What small businesses need to know about the government’s new forgivable loan program

Program Overview

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Who Can Apply

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers. This means each store location could be eligible.

How to Apply

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union,  and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.

Loan Details and Forgiveness

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of .5%.

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a sample form to see the information that will be requested from you.

Other Assistance

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are currently eligible to apply for disaster assistance.

Enhanced Debt Relief is also available in SBA’s other business loan programs to help small businesses overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.

For information on additional Lending options, please click here.

SBA provides local assistance via 68 district offices and a nationwide network of resource partners. To find resources near you, please click here.

Virtual Selling In The Age Of Coronavirus

Businesses across the country face uncertainty now that the majority of the workforce is required to work from home.

If your business is used to thriving in a face-to-face environment, how can you pivot to a digital sales model?

While there are certain to be barriers and stumbling blocks along the way, we believe that such a transition is possible — and that it can make your business more healthy in the long run — provided you approach it with the right mindset.

1. My salespeople aren’t meeting with prospects face-to-face anymore. How can we adapt?

For companies who hadn’t brought digital into their sales process with virtual selling, putting the right technological foundation in place is essential so that you can communicate with each other and with clients, all while organizing, recording, and protecting your data.

Solution: You need to get certain virtual tools in place as soon as possible.

The good news is that many tools have free and trial versions — and a bevy of tech support options available for those just getting started.

Free tools like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts might work just fine. Other more robust conferencing solutions like Zoom, Join.Me, and Microsoft Teams are designed for business.

Start by using a platform internally so you can work out the kinks before a client call. Watch online tutorials to help you troubleshoot.

Pro tip: Zoom is nearly industry-standard at this point — enough so that The New York Times published the headline We live in Zoom now late last week. Zoom has a free version to get you started, but there are some limitations (like having a 40 minute meeting maximum for groups larger than two).

2. My sales team is older and not very tech-friendly. What can I do to help them adjust?

The learning curve for technology can appear steep, but it is often people’s insecurities that are the biggest inhibitor. The last thing you want to do is keep your workers in the dark, taking too long to put solutions in place.

Solution: Communicate that you’re going to do everything in your power to make this digital transition quick and smooth. Give them a date by which the plan will be rolled out, and make sure to include mandatory training sessions when you announce any new tool.

Encourage your most enthusiastic, respected team members to participate in the tool selection and the planning for training. They can be your cheerleader and even help support others on the team.

Pro tip: Make a recording of the training available to your team members after the session is over so that they can refer back to it.

Use video so there is a visual component to look back on, and even open up a hotline or support ticket line where sales reps can ask questions and get answers they need to use the tools effectively.

3. With my staff working remotely, how will I know if they’re productive or not?

If you’re used to seeing your colleagues work each day at their desks, an abrupt switch to remote work can feel like a loss of control. After all, how can you be sure that they’re doing all they can?

Solution: As this is a stressful time, don’t make the mistake of hounding your employees. Remember, they’re adjusting too. And, if they are your coworkers, you likely trust them and value their professionalism.

If you have a task management platform or a CRM, all of the information that you need should be at your fingertips.

We often hear that customers’ sales teams use a CRM but that leadership doesn’t know how to determine if the activities they’re logging are effective, or turn into revenue.

To gain the visibility you need to understand how effective your team is, check out this HubSpot knowledge base article to help get you started building the reports you need.

Pro tip: As a part of your training sessions, you should also have a playbook that details exactly what activities you want your team to log and how they should do so.

Of course, sales reps are still responsible for reaching KPI goals while working from home — although these might be adjusted due to external circumstances.

4. My business is brick and mortar and customers are afraid to walk in the doors — or we have been forced to close altogether

The beauty of digital sales is that it allows your brick and mortar location to be only one facet of your business. A generation ago, if a storefront closed, the business folded.

Today, the shopping world is increasingly shifting to online commerce. According to Oberlo, “in 2020, e-commerce sales are expected to account for 15.5% of retail sales worldwide,” up from about 7% five years ago.

Solution: Of course, this depends on your business. If you’re looking to launch an e-commerce platform, there are many solutions.

Or, if you use your physical location for sales meetings, turn that former in-store appointment into a virtual in-home appointment. You can set up a scheduling tool on your website and allow customers to set up virtual appointments online.

