Sunday, January 31, 2010

5 Fun Party Games For Direct Sales That Will Boost Your Business

If you are in direct sales, the money is all in the parties you do. You want your hostess and her guests to have as much fun as possible, but at the same time, you need to educate them on and interest them in your products. You may also want to plant the idea of one of them becoming a consultant. Party games can accomplish all of this while providing entertainment to the guests. Here are a few of our favorite games. Give them a try and watch your business grow.

1) Bingo

This is an easy all-time favorite and an easy way to introduce a wide variety of products to the group.

Create some bingo cards by drawing a 4 by 4 box grid on a piece of paper. Write “Free” on the center box. Then write the names of your products on the remaining boxes in random order on each of the bingo cards and make yourself a set of cards with just one of the products on each card. You will use this set of cards to draw the bingo “numbers”. You may want to have a sample of each of the products with you and show it and talk about it when the product is drawn during the bingo game. As in ordinary bingo, the first person who has a row of items checked off wins a prize.

2) Get To Know Each Other Game

This game makes for a nice icebreaker, especially if most of the guests don’t know each other. It can also provide you some clues about who may be a potential prospect.

Pass around a bag of M&Ms. Tell everyone to take as many as they would like. Quickly ask them to count the number of candies in their hand. Each person then takes a turn standing up and telling as many things about themselves and their family as they have M&M’s. Of course no one is allowed to eat their M&Ms until they have had their turn.

3) How Well Do You Know Your Hostess?

Give a piece of paper to each of your guests and have them number it from 1 to 10. Then ask them to answer the following questions.

1) What is your hostess’s favorite color?
2) If she could have any vehicle, what would it be?
3) How many kids does she have?
4) What is her favorite hobby?
5) Who is her favorite actor?
6) What is her favorite animal?
7) What is her favorite TV show?
8) What is her favorite food?
9) What is her favorite scent or smell?
10) If you were in need of something, would your hostess give it to you if she can?

After everyone writes down their answers (including the hostess), read the questions again and have the hostess tell everyone her answers. The other guests mark on their papers if they got it right or wrong. The person with the most write answers wins a small prize or discount on their purchase.

You can change and rearrange any of the questions, but leave the last one in place. It provides a nice lead- in to mention that the hostess will get free product if they purchase a certain amount, and/or book their own parties.

4) Left Right Game

This game is a great way to start a party, right before you go into your presentation. Pass out one or two small gifts. Tell your guests that you will read them a story and that they should pass the gift to the person to the right when they hear the word “right” and to the left when you mention “left. The person holding the gift at the end of the story gets to keep it.

Here is the story:

I left my house and was on my way to (insert hostess’s name) house. But I soon discovered that I had left my directions at home, right by the phone! Well, I knew right away that I needed to have the right directions to (insert hostess’s name) house, so I turned left and I turned left and I turned right and made my way back to my house for the right directions. Sure enough, there they were, right where I had left them, right next to the phone.

Finally, I was on the right track. I arrived right on time and set up my (insert your company name) presentation right over here. You all arrived and sat down. I’m going to get right down to work and tell you about (name of company). I hope nothing will be left out. In a moment I’ll show you our new line of (insert your type of products) products. If you left home with the intention of shopping for gifts tonight, you’ll find we have the right gift for everyone. Think about upcoming birthdays and holidays, we don’t want anyone left out. I’d be happy to help you find the right gift for that special someone.

(Insert name of company) has a (insert number of days) –day return policy. When your merchandise comes in please check it right away. If something is not right please call me right away and you can be sure I will take care of it right away. You don’t want to be left with something you are not 100% satisfied with, right? If you’d like to be a hostess and earn free and discounted merchandise, this is the right time for you to explore hosting a party.

I’m enjoying being here with all of you tonight and I hope you are having fun, too. I know you can’t wait to see if we have that special item you have been looking for, so without further delay I will get right to the point of this party, which is showing you our great products! So, there is really nothing left for me to do except congratulate the winner, right?

5) Ask Me About My Job

This game is a great way to get your guests thinking about joining your company.
Get or make up some tickets.

Tell your guests that for the next 3 minutes you are going to play “ Ask Me About My Job”. The first person to come up with a question will get 3 tickets, the second person will get 2 and every question after that earns one ticket.

You will hear questions like “How long have you been doing this?” and “How many hours a week do you work?” Answer them as positively as possible. Good answers to the questions above would be “I’ve been doing this for 12 months and I’ve never had so much fun” and “ I only work evenings and weekends because I want to be home with my kids”.

After the three minutes are up, tell you guests to hang on to their tickets. You will have another short Q&A session towards the end of the party (your guests will have thought of some additional questions by then). After that have a drawing for a small prize.

This game is a great opportunity for you to teach your guests about your business and they may see how could benefit them.

Give a few of these games a try and put your own spin on them. All of these can easily be adapted and modified to work for you and the particular direct sales company that you represent. Go out there and have fun!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

5 Crucial Home Business Tips to Realize Financial Freedom

Starting your home business is the easy part, but realizing your long-term goal of financial freedom takes much effort and dedication. There are many ways to operate a home business, but the tips below outline some solid principals you should follow to earn a steady income from home no matter what your home business.

1. Set Goals for Success

Setting goals will help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish within your home business. Start with long-term goals for where you would like to be financially five, ten, even fifteen years from now. Next, create short-term goals for daily, weekly, and monthly achievements. To attain financial freedom is a great long-term general goal, but it will take many small goals to reach this level. You'll need to set small goals to create a steady cash system. A home business will go nowhere without goals, so take this step before starting any other tasks.

2. Create a Pleasant, Professional Home Office

Evaluate your home business workspace. Do you work in a corner of your bedroom with a desk and computer? Is your office usually the kitchen table between meals? Do you try to work in the living area while the rest of your family enjoys conversation or entertainment? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you'll probably need to make some changes.

Create an office space that is for work only. Even if it's in the corner of another room, block its view with office sectional walls or some type of barrier wall to give a sense of privacy. An office should be just an "office" and nothing else. When you arrive at your office, you're ready for work. When you leave the office space, the workday is over.

3. Get Organized

Once you have a defined work area for your home business, fill it with supplies and tools to make work easier and more efficient. Choose a desk and chair for comfort as well as back, neck, and arm support. Desks with shelves and cabinets can make organizing your office a cinch, especially if you have limited office space. Also, keep a daily to-do list, calendar, and schedule book to prioritize tasks.

4. Stay on Schedule

When you work at home, it's easy to get off schedule because of interruptions or the temptation to take time off for leisure activities. Keep in mind that every moment wasted today usually means more work the next day. Eventually, you'll be working around the clock and never seem to accomplish anything. For home business success, keep a steadfast work routine daily and set a work schedule you can stick with every day. Develop a mentality that every job is actually a pay-by-the-hour job. Every hour spent working will help you make money and gain financial freedom.

5.  Separate Business from Personal Tasks

Once you set a schedule, stick to it. Don't allow personal tasks to get in the way of work. These can be anything from cleaning the house to visits from friends or relatives to watching television. Take breaks from your computer, but try to avoid getting involved in personal tasks during your breaks. Many women confess to washing dishes, ironing clothes, vacuuming, and other personal tasks while on break from their home business. Personal tasks can cause your mind to be off-focus, and it will be difficult to return to a regular work routine afterward.

Find other things to do during breaks that won't take your mind too far away from work. Take a 15-minute walk. Sit and read a self-help book related to your business. Or, take a quick snack break, with a healthy snack of course!

Once you take these steps, you're ready to enjoy a steady cash system at home that works. You can earn money doing what you love most, and your home business can soar to heights never imagined if you stick with these basic principals. Get ready for a bumpy road, but also look for the financial freedom that awaits you just over the horizon!

Friday, January 29, 2010

5 Considerations for the Home Worker to Make Money Online

With a computer and high speed Internet access, the potential for the home worker to make money online is virtually limitless. When it comes to finding the right home based business opportunity, there are several things to consider. Here are the top five:

1. Are You a Salesperson?

Some people have a natural talent for sales, while others couldn't sell water to someone stranded in the desert. For the home based worker who has the ability to sell, network marketing may be the perfect home based business. Network marketing typically involves selling products in one or more niche markets, as well as selling the opportunity. Also known as multi-level marketing, network marketing pays commissions based on a percentage of your sales and on the sales of your "downline," or those you have recruited to sell the product. Each opportunity has its own commission plan, and many pay bonuses on top of commissions.

2. Are You Experienced?

If you have years of experience being a home worker, you probably have a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, if you're new to being an entrepreneur, you probably need training. Look for a company that offers the tools and training you need in order to succeed. The type of training you receive can encompass everything from weekly conference calls or webinars (Internet-based seminars), to one-on-one coaching from your upline, to training manuals and other written materials.

3. Are You Internet Savvy?

If you know your way around the Internet and know something about setting up and hosting websites, the possibilities are endless. You can create your own websites, for example, and start generating affiliate revenue and Google AdSense revenue.

If you haven't the foggiest idea of how to set up and host a website, be sure to find a company you can partner with who will do the heavy lifting. There are many Internet-based opportunities for the home based worker from companies that provide what are called "replicated sites." They'll design and host your websites for you, so that all you have to do is work on marketing in order to drive traffic to your site.

