How Can Your Alma Mater Help Your Small Business?

4 Ways Your Alma Mater Can Help Your Small Business

Okay, so most of us have forgotten that silly fight song, and we’ve lost touch with people we swore would be lifelong friends.  But you spent thousands of dollars and lots of work to get that piece of paper that links you to your college forever.  Now you may not ever use trigonometry or foreign language in your everyday life, but that doesn’t mean your alma mater is irrelevant to your world.

Colleges and universities are bustling places with more to offer the entrepreneur than you might realize – especially if you’re talking about the school you graduated from.  Want to know how your alma mater can help grow your business?  Read on!

4 Ways Your Alma Mater Can Help Your Small Business

1. Networking

In a way, everyone affiliated with your college (whether in the past or present) is invested in your success.  Why?  Because you’re a reflection of your school.  That’s one reason it’s so important to keep your college connections alive.  Attend lectures.  Go to football games.  Keep an eye out for alumni events.  You have something important in common with other graduates of your school, which mean they’re predisposed to trust you.  Don’t let networking opportunities pass you by.

2. Research

Any entrepreneur who’s ever successfully entered a new industry knows the importance of research.  And most of us know how expensive it can be.  Short of commissioning a lengthy, costly study, how do you learn about your new niche?  Your prospective customers?  You go ask the experts.  Make an appointment and stop in and see someone who understands the field you’re venturing into.  Find out what’s cutting-edge, what’s garnering attention.  And if you’re lucky, you might even find a professor who’s willing to put her class to work on a research project for you!

3. Financing

Colleges aren’t just a collection of classrooms.  They’re complex institutions with big funding needs that are always looking for good investments.  As one of your college’s alumni, you should have the inside track on any funding they have to offer.  And that funding isn’t just going to fall into your lap.  You have to go get it.  Rubbing shoulders with trustees at events is another benefit of networking.  Make sure you’re getting the most out of your degree!

4. Recruitment

We all need good people, but we all have limits on what we can afford to pay.  My solution?  I go chat with the professors in the relevant department when I need to hire an employee.  I ask about their rockstar students, and I have the real deal on who’s about to graduate sharp, hungry, and looking for work.  The professors look like heroes, and I get serious talent at ground floor pay.  Note:  you can use this strategy at a local university even if you don’t live near your alma mater.

At this stage in your life, college doesn’t have to simply represent your glory days.  Leverage the connections and opportunities that your alma mater offers you, and you’ll discover hidden benefits from your diploma.

Graduation Cap Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How Can Your Alma Mater Help Your Small Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Kendall Jenner Pepsi Flap Shows Again the Power of Social Feedback

The Pepsi ad Backlash on Social Media Shows Again the Power of Social Feedback

A new ad from Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) featuring model Kendall Jenner has the internet abuzz – and not in a good way.

The video features Jenner joining a street protest over an undefined issue. But many have claimed the company is trying to hijack key social justice movements of the times.

In one of the most talked about scenes, Jenner offers a can of Pepsi to a police officer. And parallels are being made in social media to similar scenes in protests like one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the shooting death of Alton Sterling in which lone protesters confronted riot squads.

The reasons Pepsi decided to tread this controversial ground are unclear since for many brands dealing with such controversial topics is a clear no no. If the company was attempting to enter the national conversation  on such topics, it has clearly succeeded – but probably not in the way it had hoped.

Is Pepsi saying conflicts can be resolved with a soda? The ad is getting backlash on a lot of fronts and in other cases has left people very confused.

Pepsi Ad Backlash on Social Media

Critics quickly took to Twitter to call attention to the tone-deafness of the ad.

Pepsi has already pulled the official version of the ad but of course, the internet never forgets and versions of the spot are now in wide viral circulation.

This situation, while certainly not ideal for brands of any size, calls attention to the importance of feedback.

