business for a profit, the best advice you can get is from someone that is in the business, and be sure to check with your CPA when preparing your taxes.  

George C. Frederick CPA CFE

480 502 1617

Tags:  BUSINESS  HOBBY  TAX 

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#MemberMonday

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 6, 2017

Have we mentioned how much we <3 our members? So much so that we'll be featuring new members every week! Get familiar with this week's fresh faces. 

Randstad Staffing-Office Administratiive
Randstad US is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding 
nv, a $24.5 billion global provider of HR services. As one of the largest staffing organizations in the United States, Randstad provides temporary, temporary-to-hire and permanent placement services each week to over 100,000 people through its network of more than 900 branches and on-site locations.

Connect with Randstad Staffing - Office Administrative 

Chapman Group Holdings LLC

Chapman Group Holdings, LLC, is a business that was started in 2015, with the sole purpose of assisting asset management companies, realtors, and banks. We currently offer services that include, but are not limited to: interior/exterior cleaning, debris/trash removal, and lawn maintenance care.

Connect with Chapman Group Holdings LLC

A&J Bookkeeping and Business Support
Our staff has extensive experience in preparation and supervision of day-to-day and analytical accounting, including: administration all accounting through financial statements, tax records and meeting deadlines, cost accounting, work in progress, cash flow controls, set up of managerial reports, set up of budget processes. We work with your staff to create the managerial reports to assist and support your business; A & J Bookkeeping and Business Support enables their clients to make timely and strategic business decisions.

Connect with A & J Bookkeeping and Business Support

Tags:  ASBA  ASBA News  AZ Small Biz  New Members  Small Business 

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MONEY ON THE TABLE

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MONEY ON THE TABLE

Today in issue IR 2017-50, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced they are holding over $1 billion for people who have not filed a 2013 Federal Income Tax Return.  The average refund is $763. There is a three year window for claiming the refund – the window will close on April 18 of this year. 

If you have not filed a 2014 or 2015 tax return the checks could be withheld pending filing the subsequent year tax returns.  Also if child support is owed, or state tax is due the refund could be withheld. 

In Arizona it is estimated 24,800 people that have not filed are owed $22,642,000 by the IRS.  Texas leads the nation in refunds pending with estimated 104,700 individuals owed $115,580,000, next is California with 97,200 people owed $93,406,000.

So if you haven’t filed a tax return since 2013 you may be owed some money by the IRS. But you need to file before April 18, when the window closes.   Chances are if you have not filed for 2014 or 2015 you might be owed more money by the IRS.

Tags:  Accounting  tax filing 

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Are You Overwhelmed by Email?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If you are, then you are in good company.  Almost all of my clients are stressed out by their inbox.  The GOOD NEWS is that there are 9 quick and simple things you can do to get in control and get there quickly!  How would you feel if you opened your email every day and felt like it was manageable?  It would feel FABULOUS, wouldn’t it?  Well, here’s how.

  1. Archive all of your old emails and start fresh, today!
  2. You should have no more than 2 inboxes, one for business and on for personal use.
  3. Schedule specific times ON YOUR CALENDAR to deal with email.
  4. Turn off email (and other) notifications on your devices.
  5. Open your email and then do something with it.
  6. Set up foders and/or auto filters to automate your inbox.
  7. Learn how to write an effective email subject line
  8. "No Response Required"
  9. Unsubscribe

Read the complete article for full details.

Clutter is the result of delayed decisions, and your inbox is no exception!  Remember, if you are taking the time to open your inbox and look through your email, DO SOMETHING with it.  Don’t delay the decision making.  Email can be a highly productive and effective form of communication IF you use it properly as a tool and not a distraction.

The Streamlined Office has a wealth of knowledge and information to help you implement a strategy to manage your inbox and use email effectively.   We can help you learn how to use the functionality of your email system to maximize your results.  And, if your current habits are costing you in time and efficiency, we can teach you alternatives.  Are you tired of being a slave to your inbox?  Contact us at 480-221-0588 to schedule your FREE consultation!  We can help you create a system that is unique to your business and needs.  What could you do with the time you save?