When it comes time for the appointment, both the salesperson and the consumer will join the video call, and the salesperson can conduct their meeting as they normally would.

Your sales team can encourage contacts to use the scheduling tool, either by calling them or emailing them to help you generate demand.

You can also run digital ads to drive traffic to your appointment scheduler and generate additional demand. As long as electronic payments and shipping can get the consumer their product, you should still see the fruits of adapting quickly and helping consumers get the products they still need.

Also, if your hours have changed, don’t forget to update your Google My Business profile so that customers know how and when they can find you.

Pro tip:  Think about what you might ask the prospect to do before they show up for the virtual appointment. Do you have a video that you could send them so they are more educated about your sales process or your product before the virtual meeting?

Doing so can help you shorten your meeting time and open up your calendar to conduct more appointments.

5. A big portion of our revenue came from in-person events and tradeshows. Now what?

Companies often spend heavily to be represented at trade shows and other events. But don’t panic. Remember, no one is attending these events right now. You’re not missing out on opportunities. These opportunities currently don’t exist.

You’ll still be able to reach qualified buyers, and you won’t spend as much to do so.

Solution:  It’s likely that you’ve been given advice over the years to reallocate your tradeshow budget to digital or inbound marketing.

When you meet with prospective customers at tradeshows, they typically want to know things like “What problem does your product solve,” “How does that compare to your competitors,” or “How much does it cost?”

Now, people will still be searching for these same answers, but they’ll be searching for them online. You’ll want to be the most trusted resource for answers they can find on the internet. All you need to do is write down the answers to these questions and publish them. It’s that simple.

Pro tip: Once people are on your website, they’ll be hungry for more information. Video will get them to convert at a much higher rate than text alone. Here are a bunch of stats to reference about the efficacy of video, but my personal favorites are these:

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users
  • Video drives organic 157% more traffic from search engine results pages
  • The average conversion rate for websites using video is 4.8%, compared to 2.9% for those that don’t use video

6. We don’t know the best way to communicate with our customers and prospects right now

These are unprecedented times, and it’s not always clear the best way to address what’s happening. It’s important to address the elephant in the room, but you need to do it right.

Solution:  Be empathic. Set up a time to talk with them, human to human. Listen to their problems and challenges and be the best resource that you can be. Try to accommodate them as much as possible because, when this pandemic turns around, the relationships you’ve built will help your business regain its footing.

If you learn that a customer is struggling and you have another customer that has experience in their particular situation, connect them. Hold a town hall-style meeting, a safe and open space for all of your clients to connect with your leadership and all company employees.

On your website, in emails, and on social media, keep your messaging consistent. Show empathy, but underscore the fact that business goes on and you are there to help your customers succeed.

Pro tip: Get ahead of your receivables, but with kindness and empathy. Do not hide behind email to collect payments or harass customers.

If you have an invoice coming due with a particular customer that has been impacted severely by the pandemic, call that customer or send them a video message so they can see your face, then do your best to help.

Managing the shift to digital

First, embrace the messy. Any abrupt transition is going to be tough. Work hard, knowing that everything will not be perfect the first time you host a video call, for example.

That’s okay.

Embrace the messy and learn from each experience. You will get better. But if you spend too much time trying to make things perfect before you get started, you’ll never move forward.

Second, live in the solution. In trying times, it’s easy to look back and think of how you could have handled things differently. With COVID-19, there was not much most businesses could have done. Regardless, focus your energy on the solution.

You can’t change yesterday. What can you do today, tomorrow, and next week?

The COVID pandemic has changed the world of business. If you spend the time waiting for normalcy to return, there’s a chance you might not survive. Smart businesses are diving into digital solutions, knowing they might not get it all right at first.

 

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Source: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/virtual-selling-coronavirus-questions-sales

Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19

Stress and Coping

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and  the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

  • 911
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline:  1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSAexternal icon) website.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Things you can do to support yourself

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Reduce stress in yourself and others

Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful..

When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.

Learn more about taking care of your emotional health.

For parents

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

There are many things you can do to support your child

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Learn more about helping children cope.

For responders

Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:

  • Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
  • Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.