Social media provides businesses with a powerful tool for measuring consumer feelings and reactions. If you don’t listen, you could really be missing out and potentially even hurt your brand in the process.

Pepsi likely will have the ability to sustain the backlash they’re getting over this ad. But your small business might not be so lucky. In the first place, think hard before wondering into controversial issues. And be ready to react quickly to any feedback, no matter what message you put out.

Image: via Pepsi ad

This article, “Kendall Jenner Pepsi Flap Shows Again the Power of Social Feedback” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Taking Qualifications to Ridiculous Extremes

Crimes of Passion Business Cartoon

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a terrific artist. I never took an art class, I’ve never done any life drawing, and goodness knows I’ve never studied anatomy. (Eww!) So I get nervous when I have to draw the human form not conveniently covered with easy-to-draw clothing.

It took me a good while to figure out how to draw this well-muscled guy but still have him look like he fit with the rest of the cartoon cast. It looks simple – a few lines for abs and pecs, slightly larger arms – but it took a fair amount of research and trial and error. (You would not believe the number of romance novel covers I looked at!)

Anyway, I showed it to my wife later and she said “hubba hubba!” before laughing at the caption. So I think I got it.

Happy (Early) Valentine’s Day!

This article, “Taking Qualifications to Ridiculous Extremes” was first published on Small Business Trends

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20 Things Your Business Still Doesn’t Get About Hyperlocal Marketing

20 Things Your Business Still Doesn't Get About Hyperlocal Marketing

Surefire Social is rebranding and becoming Surefire Local, a marketing technology platform with a strong focus on hyperlocal marketing. In addition, the company has acquired Atlanta-based Promio to strengthen its offering.

The company isn’t totally changing its direction though. Surefire Social already provided a number of different marketing services that could benefit local businesses, including those with a storefront and service providers that operate within a specific area. But now, the name and technology better reflects the goals and offering of the company behind it.

Chris Marentis, Founder and CEO of Surefire Local told Small Business Trends, “The rebrand is basically calling attention to what we were already doing.”

If your business is interested in taking advantage of all the different hyperlocal marketing options out there, here are some tips from Surefire Local that you might not have considered before.

Hyperlocal Marketing Ideas

Don’t Ignore Online Marketing

Even if you build your business mainly through local referrals or word-of-mouth, you need some kind of online presence if for no other reason than to help those referral customers actually find you.

Marentis says, “The local businesses that really embrace and understand the technology behind local marketing are going to become more visible than their competitors and they’ll end up with the lion’s share of the business and with better quality customers.”

Focus on Mobile Compatibility

In addition, many of those consumers who try to find your business or others like it online are likely to do so on mobile devices. When searching on mobile, you can greatly improve your chances of your business showing up high in search results and actually being helpful to consumers if your website is mobile friendly.

Make Your Location Easily Accessible

One of the most relevant pieces of information people will look for when researching local businesses online is location. They need to be able to find you if they’re going to buy from you. So make sure your full address is easily accessible on your website, Google and other online directories.

Use Geolocation Signals

You can also make it even easier for people to find your business if you use geolocational tools that can help people see how far away they are from your location and exactly how to get there. To take advantage of those tools, you can make sure your business is listed on mapping services like Google Maps and adding geolocational signals to your website.

Make Sure Your Business is Categorized as Local

When optimizing your website for search engines, you can also use schema markup, which is a form of microdata included on websites, to help search engines classify your business as local. An optimized name, address, phone number and location data can help search engines to classify your business as local so that it can pull some of that relevant information out to make it even easier for consumers to find when they search for your business.

Have Accurate Information Across All Directories

Your business website is just one area where people can find information about your business. Sites like Facebook, Yelp and local business directories can also hold relevant information. But if your data is inconsistent across those platforms, it could confuse search engines and customers alike.

Evaluate Search Results

The search terms that people use to find your business online are likely to vary depending on what your business offers and what the customers in your community are looking for. So one of the best things you can do is to regularly evaluate some of the popular search terms that bring people to your website and then create content or edit your online presence to better take advantage of those popular searches.