4. How Much do You Want to Work?

Before selecting a home based business opportunity, honestly assess how much you want to work. If a stay-at-home mom needs extra money, she may only want to work two or three hours a day. If someone wants to quit the rat race and work full time as a home worker, money for moms simply won't be enough income. Sometimes a single home based business will provide all of the revenue a person needs, while other times you have to embark on several opportunities to diversify and multiply your revenue streams.

5. How Hands-On do You Want to Be?

Some home based business opportunities require that you be actively involved on a day-to-day basis, either in order fulfillment and customer service or in marketing your websites or businesses. Other opportunities are more passive in nature, in that you have to spend a lot of time initially, but they become self-perpetuating. If you're a home worker who enjoys being an ongoing active participant, choose an opportunity that requires you to interact with other people. If you prefer to be hands-off, select a business that will basically run itself.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

5 Benefits Of Using Feeds - How Feeds Can Help Your Ebiz

What’s a Feed?

Feeds are a way of sharing content. When you make material from your website available for publishing on other sites, you provide them with a feed. Basically, it’s a code that lets them post your articles and blogs. There are different kinds of code—XML, RSS, Atom, etc.—but essentially they’re all just different ways of accessing a feed.

According to internet expert Sydney Johnston, “The great thing about a feed is everybody wins.” The article writer gains exposure, the reader learns about something of interest to them, and the online seller gets an endless source of pertinent content.

What Can a Feed Do for My Online Business?

Feeds are useful in a number of different ways:

• They Eliminate Spam-filters. They’re 100% opt-in, so readers can subscribe and unsubscribe at will. Feeds are delivered directly to your subscribers, so you don’t contend with filters knocking you out of their inboxes.

• They Provide Free Content. One of the best ways to differentiate your site is to supply readers with interesting material—educate them on topics relating to the product you’re selling. If you sell preschool toys, chances are you don’t want to study child development and write numerous articles on the subject—so find someone else who’s already done that and make their feed available to your customers. The constantly updating, applicable subject matter gives your visitors a reason to keep coming back.

• They Can Improve Your Search Engine Rankings. In the past, search engines were unable to read feeds, but software is now available to translate them into live links the engines can see (check out Search engines love fresh, dynamic content, so feeds are ideal. They provide relevant information that updates automatically. Not only do your customers get the facts they’re looking for, but the search engines like your site and give it better position.

• For Affiliate Marketers, They’re an Alternative to Banners. You not only give your customer valuable knowledge, but if they click through and purchase something, you get credit. And unlike with banners, you don’t look like you’re putting up junk ads or spam.

• They Can Increase Your Traffic. Anything you write, you should make available as a feed. When other sites pick it up, it’s free advertising for you—all their traffic is able to click through the feed to your site. So you gain new potential customers you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Feeds on any subject are easy to find. There’s a whole collection of search engines just for feeds, like and Says Johnston, “The future of the internet for entrepreneurs is feeds. If people don’t master them, they’re going to get left behind, period.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

4 tech must-haves for your mobile office

<p>Everything changes when you trade in your desktop for a laptop and your office for a hotel room. </p>
<p>Sometimes this is for the better: You're liberated from your cubicle and free to go where your work takes you. </p>
<p>But sometimes things change for the worse. Productivity suffers when you're in an unfamiliar place. The way a laptop keyboard cramps your hands is sometimes enough to keep you from getting the job done right. </p>
<p>Here are four technology "must-haves" for the mobile office, plus some tools that can boost your productivity while you're away. </p>

• <b>The Right Software </b>
<p>It isn't just downloading the necessary applications onto your laptop or PDA, it's also knowing whether the programs are suited to a mobile office. Is your email program built for the road or adapted from a bigger application meant for a corporate network? Do the programs work together on your laptop or do they freeze when your processor gets busy? </p>
<p>These considerations can become big issues when you're travelling. That's something Tab Stone, a doctor from Los Angeles, knows all too well. He installed a new email program on his laptop before leaving on a recent trip, but it wasn't suited for mobile use. He had to uninstall it shortly before takeoff, but that disabled his backup email program. That meant he couldn't download any messages to his PC. "I could not fix whatever was corrupted with either a fresh download or a copy downloaded from the internet," Stone recalls. </p>
<p><b>The latest: </b> Contact-management software programs let you integrate data with your PDA, so you can download and synchronise contacts, calendar appointments and notes to your Palm Pilot or Pocket PC. There's also a web-based version for travellers who either lose their laptops or prefer to work from a desktop at their destination. </p>

<p><b>What's next? </b> Look for more integration between applications for wireless users. Contact managers are already assuming the role of email program, address book and database. The next step is making it more accessible to people who are using cell phones or PDAs. </p>
•<b> The Right Hardware </b>
<p>I'm not talking about owning the newest laptop computer. I'm talking about hardware that's created for life on the road. Let's face it: A lot of the gadgets on which mobile professionals depend aren't made with travellers in mind. For example, when Joachim Martin's laptop battery ran out on a recent flight, a helpful flight attendant offered to recharge it in a "secret" outlet in the back of the plane. "The batteries charged," remembers the software developer. "But when I got home, they were dead." The power source had to be replaced. Blame the airline, the battery manufacturer or even the unfortunate business traveller for not knowing better, but this kind of thing happens often. Phone plugs don't always fit; neither do power outlets. And a lot of the gadgets we rely on are traveller-hostile, impractical or both. </p>
<p><b>The latest: </b> Some hardware manufacturers are meeting the demand for traveller-friendly hardware with add-ons such as the Stowaway XT Keyboard. I've also been impressed with Microsoft's Mini Optical Mouse, which frees you from the restrictions of your laptop's finger-cramping pointer. </p>
<p><b>What's next? </b> As the convergence between cell phones, PCs and PDAs continues, it wouldn't surprise me to see devices that offer the ergonomic comfort of a desktop with the portability of a PDA. It won't come a moment too soon for many road warriors. </p>

• <b>The Right Connections </b>
<p>Connections are everything to the mobile office. </p>
<p>Remember Stone, the doctor without email? He eventually accessed his messages through an unwieldy web connection. Spencer Field, who recently returned from a trip to Melbourne, can also tell you about email trouble. He learned upon arrival that the dial-up numbers to his internet service provider (ISP) didn't work. "I thought that was probably the end of my online access," he says. "As a last-ditch effort, I let my fingers do the walking and checked out the Melbourne Yellow Pages for a local ISP." He found one and signed up for a one-month email account which gave him access to local numbers on his entire itinerary. </p>
<p>It isn't just internet connections that matter, but also hooking up to other devices such as cell phones, PDAs and laptops. Technologies such as Bluetooth let you communicate with other devices in an office or hotel room without the need for cables. </p>
<p><b>The latest: </b> According to a recent AT&amp;T study, the top barrier to working from a remote location is access to a high-speed data connection. Fast wireless networks are springing up everywhere — in hotels, airport lounges and coffee shops. And even though Bluetooth got off to a slow start, the concept behind it — which is to lose the wires — is fundamentally sound. </p>
<p><b>What's next? </b> It won't be long before Wi-Fi is as ubiquitous as cellular coverage and a majority of devices are Bluetooth-enabled. That's good news for those of us who work in a mobile office. </p>

•<b> The Right Web Applications </b>
<p>Web-based applications are so important to the mobile office that I've decided to give them their own category, even though they technically belong in the "software" section. The web is one of the most efficient ways for a mobile worker to gain access to a back-office system, intranet or database. </p>
<p>My ISP offers a rudimentary application that lets me check my email from the web. I can't remember how often I've had to use it because my email program failed to work properly. But I do remember the last time. I was stuck at a meeting out-of-town and my email account had sustained a spam attack — thousands of unsolicited messages — that would have taken hours to download. Instead, I logged on to the web and deleted them all in seconds. Were it not for the web application, I would probably still be downloading the spam. </p>
<p><b>The latest: </b> One of the most innovative Web applications is GoToMyPC , which lets you access the desktop in your home or office through the web. Another useful application for mobile users is web conferencing services such as Microsoft Office LiveMeeting. </p>
<p><b>What's next? </b> Expect these applications to become cheaper, more reliable and even more sophisticated. </p>

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

4 Considerations when Evaluating a Project for Saas

The number of companies involved in SaaS deployments is doubling in the next 12 months; many of them have experienced pitfalls that could have been avoided with some minor research and planning up-front. While there is a diverse amount of technology and business processes that can be addressed using SaaS, there remains a handful of common tasks that need to be performed at the beginning of your project that will aid in tracking the project’s impact and progress.

Deployment Footprint
Create a UML Deployment diagram early. A Deployment Diagram helps everyone quickly identify what systems and users will be impacted by the change in technology and process. Having the Deployment Diagram exist as a living artifact throughout the lifetime of your project also helps other teams easily asses impact to any new or existing projects.

Project Timeline
Leverage your SaaS provider’s experience. Often service providers for SaaS projects will have a library of best-practices that can aid your project management team. Focus on how the SaaS company defines milestones and understand how they project the duration from one milestone to the next. The information the SaaS company provides can be used to build dependencies in your project plan.

Process Integration
One of the major benefits to using SaaS is that packaged services are designed to easily integrate with existing technologies and infrastructures. When looking at SaaS applications, make sure there are XML or RMI interfaces. Also, well-documented database schemas great for running ad-hoc queries. Most SaaS vendors provide robust reporting capabilities - just make sure they provide you the documentation to interface with the system.