Learn more tips for taking care of yourself during emergency response.

For people who have been released from quarantine

Being separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include :

  • Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine
  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
  • Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine
  • Other emotional or mental health changes

Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine. You can help your child cope.

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Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

How do I work from home? Tips from the experienced

Most people spend months getting into the rhythm of remote work

Many Americans are trying to get that rhythm down with day’s notice. COVID-19 has made it to nearly every state including Alabama. With at least 28 confirmed cases (as of midday March 16) in Sweet Home Alabama, some businesses are telling their employees to stay home and avoid contact with the outside world as much as possible.

“It’s a big adjustment to start working from home,” said Tyler Reeves, a financial planner based in Birmingham. Reeves runs a one-man-show and has been working from his home office for a little over three years. First things first, he said, “dampen your expectations.” Working from home isn’t something you master in a day, he said.

“It is going to take a lot to get used to this,” Reeves said. “Give yourself some slack, and realize that these aren’t normal times.”

There are steps one can take to feel a little more “normal,” he said.

 

Find a routine

If you don’t work past 5 p.m. normally, said Kevin DeLeon, a web developer working remotely in Mobile, don’t pass that point when you’re at home. If you don’t work earlier than 8 a.m., don’t start that early from your bed.

Using the time you’d spend commuting, DeLeon said, to accomplish a personal goal, make breakfast or take a walk with your dog will get your day started on a better mental note.

“Office life gives you a forced schedule that you have to follow,” he said. “Form good habits early on and develop a routine.”

And developing a routine is important when trying to avoid feelings of guilt, he said. It’s easy to get locked in because you want your company to know you are putting in the work, he said but discussing trust and making others aware of your schedule can prevent harsh thoughts like, “Am I doing enough?”

Tarah Keech, coach and founder of Burnout Survival, suggests blocking out time for lunch or breaks on a public and personal calendar.

 

Listen to your mind and body

Blocking time out for yourself is crucial, Keech said. “You’ll be amazed at all you can do from home.” Letting the “new normal” sink in, she said, and taking breaks when you need them will better your performance.

DeLeon likes to step out on his back deck for a breath of fresh air, take 15 minutes to jog in place, do stretches or pick up the guitar in between jobs to refresh.

During these times, Keech said, mute your devices and go offline if you need a moment away from work. Simply getting up and walking around will help pass the day. In addition to physical activities, make sure you are eating regularly and drinking water, Reeves said.

“I know people who started working from home and didn’t realize they were eating more or less or not drinking enough water or spending too much time sitting,” he said. “Anything you can do to get outside and not just sit in front of the computer for eight hours straight will make this a better experience.”

 

 

Stay connected

And your co-workers can help a good bit with that too.

And if you don’t have a built-in work network, create your own for the time being. Reeves, who owns and runs his business alone, is a part of a financial planning organization and the group hosts video chats to see how people are doing, what they are going through and more.

Switching from emails to calls and calls to video chats is a brilliant way to kill some of the isolation, Keech said. “Connect on platforms and chats that you already love,” she said.

And if DeLeon can make it work from Mobile, Alabama, with co-workers on both coasts in New York and California, he said, we can make it work for the time being as a community.

 

Create a dedicated workspace

But, making it work involves more than a connection. Finding a place to do your best work is important, Reeves said. Setting up wherever you feel comfortable and focused will better your at-home work experience.

Whether that be at the kitchen table, on a couch, at a desk or on the floor somewhere, find a place that you can make your own, Keech recommends.

Julie Kenney, owner and designer at Inspired Closets Mobile, suggests finding a place that is quiet for phone calls and when the work is done, “close the door.”

And finding that place might be difficult for parents who have their children at home, Kenney said, but letting them help you draft a schedule for them can give parents the time they need to get work done.

Stay positive, take advantage of being at home while you can

There are probably tons of projects that have been put off, and now you have nothing but time at home to complete them.

Kenney, whose business specializes in helping people get organized, recommends cleaning and sorting drawers with the kids, going through closets and sorting to donate, working in the yard, painting a bedroom or organizing family photos.

Planning during the weekend or after 5 p.m. for the next day can keep you busy, she said. “Review what’s in your freezer, pantry and fridge,” she said. “Toss out any old, expired food that may be taking up space, and create a shopping list that can be available for a couple of weeks.”