Use Relevant Language

To do so, you’ll also need to use relevant language that your actual customers are likely to use to find your business or others like it. That means steering clear of jargon or terms that are mostly only popular within your industry.

Seek Out Reviews

Reviews on sites like Yelp can also help to bolster your local business’s reputation and online footprint. If you can provide a great experience for customers and encourage them to leave reviews on popular online platforms, you can potentially improve the chances of your business getting found and actually converting new local customers.

Create New Content

Search engines also prioritize recency when it comes to online content. So you shouldn’t just create a website early on and then never make any updates. If you regularly add blog posts of other content, you can increase your relevancy in search results.

Optimize Local Search Ads

You can also use online search ads to drive local traffic to your business. But you need to make sure that those ads are actually optimized for local consumers.

Marentis says, “Use Google Adwords with features like review extensions, local extension ads and local inventory ads to appear for local search ads.”

Take Advantage of Micro-Moments

When potential customers are searching for a specific type of local business online, that means your business has to compete with every other similar business in your area. And if all they do is look at a quick Google search before making their decision, you only have a short amount of time and a limited amount of space to convince them to choose your business over others. So you have to monitor how your business appears in certain search pages and add information to your site data that can help you put your best face forward online.

Add Credibility to Your Business

Credibility is another important factor both for search engines and for actual decision-making customers. So you have to pay attention to how your online presence can come across to people searching for your business online and add any relevant information that might help to boost your credibility.

Pay Attention to Your Presence on Other Websites

Part of that is monitoring mentions of your business on other websites like Yelp or even Houzz or HomeAdvisor for home service providers or similar businesses. You can’t always control what others post about your business on other sites, but you can at least make sure the basic information is correct and work to create positive experiences so you can build that credibility.

Include Testimonials on Your Website

You can also include customer testimonials on your website as a way of building your local business’s credibility online. Ask satisfied customers to share their experiences and then include a few on your homepage or even create a whole page dedicated to those testimonials.

Track Your Investment

If you’re spending money on your hyperlocal marketing efforts, then you need to have at least some idea of what you’re getting in return for your investment. So you should keep tabs on how much you spend on those efforts and constantly monitor any returns. And if you use a local marketing agency, require that they do the same and provide you with that information.

Don’t Focus on Just One Area

Since there’s so much that goes into hyperlocal marketing, you can’t hope to make a big impact by just focusing on one or two areas. Don’t just build an optimized website or only focus on getting great reviews. You need to work on multiple areas in order to make the greatest impact.

Manage Activities All in One Place

Of course, it’s possible to find marketing agencies or tech services that help you with one of the areas at a time. But if you can manage and monitor all those different areas in one place, you can greatly improve your chances of a successful campaign.

Marentis says, “Local marketing works best when it is done as a concerted effort. Have a staff member responsible for making your marketing work in sync, or choose a partner who has technology enabled services to partner with you.”

Keep Up With Technology

Technology is constantly changing the landscape of hyperlocal marketing. So you need to keep up with the trends and updated tools in order to make the most of them. Or make sure that your partners do the same.

Update Your Practices Regularly

Whether it’s because of changing technology or practices that simply aren’t working anymore, you are likely to need to change your hyperlocal marketing efforts at some point. So keep an eye on your analytics and changes in the industry and regularly reevaluate what the best path is going forward.

Local Market Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “20 Things Your Business Still Doesn’t Get About Hyperlocal Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Customer Returns Reach All Time High – But That’s a Good Thing, Says UPS

Today is National Returns Day 2017 and major shipping companies are expecting to be extremely busy. Here are the numbers from UPS.

Retailers and manufacturers enjoyed record eCommerce sales in 2016, but those record sales come with another record that will usher – record returns of holiday packages to retailers. But wait. That’s not as bad as it might sound.

