Connect More

Even if you have been networking for a long time, there are still plenty of ways to amp up your game. It is great to lean on the tried and true but just like technology, networking evolves. It changes, develops and grows in various shapes and forms. In order to be a savvy networker, individuals and organizations need to stay ahead of the curve.

Listed below are useful tips for increasing connectivity, improving relationships and gaining the most out of your endeavors.

Your Apps

Definitely take advantage of technology to further connect and build upon your network efforts. Read blogs, get recommendations and search app stores to find the latest technologies and advances. Having mobile devices at our fingertips allows us to be more interactive, gain more knowledge and progress at a faster pace.

Your Network

The big question is not quality over quantity as much as it is how you are utilizing your existing networks. How do you view the people in your online and offline communities? Are you taking the time to build long term relationships and master the true art of networking? Are you paying it forward and contributing value? Are you using your network strategically? Focusing on these questions can better navigate your development and success.

Your Character

Often overlooked but very critical in your professional and social goals is your attitude as well as behavior towards others. Although considered a soft skill, interpersonal skills are important components in establishing your brand and credibility with others. Of course, ethical behavior and honesty lead to trust with others and more opportunities.

Use these practical tips to connect further and build dynamic and viable networks. These resources and tools can greatly enhance your networking mission and create amazing relationships.

PS I Love You

Most people think of the postscript as a place to tuck cute or mushy messages at the end of a note to a loved one. In reality, postscripts can be a surprisingly powerful tool for marketers.

I include a postscript (a sentence or two preceded by “PS”) in almost every marketing letter or email message I write for my clients. Interestingly, nine out of ten new clients will request the postscript's removal the first time they encounter one. “It's silly to add a PS” some suggest. “This information belongs to the body of the letter,” others insist. “Nobody's going to read that,” still others claim.

But they're all wrong. A thoughtfully written postscript adds powerful impact to a letter and can dramatically improve its success rate. Why? Because of how people actually read letters.

You see, a common misconception is that people read letters in a linear fashion – starting at the top and working their way to the bottom, line by line. Decades of direct marketing research proves that is not really what happens. The vast majority of people first glance at the salutation to see who the letter is intended for (even though the envelope was previously addressed to the reader), so the first thing your recipient sees is “Dear Bob,” “Dear Mr. Smith, “” Dear Customer, “or whatever you've chosen. (That makes the choice more important than you may realize, by the way. The more personal the salutation, the greater the reader's immediate interest.)

The second place people look is the bottom of the letter, to see who it's from. If there is a postscript, that's where their eyes travel next. Most will read the entire postscript before deciding whether the letter is worth their time. If the message in the postscript is engaging, compelling, or intriguing, they're more likely to go back and read the entire letter – and when they finish, they'll read the postscript again.

In other words, the postscript provides the first impression of what you're trying to sell, promote, or communicate, as well as the last impression the reader will have of your message. That's why it's generally a good idea to include one, and why you should approach it thoughtfully instead of treating it like a throwaway line.

How should you use a postscript? There are several ways that are especially effective. First, you can restate or re-present your offer or main message, as in “PS Remember – we're offering our top-of-the-line veeblefetzer for 40 percent off through June 1.” You can use the postscript to emphasize a key benefit of what you're offering, such as “PS Our veeblefetzers make you more productive by coring radiations in half the time of our competitors' models.”

If your offer includes something that eliminates or reduces risk, use the postscript to say that, as in “PS You can put our veeblefetzer to the test for 30 days at no cost” or PS We offer the only veeblefetzer with a two-year parts and labor warranty! ” You can also use a postscript to share a positive testimonial, such as “PS Bob Smith of Veggiworks credits our veeblefetzer with increasing his vertical production by 62 percent last year!” Another common tactic is suggesting that failing to act is foolish: “PS I do not know why anyone would pass up this offer, because there's absolutely no risk or obligation.”

Pay attention to the marketing letters and emails you receive over the next month, and see how many of the most effective and compelling ones include that trusty tool. Start incorporating them in to your own correspondence, and see what effect they have.