Clean out your medicine cabinet, and make sure you have the basics on-hand if anyone gets sick, she said.

In the end, “how we think about what we think about will change our view,” Keech said. “If you have been unhappy in your career or job, this is an opportunity to show up and be who you want to be,” she said. “Think of ways you can be 110% from home.”

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88% of Sales Calls Are Useless – Here’s Why….

Customer indecision is severely reducing the effectiveness of the sales operation

There’s a stark truth every business that depends on sales growth needs to take on board. According to Forrester research, around 88% of sales calls are viewed by customers as being ineffective; i.e. they add no value at all to the customer’s life. Paying anyone to succeed only 12% of their time at work in any role is a terrifying thought. But when that pitiful strike rate applies to the very engine of the company’s growth – sales – it’s enough to leave the most seasoned business leader screaming!

The situation may be tough. But at least there are no mysteries surrounding this level of failure. The customers surveyed by Forrester confirmed they don’t respond to that mighty 88% of sales calls because there’s nothing in it for them when they do. It’s just more noise and more stuff –“cognitive overload” if you want a technical term.

The people making the calls are unable to communicate the full value – or any real value – of their sales message. They often don’t know enough about their industry, their market and their solution to be convincing. And when you know less about what you’re selling than the guy you’re trying to sell it to knows, it’s a fair bet that you’re in trouble.

What Other Operational Area of YOUR Business Would Accept a 12% Success Rate?

Of course, there are organizations that would regard a 12% success rate as adequate. Successful even. They would see themselves as keeping pace with competitors. Maybe even outpacing them. So that’s ok? Well sorry, but no it isn’t ok. Not if you want to create a profitable organization, fueled by vigorous sales-led growth. Drill down into the successes – those times you do get through and have your message listened to by a customer. Even in that situation of viable opportunity, you’re likely losing out around 76% of the time. How so?

Credible data suggests that 16% of sales lost will be to competitors. Again, you might think it perfectly ok to retain well over 80% of your closable sales. That looks like a home run … until you dig deeper. Competitors leave you with four-fifths of the potential pie. But it’s not your commercial rivals who are eating your cheese (and whatever other filling you have in your pie). The culprit isn’t an honorable foe in a clean fought battle. It’s the miserable, skulking, creeping fog that is customer indecision.

 

Customer Indecision – Accounting for a Pretty Decisive 60% of Lost Sales

Indecision accounts for around 60% of lost sales. Customers take an age to make their minds up. Somewhere along the way, the love and enthusiasm die. And you lose out. What are the reasons for this very undesirable situation? And what can you do to improve it?

Start with a deep realization: there is no advantage to you in letting customer indecision creep in and take root. You need to stand out fast. You need to stand out enough to trigger a decision – even if that decision goes against you. And you either need to make the sale or make your way out of the situation and on to the next opportunity. The long sales cycle never makes you a winner. Take a hard look at your current pipeline. If it is clogged with sluggish, wannabe deals that are not really going anywhere, examine the root causes and take action.

Effective action depends on making a second realization. Most customers are “indecisive” for a small number of important reasons. The key driver is commoditization. Customers do not see what you are offering as being different in any significant way. They could find it somewhere else, with at least a couple of viable alternatives and maybe dozens, or even hundreds, of other choices. And the first rule with any commodity is that you always buy it for the lowest price, not top dollar.

 

Can You EVER Win a Race to the Bottom on Costs?

Buying for lowest price means a race to the bottom for your costs, your margins and any prospect of a decent profit. You can only win this game if your whole operation is configured around delivering the lowest price and you know you can work on wafer-thin margins. BUT … If you need to make the best profit you can on the most sales you can achieve, you literally cannot afford the luxury of a bunch of “indecisive” customers. And you must, therefore, wake up and get real.

Think of the commoditized market as a Roman gladiator arena. You and your fellow combatants are out there on the sand under the burning sun. You’re the ones sweating and straining. Literally giving your life’s blood. In the end only one of you can win. Along the way, you’re providing entertainment for a bunch of guys sitting in the shade, in no hurry to put their thumbs up or down, as long as the show continues. Unlike a real gladiator, fortunately, you have the chance to walk away. So do that. Leave the arena. Work on some new moves. How?