Returns Packages to Retailers Projected to Rise in 2017

According to UPS (NYSE:UPS), National Returns Day, when the most UPS return packages are sent back to retailers, will hot on Thursday, January 5.

“Holiday shoppers are projected to return 1.3 million packages with UPS on National Returns Day and more than 5.8 million packages during the first full week of January 2017,”wrote UPS in an announcement on its official Pressroom blog.

Compared to 2016 where shoppers returned more than 1 million packages on National Returns Day and 5 million packages during the peak returns week, that’s a significant spike. But rising return volume is not all bad news, added UPS.

Rising Returns Not All Bad News

One good thing about rising return volume is that it indicates good return policies that can improve customer loyalty.

“While returns can’t be eliminated, an easy to use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” said Teresa Finley, chief marketing officer for UPS, which also offers return services to make returns easier.

UPS Return Services for Retailers

With its “technology-driven” return services, UPS estimates it has helped retailers recover 260 billion in lost sales. Its returns services include:

  • UPS Access Point, where deliveries and returns are handled through more than 26,000 local retailers, secure lockers, and The UPS Store locations in North America and Europe;
  • UPS Print Return Labels placed in outbound shipments to simplify the returns process;
  • UPS Electronic Return Labels emailed to consumers directly from UPS to improve their returns experience;
  • UPS Returns Plus, a service allowing merchants to send a driver to deliver a return label and pick up the return package from any address; and
  • UPS Returns Exchange, a service where a driver simultaneously picks up the return item in exchange for the replacement item delivery.

Interestingly, according to a UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, 70 percent of online shoppers made an additional purchase when they returned an item to a store, and 45 percent made an additional purchase when processing their return on the retailer’s website.

“Retailers are continuously improving their returns programs. The next great opportunity is to unlock the value of these returned products through a sophisticated reverse logistics program,” stressed Finley.

Image: UPS

This article, “Customer Returns Reach All Time High – But That’s a Good Thing, Says UPS” was first published on Small Business Trends

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USPS Proposes Increases in Mailing and Shipping Rates for 2017

As 2016 draws to a close, the US Postal Service is proposing a new 2017 postage rate increase. Here's the details you need to know.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has proposed to increase rates for it’s mailing and shipping services for 2017. This comes on the heels of FedEx and UPS also recently announcing shipping rate increases.

USPS made its new price proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) late last month. If approved, the proposed new pricing for its mailing and shipping services will take effect on Sunday, January 22, 2017, following the end of the holiday mailing season.

Revised Postal Service Shipping Prices for 2017

According to the Postal Service, the proposed new shipping prices, if approved, represent a modest price increase in Priority Mail by 3.9 percent and an average increase of 3.3 percent in Priority Mail Retail prices.

“The average Shipping Services price change is 3.9 percent, which results in an average shipping price of less than $5 per shipment across all shipping products,” wrote USPS in a press release announcing the proposal for new pricing for Shipping Services products.

It’s worth noting that just last year USPS revised prices for its Shipping Services for 2016, which resulted in shipping rates for Priority Mail shooting up by over 8 percent.

The new price update for 2017, however, does not include any Shipping Services price increases for First-Class Package International Service, Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International.

Postal Service Mailing Rate Increases

The new Mailing Services postage rate for the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope will have small increases for the following products:

Current New
Small flat-rate box $6.80 $7.15
Medium flat-rate box 13.45 13.60
Large flat-rate box 18.75 18.85
Large APO/FPO flat-rate box 16.75 17.35
Regular flat-rate envelope 6.45 6.65
Legal flat-rate envelope 6.45 6.95
Padded flat-rate envelope 6.80 7.20

You can find the complete USPS price filing with the new prices for all Shipping Services products on the Postal Regulatory Commission website under the Daily Listings section once the PRC reviews the prices.