ROI Milestone
Define your ROI milestones early. It’s ok if your expectations for cost-savings are all over the place. Your SaaS provider will have financial models that will help your organization forecast cost-savings by using their implementation over using a standard model.

SaaS models can easily reduce your projects costs by double-digit percentages. The key as you gain experience with SaaS is to refine your process in the same way a software development life-cycle will evolve. Additionally, leverage your SaaS provider’s experience and become partners in completing a successful project.

Monday, January 25, 2010

4 Classic Cold Calling Mistakes

<p>Have you noticed that the old "tried and true" cold calling techniques which were once successful have completely lost their effectiveness over the years? They just don’t work anymore.</p>

<p>But many salespeople are still use them because that’s all they know. They’re working from that old, ineffective cold calling mindset. And they’re making the same mistakes over and over again.</p>

<p>I’d like to talk about 4 classic cold calling mistakes from the old traditional approach that will put you on the wrong path if you’re not careful.</p>

<p>1. Deliver a strong, enthusiastic sales pitch</p>

<p>People almost always feel "pushed" by sales enthusiasm, especially when it’s coming from someone they don’t know.</p>

<p>You see, a strong sales pitch includes the unspoken assumption that your product or service is a great fit for the other person. But think about it. You’ve never spoken with them before, much less had a full conversation. You can’t possibly know much about them at this point.</p>

<p>So to them, you’re just another salesperson who wants them to buy something. And so the walls go up.</p>

<p>It’s much better to modestly assume you know very little about your prospect. Invite them to share some of their concerns and difficulties with you. And allow them to guide the conversation, rather than your pre-ordained strategy or pitch.</p>

<p>2. Your goal is to always make the sale</p>

<p>When your target in cold calling is to always make the sale, prospects are aware of your agenda. And almost immediately, they’re on the defensive. After all, you’re primarily focused on yourself and the sale – not on them.</p>

<p>In the old traditional mindset, you forge ahead with the hope of getting a sale. You’re coaxing, persuading, and pushing things forward.</p>

<p>But most cold calls break down the moment the other person feels this sales pressure.</p>

<p>Why? Because they don’t know you, and they don’t trust you.</p>

<p>So the sales momentum you’re trying to create actually triggers a backlash of suspicion and resistance. They’re trying to protect themselves from a potential "intruder" with what appears to them as a self-serving agenda.</p>

<p>Instead, you can approach cold calling with a different goal. Your focus can be on discovering whether you’re able to solve a problem for the other person.</p>

<p>When you become a problem-solver, this feels vastly different to the person you’re talking to. You’re not triggering rejection. You’re calling with 100 percent of your thoughts and energy focused on their needs, rather than on making a sale.</p>

<p>3. Focus on the end of the conversation – that’s when sales are lost</p>

<p>If you believe that you lose sales because you’ve made a mistake at the end of the process, you’re looking in the wrong direction. Most mistakes are made at the beginning of a cold calling conversation.</p>

<p>You see, it’s at the beginning that you convey whether you’re honest and trustworthy. If you’ve started out your cold call with a high-pressured sales pitch, then you’ve probably lost the other person in just a few seconds.</p>

<p>When you follow a sales script, strategy, or presentation, then you’re not allowing a natural, trusting conversation to evolve. So the "problem" has been put into motion by your very first words. So the place to put all your focus is at the beginning of the cold call, not at the end.</p>

<p>4. Overcome and counter all objections</p>

<p>Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on overcoming objections. But these tactics only put more sales pressure on your prospect, which triggers resistance. And you also fail to explore or understand the truth behind what’s being said.</p>

<p>When you hear, "We don't have the budget," or, "Call me in a few months," you can uncover the truth by replying, "That's not a problem."</p>

<p>And then using gentle, dignified language, you can invite them to reveal the truth about their situation.</p>

<p>So move away from the old sales mindset and try this new way of approaching your cold calling. You’ll find yourself being more natural, and others will respond to you in a much more positive way.</p>

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FCC Junk Fax rule - New Fax rule is effective August 1, 2006

Since the Federal Communications Commission has revised its Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, it is important that you are aware of the changes as they apply to your business. Some of the requirements on the sender are: 1. The sender must have an ‘established business relationship” with the recipient or have written consent from the recipient to sending all unsolicited advertising faxes. 2. Sender must have received this fax number voluntarily. 3. Receiver must have the right to opt-out of receiving future faxes. 4. The sender must honor all opt-outs within thirty days of receiving the communication. Since the opt-out must be included, you must be sure to follow the following guidelines: 1. Opt-out must be clear. It must be on the first page of the fax. 2. The opt-out must not appear to be part of the advertising. A reasonable user must be able to determine that it is not advertising but a clear statement. 3. It must state the receiver can opt-out of future unsolicited advertisements. It clearly must state the sender must honor the opt-out within thirty days or they will be breaking the law. Since the method of opt-out must be sent in the same fashion as stated in the unsolicited advertising, it is important that you, as the consumer, follow the letter of the rule. If you receive a fax, follow the directions if they require replying via fax. Only this method is covered under this law. Be sure to provide the required information. If you don’t follow the directions, the sender does not have to comply. The rule when broken down in steps is easy to follow. It will help you eliminate more ‘junk’ information.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Easy Payoff with Simple Upgrades

Sometimes home upgrades can seem a daunting task, and on many levels. In the worst case scenario they require vast amounts of time, energy, living disturbance and of course, money. But, there are some simpler approaches to upgrading your home in order to have it looking up to snuff for the real estate market and to, ideally, boost its market value. So, no need to fret. Just consider the following easy upgrades and see what might be manageable for you while you begin to prepare your home for sale. As the foyer is the first impression a potential buyer will have of the interior of your home, you'll want to begin here. Now, you may be thinking, "But it's not the most functional and used area of my home, so why should I bother?". You'd be shocked at how many buyers are led by their "impressions" of a home, and for better or for worse, the ones that'll stick hardest, are those "first impressions". Like a first kiss, you want to go in for the kill and not offer up something boring ( or dirty, for that matter!) that'll potentially turn away prospects. If you have carpet or linoleum in your foyer, you'll definitely want to get rid of it and move to some tile alternative. Anything that looks like stone offers a timeless quality and one of wealth and establishment. Of course, stone may be too pricey of an option. There are also choices in porcelain, that can look equally as appealing. Thankfully this re-flooring job is going to be contained to a smaller room, so it won't be a huge time investment. What you'll need to do, is rip up the existing flooring and install a layer of plywood. Cut the tile. This while be the hardest part of the job, but you might try inquiring with the tile store and see if they'll provide a free cutting service. Next you'll be gluing, grouting and sealing. All in all, this is a job you can do in a day,. and that'll cost you in the ballpark of $200-300 dollars. ( for a four by four foot foyer) Another easy upgrade you can do yourself to improve the overall look and feel of your home is to replace the overhead fixture in the dining room. Good lighting is critical throughout your home, but especially in a dining area where the right chandelier, or fixture can set the tone and make a lasting impact on the buyer. When choosing a fixture you'll want universal appeal in terms of styling. Also be aware of proportions. Think of the goldilocks conundrum. You don't want a light that's too small, or too big for the space. Try to find the golden, "just right" fit. The basics of installation include shutting off the circuit breaker in your home. Unscrew the wire nuts to remove the previous fixture and expose the wires. Next you'll use your electrical expertise to match up the wires from the lamp with the wires in the box. Shouldn't be rocket science, won't take you long, and won't break your budget. Depending on what you go for in terms of a fixture, you'll be looking at between $40-500 for a chandelier, and maybe another $40 for tools. Okay, now don't run screaming when you read this one. Take a look at your kitchen. You may have read that the kitchen is the most important room to focus on in terms of re-sale for your home. And, even though this is true, it doesn't mean you have to go and put in a renovations that'll set you back thousands. If you and your pocket book are not ready for a complete overhaul, consider minor alterations that'll spruce up what you already have in a kitchen. Paint can do wonders in any room, and the kitchen is no exception. Re-painting your kitchen cabinets can truly tranform the room. You'd be suprised how much wear and tear cabinetry suffers, and paint can easily bring a new fresh look to this high traffic area. A coat of paint is cheaper than refurbishing your cabinets and certainly way less than fully replacing them. You'll want to choose colors, ideally in the neutral palette and ones that blend or provide subtle contrast. In order to start the job you'll need a drill, bits, sandpaper, primer, oil-based or latex acrylic paint or stain, paintbrushes and some spanking new hardware to complete your spiffy new paint job! If you give yourself two days and budget for about $130-$160 (knobs included), then you're flying! After you've accomplished three significantly easy, but certainly important upgrades for your home, you'll want to attend to the niggly details of fixing whatever minor flaws might be lurking about. This will be time well spent, as you don't want your home to signal neglect or wear- this can make buyers extra suspicious and critical of the entire state of the house. Squeaky floors and doors, uneven walls textures, leaky faucets should all be attended to. So remember, sometimes it's just a matter of some elbow grease, a few pennies and a few days to get your home good for the market.