Still not convinced? If you regularly send some kind of sales letters, perform what's known as a “split test.” Divide your mailing list in half. Send one group the letter with the postscript, and the other group the letter without it. Then compare the results.

PS They're definitely worth the effort!

Money – And How to Make More of It

I do not know many independent professionals who would not like to make more money.

It seems so simple. There are also only four ways to make more money in your business:

1. Get more new clients or customers

Raise your rates or fees

3. Sell ​​more services to each client

4. Get more repeat business from existing clients.

Yes, but how do you actually accomplish those three things?

For the next several weeks, I'm going to write a series of articles on how to make more money in your business.

And I'm going to do my best to give you practical, actionable ideas that work. I know they work because I've3 used them and so have many of my clients over the years.

But before I start, there's an important things to understand about money.

Money. Is. An. Emotional. Issue.

Money is not dollar bills in our pocket or numbers in our bank account.

No, in our minds, money is about our worth, about how we compare ourselves to others, about how we feel about ourselves, about our success, and extremely about our survival.

I have a favorite story about money that makes this very clear.

A few years ago, I worked with a husband and wife team who were executive coaches.

Because of our work together, they started to attract more clients on a consistent basis.

However, like many independent professionals, they were undercharging for their professional services.

But when I complained they raise their fees, they became very uncomfortable.

And when I dug in, I discovered why.

It turns out that both had been raised in relatively poor families and they continuously got the message that “rich people are dishonest.”

Because they believed that to be true, of course they did not want to raise their fees. That would make them, in their minds, dishonest.

And, if they felt they were dishonest, that would be a moral failure. That would not feel good. It actually felt better to make less money!

After we explored this belief in depth, they realized that it was both emotional and illogical. It was clearly not true that all rich people were dishonest.

Their belief started to transform to: “We offer an honest service that makes a difference to our clients and it's OK to charge what that service is really worth.”

This new belief felt a lot better than the old one.

And realizing this, they finally clearly saw that the fees that then charged were virtually nothing compared to the value their clients received.

And before too long they had doubled their fees with almost no pushback from their clients.

And no angst on their part.

So, the very first thing to examine if you are not making the money you want, are your beliefs about money.

Sounds simple, but it's trickier than it looks.

Why? Because we believe what we believe to protect us from any kind of harm – even if this harm is imaginary.

My clients believed they'd become dishonest if they raised their fees. So, in their minds, not raising their fees pretended that from happening.

What shook this belief was clearly seeing that it was essentially nonsense. They could raise their fees and still be honest people.

With this powerful insight, their belief was forever changed.

And now, as a business owner, I challenge you to question your beliefs about money. First, identify the ones that are holding you back.

Here are a few very popular ones:

Money is scarce

My clients can not pay higher fees

People will think I'm greedy

More money will lead to problems

It feels wrong to make money doing what I love

Money will corrupt me

Being wealthy will make me arrogant

I do not deserve a lot of money

Money leads to bad things

More money just means more taxes

Wanting more money is selfish and shallow

List yours here: ______________________

I do not know which of these beliefs is running you, but if you are not making the money you want it's almost certain that one or more of these beliefs is holding you back.

What are the fears behind the beliefs?

Honestly ask if those beliefs are true and if they are serving you or limiting you.

Then ask how things might change without those beliefs.

You just might find that it's not so hard to raise your fees after all.

So, the first thing you must do to earn more money is to question your beliefs about money. Unless you do that, you're definitely able to take the practical steps that will help you earn more money.

Do this honest questioning about your money beliefs and you'll be ready to learn a number of step-by-step approaches to earning more money that I'll cover in the following weeks.

Cheers, Robert

Why Co-Working Is Now Everyone’s Cup of Tea (or Coffee)

It is a well-known fact that space is a luxury in Hong Kong, whether it's residential, commercial or office space. According to CBRE's semi-annual Global Prime Office Rents survey and JLL's Premium Office Rent Tracker report, Hong Kong remains the world's most expensive office market in 2017.