Mailbox Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “USPS Proposes Increases in Mailing and Shipping Rates for 2017” was first published on Small Business Trends

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NextCon16 in Scottsdale and Influencer Marketing Days in New York Among Upcoming Business Events

scotsdalearizona

Small business marketing can take many different forms. Influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly popular route for small businesses to take, since it can help you reach out to consumers through trusted industry influencers.

If you really want to learn more about influencer marketing, there’s an upcoming event that is likely to be of interest. Influencer Marketing Days takes place this November in New York City. The conference offers a variety of different tips and tricks all dealing with how to best utilize influencer marketing.

In addition, the NextCon16 conference will also take place in November in Scottsdale, Arizona. And there are plenty of other small business events that entrepreneurs can learn from in the coming months. You can read more about NextCon16, Influencer Marketing Days and more in the featured events section below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

LeadpagesLeadpages’ Converted 2016

October 18, 2016, Minneapolis, Minn.

Converted 2016 will be an immersive experience taking place over two action-packed days in Minneapolis. We’ll share data-driven, practical tactics that will make a difference in the way you grow your business.

Discount Code

biztrends ($100)


Lean Startup ConferenceLean Startup Conference

October 31, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.

A gathering of thousands of thought leaders at Pier 27 for a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, speed mentoring, industry dinners, bootcamps, and startup tours at the scenic edge of San Francisco. The conference unites intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from government agencies, international conglomerates, boot-strapped startups, and civic organizations in their mission to create radical change in their industries.


Influencer Marketing DaysInfluencer Marketing Days

November 14, 2016, New York, N.Y.

Influencer Marketing Days is a unique conference dedicated to all things influencer marketing. The event is for marketing professionals responsible for their company’s influencer marketing strategy, campaign development, and relationship management. Whether you already run influencer marketing campaigns or you’re investigating ways to leverage this powerful type of marketing, Influencer Marketing Days will equip, educate, and inspire you to make the most of your efforts.

Discount Code

SBTIMD15 (Register today with code SBTIMD15 and you’ll keep 15% off of two-day passes!)


Lean Six Sigma Green Belt TrainingLean Six Sigma Green Belt Training

November 07, 2016, New York, N.Y.

This ?five-day ?program ?is ?a ?highly ?interactive ?training ?course ?in ?lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methodology. ?You will learn how to apply ?Lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methods to improve key business processes.Follow Us: @Vectorint

Discount Code

GBIL2016 (10%)


NextCon16NextCon16

November 14, 2016, Scottsdale, Ariz.

No matter your industry, company size or role, you can take advantage of the fresh perspectives, creative strategies and expert advice shared at NextCon. You will walk away with actionable insight to take your business to the next level and gain the insight and inspiration to make an impact.


Ignition Future of DigitalIgnition Future of Digital

December 05, 2016, New York, N.Y.

At IGNITION you’ll get a new understanding of the transformations taking place in the digital world. Join 700 senior executives working in technology, media, entertainment, investment, and finance in staying on top of today’s most innovative ideas. The conference is one of the fastest-growing digital-media companies in the world, and hosted by Henry Blodget, Business Insider’s Editor-in-Chief and CEO.


Secret KnockSecret Knock

May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Old Town Scottsdale photo via Shutterstock

This article, “NextCon16 in Scottsdale and Influencer Marketing Days in New York Among Upcoming Business Events” was first published on Small Business Trends

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October Small Business Events Set for Minneapolis, San Francisco

san-franciscoevent

Small business events for October include two conferences scheduled for Minneapolis and San Francisco.

Those events include Converted 2016, the annual Leadpages conference in Minneapolis beginning October 18 and the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco scheduled to begin October 31.

The Leadpages event is billed as the only one of is kind to focus exclusively on boosting conversions at every stage of a business. Speakers will include comedian and podcaster Marc Maron and entrepreneur, blogger and protester Pat Flynn.