Tags:  business services  office organization  productivity  technology 

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#MemberMonday

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 27, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It's ASBA's #MemberMonday! This week we're telling you a little bit more about four of our newest ASBA members. Read on to learn more about these fabulous small business owners and how you can connect. 

Meg.Marketing

Leave the marketing to Meg! As a Facebook Marketing Expert (and former Facebook employee), Meg Brunson has mastered the art of social media. Her expertise provides the social presence that local businesses need to effectively reach and engage with their target audiences through social media, freeing up the local business owners to focus on what they know best (their business).

Click here to connect with Meg!

Don Rice Agency Farmers Insurance

As a local Farmers® agent, Don helps customers identify the insurance coverage that best fits their needs. His process is straightforward and personalized to help make you smarter about insurance. Don's knowledge and experience will help you better understand your coverage options--whether that's auto, home, renters, business insurance and more.

Click here to connect with Don! 


Boisset Wine Ambassadors

Curtis J. Kaufman is your own personal wine expert. His knowledge will help you choose the right wine and discover the best pairings for you. Keep his services in mind when hosting your next happy hour mixer or family function!  

Click here to connect with Curtis!

Rubicam Writing

With experience in copywriting, editing, SEO keyword implementation, content management, development/implementation of email marketing and social media campaigns, creative writing and freelance journalism, Wendy Rubicam is your go-to for all things writing! Through Rubicam, Wendy focuses on how to best communicate with customers to create lasting relationships, helping clients find their “voice” and develop their message, and using publicity and social media to maximize marketing efforts.

 Click here to connect with Wendy! 

Tags:  Events  New Members  News  Small Biz  Weekly Update 

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#MemberMonday

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 20, 2017

ASBA is excited to announce #MemberMondays where we'll be showcasing new and existing members of ASBA! This week we're featuring four brand new ASBA members. Read on to learn more about these fabulous small business owners and how you can connect. 

Anax Experience Online Solutions

Anax Experience Online Solutions focuses on helping businesses achieve maximum financial returns through provision of top-notch SEO and reputation management services. Their commitment to each client is to build a website with search engine optimized content that is affordable, effective, and maintains a quality reputation in the clients respective industry. 

Click here to learn more about Anax Experience! 

B.T. Bouncies

B.T. Bounces specializes in good old-fashion fun! From inflatable water slides and bounce houses to rock climbing walls and mechanical bulls, this company is sure to put the "F-U-N" in your next function! 

Click here to learn more about B.T. Bounces! 

Peanut Media

Peanut media can help you create a lasting first impression for your business through the development of a strong visual brand, clean and informative website, and full-proof content strategy for your social media and blog needs! They'll help you revamp your online presence, build trust, and put you in front of your ideal customers, no matter where they are. 

Click here to learn more about Peanut Media! 

Equisano

Equisano is an experiential program that promotes self-discovery, leadership development, and team building by working with rescue horses. 

Click here to learn more about Equisano! 

 

Tags:  #NewMembers #ASBA #SmallBusiness #AZ 

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Productivity Tip: Use Alexa to Be More Productive

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Millions of Alexa Devices were sold this past holiday season with Echo and Echo Dot being the best-sellers.  Were you one of the millions?  Have you been using Alexa as a novelty or a productivity tool?  If you haven’t already, you should consider Alexa to be one of your productivity and time management partners.  Why?

Voice technology can be really handy in helping you get items added to your To-Do Lists or Calendar quickly, efficiently and without typo’s!  Say goodbye to using sticky notes and scraps of paper to create reminders.  Say goodbye for looking for your reading glasses before you can type something into your smartphone or tablet.

Take advantage of telling Alexa what you need and when you need it.  You will have neat, organized lists that are easy to read, that can be shared with others and that can be accessed on your smart device anywhere you go.  Here’s how.

  • Download the Alexa app
  • Consider linking one fo the two, third party applications available by default.  These are currently Any.do and Todoist.
  • Or you can use an IFTTT command to add tasks to Evernote, Reminders or Wunderlist.  Here's how.
  • You can also add an event to your Google calendar through Alexa

For complete details, read the full article.