A few extra square feet here and there could easily eat up the finances of start-ups or freelancers who could invest that money into growing their brand rather than paying an exorbitant monthly rent for office space.

A “work-from-home” setup looks like an inviting solution but, let's be honest, working on that business proposal while sitting on your bed or in your living room is hardly conducive to productivity. There's always the temptation of putting off work due to the myriad of distractions in one's home.

Your neighborhood coffee shop might be a tempting workspace, however, how many cups of coffee would you end up ordering to justify hogging that corner table with the lone charging dock? Imagine the dirty stares you get from other patrons waiting for you to vacate your seat. Not to mention the heavy foot traffic of customers coming in and out can derail your train of thought. Plus you will be the unwilling subject to whatever muzak the barista has chosen to play for hours on end.

So, where does that leave you, our intrepid entrepreneur?

Fortunately, a wide variety of co-working spaces have cropped up all over the city that now, finding the right one is just a matter of matching a flexible workspace to your taste.

At some co-working spaces, you can still enjoy that coffee-shop atmosphere without the terrible muzak, the din of conversations at every table around you, or the competition for prime seating locations next to the power outlet. Many co-working spaces have free-flowing coffee or tea, while some even come with its own barista that serves designer coffee in a casual and comfortable atmosphere that helps motivate your productivity.

Additionally, you will not have to stress about being trapped in a long lease or astronomical office rental costs. Co-working spaces offer flexibility, whether you need the space for just a few hours a week, or a dedicated desk for a couple of months. You need not worry about maintenance and repair costs eating away at your budget, or having to personally purchase office equipment that you definitely have no room for in your 300-square-foot flat in Wan Chai.

Co-working spaces or flexible workspaces also give you the opportunity to rub elbows with fellow solopreneurs. Networking is key to any growing venture and co-working crosses your path with potential clients, partners, or investors that could raise your business to the next level. Professionals from various business sectors avail of co-working spaces, and each day brings you insights into your target market or potential solutions to that roadblock in your project.

Studies show that people empowered to choose a workspace that suits them well are much more productive than those forced to work in a drab environment. Finding the right workspace for you (or your team) is one of the best investments you will ever make.

Is Direct Mail Still Effective?

I'm often asked “Which is better, email marketing or direct mail marketing?” While email is a very effective medium for communicating and selling customers – from the prospect of prospecting (finding NEW customers) – I feel direct mail is much more effective, and here's 7 reasons why:

HIGHER RESPONSE. When searching for “new” customers, study after study proves regular mail will generate more new customers than email. A recent study by the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) shows direct mail being 10 to 30 times more effective than email.

HIGHER DELIVERY RATE. A good mailing list is typically 95% deliverable. On the other hand, the great majority of email lists being advertised have a delivery rate of below 50%. Also, due to the constant onslaught by spammers, the ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc) are beginning to block unsolicited emails … and for this reason some are predicting the demise of email “prospecting.” Fantastic offer, fantastic creative, fantastic list … all this is irrelevant if the ISPs do not deliver. With regular mail – your offer gets delivered!

HIGHER OPEN RATE. With the great majority of email “prospecting” campaigns, 95+ percent of all emails are not even opened. The email recipient will either delete or transfer to the SPAM box … without even peeking at the email … your brand name. On the other hand, postal mail is a tangible item that typically captures a glance. The receiver may not read every word, but your company name / brand will gain much more awareness with postal mail than with email.

MORE PROSPECTS. Accurate – quality email addresses are very difficult to acquire – mainly because most people do not opt-in for 3rd party offers. For this reason, virtually all email lists are missing the majority of the target. Typically a good mail list offers 80% more prospects.

LONG SHELF LIFE. The shelf-life of an email offer is measured in seconds, while an offer through regular mail can linger on a coffee table for days.

LESS COMPETITION. More than ever consumers are bombarded with digital offers that they do not want. Email is now the cluttered option, while direct mail presents the uncluttered option. With postal mail your offer will not get lost in avalanche of competitive offers.