3 Women Starting A Small Business

Starting a small business ranks close to having a child in the “major life event” category. This can be one of the most stressful times, but if done right, it can also be one of the most rewarding things in your life. Some might think that to start your own business, you have to know everything. One thing that you can have something help you with is marketing and advertising. This is a very complicated part of any business and if the average business owner thinks they know everything they need to know about this, they are kidding themselves. When someone has a heart problem, they go to a specialist. This is how you should treat your small business marketing. Using an Ad Agency could be one of the smartest things you could do to help ensure your business doesn’t fail. It is well known that 80% of all businesses fail within the first 5 years. How many of those millions of heartbroken owners could have been part of the 20% only if they would have not been a “know it all” and asked the experts for help in areas they didn’t have an idea in. Throughout the years of running an Ad Agency, we have never had a client spend more money with us than if they would have done it alone. In a majority of cases, they actually have saved thousands of dollars with us. This is for a few reasons. One is the enormous buying power good Ad Agencies have. We can buy in bulk and pass the savings to all of our clients. Ad Agencies also have more negotiating power. Going into a buying process with 5-10 clients at one time can give us a huge advantage in negotiating power. One thing that new and existing business owners fail to do is create an actual advertising marketing plan for the year. This can be done at any time during the year and not just January first. Create a plan for the next 12 months based on your target audience and your budget. We never come to a client and tell them how much they should spend for the year. We take your budget and create a plan for you, at a price you can afford. We handle over $38 million in advertising dollars every year, but we service the $5000 startup or the $100k budgets. Any and all are welcome to participate in our programs.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Don’t Forget Masonry During Inspections

Early in my career, I worked with a brick mason who declared “masonry construction is forever.” In a humorous response, I teased him saying he’d spent too much time carrying mortar up a ladder. But actually I knew when properly installed, masonry really is solid; it serves the construction industry well and provides outstanding protection against the spread of fire. Given its tested reputation, many inspectors have developed a mindset that keeps them understanding that because masonry is fire-rated it needs no inspection, or that all 8-inch block has a two-hour fire rating. Consider the common misconception that all concrete block has a rating. If you look at the UL Fire Resistance Directory, it shows the block used in a fire-rated assembly must meet certain requirements. A 2-hour firewall requires a class “B” block. The block alone must be constructed following certain specifications. Its fire resistance rating is based on the thickness of the block. So what’s the difference between a class B block and the typical concrete block available at a local lumberyard or home store? It comes down to the required thickness of the walls and the size of the hollow core. Blocks purchased at home repair and maintenance stores typically have large hollow cores and are not adequate in thickness or density for fire resistance. So how does an inspector know if the block being used is of the correct classification? The construction design will indicate a required classification. Additionally, block shipments usually contain a certificate with its classification and inspectors should ask to see that certificate. Block classification should be checked routinely and automatically. There are also various issues to consider before application such as the type of mortar used, how to keep the mortar from freezing, what accessories will be used and the bearing conditions and penetrations. All of these components comprise an assembly. Indeed, masonry construction is solid and serves the construction industry well. And to make my brick mason friend happy, I will concede that it is almost “forever.” However, as with other types of construction, masonry too, is subject to inspection and must also comply with applicable codes and standards.

3 Ways to Create a Steady Cash Stream while You Work from Home

Working from home was once merely a dream for most people. Until the onslaught of the Internet and home PCs, it simply wasn't feasible for companies to hire employees to work from home. And starting a small business took special know-how, a large initial investment, and a lot of advertising and marketing. But now, working from home is a reality for thousands of people, and you too can realize this dream.

The first goal for your home business should be to find ways to create steady cash flow. You'll need cash flow to operate and promote your home business, and to secure a lucrative income for yourself. There are many different ways to create a cash stream for your home business. Here are three ideas to get you started.

1. Buy a Pre-Existing Profitable Business

One way to create an immediate cash flow is to buy a pre-existing home business that is already making a profit. Of course, you will not enjoy a profit immediately because you must invest initially. But once you are able to recover from the initial investment, you can continue receiving profits year after year.

The key benefit of buying a pre-existing work-from-home business is you will gain knowledge from the previous owner about what works for the business and what doesn't work. The main disadvantage is you will have to follow in the footsteps of another instead of building your own home business from the ground up. There's a great sense of pride when you can truly call a business "your own!"

2. Follow a Profitable Business Model

Another way to create a cash stream for your work-from-home business is to follow the profitable business model of another. You can learn a lot from others who have already been successful with a home business. Many long-time entrepreneurs are creating e-books and global networks to help new home business owners become a success. They are revealing little-known secrets about work-from-home businesses that would likely take you years to discover on your own.

Look for entrepreneurs who have owned work-from-home businesses in a field that interests you. Use their ideas and examples to create a profitable business model for your new home business.

3. Internet and Network Marketing

A third way to create a cash stream of income is to utilize the Internet and network marketing to your advantage. Find and join a team of individuals who have similar goals and work with them to build a successful online business. With the Internet and network marketing, many are realizing their financial goals faster than they ever imagined.

Network marketing online can be accomplished through email and a website while working from home, and it can bring more people together with similar goals in a very short period of time. Many global network companies will promote your online business for you and take every initiative to help you become a success. There are even global resorts networks that enable you to travel to exotic places while earning a substantial income.

Whatever method you choose to create a cash stream as you work from home, set some goals for your business and start realizing your dreams today!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do You Have to Be Aggressive to Make Sales?

We could say that Unlock The Game™ actually takes the "middle ground" between passive and aggressive by being authentically unassuming, yet effective - and that this is the most stress-free and effective way to sell.

What do I mean?

I mean that you have to shift away from assuming that every prospect is a fit for your solution.

It's sort of like the legal concept of "being innocent until proven guilty."

We can't afford to make any assumptions about "fit" until our conversation with the prospect indicates that we've mutually arrived at that conclusion.

The aggressiveness that turns off prospects sets in when you assume, every time you pick up the phone, that you have a solution for them.

Your tone of voice and language gives them that message long before they've even had a chance to agree that they have a problem you might be able to help them solve.

But if you can manage to find that middle ground of not assuming anything while also communicating in a low-key, unassuming manner, you'll discover a whole new effectiveness you could never have imagined.

Can prospects sense when you're assuming too much?

Sure they can -- because most of us have been conditioned to present or talk about our solution as a way to engage prospects so they'll reveal their problems to us.

But that logic is completely flawed, because when you launch into your solution to someone who doesn't trust you yet, all you do is allow them to pigeonhole you as a stereotyped "salesperson."

So how do you make this concept of being unassuming but effective a reality?

First, learn to start conversations by focusing 100 percent on generating discussions around prospects' problems, rather than pitching your solution the second you hear an opening.

Second, learn to begin those conversations by converting the benefits of your solution into problems that your solution can solve.

Third, after you and your prospects have identified a problem or problems, you can then engage in a discussion about whether fixing those problems is a priority.

It's only at that point that prospects have finally given you implicit permission to share your solution with them.

Jumping in with solutions prematurely will only land you back in the trap of being perceived as "aggressive."

3 Tips For Choosing A Payment Gateway: Collecting Money Online

As a consumer, when you check out of your local convenience store, you may swipe your credit card through a point-of-sale device and your gas, coffee, and donut are paid. But what if you are the retailer and your business is online? It’s not like you have a card-swiping device at every customer’s PC! There must be a way for you to process that information. Essentially, that is the job that a payment gateway does for online retailers. Roy Banks, president of, a leader in the payment gateway industry, describes his company’s function as “the digital version of a hardware point of sale terminal.”

What is a Payment Gateway?
Payment gateways allow online merchants such as eStore owners or auction sellers to accept credit card payments over the internet. They authorize the cardholder’s credit—that is, they check to ensure that the customer has enough money on their credit card to cover the charges. They then place a hold on that amount so the buyer can’t turn around and spend that same money elsewhere before it gets transferred to the retailer’s merchant account. Banks describes this as “the technology…necessary to consummate a payment transaction.”

A Payment Gateway is NOT a Merchant Account.
Many people confuse merchant accounts with payment gateways but they are not the same. Merchant account services act, for the most part, as a liaison between your business bank account and the payment gateway. When a customer orders a product from your online business their card is processed via the payment gateway. The money is then moved over to the merchant account service. The merchant account service then moves those newly captured funds to your business bank account.

3 Tips for choosing a Payment Gateway:

1. Is it PCI-compliant? That means that the company’s security has been audited by a third party and found to be up to industry standards. Since payment gateways store all your customers’ credit card information (sparing you the stress), it also means you can sleep better at night, knowing your customers’ valuable information is safe and sound.

2. Good customer support. ‘Nuf said.

3.Lastly, it is important that the payment gateway you choose be integrated to the third-party solutions you are planning to use. That means things like store front platforms and shopping carts—you want them to be compatible with your gateway.

Payment gateways will not only allow you to collect the monies from your sales, many also offer an array of security features, some of which will help you avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent orders! In the end, they will make your ecommerce business a less-stressful, more pleasant experience—for both you and your customers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Developing your own business opportunities.