Don’t be afraid to look very rationally – critically – at what you’re selling. If it is a commodity, re-configure to make the sale on a new basis: price led, fast, no prisoners. Thumbs up or down in a quick clean fight. If however you truly believe that your offer is stand-out, that it deserves real, focused, positive customer attention that leads to winning the business, then equip yourself to be a winner.

 

Get Yourself Some Lethal Weapons

Your new sales armory will include three lethal weapons:

1. Make Your Offer A “Must Have” Some estimates say that we are faced with around 35 thousand decisions a day. Even if the figure is closer to 350 or 35, that’s still a lot of decisions. So, clarify and tighten your offer. Strip out the “cognitive overload” and make choosing you – quickly and decisively – a no-brainer for your customers.

2. Make Your Sales Team Make Sense Become certain, through message clarification, training, and real understanding, that every time one of your salespeople makes a sales call, they will add value to the customer, drive a positive decision and eliminate indecision.

3. If You Don’t Win, Don’t Lose Out In The Sales Process Stop confusing activity with achievement. As soon as it becomes clear that your “customer” is just playing you, disengage. Cut your losses and move on. It’s a certainty that you will save resources and protect your credibility. It’s not impossible that some of those “indecisive” customers will quickly realize that you are exactly the kind of confident, successful and determined supplier they need.

 

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Source: www.revenuepathgroup.com

PROSPECTS GOING “COLD” WHEN THEY REALLY ARE NOT…

4 Reasons Why Websites Dont Work

There are a host of reasons that websites underperform for businesses that have them, even if they enter the website design process with the best of effort and intentions. Here are some of our thoughts on why websites don’t generate the business that company’s hope for:

1) They don’t understand their own target market.

Find the Right People Who Are Most Likely To Buy

 It’s one thing to know your business and another entirely to know who is your “sweet spot” with respect to your target market. Without that, your web developer will be guessing when he creates the site, particularly if they don’t ask good questions


2) They don’t consider other marketing options other than a website.

Believe it or not, websites are competitive. There is only one top spot on Google, and you either have it or you don’t. Often times—in fact, most times, it takes work to achieve a top spot either through search engine optimization (SEO) or pay per click services. This is the most overlooked and underbudgeted issue with respect to website design.

3) Web designers don’t do their job. We’ve seen some terrible work over the years with the basics in website design completely violated.

Believe it or not, there’s a definite psychology to converting a viewer of a site to a client, there are SEO basics that must be done, and even colors and style matter tremendously in getting a client to call or fill out a form. This is also a real problem with site design– the basics aren’t even done because many web developers don’t know what they’re doing.


4) And lastly– Business owners treat their websites with an “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” Attitude.

They think that having a site is enough to generate business when that’s not nearly enough in most situations. Believe it or not, most websites have expiration dates. What? You say? Yes, they do. Technology changes and so should websites. This past week we had a client who was irritated when his website didn’t support Internet Explorer, a platform that Microsoft, who created it, hasn’t supported since 2016. We also don’t support Netscape and other antique browsers. The same is true of your website– you can have a “Model T” for a website. Just because you have one, doesn’t mean that you’re able to drive on the highway. Design changes quickly, as does technology. You’d be amazed how many websites are out there that are still not mobile-friendly, which means that their sites are devalued in Google, not to mention hard to surf on a mobile device. Realize that your site should be updated every 2-3 years in order to stay current.

 Click Here to Schedule your free website review now

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Source: https://makeitloud.net/2018/09/digital-marketing-outsourcing-in-atlanta/

How To uncover “Hidden Leads” On Your Website

WE ALL LOVE CALLER ID, RIGHT?

To me, it is physically hard to actually push the green button when I don’t get to know who is calling first.  Imagine what the power of website caller id can do for your business.  The ability to know who is “calling” could be the difference between making the sale and missing out.  So what is “Revenue Detective” from BBC Consulting?

WHAT IS IT?

“Revenue Detective” is an anonymous B2B visitor identification and website visitor tracking software that tells you who is visiting your website, what pages they are viewing, and where they came from!  I guess you could say it’s Website Caller ID but super-sized.

