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Starting Up A New Freelance Business
Posted 13 October 2003 - 04:52 PM
Jill's is another, of course
But it usually has pretty good info in it, and interesting discussions.
Posted 13 October 2003 - 05:27 PM
ANYONE starting a business should know the basics of selling, I mean professional selling NOT the crap they teach in sales courses. You will allways be taught to sell to a need, RUBBISH, sell to a want, find the need but get them to want it, no one wants a drill bit, they want a hole in the wall, they NEED a drill bit to allow them to have the hole to put in the screw to hang the mirror/picture they WANTED to buy.
Professional selling is about asking questions, open and closed, (open = who what why when how where) Closed are questions that can be answered yes or no.
example, ask a lady if you can buy her a drink she can say no thanks, ask her what it is she is drinking is it coke or Dr pepper, and she can not say no. you should work out your unique selling points, and list them, you should then translate these into BENEFITS for potential customers, (your customers do not want better copy, they want more customers, copy that sells will give them this)
eg. mr customer , what was the main reason for your getting a website (open question), (insight will be given, as well as the guys motivation in life) ' we wanted to reduce our customer aquisition costs' reply and the website provided this?
Mr customer, as i am sure you know, the best people to sell to are your customers, in this case the visitors to your website, now whilst the site is doing its job, i am sure that I can convert more of these visitors to your site into actual customers, this would help you with that aquisition cost, as there will be no extra load on the site, just a better return from existing traffic. Now if we can also optimise your pages for the search engines, they will show up closer to the top, and this is going to increase your visitor volumes, ths together with MY fresh content will greatly increase your sales volume, as well as get your name out there more.
a clear way to check if you are 'telling' the customer about yourself, or 'selling' yourself to them is the so what approach, I always use this when we are developing a new project.
I have worked for some very successful websites (so what) during this time we increased site traffic and sales (so what) now ith this experience gained there i am sure that i can do for you what i did for them, get you more traffic, more sales, and mmore profit! the guy/lady now has the hole in the wall to hang her mirror on:-)
If you only read one sales book then buy 'selling to win' it is by a guy called Richard Denny honestly this is a guy who sells for a living, it is straight, and i can truly say that the book helped me a lot, it help your focus in the minimum time neede (unlike me who wil talk all night )
Posted 13 October 2003 - 06:49 PM
I'm still working on the first article, btw-- I DO follow through on the things I say I'll do.
Oh, another question I'd wanted to ask-- a lot of people have asked me if I have a basic template of a contract suitable for webdesign, SEO, or other freelance work, and since someone was good enough to send me the one they actually use, I have raw material to work from to come up with a template.
Is there anyone who would possibly have anything like a basic invoice they could send to me, so I could make a template out of that? That's another thing I've been getting requests for.
Just a thought. I figure, if I get all the advice gathered together and publish it (and I will be contacting everyone who I want to quote directly for permission, I haven't forgotten) then it can help out some other people, and maybe help me get all the good advice through my own thick skull.
I just thought of it since the thread's been revived by OWG...
Posted 13 October 2003 - 07:04 PM
Yes, I can, because of my pirated (shh! ) version of Office X. *sigh* When I finally do save up enough to buy all the software I've stolen to demo, I'm going to go through a whole bunch of money indeed!
Bleh, I'll go through those links in a little while (what did I say? I'm lazy about links) when I have some more attention span. I'm not going to get to the Mumbo Jumbo Paperwork Section for a while yet.
Posted 13 October 2003 - 07:36 PM
A good bit of stuff is for sale (naturally, he's an "info guru" himself ) but the free Marketing Plan Workbook and his newsletter both seem useful, and they won't cost you a dime.
Of course, perhaps what he's telling people is all "old hat" to most, but I grew up in a household where selling and marketing were foreign concepts (my dad was a Lutheran minister/college professor and eventually the state Bishop; my mom was a librarian -- we had lots of dinner table discussion about literature and theology, but I can't remember one conversation about marketing techniques or closing a sale.) So, for me, his stuff was eye-opening.
Posted 13 October 2003 - 08:34 PM
I guess the secret to learning everything I needed to know is starting this thread back up every once in a while.
Posted 14 October 2003 - 03:49 AM
All they ask is that you are a genuine student, or lecturer, or teacher, or associated with the recognised teaching or learning system.
Posted 14 October 2003 - 04:00 AM
AIDA the classic selling acronym, A= Attention I= interest D=Desire A = action we all go through these stages when we buy (or more importantly to us sell)
Attention, unless you have someones attention you are not going to get a sale.
Interest, they MUSt be interested in what you are selling, so we shouldnt sell our products, but the result our products will have on them, after all what is the first thing you do when you get a family photo? you look for you.
Desire, once you have them interested you have to get them to WANT your product (we will allways find the cash for something we want above something we NEED (old style selling) If you really WANT something but need something else, but the thing you need can wait a while what do you get?.
ACTION. the part most people fail at, there is only one way to sell ask for the deal, I always go through things, then say any more questions? happy with everything? if there are no more questions and they are happy with everything then you just got the job, so i say ok then i will .... (go on to tell them what you will be doing and when you will be doing it).
forget all the silly sales closing methods, half nelson, napoleon method blah blah, the best is the one people understand, making an agreement by asking for the deal.