SAFETY. This one is a biggie! With the growing threat of identity theft, viruses, and SPAM, people are becoming more and more hesitant in responding to on-line offers … even legitimate interesting offers. Regular mail is safe … the user can visit any website on his / her own time schedule and without having to click potentially dangerous links.

So, for “prospecting” as well as putting offers in front of qualified buyers (BUYERS that are looking for your product or service) that will help grow your business quickly … “old fashion” mail is much more effective than email! Email “prospecting” is losing its power. Direct mail on the other hand has never really lost its power and is in fact gaining strength. This is the very reason that even some of the largest Internet names (Google, Facebook, Microsoft to name just a few) are major direct mail users themselves. Bottom line – companies that use regular mail will gain a competitive edge on the competitors that skip mail.

If you want to grow your business quickly and cost effectively, NOW is the time to get started on your direct mail campaign!

Money – Discovering Your True Value

Today's article is the second in a multi-part series on making more money in your business.

The main reason I'm writing this series on making more money is that, in my experience, most independent professionals are simply undercharging for their services.

Last week I talked about how limiting beliefs about money may be holding you back.

This week, I'm going to talk about how to change the way you think about charging for your services.

Your services are not a commodity

If you're a commodity, your clients will think about the fees you charge and how they can get the lowest fees possible.

They'll think your services are like everyone else's.

Buying your services is not like buying rice, steel, or heating oil. You can always find a lower price somewhere and get more or less the same commodity.

But if you're a consultant, coach, trainer, financial planner, or another professional, your focus can not be on your fees, but on the results you produce for your clients.

Think of some of the results you've achieved for your clients. Did not they make a huge difference in your clients' lives and businesses?

Many of my clients have increased their incomes by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of the work they've done with me.

And I'm sure it's the same with you.

And if your services do not result in a monetary return, they bring other rewards that are often even more significant: big gains in confidence, fulfillment, and relationships.

Your services can change the lives of your clients. They are not a commodity.

This is the way I try to think about it:

If a client is looking for your help, forget about your fees and figure out what service you would ideally provide to help that client achieve the desired result.

And then ask the client what the value of that service would be to them.

Then charge that amount.

No, you will not always get that project, but in many cases you will because you are so confident of the results you'll produce.

This is just the opposite of what many independent professionals do.

They first wonder what the client can afford, and then create a package of services that will meet the client's budget, not thinking enough of the ultimate results.

Then they end up working like a dog, resenting that they made so little money for so much work and often not achieving the best results possible. Sound familiar?

Time to get paid what you're worth!

Alan Weiss, the Million Dollar Consultant, calls this “value pricing.”

Ultimately you determine the value to the client and then charge for that value (and then deliver on it).

When I learned this principle many years ago, I had a prospective client contact me with the task of finding a title for his book.

We talked and explored the value to him. It would make all the difference to have the right title. He wanted a title that accurately reflected the essence of the book. And he needed it quickly.

I also realized that if I charged a low fee he probably would not appreciate the work that went into coming up with a good title and might get stuck in the loop of asking others for their opinion and get nowhere.

So I charged him $ 2,500 (this was almost 20 years ago).

Ultimately, I got the project and did a lot of in-depth work to determine the most appropriate title.

I came up with just one title name. He loved it and used it for the book. He got the value he paid for.

In fact, he got even more value as I also cave him a lot of input about the contents of the book.

So, think hard – what are your services really worth?

In most cases, they are worth a whole lot more than you think they are.

Cheers, Robert

Networking Tips: The Art of Storytelling

Networking is such an exceptional tool for establishing relationships, advancing in your career and academies and developing your business. One of the many ways to be successful in networking is to have strong, effective communication skills. Equally verbal and non verbal, savvy networkers can relay their personal brand, share their passions and demonstrate good business ethics. A unique component of this type of communication is storytelling. Being able to engage and connect with your counterpart can serve many useful benefits.

Listed below are ways that individuals and organizations can market and bring awareness to their initiatives.

Set the Scene

When sharing a story or interaction with someone, set up the background of the story. Talk about information that is relevant for them to understand and grasp the narrative. Spark their interest and curiosity to further the engagement. Highlight key factors which relate to your career, profession, business, academies etc. Be clear and concise while being creative.