WHAT DO WE DO?

With our code on your website, when a potential lead comes to your site, we are able to tell you and you don’t have to do anything.  We track the visitor, tell you who they are, what pages they visit, how much time they have spent on each page, where they came from, and how often they return.  Simple.  This data is included in your Instant Email Alert.

GET READY… ENGAGE

Now that you know who was visiting and what pages they went to, it’s time to prepare for the call/email/smoke signal or push that green button. We include prepopulated links for further company research in every Instant Alert Email and also in every company information page from the dashboard.  All you have to do is click on them.  They are locked and loaded with the search terms needed to get the most information available about your prospect. What sets Revenue Detective apart from similar programs is the way in which we teach you to engage and the various tools we use to get to the decision-maker.

CONCLUSION

BBC Consulting’s “Revenue Detective” does so much more than just id your website visitors: we will track your visitors, then identify those visitors, and finally prepare you to engage with those visitors with actionable data collected from not only their visit but also from the research links provided.

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The Problem With Relationship-Based Sales

A business development consultant told me that 80% of new commissions come through relationships.

I don’t want to discount relationships. They’re important to us on a number of levels and a good portion of your work probably does come to you through some sort of relationship.

As a business development strategy though, you need to understand that things are changing.

First problem with relationships: They go away
It used to be that if you had a good relationship with the right person, all that client’s work flowed your way. In fact, when I was still working in architecture firms, I had a client who made all the facilities decisions for an extremely active and well-funded local organization. For almost 20 years he funneled all that organization’s work to us. Then he retired.

Your relationships are with human beings. They retire, change jobs, get promoted to different positions, basically experience some sort of change that makes that business development relationship less valuable to you. The relationships effectively go away.

Second problem with relationships: They’re just one person
It used to be that if you had a relationship with the right person, you could count on them to award the client’s or the prospect’s work to you. Today, decision making teams are getting bigger. There’s rarely one decision-maker. In fact, the average selection committee today is at least 6 people.

It’s not enough to have a relationship with one person. Now that your oldest, best client has a selection committee, your relationship with the Vice President isn’t enough. Your track record working with that client isn’t enough. There are 5 other people on the selection committee and that means that everyone you’re competing against may have a relationship with someone on the committee. In a simple vote, your relationship with one person on an ever-expanding selection committee loses.

Third problem with relationships: They make us lazy
Back when you had that relationship with the ultimate decision-maker, you could rely on them to advocate for you. They knew you, they’d worked with you, they trusted you and that was probably enough. Today, they’re not the ultimate decision-maker anymore and you haven’t equipped them with the tools they need to persuade the rest of the committee on your behalf.

Relationships are based on trust. In a one-to-one context that trust is usually built on experience over time. You don’t have that time anymore. Today, your clients and prospects learn about 70% of what they want to know about you before you even know they’re interested. What’s worse, you’re trying to gain the trust of a committee instead of the one person you’ve known for years. You can’t sit back and rely on that relationship to go in and carry the room. In a multiple-decision-maker world, where your prospects think you and all your competition looks the same, sounds the same and acts the same, you have to make yourself the clear choice and gain fast trust.

It’s up to you.
Keep building relationships. That still has to be part of your business development strategy. But go in with your eyes wide open. There are three keys to making the most of your business development relationships:

Have a clear message.
You need to clearly state what your convincing advantages are … the reasons why your prospects should choose you. Those advantages have to be clear enough (and stated enough) that those advocating relationships can repeat them just as easily as you can.

It’s not about you.
As experienced and qualified as you are, the decision-makers and selection committees are only interested in the firm that addresses their pains, threats, and fears. In order to gain fast trust, you have to demonstrate that you understand what’s keeping your prospects up at night and make your messaging all about them.

Have a conversation.
What it takes to get in the room is not the same as what it takes to win the room. That old-school relationship may have gotten you to the short-list interview, but now you’re in a room with 5 other people sitting, arms-crossed wondering why they should pick you.

You don’t know them; they don’t know you. Remember when you first met that person that’s now “your relationship”? It started with a conversation. Don’t talk about yourself like everyone else does. Win the room, and the project, by starting a conversation with them, about them. They’ll feel like you understand them, you’ll build fast-trust, and you’ll differentiate yourself from your competition.