The Lean Startup Conference is a seven day workshop immersing participants in Lean Startup methodology. To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

LeadpagesLeadpages’ Converted 2016

October 18, 2016, Minneapolis, Minn.

Converted 2016 will be an immersive experience taking place over two action-packed days in Minneapolis. We’ll share data-driven, practical tactics that will make a difference in the way you grow your business.

Discount Code

biztrends ($100)


Lean Startup ConferenceLean Startup Conference

October 31, 2016, San Francisco, Calif.

A gathering of thousands of thought leaders at Pier 27 for a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, speed mentoring, industry dinners, bootcamps, and startup tours at the scenic edge of San Francisco. The conference unites intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs from government agencies, international conglomerates, boot-strapped startups, and civic organizations in their mission to create radical change in their industries.


Influencer Marketing DaysInfluencer Marketing Days

November 14, 2016, New York, N.Y.

Influencer Marketing Days is a unique conference dedicated to all things influencer marketing. The event is for marketing professionals responsible for their company’s influencer marketing strategy, campaign development, and relationship management. Whether you already run influencer marketing campaigns or you’re investigating ways to leverage this powerful type of marketing, Influencer Marketing Days will equip, educate, and inspire you to make the most of your efforts.


Lean Six Sigma Green Belt TrainingLean Six Sigma Green Belt Training

November 07, 2016, New York, N.Y.

This ?five-day ?program ?is ?a ?highly ?interactive ?training ?course ?in ?lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methodology. ?You will learn how to apply ?Lean ?Six ?Sigma ?tools ?and ?methods to improve key business processes.Follow Us: @Vectorint

Discount Code

GBIL2016 (10%)


NextCon16NextCon16

November 14, 2016, Scottsdale, Ariz.

No matter your industry, company size or role, you can take advantage of the fresh perspectives, creative strategies and expert advice shared at NextCon. You will walk away with actionable insight to take your business to the next level and gain the insight and inspiration to make an impact.


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

San Francisco Photo Via Shutterstock

This article, “October Small Business Events Set for Minneapolis, San Francisco” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Scott Bechtold Joins CloudJumper Team as Workspace as a Service Market Grows

Scott Bechtold Joins CloudJumper Team as Workspace as a Service Market Grows

CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform, recently announced that IT veteran Scott Bechtold has joined the company as channel sales manager. He will be tasked with developing new channel partners throughout North America.

With 31 years of IT sales and management experience, Bechtold is no stranger to the industry. Before joining CloudJumper, he was CEO of Agility IT, a managed services partner (MSP) based in Atlanta, where he used CloudJumper’s WaaS solution with clients.

WaaS Defined

Webopedia defines WaaS as a cloud-based virtual desktop office environment that employees can access from anywhere at any time regardless of geographic location using their device of choice: desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

It gives employees the freedom to work remotely but provides them with an environment that appears and operates just like their physical office desktop.

BYOD, Telecommuting Trends Fuel Workspace as a Service Market Growth

WaaS technology adoption is growing due to increased demand for business mobility solutions, including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the rising telecommuting trend.

According to a report from Transparency Market Research, a research and consulting firm, the global WaaS market is projected to register a 12.10 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2015 and 2022.

The market, which had a valuation of $7.4 billion (USD) in 2014, is expected to rise to $18.37 billion by the end of 2022, the report said.

“This continued shift toward cloud-based workspaces is increasing demand among organizations that are making the switch to WaaS to improve business mobility,” the CloudJumper announcement said.

IT Companies Eye Market, Add WaaS to Service Roster

IT service providers, such as MSPs and telecom companies, already focused on becoming cloud-ready, are eyeing this emerging market and adding WaaS solutions to their service rosters.

“In the evolving managed services business, IT service providers are faced with new challenges on a regular basis, including the identification of simple yet profitable cloud solutions for business consumption,” said Max Pruger, chief sales officer, CloudJumper, in the announcement.