Make the Connection

Do not tell a story just to tell a story. Have a purpose, meaning or lesson which reflects the narrative. Be sure to have an outline in mind and a method towards explaining details and other important aspects which can be memorable. Make links, comparisons and other correlations so that your story adds value and relevance. Make sure to tie it into your passions, endeavors, future goals etc.

Open Discussion

Once you have shared your story, give room to promote additional dialogue and conversation. Involve your response with feedback, questions or another story. Deepen the interaction by reinforcing the morals, lessons or actions in the story and how they are applicable in business, academic or life in general.

Use these dynamic tips to build quality relationships and extend your personal or professional brand. Draw upon this form of communication to market, explain and bring awareness to your initiatives for networking or building quality networks.

Where Are Your Brand Ambassadors?

Has anyone ever wondered how to GET Customers?

Has some one ever surprised WHY your existing customers are not showing enough interest in your business?

If you are that someone, then for sure this article is going to help you. Retaining the 'attention' of your existing customers is the KEY for any business enterprise to succeed, irrespective of their size, especially in the world of internet.

Many of us, who are into business, by default will have the opportunity to have the details of the customers who visit us – like their name, email & phone numbers. What are you doing with them?

All you have to do is – in an organized way, build your database!

Then the next question as a new kid on the block is – how much time will it take to build such a database. Indeed, the masters of the trade spend quite a bit of their time in growing their existing customer details, while they make all efforts to keep adding new ones as well. This is an activity which needs to be given importance, sufficient time, patience and done religiously, in the beginning, if you are starting new.

Now, do understand that, unless one sees their valuable time looking after their existing customer base, then everything that they would have done & / or “invested” will go down the drain, before they even realize so. In this digital era, customer database is the KEY for success.

If you happen to speak to anyone who has mastered this art, the first and foremost powerful secret that they share is “DATABASE” – of existing audience.

But for the reason best know to almighty, many of the people who are now realizing that Internet is the source of business and started venturing into virtual marketing do not realize this FACT and end up making One Major Error.

What is this Major Error?

Newbie's into online marketing are so busy making their sale of product / services to their customers, focused so much on making few pennies here & there, without realizing that they are dealing with People & these are the creatures With Feelings, who can be a powerful & impactful Ambassadors of yours.

This selling approach (which is needed, no doubt), for sure will work in the short-term. May be one could even reap good initial income, but eventually will lose them for competition, since one has not only failed to arrest their 'attention', but failed to build the kind of attention, interest, confidence and trust that is needed. These are the same people, who once paid attention to you, eventually will stop responding. Once this happens, you will be left with no choice but to put all your time and money is 'generating' New Customers, as you are losing existing one consistently.

If one is bit sensible, understand the trick of the trade, for sure trust me, they will have much more worthwhile things to do, rather than spending all their valuable time and hard-earned money constantly on generating new database.

In any business, we keep getting new customers. When one gets, it's suggested not to go all out to only sell, because if you are constantly reaching out to people with emails related to sales, you will lose more people than you retain. Many indulge and have failed in this approach and, by any chance if this has been any ones way of doing business, for sure they need to stop it here & now. This specific methodology has been tried out by many marketers for too long now and, trusts me, it's just not working anymore. There is awareness and people these days just do not like.

The secret is – These people on your list can be your greatest form of promotion …

Yes, since you are the master of your business, you can always tell people how great you are or you can always tell them what a wonderful product you are selling etc. Share your customers success story with other customers as well. Let there be a value in your content. They may or may not believe you, they may or may not buy from you. But if someone totally unrelated to you gives you the thumbs up … that is such a powerful thing.

Now you know, why the masters say – Love Your List. The Vehicle!

Once one starts to build their database, one has to ensure they spend some time connecting with those people. Sending them an email AT LEAST once a week, making them feel wanted, valued & loved, sharing (free content) some of the tips, help, advice etc., are the activities one should do with full heart.