Are you relying on old-school relationships or building fast-trust that differentiates your firm and makes you the clear choice for the right projects and the right fees?

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Source: https://blog.revenuepathgroup.com/blog/three-problems-with-relationship-based-business-development

Top Three Reason We Are Still Blogging

“There are millions of blog posts published daily, will ours even get read?”

“Blogging is so 2010.”

“What could we have to say that isn’t already out there.”

Blogging isn’t new. It’s been around since the mid-1990s. We’re not about to present to you a marketing breakthrough or some magnificent new way to do things. The takeaway here is that blogging is still very relevant and vital to your communication strategy. Here’s how it can help you today.

#1 – You Will Generate More Website Traffic

According to a 2017 Hubspot report, 63% of organizations report that generating traffic and leads is their number one marketing challenge. It’s no secret you are competing against a huge amount of noise for website traffic. On top of that, you want to make sure you are generating the right website traffic.

Let’s step back for a minute and think about how people actually search the web. Unless they are typing in a specific company or product, a search typically starts with a question.

So, do me a favor. Google this: How to hire better employees?

What are your results? Scroll past the ads, and you see content in the form of articles and blog posts. In fact, even the organizations that want to sell you hiring services have served up the answer to your question in the form of content from their blog. Your prospects are looking for information to help them solve a problem. A good headline and teaser text will turn prospects that are searching into prospects that click.

#2 – You Will Convert More Prospects

In this Age of Acceleration, a term coined by author Thomas Friedman, the power of individuals has been amplified by the internet. Information is readily available at your prospects fingertips. All of your prospects carry around little internet boxes that give them instant answers to their questions, and more importantly, they are using that power. Prospects are more capable than ever to research products and services on their own prior to purchasing. In fact, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Source) Bottom line, you need to be there with the right content – content that solves a problem, answers a question, eases a pain point. This positions you to be the right resource for your customer’s needs, which turns prospects into leads.

#3 – You Will Think Smarter About Your Overall Business

The process of writing can help you think smarter about your own business. Creating content is all about generating ideas and answers, and you might learn a thing or two, or develop a few lighting strike ideas during the process. In addition to the writing process, tracking your content engagement also gives you insight into your target prospects and the information they want. Whether you outline content or draft a complete blog post, the thought process is a valuable tool for your business growth.

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Source: https://blog.revenuepathgroup.com/blog

Reputation Management – Who cares?

We have all heard about Reputation Management, and we know that it is a critical aspect of your business’s online and live profile… now let’s understand why.

Here’s an example that many of us can relate to. Imagine that you are thinking of going to a movie. If you are like a lot of people, you will probably first get online and look at all the movies that are playing and their reviews. Are you going to go to the movie that has awesome reviews, or the one that people say is a disappointment? Although a tremendous online review is good for a new movie, does it matter for you, the business looking to grow?

It isn’t news that businesses rely on the internet to research for the best product or service available to them. To get the best deal and the best product, people will use social media, review sites, even competitors’ websites. With everything out there, businesses need every advantage that they can get – – and they need to avoid potential catastrophes that could easily result from even one bad review.

Understanding reputation management can be vital for advancing your business – especially in a digital world where one negative online search result can be the difference between closing that deal or losing that revenue to a competitor.

When your online reputation really counts

Although your online reputation matters 24/7, there are some times when it seems to play a more critical role than others. Some real-world examples of when a good reputation really matters…

  • Closing a Deal

  • A Prospect is Doing Comparison Shopping

  • Potential Customers Searching for Online Reviews of Your Business

  • Selling Your Business

  • Networking

What is Reputation Management?

Before going too far down the reputation rabbit hole, we should outline a basic definition of what reputation management is. A basic description would be that reputation management is managing your reputation. But in reality, it is much more than that. Not only is reputation management managing your reputation by monitoring both the good and bad associated with your business online, but it is also being able to do something about those good and bad comments, reviews, etc.

How you monitor your online reputation

There are currently many different ways that you can monitor your online reputation. From apps to management companies, there are solutions to fit any size business. Knowledge is power so find a solution that works for you and move forward!

 

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Click Here to start or fix your online reputation

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