In the world of business, developing trade opportunities is really about nurturing trade relationships. The days of a worker spending 20 to 35 years with one company are long gone, and the most important way to keep all your business opportunities wide open is by nurturing these relationships. In some ways, this complicates the world of making truly sound business decisions. If you have strong business relationships, there will no doubt be the odd phone call or email with a new business proposition on the other end. Some of these propositions will be fantastic while others will be gone before the finished idea even reaches your brain. Some will permit you to test them out while you maintain your current work position while others will demand your full time focus. If you are going to get far ahead in this world, you are going to have to be receptive to new options that come across your desk, as well as being receptive to those who have a desire to convey them to you. Beware though if you have quite a lot of money at the get-go you might see many more business proposals which might be thinly veiled pleas for financial aid for someone elses doorway rather than your own. Learning to discern between outstanding business opportunities and business relationships is mighty difficult though. Sometimes the relationship between the parties gets in the way of sound decisions. If a business relationship is sound and the idea initially appears good, the temptation is to jump right in without looking past a shallow level. This strategy may backfire unless the opportunity is quite foolproof. And when someone does come up with a foolproof business opportunity the rest of the world will know about it too. Until then, we are all still out there swimming with sharks and hoping for the best. Business ideas can often pop up in the strangest of places. These are the thoughts and concepts that materialize during family outings, holiday soirees, and of course, seminars that are more useful as a cure for insomnia than anything else. It takes not just a bright mind but a bit of bravery to leave the proverbial door open for continued discussion. There are few things more distressing than driving home from a social event wishing that you had gotten someones contact details because you felt they seemed really onto something, and you wanted in. If you could have only been a little braver you might have snatched up his contact details, let your mind ponder their idea for a while, and then called with your own proposition a short while later. But you did not, and another million dollar opportunity went home early, along with the inventor. It is a shark infested world out there, and everyone is looking so hard for success that they arent remembering to look for the friendly face of those who can help them. Sometimes the best key to developing your own winning business plan is to simply continue to listen to others.

3 Simple Business Opportunities Review

Honest Business Opportunities Review. Finally an honest way to make money online.

Tired of business opportunities that do not deliver what they promise? We have reviewed the top selling programs on the Internet today. Below you will find a link to reviews of the top 3 opportunities that actually work.

The key to making money online is knowing how and where to start.

Without the right starting point you will waste precious time and a ton of money. The following products guarantee your online success, all you have to do is read them and follow their expert advice! All programs provide a 100% money back guarantee, require little or no experience, offer a step by step guide, and use proven strategies that will make you money.

These programs are simple to use, have a small investment price, and you are able to see results usually on the first day! Now you won't make millions overnight, like some programs promise, but you will build a nice part-time income that can certainly help with the bills (everyone I know wouldn't say no to an extra $500+ bucks a month).

You might even consider using all the suggested programs and over time replace your existing income. That's what I did, and lord knows i'm no "guru", actually i am a journeyman carpenter from Canada that just wanted a nice online hobby business. I wasn't expecting great things, just some extra cash, some "FUN" money. Now these programs have really taken off, I spend more time with my family and playing in my shop. I never expected this business to explode for me!

Check out our new #1 Pick! This one is rated the #1 Opportunity for making money online.

Warm Regards,
Dwayne Armstrong

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dealing with a Home Security System Break-in

Even if you’re not home when it happens, break-ins are a terrifying ordeal. This invasion of your personal space can shatter your sense of safety for a long time. Aside from the “standard” important tasks such as reporting stolen items to the police and your insurance company, here are some steps you can take towards feeling secure again: Improve your home security by using the following: Work especially on the visual and physical deterrents. Make it clear (with big security signs, for example) that you are NOT going to be broken into again. And if the break-in illustrated a particular security hole, plug it. Beef up the security and make it clear that you’ve done so. If you or a family member cannot stop worrying about another break-in, or starts showing other anxiety symptoms, visit a counselor. As anyone who’s gone through one knows, break-ins can be very traumatic (particularly home invasions), and this can lead to a disorder called PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a serious condition that is diagnosed by a counselor, and can be treated effectively with counseling. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek help. As for recovering stolen property, it’s best to leave this process to the police. If you’ve marked your belongings with your driver’s license number and given police your serial numbers, you’ve greatly increased your chances of getting your stuff back. Police have various ways of looking for stolen goods. Most people don’t know their neighbors very well these days. This is a shame for several good reasons, one of them being home security. Your neighbors can be potent allies in your efforts to keep your home safe and secure. Get to know your neighbors if you haven’t already. Tell them about your interest in keeping your home secure, and ask them if they could keep an eye out for you. Offer to do the same for them. You should also call your local police and see if there’s an active neighborhood watch program in your area. If not, start one. This can be an effective way to help the whole neighborhood watch out for each other, and it can also build a sense of community (which has benefits that go far beyond home security).

Coal Makes a Comeback

"You load thirteen tons and what do you get?" An abundant, clean, affordable source of power in the United States. The United States is returning to coal to generate electricity. Long-dormant mines are being reopened to gather coal, which generates most of the electricity in the country. Why is coal once again such an important resource? * Abundance of supply and demand. Currently, 51 percent of the electricity in the United States is generated by coal power and demand for coal is increasing. In the next 25 years, demand for electricity is expected to increase more than 50 percent. Meeting this demand will require that an average of 65 new power plants be built each year. Fortunately, the United States contains 274 billion tons of coal that can be used to produce energy for homes and businesses. The coal in the United States could last for 250 years, much longer than either oil or natural gas, and has been proven a recoverable reserve. * A clean energy source. Coal as a clean energy source? How can that be? Between 1976 and 1993, 38 coal technology projects known as Clean Coal Technology, were conducted. One such technology is a NOX (nitrogen oxide) burner, which is currently used or being installed in three-fourths of power plants that use coal. The result of these technologies was a decrease in emissions from coal-generated electricity. Between 1980 and 2001, emissions of sulfur dioxide decreased 38 percent. Nitrogen oxide emissions decreased 32 percent and emissions from particulate matter (PM-10), a mixture of solid and liquid particles found in the air, dropped 25 percent. * Affordability. The cost of electricity allows businesses to remain competitive. Businesses spend less on transportation and generation costs with coal than with natural gas or oil. Coal never needs to be shipped across the whole country because mines are located throughout the United States. Furthermore, the cost of coal-generated electricity is approximately one-fourth that of electricity generated by gas, partly because the cost of coal is more stable than natural gas. As a result, more businesses are turning to coal as a source of power. Quest Minerals and Mining (OTC BB: QMMG.OB) has acquired and re-opened mines in the southeastern United States that were closed due to a downturn in the price of coal. The company's focus is on properties that produce quality compliance coal. In addition to selling coal to utilities and industries, Quest is seeking metallurgical coal to be used in steel production.

3 Powerful Tips for Getting into the Right Business for You

Copyright 2006 Tony Mase

In two previous articles, "The #1 Best Business to Get Into if You Want to Get Rich" and "How You Can Find the Financial Success You're Seeking", I answered one of the single most frequently asked questions I'm asked.

Although it's asked in many different ways, the question really boils down to...

What's the best or the "right" business or profession to get into if I want to get rich?

Regardless of how it's asked, my answer is always the same...

A business or profession which you like!

If it uses your strongest abilities, skills, or talents, all the better. If it doesn't, no big deal, you can develop the necessary abilities, skills, or talents as you go along.

Here are three powerful tips for getting into the right business or profession for *you*:

Tip #1 - Take a close look at what you *don't* like to do.

Although I don't generally recommend looking at anything from a negative perspective, there are times when it's helpful and this is one of them.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to narrow your search for the right business or profession for you to get into is to figure out what the wrong business or profession for you to get into would be.

For example...

If the very thought of selling something to someone makes you want to...


Let's just say...

Throw up...

Then I'd suggest you don't consider any business or profession that involves sales or at least direct sales.

I can tell you from personal experience...

If you get into a business or profession that you don't like, you'll be miserable in the process and ultimately you'll fail.


Why set yourself up for misery and failure ahead of time?

Tip #2 - Take a close look at what you *do* like to do.

It might be something you're doing now or have done in the past to earn money. It might be a hobby or special interest of yours. It could even be related to a class you took in school or a particular subject you're interested in...


Absolutely anything!

Remember this...

You can get rich in *any* business or profession.

There are folks right now, right this very moment, who are getting rich in *every* conceivable business and profession...

And so can you!

There's a way or ways you can get rich doing absolutely *anything* you like to do.

Here's a great example...

I know a gal who earns a *serious* full-time income doing exactly what she likes doing better than anything else...

Going to tag sales (also known as garage sales or yard sales depending on where you live) and buying "stuff".


There's a downside...

She really doesn't like selling her "stuff". She finds the selling process boring and tedious. She gets all her "jollies" from finding and buying her treasures.


How does she possibly make any money?


She's developed a rather elaborate network of dealers willing to buy her "stuff" in their specialty areas at wholesale prices from her, consignment shops willing to sell her "stuff" for a percentage of the sale, and she has someone who sells her "stuff" on eBay for her (who, interestingly enough, likes the selling process but doesn't like to go out to find and buy "stuff" to sell) for a percentage of the profits.

Although she makes less money per item doing it this way, she makes far more money in the long run because it allows her to massively do the one thing she likes to do better than anything else...

Going to tag sales and buying "stuff".


There's a way or ways you can get rich doing absolutely *anything* you like to do.

Tip #3 - Take a close look at your strengths and weaknesses.

The ideal business or profession for you to get into would be one that you like doing and one that makes use of your strongest abilities, skills, or talents.


Although you should consider them, your abilities, skills, or talents shouldn't be your first consideration when choosing a business or profession for you to get into.


Two reasons...


There may be all sorts of things you're good at that you don't really like doing all that much.


There isn't any ability, skill, or talent that you can't develop if you want to.

In his book "The Personal Power Course", Wallace D. Wattles, best known for his classic masterpiece "The Science of Getting Rich", wrote:

"Perhaps the most essential part of wealth-culture consists in finding the place where you will be happy in your work."