Be Blessed By The Divine!

http://bit.ly/VIDEOEMAILS

Money – Increase Your Sales by Adding Bonuses

In a practice known as the “baker's dozen” a baker throws in an extra muffin or cinnamon roll when you buy 12.

We all love to receive some kind of bonus when we buy a product. But we tend to underestimate how powerful this tool can be to increasing sales.

When my wife and I bought new windows for our living room last year, the contractor added a free window when we also purchased windows for the bedroom (which we had not even considered ordering).

A bonus can often both clinch the deal and increase the amount of the sale.

And yes, professional service businesses can offer bonuses and special offers, just as a product-based business can.

Here are a few examples.

Add a bonus for a larger sale

Let's say you have a 6-month coaching program with a fixed fee. If that is your only option, it's a yes or no proposition.

But what if you also offered a nine-month program for the same monthly fee but added a bonus? The bonus might be a virtual training program or access to an online forum.

This bonus may cost you very little but add substantial value to the client while also increasing your revenue.

In addition, by offering a second service package you then have a choice of 'yeses,' not a choice between yes and no. So, the chances of a prospect saying yes increases substantially.

Also, note that if you do not offer a higher-end service you will never sell that service.

Add a bonus for choosing you sooner

We're all faced with the situation where the prospective client says, “I need to think about it.”

That is certainly valid, but it's also equally valid to reward a prospect for signing up for your service sooner rather than later.

I do not like any kind of high-pressure sales tactics, but have no objection to offering a little more incentive for taking action quickly.

“If you choose to work with me within one week of receiving the proposal I'll offer a complimentary one-day training session.”

Whatever bonus or incentive you offer, it should be perceived as a significant value to the prospect. Just this little nudge will often get a prospect to make a decision faster than usual.

And the faster clients decide to work with you, the more income you tend to make.

Add a bonus for a referral

When I ask people where most of their business comes from, a major say, “word-of-mouth.” But I have yet to meet anyone who has a plan to increase word-of-mouth other than offering exceptional service.

Why not reward word-of-mouth referrals by offering a bonus?

You could say something like this: “Because I build my business on word-of-mouth I offer a client bonus if you send someone my way who becomes a new client.”

This bonus would vary, depending on the service you offer. It could be a free coaching session, a discount on services for a month or an additional service.

Some clients will do nothing, but others will introduce you to many new clients.

A little more value

Never underestimate the power of a special offer, a discount or bonus in return for buying more, buying sooner or giving you a referral.

And interestingly, when you offer more value in this way, you also tend to increase client loyalty and word-of-mouth. Everyone likes a good deal and will often share what a good deal they received with others.

Cheers, Robert

Networking Tips: Professional Protocol

In the game of networking, there will be times when you have to make cold calls, cold emails, etc. You will have to reach out to individuals who you do not know, in order to make connections and do business. In the process of making these connections, make sure that you are being professional and creating a stellar impression. This can influence your personal brand, credibility and the expectations of the relationship.

Listed below are simple tips for exhibiting etiquette and poise in your networking endeavors.

Haste Makes Waste

Although, it is important not to procrastinate, the same can be said for being too much in a hurry. Take time to set up quality meetings or appointments. Re-read, review and edit all correspondences and communications for errors. Make sure that your message is clear, concise and meaningful. These types of actions enable trust, understanding and respect for future business opportunities.

Good Intentions

In the process of reaching out, it is essential to be reasonable in your requests. Show patience and flexibility so that the other person feels comfortable and has options. Considering the fact that a relationship has not been adequately established, do not place hefty demands and unrealistic expectations. Also, use this chance to further link up with your counterpart.

Stay In Contact

The primary goal of networking is to build good relationships. Once the connection has been made, make it a point to stay in contact. Continue to foster the relationship and add value. This can mean offering access to your existing networks, following up for additional meetings or appointments. Show a genuine interest and put forth effort in your interactions

Use these practical and helpful tips to show good faith in your networking encounterers. Be open, flexible and reasonable in your business dealings and make your comfortable comfortable in offering assistance. These are just a few ways of building a viable and profitable network.

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