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Networking Tips for Success

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Literally, it stands for Search Engine Optimization. However, this tends to be a scary term for most small and medium businesses. We’ve all gotten those sales or spam calls guaranteeing to get you on the 1st page of Google. All you have to do is pay them $$$ and they will put you in some monthly program their company has, or if you ask enough questions, they will give you a written proposal with a lot of buzzwords that require translation. You don’t even understand enough to ask detailed questions so you decide to either take a leap of faith and give them money hoping for the best or just say “No” thinking they are trying to take advantage of your lack of SEO knowledge.

The term SEO means optimizing your website to show up in search engine results using keywords or phrases based on what people are searching for. The important part to remember here is “what people are searching for,” instead of what you want them to search for.

This is part one of a three part blog series on SEO. Understanding the basics is a good place to start to increase your knowledge of what to expect. Let’s start with five questions you can ask if you get these calls of sales pitches:

Yes, these are leading questions designed to protect yourself! Let’s break them down to help you better understand what SEO is and what it isn’t.

#1 – What category are you guaranteeing?

Trying to compete for insurance or real estate which are both highly competitive industries is almost impossible for an individual representative or small business because you are up against larger brands such as Keller Williams or Liberty Mutual. If you’re in a business that’s not highly competitive, the same question still applies. Are they guaranteeing you to be found for “underwater basket weaving Podunk City Texas” and you’re needing to be found for “car wash Grapevine TX”? If it sounds too good to be true, it is!

#2 – How do you know if my website can be optimized?

This is my personal favorite. There are a lot of platforms websites are built on, and you may have even built your own using GoDaddy, WordPress, SquareSpace or even WIX. Some of these are even free. Whether you’ve built your own website or had it professionally done, you need to know if your site has been optimized to even receive an SEO program. We call that on-site SEO, which we will talk about in detail in the second part of this three part series. To simplify, if your website pages are not optimized with keywords, titles and tags, then it won’t be able to show up in various searches unless someone specifically types in your website name. I equate it to buying a Rembrandt art piece and hanging it in your closet where nobody can see it. Start by optimizing your site before you pay for any program.

#3 – What if Google changes their algorithm?

This happens regularly! When it does, your SEO needs to change to accommodate the new guidelines. Algorithms change when people find short cuts around the current one. If you’re in a contract with an SEO company, this question is extremely important because, if the criteria changes in the search engines, your SEO company needs to change their software to accommodate its customers. If they don’t, then you’re stuck in a program is no longer relevant.

#4 – How long will it take?

There is no magic wand or shortcut when it comes to the Internet; so don’t expect immediate results with any SEO. It is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint. If your product or service on your website is highly competitive, it will take longer to show up in search results. Where, if you have a unique product, you may get results quicker. Organic SEO always takes longer but is the best choice, because it’s permanent.

#5 – Is your program for organic SEO or PPC?

Don’t mistake SEO for PPC (pay-per-click advertising), which can get you immediate results but is very costly, as well as temporary. There are times when you might want to engage in a PPC advertising campaign, but remember, when you stop paying for the ad, the results stop. Organic SEO is designed to be permanent. Think of it like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs. SEO leaves breadcrumbs for people to find their way to your website. Whereas, PPC takes people directly to your website, but once the ad is over, there are no breadcrumbs to find you again.

Next time, we’ll take a look at on-site SEO for your website, and then we’ll finish up with part three on SEO using Social Media. As always, questions are welcome!

If you’re looking for more specific ideas about your own business, you can contact me Kay@TEAMReferralDFW.com

About the Author | Kay Wallace, TEAM Referral DFW

Kay Wallace - TEAM Referral DFW - Relationship Marketing - Grapevine TexasKay Wallace is a speaker, trainer, social media strategist and has a referral networking organization, TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Referral DFW. TEAM combines the best of face to face and online networking through exclusive category relationship marketing to help your business grow. We offer virtual, business & executive chapters, online memberships, community outreach and much more. Referrals are the best way to market your business so “Don’t Hire a Sales Team, Join One.”

Visit TEAM Referral DFW online at www.TEAMReferralDFW.com

By Rene Godefroy

Do you attend business-networking events in order to collect business leads that can open doors for you? Well, you may be wasting your time. Let me explain.
In my book, No Condition is Permanent, I talk about being a small fish in a big pond. I even share some excellent tips on how to swim with the big fish. But, my first advice to you is to rethink your business networking strategy.

You should ask yourself the following questions: “Can the connections I am making really help me to get ahead? Am I swimming in the right pond with the right fish?”
Now, I am not saying that some of the people in the circle may not turn out to be a good resource for you. But you may want to reach for a level where those contacts have never been before.

So, avoid networking with people who are hassling you to get your business, or those who just want something from you. Networking is truly about creating long-term relationships that can pull you up. Now, notice I am talking about making connections versus getting favors. All relationships should be a two-way street, both personal and professional.
You should seek out influential people who can swing some doors open for you, and help you get where you want to go. You need to push forward in order to get ahead.