When you're "happy in your work" your work ceases to be work and it becomes fun.

Your "fun" combined with constructive thought and constructive action can make you rich!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Death Of A Salesman? It’s What Happens When The Customer Says “I’ll Think It Over!”

Michael Jordan said “Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it” You have given a great presentation, you ask for the order and the customer says he‘s going to think it over. This was the moment I felt was the last straw. I’d had it! I don’t want to sell anymore; I’m going back to bookkeeping! So, without a care in mind I said whatever came to mind and it worked! Let me share my epiphany with you. I was selling employment testing material that was based on the teachings of a well-known sales trainer. The question that brought the most conversation was about closing. How do you ask for an order? When someone says I’ll think it over, do you become the nice customer service type that says “fine, call me when you’re ready” or do you go for the throat and say “what is there to think about?” You know the first response is totally wrong and the second, which is the suggested answer, will probably turn the customer off. You try to say it nicely but at this point it’s likely he’s not going to say much more. What did I do? I said gently and with a smile in my voice, “Mr. Customer, could you think out loud so I can hear you?” I must tell you, I did not expect the response I got. He laughed heartily and said he could do that. He proceeded to tell me his reasoning and I proceeded to answer all his objections. We were both very relaxed; he purchased my product and congratulated me on my question and my closing. There’s an old adage that says, “A smile given to another can make the difference in their day and yours too.” Needless to say, I decided selling could be fun. I did not go back to boring bookkeeping and now that I’ve retired, these words ‘could you think out loud so I can hear you’ are my present to you.

3 Million Items and Counting, Bidville Becomes Big Business

Since their introduction, online auction sites have been making e-history as some of the most popular destinations on the Internet. From designer-label clothing to grandma's jewelry to cars and even houses, anything and everything imaginable can be auctioned off online.

People who place items for sale on auction sites are attracted to the prospect of building a business from home with no morning traffic jams and little required capital to start. And bidders are drawn to the unique shopping opportunities and the potential to purchase hard-to-find items from all over the world.

Increasingly, buyers and sellers are discovering the unique benefits of using emerging sites rather than the giants of the industry, such as eBay. is one such site that has been quietly gaining momentum in the wake of eBay's ongoing fee increases.

Bidville started in 1999 primarily as a sports card auction site, but began expanding its merchandise base in late 2003 to take advantage of burgeoning market opportunities. Throughout 2004, its membership base increased to nearly 1 million members and the number of items listed daily reached 3 million. In addition, the site now has more than 600 "storefronts" that sell anything from collectibles to electronics at a fixed price.

Bidville markets itself as "the alternative auction site" because it does not charge listing fees. Rather, sellers pay what's called "final success fees" after their items sell. These fees, at no more than 5 percent of the selling price, are lower than what other sites charge.

So what is the key to Bidville's success? The company is striving to expand its growing community of loyal members and makes it a policy to give them personalized attention. While most auction sites answer questions with an automated reply, Bidville has live customer service representatives who respond to all queries within 24 hours.

In its extensive community section, there is ample opportunity for member interaction via the Member to Member Help Desk, the Bidville Cafe, where members can share stories and make friends, and the Sellers Forum, where members can discuss successful selling tips and offer suggestions for site improvements. A special charity section allows nonprofit organizations to use Bidville to raise money for good causes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Check scams - When can you be sure a check is actually good?

Protecting yourself from scams is becoming increasingly harder since credit theft is on the rise in the nation. Thieves steal more than your possessions. They now steal your identity, credit cards, checks and more.

When you deposit a check in your checking account, the bank makes the funds available in two to five days. Does this mean you are really safe? No, not necessarily. Federal rules require the banks to release the funds to you in that time frame. Yet, it can take weeks before the bank actually discovers if the check is fraudulent. Most consumers believe the phrase “the check has cleared” means it is not fraudulent.

Should the check turn out to be fraudulent, the depositor is responsible for the money. You have probably received a notice from your bank called a “Fraud Alert”. This statement tells you that you are the responsible party and provides you some information. Since you deal with the person who gave you the money, you are in the best position to determine if it is risky.

You could find that you must repay the bank for bad checks. This can obviously cause financial problems, stress and, if you are not in a good position, could cause you to have credit issues.

Steps you can take to protection yourself:

1. Don’t accept a check for more than it should be. Question this practice.
2. Is the account in the name of the buyer who is paying you?
3. Don’t agree to pay money to others in foreign countries for deposits you accept here.
4. Play it safe.

Use your good judgment to protect yourself. If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t proceed. As the advice of a qualified professional before you get involved. Using care will help you avoid future problems.

Counting Cards: How to Escape Detection

It is not a secret for anyone that casinos do not like blackjack counters and frequently ask them to leave or to play another game. Here, we will describe how casino management detects counters and how to act when caught. We also describe the countermeasures that casinos use against skilled players but most of all we show you how to count cards while not getting caught. Do Casinos Object? Most casinos have strict policies that ban any player from counting cards when playing blackjack, but some like those in New Jersey do not pay any attention to such players. How Do You Know Whether A Casino Minds? You do not. But you had better act as if they all do and thus save yourself the embarressment of being shoved out if they do mind and if they catch you red-handed. How to Count Without Getting Detected? Always keep in mind that since card counting is something that one does silently, the only method to detect it is through observing you and the manner you play. Thus, look out for the following: 1) Do not stare at the cards of other players. Glance once, count, and then move on. 2) Do not stare at the cards that have been discarded. Look quickly and then slowly move away by shifting your gaze nonchalantly from player to player. 3) Change your pattern of betting occassionaly. 4) Change the amount of betting money each round. 5) Even though you know it, loose a round or two. Do not bet big on those rounds. But likewise do not bet too small too. If the casino notices that you are always winning big and losing small, they might get suspicious. 6) Buy chips of different colours and then mix them around while playing to confuse the dealer. 7) Talk to the other players while playing, but this is especially difficult so practice this at home before trying it at a casino. 8) Pick your seat carefully: either the first chair or the third one so that you won't have to twist your head around as the cards are dealt. 9) Dress casually because smart and elegant clothes cause the dealers to think you are intelligent and they might watch you more closely. 10) Order an alcoholic drink and pretend to sip it because they are looking for those non-drinkers who are staying sober to count the cards. The common denominator of all these is that you must never forget that the casino si watching you and how you play. Act accordingly! Supposing that the Casino Catches On, What Should you Do? Stay calm if the casino catches you counting cards and abide by their wishes quietely. Do not make a fuss. If they ask you to leave, do so. The faster you leave, the easier it will be for you to return later. Remember that if you make a fuss, they will all remember you, so desist from any unfriendly behaviour. Note that after shifts change, the new personnel won't know you so all you have to do is wait for that and then you can start playing again. You could also just enter the next casino and start earning money there instead of risking casino personnel from recognizing you.

3 Lifesaving Tactics to Stay Afloat In a Constantly Changing Marketplace

Let’s face the facts... old-fashioned marketing tools aren’t going to keep your business a growing and prosperous entity in today’s marketplace.  Hey, this month’s hottest techniques and information will be obsolete in six months.  Now, I’m not saying that old marketing principals can’t be upgraded and incorporated successfully, but as a rule marketers have to stay on top of the latest marketing trends.

If you’re wanting to stay ahead of your business savvy competitors you’ll need to implement 3 tactics to stay one step ahead.

1.  Watch For New Advertising Methods
You never know what will work for you unless you take the time to experiment!  Who knows?  The next marketing experiment you test may be a million dollar idea.  Keep your eyes peeled for the latest marketing news. 

It never pays to put all of your eggs in one basket.  Don’t neglect the tried and true marketing tools that have been successful in the past.  Invest about 20 percent of your advertising budget and time into testing for new marketing strategies that will increase your profits.

2.  Spruce Things Up
Don’t get stuck in a rut.  Yeah, you have products that have been successful for years, but what would happen if you gave them a “face lift?’ Would you attract new customers?  Would your old customers enjoy the change?  You’ll be surprised at what a new packaging will do for old product sales.

Sprucing up doesn’t have to stop with your products.  A few minor changes in the store appearance can bring new life to your place of business as well.

3.  Diversify
The more products you have to offer, the more insulation you have against the decline in popularity of one particular item.  Don’t go out on a limb, when you’ve got a good thing going.  Look for products and services that compliment your current products and services. 

Don’t let the speed-of-light changes in the market take your business under.  Stay afloat with these proven tactics.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

3 Key Secret Components For Wholesale Profit Success

Everyday it is getting more attractive to start selling wholesale items online and offline because of the profit potential many products carry. Now a days if you plan to make a part-time income or make a full-time living by selling wholesale items, you need to know three basic components that almost every seller online and offline do not use to their advantage.

In order to have success within the wholesale business you need to follow the three steps key components 98% average Joe marketer does not apply and fails to recognize as vital important factors for company short-term and long-term success as competition is getting heavier every day, such key steps are:

Key Component Number 1: Research. Product and market research both online and offline is a must for the initial start-up success of a potential profitable wholesale business.

You need to discover what wholesale items are profitable, which items are viable and saturated, item acceptance-nationally or worldwide, market population, item conversion rate, return on investment and competition research to name a few.

Know how to make this research before deciding to sell a product and more importantly, a wholesale item. Since when we sell wholesale, profits are less since we sell to merchants, retailers or clients and therefore need more research time to enjoy possible future profits.