Have you found a great way to integrate this voice technology into your current daily processes?  Please share in the comments section of this blog.  Looking for some help with your most recent technology purchase?  The Streamlined Office loves working with new gadgets to find ways to help you improve your efficiency and time management.  Contact us for a FREE consultation.  480-221-0588.

Tags:  b2b services  office organization  productivity  technology 

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Choosing a Tax Preparer

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Monday, January 30, 2017

Choosing a Tax Preparer

Today, January 30, 2017, our friends at the IRS issued “Tax Tip #5”, meaning the fifth tax tip issued in 2017.  The gist of the tax tip is what to look for in a tax preparer’s qualifications.

The IRS publishes; IRS directory of Federal Tax return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.   This directory lists by city and zip code Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPA), enrolled agents, and others that prepare tax returns.

Only an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent can represent any client before the IRS in any situation.  Non-credited prepares who do not participate in the Annual filing season program can only represent clients before the IRS on returns they prepared or signed.

Any Questions?  Call me at 480 502 1617.  Here is what to look for:

1.      Check the credentials, a CPA, an attorney, or an enrolled agent is best in my view since if something is wrong they can represent you, even if they did not prepare the return.

2.      Check the preparer’s history.  Have there been any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau?  Has there been any disciplinary action by the State Bar or State Board of Accountancy?

3.      Ask about fees for the service.  A preparer that bases fees on a refund, boasts bigger refunds, or takes payment from the refund are to be avoided.  I base my fees on the time and complexity of the returns to be provided, generally starting in the $200 range for an individual tax return.

4.      E-file your tax return.  Find a tax preparer that will E-file your tax return.  It’s a requirement for tax preparer’s that file more than 10 tax returns. 

5.      Make sure your tax preparer is available.  Don’t wait until after April 18 to find file your taxes, penalties and interest will be charged.  You can get an extension to file your taxes but any tax due should be paid by the tax deadline.

6.       Provide records and receipts to your tax preparer.  It’s against the rules to just use the last pay-stub and not the W-2 to file a tax return.  The preparer should ask a lot of questions to maximize you’re your refund, get all the credits and deductions to which you are entitled in order to avoid paying extra tax.  I use a comprehensive checklist of yes and no questions.

7.      Never sign a blank return.  Always get an explanation of the reason for the form being signed.

8.      Always review your return before signing your tax return.  You are responsible for your tax return, and tax preparer’s may are not infallible.   They are human and make mistakes.

9.      Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN.  All paid tax preparer’s must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number.    

10.  Most tax preparers are honest and provide a great service to their clients.  However, there are some that are not so honest.  If you find one that is not honest they should be reported the IRS.

Tags:  finance  Taxes; small business 

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Be SMART When Making Your Goals for 2017

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Monday, January 9, 2017
https://youtu.be/kMATlg2IrVg

The New Year is upon us!  Are you one of the 45% of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions?  Are you one of the 8% of Americans who are successful in achieving those resolutions?  If you are, then this article might not be too helpful.  But, if you are in the remaining 24%-49% percent of people who don’t usually succeed or consistently fail to meet their goals, then read on!  Setting SMART goals might be the missing link between making goals and actually achieving them.

Where should you begin to create goals that are achievable?  Write them down using the SMART acronym!  The concept of SMART goals appears to have its origins in an article dating back to November of 1981 written by George T. Doran.  Although different people over the years have used different synonyms for each of the letters, the concept is generally the same.  SMART stands for:

Specific
Measurable (motivating)
Attainable (agreed, action-oriented, ambitious, aligned)
Relevant (realistic, resourced, reasonable, results-based)
Time-related (trackable, time-based, time-sensitive, time limited)

Did you know that you are more likely to achieve your goals if your goals are written, if there is a public commitment (you tell someone else about them) and there is accountability (you update someone about your progress)?

Write down a goal for 2017 and see if you can apply each of the 5 SMART criteria to it.  For a more detailed explanation of how to write smart goals, read the full article.

The Streamlined Office helps individuals and businesses improve their efficiency and productivity.  Regardless of what we are working on with our clients, we always start with goal setting.  If you need help setting your goals or developing a process to achieve them, contact The Streamlined Office at 480-221-0588.

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Tags:  business development  consulting  office organization  productivity  professional development  small business  time management 

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