Here’s how to do so:

  1. Do something to get on the radar of those in a position to assist you.

Speaking for the National Speakers Association automatically put me in touch with Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen, and the like.  Okay, you may not be in a position to write a book or keynote a big conference yet. But I’m certain there’s something you can do to move your own career along. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box – a little creativity.

  1. Instead of attending business networking events to collect business leads, become a private investigator.

Do a little investigating to find out what challenge the people whose radar you are trying to get on are facing. Then write an article about the challenge or problem and offer some solutions. Send the article to a key player in your field. You only need one key contact to introduce you to the rest of the people in that group. Does that make sense to you? You may even have an idea to help raise money and awareness for a cause that you know is important to the people you are trying to reach. Contact them and let them know about it.

  1. Brainstorm for ideas.

Here’s a clever way to come up with ideas that can help you contact a key influencer: Take a piece of paper and write your goals across the top of it; then jot down every way you might be able to make the connection. Be outrageous. Go for it!

But remember, as you strive to make those meaningful contacts, definitely be available to be a meaningful contact to someone else. And I am dead serious about that. Success is also a two-way street. You must have one hand reaching for the top and another reaching to help pull someone up from the bottom.

by Stacey O’Byrne

By understanding the common types of sales objections, or how about their buying concerns you can recognize the real issues sooner. This understanding will allow you to quickly apply a strategy to understand, address, discuss, and ultimately overcome sales objections – getting you closing more deals before you know it.

Remember if you consider a different mindset that looks at “objections” as “concerns,” you too may find that they can turn into gateways instead of roadblocks.

How to Handle Objections in Six Easy Steps

Here’s How:

  1. Listen to the Objection.Don’t jump all over the prospect as soon as he says “But what about-.” Give him a chance to explain exactly what’s bothering him. Don’t just tune him out, either – listen.
  2. Say it Back to the Prospect.When you’re absolutely sure the prospect is done talking, look thoughtful for a moment and then repeat back the gist of what he’s said. Something like “I see, you’re concerned about maintenance costs” is fine. This both shows that you were listening and gives him a chance to clarify.
  3. Explore the Reasoning.Sometimes the first objections aren’t the prospect’s real concern. For example, many prospect don’t want to admit that they don’t have enough money to buy your product, so they’ll raise a host of other objections instead. Before you launch into answering an objection, ask a few exploratory questions, like “Is product downtime a particular issue? Have you had trouble with it before?”
  4. Answer the Objection.Once you understand the objection completely, you can answer it. When a customer raises an objection, they’re actually expressing fear. Your task at this point is to relieve their fears.
  5. Check Back with the Prospect.Take a moment to confirm that you’ve answered the prospect’s objection fully. Usually this is as simple as saying, “Does that make sense?” or “Have I answered your concern?”
  6. Redirect the Conversation.Bring the prospect back into the flow of the appointment. If you’re in the middle of your presentation when the prospect raises his objection, then once you’ve answered it quickly summarize what you’d been talking about before you move on. If you’ve finished your pitch, check if the prospect has any other objections, and then start closing the sale.

Step 7  – Ask for Order/Continue Discussions

This step ensures you move discussions forward, for example, “Are you ready to go ahead now?” or “Shall I go ahead and prepare the paperwork?” If your prospect says “No” then you’ve either not handled their objection to their satisfaction or they have another objection.

It’s also a valid point to remember that resistance from a prospect is usually a sign of insufficient rapport. Therefore, check that you are matching or mirroring the prospect and go back to Step 6. If they are satisfied with your handling of their objection, then ask “So, what’s preventing you from moving forward with this?”

  1. Use Active Listening – Demonstrate that you are listening by nodding, making eye contact and confirming what they have said.
  2. Stay Aware – Be thoughtful of what you say and avoid offending please. Do not talk over people or dominate the conversation.
  3. Use Appropriate Language – Be aware of the company  you are in and use language that is acceptable to those people.
  4. Be Humble – See yourself as you really are, with both strengths and weaknesses. Don’t talk to people as if you think you are better than them.
  5. Empathize – Put yourself in the other person’s position.  Imagine how you would feel listening to them speak to you in the same manner.

The most common objections to sealing the deal –

 

Step 1 “Exactly what do you mean by that?”

To do: Qualify what they mean by “cost too much”? Compared to what? Competitor? Another product? Not worth it?

 

Step 2 : “More Expensive than a Competitor

To do: Make sure they are comparing apples with apples.  What’s different between you and your competitor? Go back and address the value that your product/service offers compared to the rest.  Make a comparison difficult.

 

Step 3: “Haven’t Got the Budget”

To do: Establish what the budget is, how they would like to pay.  Could they spread the payments? Get more budget in the future? Cross charge? Help them find the money or can you be flexible in how you get paid? Sometimes it’s just a question of timing.