Key Component Number 2: Test. Most successful businesses test their product and system before even starting to sell the main item both online or offline.

One of the tools you can use for your immediate advantage is the use of surveys. By using and completing a survey to a potential customer, you obtain valuable rapport on customer likes and dislikes about your idea, product or business concept. Use this free survey resource to your advantage before selling for immediate feedback.

Key Component Number 3: Take Action. Start offering the wholesale item for a fee and gather final conclusions if your item will or will not sell. By doing the proper research, testing and getting into an action process mode, you will win or lose money. No matter what happens in your sales experience with your new item, you earn profits or you gain considerable knowledge and experience.

Very importantly, you must take action with your new idea or recurring wholesale business venture as doing so will increase your experience and potential profit success within your niche and industry.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Company Hi-Jacking

Company Hi-jacking Every company registered at companies house in the UK is now facing a new threat to their business in the form of 'Company Hi-Jacking'. This is when a company's identity is stolen by fraudsters. These criminals simply submit a forged form to Companies House, changing a company's registered address to a new location. Using the selected company's name and the new address, they are then able to carry out fraudulent activities, obtaining credit to purchase goods and services. This form of fraud is estimated to cost £50 million a year to industry. As company hi-jacking is on the increase, the Metropolitan Police Service and companies house are urgently advising companies to take simple preventative measures to minimise their company's identity from being hi-jacked, including: 1. IMMEDIATLEY check your company's registered details are correct and that they have not been fraudulently changed - Search for FREE now at 2. IMMEDIATLEY subscribe to an online monitoring service that will alert you by email if any changes are made to your company's details at companies house in the future - Subscribe for this FREE service now at 3. IMMEDIATLEY start using a Credit Reference Agency to satisfy yourself that each new customer is legitimate, as well as credit worthy - provide a full range of Credit Reports and Companies House documents, which are available instantly online.

3 Easy Ways To Make More Money This Year

Successful business owners all have one thing in common, they are never satisfied with sales levels. Whether you are making $10,000 a year or $1 million a year, there is always a possibility for growth.

Growth only comes when you realize it can happen. You will not grow if you are content or can't see the future possibilities for growth.

Here are three easy ways that you can transform your business from the level it is at, into a profit making machine.

1. Always track statistics

This may seem obvious, but most people never do it. You should always track and gather as much information as possible. Track walk in customers, track purchases, evaulate marketing, monitor amount of purchases, frequent vistiors, non-buying prospects, etc.

With this knowledge you will be more informed as to how you marketing dollars are doing and where you can increase production.

2. Find people you can trust

For my websites I have one person that writes nearly full time for me. I can send her topics for articles or websites, and she does the research and writes well thought out articles. I can pay her in advance and know that she is going to be there when I need writing at the last minute.

You definitely need people you can trust as well. These people may be your managers, family members, or just friends who can help in a pinch.

3. Develop your passion

Sometimes I need to take a drive through the country to remember why I love what I am doing. It is easy to get caught up in the fray of customer service and deadlines, but for me the most productive time is always when I am out of my business element. Use this time away to revive your passion.

Next time you are thinking that it is not possible for your business to make money, remember and put these 3 easy tips into practice!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Competition - How good?

This is the era of technology. Everyday a new discovery, a new invention is being made. The world is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. People are striving for success and satisfaction in life in the face of fierce competition. Competition is ubiquitous- in every walk, every aspect of life right from childhood to old age. No one escapes competition. It's very essential to know the effects- both positive and negative- of competition on society. Competition is the very force that drives individuals to aim for goals, aim higher. In school, students compete against each other for higher grades. Athletes compete for more wins, more records. Companies vie against each other for better sales, bigger markets. Just because there is competition, a person is forced to work harder, better and efficiently to overcome it, to defeat it. Healthy competition is very important for the overall development of individuals, communities and nations on a broader perspective. Take the Indian car industry for instance. It remained stagnant till the late 80's with only 2 companies offering the same cars for 3 decades. Once the economic reforms came, many companies came into fray and competition increased. In the face of competition, new models, new features, better performing cars are being produced constantly. All this ultimately benefits the customer who gets a wider range to make a choice from. The same example can be applied in every other industry. Competition can only give a thrust to progress. No one can afford to be complacent and sit with fingers crossed. It will only leave one behind in the race. Competition expects and promotes fresh thinking, new ideas, better and more hard work. It makes one sit up and take notice of the world around. As someone aptly said,'there is no business without competition.' Competition in a positive and healthy way is the road to progress. But the moment it is used in a negative way, it can prove harmful. We see the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports- athletes being banned and so on. Companies indulge in malpractices like accounts tampering, publishing false reports to up their stocks. A most apt example to conclude the discussion- This is a story from the heights of competition for supremacy in space between Americans and the Soviets. US astronauts faced difficulty to write with ball point or any other pens in space. NASA spent 12 million dollars and a few years developing a pen which could write anywhere on any surface without any problems. When relations became friendlier, soviet cosmonauts were asked what they used. The answer-a pencil. Competition is ultimately more beneficial than detrimental to society, only if indulged in a healthy way. Unhealthy competition will only lead to destruction of faith, goodwill in society. Related Links: Send Free Inspirational Ecards

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Choosing From Among The Many Merchant Services

Being able to offer your customers as many payment options as possible can make your business grow in a huge way. By giving them the ability to pay for merchandise with their credit cards, especially if you are an online business owner, you give them an ease and flexibility of shopping that will have them returning time and again to make purchases from you. And with the popularity of online shopping higher than it has ever been, the demands to make your business better are just as great. The vast majority of shoppers prefer to pay for their orders with credit cards, so it makes good business sense that you would offer that option to them. By opening a merchant account with one of the many merchant services available to business owners, your customers will enjoy the simplicity and speed of paying by credit card, and you will see your profits soar. Merchant service firms provide merchant accounts to business owners. A merchant account allows a business to accept credit cards as a form of payment from customers. A merchant account is not the same as a bank account. Rather, a merchant service works to make sure the credit card is verified and that the funds are transferred from the customer you're your business bank account. It used to be that merchant services were only available through banks and providers to retail establishments that were located in a physical location, like a mall. But the demands of online shopping have caused many merchant account providers to begin to provide merchant services to online business owners. There are many online merchant account providers that offer reliable and secure services particularly to merchants that sell their products on the Internet. Because there are so many merchant service providers available, it is important to be familiar with all characteristics of merchant services, especially the potentially high costs, so that you don't lose your profits. It is also important to find a merchant account provider that is dependable, trustworthy, and offers secure services for you and your customers. If you open a merchant account for your online business, the type of payment processing usually offered by a merchant account service is real-time processing. Real-time processing is the best solution for online business owners since the charge from the customer's credit card is promptly processed when an order is placed. The customer receives an email notification that the order has been processed and the fund transfer is approved by the credit card company, upon verification and approval of the credit card. You will see the profits from the sale in your bank account within a few days. The potential fees put upon you for merchant services can be numerous. Since not all of the fees are necessary, and not all merchant service providers change them, check around with different providers until you find one with reasonable fees and monthly charges. Some of these fees include an application fee, a monthly statement fee, a discount rate and transaction fee (these are deducted with each and every sale you make), an annual fee, and a refund fee. There are also other miscellaneous fees that individual merchant service providers might charge you. There are many potential costs associated with opening an account with a merchant service provider. Try to compare services before you make a decision. It's also a good idea to try to estimate the monthly costs by using your current sales figures to project expenses. Your relationship with your merchant service provider should last the duration of your business, if possible. You should trust your provider implicitly. Your merchant service provider should offer quick and secure processing of your credit card sales, and they should offer additional services to offer your customers even more payment options. Not only should they accept several types of credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, among others), but they should also provide your customers with added payment alternatives, like PayPal. Your merchant service provider should have a good reputation for having excellent service and reliability, as well as having a name for excellent customer relations. They should be equipped to deal with any issues or problems discreetly and quickly. The merchant services provider you choose to make a relationship with can make or break your business between its fees and service. Make sure you know the facts about merchant services and the providers so that you don't lose your dream of being a successful business owner.