CloudJumper addresses this demand by providing a customizable white-label WaaS platform, called nWorkSpace, which it categorizes as a “comprehensive, yet easy to deploy, offering for IT service providers seeking fast entry into the WaaS market.”

The platform is intended for use by managed services providers, independent software vendors and telecommunications companies. It is designed for use with the Windows 8.1 operating system and comes equipped with more than 2,000 applications and plugins, including Microsoft Office 365.

Image: CloudJumper

This article, “Scott Bechtold Joins CloudJumper Team as Workspace as a Service Market Grows” was first published on Small Business Trends

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5 Little-Known Sales Skills that Entrepreneurs Should Master

5 Little-Known Entrepreneur Sales Skills

Aren’t you tired of the same old sales tips?

I can’t blame you. There’s so many different sales techniques that entrepreneurs can use to gain more business. It can be hard to determine which ones work the best.

I’ve written tons of posts giving sales advice myself. But you want something more, don’t you? If you’re like other entrepreneurs, you’re probably working every day to get better at selling and influencing.

The issue isn’t that the “same old sales tips” aren’t effective. If they weren’t, nobody would be sharing them. However, the real issue is that there’s more to it. There’s other techniques that you can master in order to become a better seller.

That’s what this post is about. If you put these lesser-known tips into action, you will find it easier to close more deals.

You’re welcome.

Make Them Talk Themselves Into Buying

Social labeling is a great technique because it’s a way to get the other person to convince themselves to do what you want. When you use this technique the right way, you will notice that more of your prospects will talk themselves into buying what you’re telling.

Social labeling involves expressing an observation about your prospect that is favorable to your position. This can be done multiple times in the conversation. This technique isn’t used only by salespeople, of course. You may also see it used by leaders, politicians, parents and other expert influencers.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you own a landscaping company and you’re trying to convince a prospect to become one of your customers. If you were to use social labeling, you might say something like

“I can tell that you’re the type who likes to make sure your lawn is always presentable.”

Pretty easy, right? Of course you don’t want to overdo this. If you don’t do this the right way, it’ll come off as awkward and manipulative. Also, you need to only make observations that you’re sincere about. Don’t use a label that clearly doesn’t fit the prospect. That’ll just make you look silly.

The Best Way to Lower Someone’s Guard

Want an easy way to quickly gain influence over someone? There’s a technique you can use to make your prospects feel more comfortable. If you do this right, your prospects will lower their guards. They will become far more likely to do business with you.

The mirroring technique is simple, but effective. It involves mimicking the mannerisms of the other person. It requires you to observe carefully how your prospect behaves so that you will know what behaviors to mimic.

There are three mannerisms you will want to mirror:

  • Tone of voice
  • Words and phrases they use
  • The speed with which they speak

The reason mirroring is so effective is because of humans’ tendency to be more favorably disposed towards others who are similar to themselves. When you mimic the behaviors of your prospects, they will subconsciously see you as more similar to themselves.

Of course, you want to be careful that you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to make it obvious that you’re mirroring the other person. That’ll turn them off quickly.

Know Why People Buy

You may not want to believe this, but I’m going to say it anyway: people buy for emotional reasons. Yes, it’s true. I don’t care what industry you’re in. I don’t care how analytical your customers like to think they are. Most of their buying decisions are tied to emotion.

Sales Guru Jeffery Gitomer says:

“The head is attached to the price, the heart is attached to the wallet. If you jerk on the heartstrings, the wallet comes popping out of the back pocket.”

It’s true. When you tap into your customer’s emotions, they will become far more likely to do business with you. That’s why you need to focus on your prospect’s passion.

What are your customers and prospects passionate about? Do you know?

See, here’s the thing. Most entrepreneurs are focused on their own passions. And they should be. A strong sense of purpose can drive you to success.

But your customers and prospects also have passions. When it comes to selling your products and services, you need to find out how they relate to what your prospects feel strongly about.