Posted 14 October 2003 - 06:15 AM
I like how you sell, OWG, and I think that's what would suit me best. All I need is more confidence. And a decent website. And some more contacts. And... well, let's not think about that; I'm off to a good start.
But I like the idea of being very upfront about what you're doing. I am familiar with other sales techniques and while I know they work on me, they don't leave a good feeling with me. I walk away feeling like I was conned. I hate being pressured, especially because if the salesman's good, no matter what I do I'm going to feel bad. Either I walk away and feel like I've been rude (which makes me guilty because I'm a decent person which is what their sales technique depends on), or I buy what they're selling and feel annoyed because I wasted money.
Fortunately for decent people, that kind of sales technique doesn't translate well to the online market. (Small variations of it do, like a newsletter sending you an ad and when you go to unsubscribe from the ad part of the newsletter, there's a little notation explaining that the ads really really help them defray their costs, pretty please won't you stay signed up? And you feel bad, because you're an unpaid subscriber, so you stay signed up...)
But even if it did translate well online, it wouldn't suit my target market much, so I'm spared. Copywriter had a great post about that-- let me find it. Ah, here:
Posted 14 October 2003 - 07:57 AM
I did not know what a Lutheran is/was, I did not know enough about Torka's background either, so the comparison i did was way off base.
I am the most insecure unconfident bloke you will ever meet, but i have HAD to face my fear, I still blush far too easily though, and often get caught out by a chance remark or something. I have had to cold call people, in fact i spent a bit of time cold calling a few businesses to research a new interactive wedding CDROM i have been thinking of doing (I know, how could i possibly do a project offline ) but I am really shy, only my close friends know this, to many i come across loudmouthed and opinionated (i am ) but this is just overcompensation by my brain methinks.
If you like the way i sell it is because it is natural, dont get me wrong i do my homework, I list down the things i must tell the customer and during our conversations (i dont have a sales pitch) i mentally tick off the things i have said, I think that people are sick of being 'pitched', i prefer a question and answer session, I have always found that by explaining a bit about something, then asking for questions, within a short period of time all the questions/concerns will have been raised, and hopefuly answered, and then there is no obstacle to doing business.
The trick in selling is to talk TO your customers not AT them, today i explained to a customer (who i had to talk through turning on her computer, i kid you not) that she had a problem with her memory stick, but it was at an address that was only used when all her RAM was being used (This is what my hardware mate told me from the error message) so as they are farmers this just popped into my head and out of my mouth, the memory stick is like a bucket now the hole in the stick is at the top of it, so if you had a hole in your bucket that was close to the top it is still a perfectly good bucket, unless you fill it above the level of the hole. When you ask your computer to do lots of things it has to try to remember what it is doing, and once you ask it to do a lot, it hits the hole in the memory and starts to leak like the bucket.
She grasped this without a second though, and replied, so its ok as long as i dont overfill the memory by asking it to do lots of things at once?
Temptation is always there to tech talk, I remember when i first started selling websites, not many people were online then in the UK 1996 so i had to explain to shopkeepers etc how the web worked, or more importantly how the web worked for them.
I simply said that the web is a library, and like a library you can either wander around looking, or if you want something specific you ask the librarian, if you want a book by an authour you give the authors name and are taken to the right shelf, if you ask for a book on medicine you are taken to a section where all the medical books are, then you can look at the sections in more detail. The web is the library, the search engines and directories the librarians. Now if i was to ask the librarian for information on buying a wedding gown in the Neath area of south wales, they would be taken to your website, and that is how i sold it.
People who could barely turn on a computer understood the web. libraries and buckets, language that people understand, comparisons they can relate to, in my world I rarely use technical talk unless i am asked a specific technical question.
Sorry if i go on, why use one when 100 will do i say
Posted 14 October 2003 - 08:15 AM
I know a thing or two about religion...think of it this way:
Lutherans are Catholics without the guilt! :laugh:
Posted 14 October 2003 - 08:23 AM
Lottie's a cutie. I don't suppose she's named after Lottie Eisner...
Posted 14 October 2003 - 08:47 AM
Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:51 AM
The residential listings are just a bunch of peoples names in alphabetical order, but the yellow pages are catagorized by service and you can put in ads and so forth.
I tell them: "A website is like a phone number - it lets people talk to you and find out what you have to offer. If someone knows your name (domain name) they can type it in and it dials the number (IP address) and then you are there.
But what happens if someone doesn't know your name? Perhaps they are not from your town and don't have a copy of your white pages. Perhaps they simply do not want to go through the whole white pages book looking for a name that sounds like it might offer what they are looking for.
Well, of course they go to the Yellow pages. They look up the section they are interested in: "Plumbing" and then see if there are any other more specific categories: "Residential", and then perhaps they look through the ads to find one that suits their needs: "hot water heaters" and "24 hours" or whatever. Now imagine what would happen if your name wasn't there, or was in the wrong section, or the ad didn't tell them what you do (this is how I also explain keywords and content, btw).
Well, the search engines work the same way: people will not type in your name usually, but instead what they are looking for. And search engines are even better because they can do this very quickly and can look into Yellow Pages all over the world, not just the one in your town!"
It seems to work for me, anyway.
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