3 Cold Calling Mistakes that Trigger Rejection

<p>Here are 3 common cold calling techniques that you should probably avoid:</p>

<p>Mistake #1: Center the conversation around yourself and what you have to offer</p>

<p>In the old approach, you introduce yourself, explain what you do, and suggest a benefit or feature of your product. And then you close your eyes and pray that the other person will be interested</p>

<p>Unfortunately, the moment you stop talking you usually hear, "Sorry, I’m busy," or "Sorry, I'm not interested."</p>

<p>You see, you’ve started your cold call by talking about your world and what you have to offer. But realistically, most people aren’t all that interested in you. When you talk about your company and your product, it’s just another advertisement to them. You haven’t engaged them, so they often just "turn the page."</p>

<p>Prospects are much more interested in themselves and what’s important to them. So if you start the conversation by focusing on their world, they’re more likely to interact with you.</p>

<p>So instead, talk about an issue or problem they may need solving. Focus on them rather than on what you have to offer. And see where it takes you.</p>

<p>Mistake #2: Be confident they should buy your product or service</p>

<p>In the old cold calling mindset, you’re taught to focus on the sale and be completely confident that what you’re offering is something the other person should buy.</p>

<p>The problem with this approach is that you haven’t asked them to determine this along with you. So think about it – in the old mindset, you’re really deciding for someone else what’s good for them. I know this isn’t intended, but that’s exactly what comes across to your prospects.</p>

<p>So rather than being full of confidence and enthusiasm, stop for a minute and think about the other individual. Relax into a real conversation instead of moving into a persuasive strategy or sales pitch. Put yourself in their shoes and invite them to explore along with you whether what you have to offer is a match for them.</p>

<p>Others really can distinguish the difference. You’re inviting them to see if you might be able to help them solve a problem. This makes for a much better connection right at the beginning, and you’ll get that immediate rejection reaction much less.</p>

<p>Mistake #3: When someone brings up an objection, try to overcome it</p>

<p>You know, one of the reasons cold calling is so difficult is that sometimes you may not be very familiar with the other person and their business. When you make that first call, you don’t know very much about their issues, problems, budget, and time constraints.</p>

<p>Chances are, not everyone is going to benefit by your product or service.</p>

<p>So realistically, your company or product isn’t going to be a match for everyone. And yet, when someone brings up an objection ("we don’t have the budget for that," etc.), the old cold calling mindset trains you to "overcome," "bypass," or "override."</p>

<p>But when you do that, you put the other person on the defensive. Something they’ve said is being dismissed. And here’s where rejection can happen very suddenly.</p>

<p>So it’s much better to listen to their concerns and continue to explore whether what you’re offering makes sense for them. There are some wonderful phrases you can use that validate their viewpoint without closing the conversation.</p>

<p>So now you’ve discovered the 3 major cold calling mistakes people often make. See if you can shift away from those old self-sabotaging mindsets. When you do, you’ll notice that people will engage you much more, and the immediate rejection you’ve grown so accustomed to will happen much less.</p>

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Casino Amigo: Pourquoi Organiser une Soiree casino entre Amis A Domicile.

Le week-end arrive, envie de voir du monde tout en restant dans votre cocon ou idée pour passer un excellent anniversaire? Alors pourquoi ne pas utilisez vos jeux de casino a domicile? Rien de tel pour passez des heures de fous rires et renouer des liens avec vos plus vieux camarades. Contacter tout le monde pour vous fixer rendez-vous... chez vous. Installez dans un coin de votre salon votre table de roulette et une table de craps a l'autre bout. Dans une autre pièce que vous aurez réaménagée pour l'occasion, installez vos tables de Blackjack dans votre chambre par exemple et de poker dans une autre. Votre cuisine, faites en donc un bar à volonté que vous pourrez toujours redécorer, sans coûts excessifs, façon Casino Enghien ou autre, selon vos goûts. L'avantage de ces jeux?? Faire régner une ambiance incomparable. Pourquoi la roulette et le craps dans le salon? Parce que vous constaterez par vous même que le jeu de du craps attire toujours plus de monde autour de la table et que la roulette inspire les éclats de voix. On ne peut clairement expliquer d'ou vient cette fascination pour les jeux de des et de bille tournant dans un cylindre, mais ce qui est sur, même au sein d'un casino réel, c'est que ces purs jeux de hasard laissent les gens toujours aussi dubitatifs devant les stratégies de mises et les pronostics émis a voix haute aussi bien par les joueurs eux-mêmes que ceux les assistants. Rien de mieux pour mettre de l'ambiance, et le salon est la pièce idéale puisque pièce d'accueil de toute la communauté, située en général près de l'entrée. Si votre chambre le permet, installer y les jeux de poker et / ou de blackjack. En effet, ces jeux, tout aussi attrayants que la roulette et le craps, demande cependant plus de concentration et un endroit plus confine serait le bien venu. De plus, cela donnerait la sensation aux invites de pouvoir se balader d'une table a une autre en toute liberté, comme en salle de casino véritable.

"When Prospects Give You The "Silent Treatment"

<p>If you’ve been selling for a while, you’ve probably had at least one experience in which your prospect suddenly started giving you the "silent treatment."</p>

<p>Anthony described this dilemma very poignantly when he called me a few weeks ago:</p>

<p>"Ari, I don’t know what to do when I get hit with the ‘silent treatment’ -- you know, when I’ve worked with a prospect for quite a while, and we’ve had great conversations, and they've expressed interest in our solution -- and then all of a sudden everything stops.</p>

<p>I try calling them back once or twice. I even send a follow-up e-mail, but nothing. They just disappear. And I figure I’ve lost the sale, and I don’t know what I did wrong, or what to do next. It makes selling feel like such a painful and arduous process."</p>

<p>If this has happened to you, you may have felt anxious and confused. You may have told yourself, "It’s not as if I’m the one who did anything wrong. I put everything into the relationship. How can I rescue the sale if I can’t even get them to talk to me?" </p>

<p>The "Hopeium" Trap</p>

<p>There is a pressure-free way to reestablish communication when your prospect starts giving you the "silent treatment." But first, it’s important to understand why the situation has happened in the first place.</p>

<p>Most of us who sell get caught up in "hopeium," a comical term that means we focus our hopes and desires on making the sale. But hopeium can be a trap, because it's impossible for you to keep in mind your most important goal: to learn your prospect’s truth.</p>

<p>When we fix our minds on the outcome -- making the sale -- we automatically begin anticipating how the process will go, and we also begin expecting that things will happen as we hope they will.</p>

<p>But if we’re in that mindset and our prospect suddenly breaks off communication, we feel lost, anxious, frustrated, discouraged, and confused. We become preoccupied with what went wrong.</p>

<p>We may even feel betrayed.</p>

<p>Is there any way to clear up the mystery?</p>

<p>Yes, by giving up your agenda and learning the truth about where you stand with your prospect --and being ok with whatever the truth may be. "But how can I learn the truth when they’re avoiding me?" you may ask. "And why do I need to let go of the sale?"</p>

<p>Let’s take the second question first.</p>

<p>If you approach your prospect while you still hope the sale will happen, you’ll introduce sales pressure into the relationship. This will push your prospect away from you and destroy any trust you have developed with them. Instead, you can eliminate sales pressure by telling them that you’re okay with their decision if they’ve decided not to move forward.</p>

<p>In other words, you take a step back instead of trying to chase and follow up with calls because you’re focused on getting a "yes."</p>

<p>The bottom line is:</p>

<p>When a prospect gives you the "silent treatment," it doesn’t mean you’ve lost the sale. It just means you don’t know the truth yet.</p>

<p>What you need to do is call and learn the truth.</p>

<p>Why is learning the truth so important?</p>

<p>Here are 4 important reasons:</p>

<p>1. You stop losing confidence in your selling ability. The "silent treatment" threatens our "hopeium." We start blaming ourselves. We don’t know where we stand -- a painful state of limbo. Our self-talk is negative and full of self-blame, and we’re on pins and needles wondering whether the sale will still come through somehow.</p>

<p>2. You increase your selling efficiency and decrease your stress level. Once you learn the truth about your prospect’s situation, you can either stay involved with the prospect or move on. I often say, "A ‘no’ is almost as valuable as a ‘yes.’" Why? Because it frees up your time to find prospects who are a better fit with your solution. This lets you work much more efficiently because you can quickly weed out prospects who aren’t going to buy. Knowing the prospect’s truth lets you walk away without that guilt-laden voice whispering, "If you give up, you don't have what it takes."</p>

<p>Learning your prospect’s truth translates into tangible results that equal real dollars. You’ll also put an end to the self-sabotaging stress that comes from living in "silent treatment" limbo.</p>

<p>3. Sales pressure pushes prospects away. When you respond to the "silent treatment" with calls and e-mails, you’re really telling them that you’re determined to move the sales process forward -- which means you’re looking out for your needs, not theirs. This makes them mistrust you and run the other way.</p>

<p>4. The "silent treatment" -- totally breaking off communication -- is how prospects protect themselves from sales pressure when they don’t feel comfortable telling us their truth. The more we press, the more they run.</p>

<p>But the opposite is true, too. The more we relax and invite the truth, the more straightforward they’ll be with us. Prospects feel okay sharing what’s going on with them when they know we’re okay with hearing it.</p>

<p>How to Reopen Communication</p>

<p>After Anthony and I had talked about some of these issues, he said, "This all makes a lot of sense, Ari, but I’m still not sure what to say when I make that call."</p>

<p>It’s simpler than you might think.</p>

<p>* First, simply give your prospect a call. (E-mail and voicemail are very impersonal, so use them only as last resorts if you can't reach your prospect after several phone calls.)</p>
<p>* Second, take responsibility and apologize for having caused the "silent treatment".</p>

<p>Here’s some language I suggested to Anthony that will make prospects feel safe enough to open up and tell you the truth about their situation:</p>

<p>"Hi, Jim, it’s Anthony. I just wanted, first of all, to call and apologize that we ended up not being able to connect. I feel like somewhere along the way maybe I dropped the ball, or I didn’t give you the information you needed. I’m not calling to move things forward because I’m assuming you’ve probably gone ahead with someone else, and that’s perfectly okay. I’m just checking to see if you may have some feedback as to where I can improve for next time."</p>

<p>When you respond to the "silent treatment" this way, the results will probably surprise you. You may even learn that the prospect has legitimate reasons for not having gotten back to you.</p>

<p>You’ll also find yourself more productive and less frustrated. It’ll make a world of difference in your productivity level, your stress level, your income, and how much you enjoy what you’re doing.</p>


<p>You haven’t lost the sale. You just don’t know the truth yet.</p>