Lissette Palencia, founder of Sleeping Angels, knows exactly what her customers are passionate about. It’s their children.

Here’s what she has to say:

“We cater to parents with smaller children, so they feel quite strongly about making sure that their children are taken care of. When we empathize with their concerns, it gives them more faith in the fact that we can help them enrich their children’s lives. “

Makes sense, right?

Speak to what your prospect feels. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. Even if it’s just a small feeling, it’ll work. If you can find a sense of purpose in your prospect, that will help you influence them more effectively.

Entrepreneur Sales Skills That Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Tell Them They Can Say “No”

Believe it or not, one of the most persuasive sales techniques you can use is to remind your prospect that they can reject you. They have the power to make their own decision.

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but keep reading!

When you remind the customer that they have the freedom to make their own choice, it will make them more likely to accept what you’re offering. There have been several studies where researchers have found that this technique actually doubled the chances of making the sale.

It might sound insane at first, but it actually makes sense when you think about it. When you acknowledge that the prospect has the power to chose, it makes them feel less pressure. They now remember that they are not obligated to make the purchase. It makes it easier to make the decision to start doing business with you.

Successful Selling Means Taking Care of Yourself

This is something that many people forget. They’re so focused on getting sales and focusing on their prospects that they forget to take care of themselves.

Selling is hard, isn’t it? It can involve tons of rejection.

It was Winston Churchill who said:

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

He couldn’t be more right. The thing is, if you’re going to be an effective salesperson, you have to make sure that you’re in the right mental and emotional state.

Dr. John Mullen, founder and head personal trainer at TrainingCor mainly helps his customers with their physical health. But, as a doctor, he also understands the importance of maintaining your mental health as well.

He said this:

“You can’t expect to hustle and grind every day without taking time to let your mind and body relax from the beating it takes every day. The level of your success in any field is dependent on how well you take care of your mind.”

That’s why you need to make sure your mindset is on point whenever you need to get someone to buy from you.

There are tons of ways to keep yourself in a positive emotional state. My two favorites are self talk and gratitude.

Watch What You Say … To Yourself

Self talk is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the way you talk to yourself throughout your day – your inner monologue. Every day, we send ourselves messages. These can be positive messages or negative messages.

Your emotional state depends greatly on the messages you send yourself. If you’re constantly telling yourself negative things, you are putting yourself in a horrible position mentally. You’re basically sabotaging yourself.

But negative self talk is easy, isn’t it? We tend to focus on the negative.

One method I use to improve my self talk is to focus on what I’ve done right. Every day, I try to take some time to point out a few things I did well. Sometimes I write them down. Other times I just think about them.

When you force yourself to hone in on the things you did well, it makes it harder to put yourself down. It gives you actual evidence that you’re good at what you do.

The Power of “Thank You”

Gratitude is powerful. Immensely powerful.

As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that gratitude is the single most powerful way to make a positive impact on others while keeping yourself in a positive mental state.

The benefits of gratitude are numerous. When you practice gratitude on a regular basis, it makes you healthier, happier and more productive. It makes it so much easier to deal with the challenges of entrepreneurship.

But I’m not talking about keeping a gratitude journal. Yes, I know they’re popular, and they really do work.

I’m talking about taking it a step further. Instead of just writing down things that you’re grateful for, try expressing gratitude at least once a day. I can guarantee that it will have a HUGE impact on your emotional state. It did wonders for me.

Being proactive about your emotional self care is so important for entrepreneurs. Don’t let this fall by the wayside. Not only will it keep you out of a mental institution, it can also help you sell more effectively.

Conclusion

We have all heard a lot of the same sales advice. The purpose of this post was to give you some tips that you may not have learned previously. While these may not be “mainstream” sales tips, they will make you a better influencer and help you earn more business.

Salesperson Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “5 Little-Known Sales Skills that Entrepreneurs Should Master” was first published on Small Business Trends

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