 

Step 4: That Costs too Much

To do: If it seems to cost too much in the mind of your prospect then you need to go back and build the value again because you have not done a good enough job

from www.MTDSalesTraining.com

What do the colors mean?

When selecting an outfit to make and impression,  whether for a career fair, interview, or networking event, colors matter as much as the clothing you select.  Colors do say something to us subliminally, and illicit very different emotional responses.  So be conscious of this when selecting which of your favorite shirts or blouses to wear in a business setting!

BLACK  Black is the color of authority and power.  It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner, and is stylish and timeless.  But avoid too much black or you may seem unapproachable.

GRAY  One of the most popular colors to wear to an interview, gray represents sophistication and confidence. As it is not a distracting color, the interviewer will be more focused on what you have to say than what you are wearing.

WHITE  White is popular in fashion because it is light, neutral and goes with everything.  Wearing it to an interview projects cleanliness and simplicity.

RED  The most emotionally intense and aggressive color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing.  It is also the color of love and passion. Red clothing gets noticed, but it makes the wearer appear heavier.  Since it is such and intense color, red might be helpful in your interview.

YELLOW  Cheerful, sunny yellow is an attention-getter.  It is the most difficult color for the eye to perceive, so it can be overpowering if overused.  Yellow enhances concentration, hence it is used for legal notepads

GREEN  Green symbolizes nature.  It is the easiest color on the eye, and is calming and refreshing.  Dark green is masculine, conservative and implies wealth.

BLUE  The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors.  Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals.  Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to interviews because it symbolizes loyalty and control.

PURPLE  The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication.  Yet, it is probably not a good color for an interview because it is perceived as feminine, romantic and because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.

BROWN  Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature.  Light brown implies genuineness.  If worn to an interview, brown reflects stability and promotes communication.

 

By Kendall Summerhawk

Tip #1 Action follows thought.

You get precious few contacts with a prospective client, or even with a current client. Decide in your heart, mind, and body that responding to their inquiries is the lifeblood of your business, not an interruption to be squeezed in where you can find a spare moment. The key here is in the decision. Action follows thought so think of your prospective clients as honored guests in your home and let your desire to make them feel welcome lead the way.

Tip #2 Streamline your client communications.

Systems rule. If you are the creative type, then you actually have an advantage. Create a system that is absolutely effortless for you to follow. Innovate, streamline, then repeat your system over again. Every client, every time. How effortless can you make responding to a prospective client inquiry? How can you use a page on your web site, a Virtual Assistant, a pre-written email response, to eliminate all action except pushing a button? A creative 1/2 hour designing your own rapid-response system will free up boatloads of your time, energy, and effort.

Tip #3 Give the gift of 21 minutes.

I bet that in 21 minutes, you can answer all your client inquiries, send out packets, return calls, whatever activities are vital and integral to follow-up with new business. 21 minutes isn’t much time. Do it first thing in the day and you’ll yield huge results. Need a boost to make the 21 minute commitment? See Tip #1

 

Now it’s your turn!

by Eric Knopf

I had a friend working for a startup who recently quit because the founder and CEO was a total jerk. Overhearing some nightmare stories about how the CEO treated his people personally and professionally inspired me to help other would-be entrepreneurs avoid becoming despicable CEOs.

1) Find A Hobby Outside Of Your Business

If you say, “my business is my life” then you might be an unredeemable jerk in the making. I’ve learned that people who merge business with their sense of personal identity have no life outside of their business bubble, and develop a skewed and toxic obsession with business. This “tunnel vision”, makes them incapable of balancing business excellence with preserving human dignity — making people a means to an end. That’s a recipe for disaster. Set aside time for activities; ride a bike, go to the gym, start a new hobby, meet up with some old friends. Practice life outside of business so you don’t ruin people on your way to success.

2) Practice Giving

Entrepreneurship and small business success can be intoxicating. You can go from years of struggle and strife to massive profits overnight. A possible drawback to sudden success is you can become a ruthless, money-hoarding scrooge. Now, we understand it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make it to the top but don’t allow the fear of losing money to override every other concern. Make it a practice to give money away to causes and charities. It has extremely positive effects when you let money go on your own terms. If you can’t give away $500, chances are you will freak out over a $5 employee mistake.

3) Change Your Scenery

People fall into ruts doing the same thing day after day. You might find yourself becoming a dull, boring drone simply because there was no variety in your workweek. Make it a habit of getting out and getting away from the office — and we’re not talking just a 15 minute coffee break. Each year, I take a month away in Santa Barbara and carry on my work where I can get a fresh perspective and change up the daily routine. Taking a step back allows you to reassess how you are doing and what changes you need to make to your work life.

4) Turn Off and Tune Out

The latest smart phones can allow remote operation of your business from almost anywhere in the world. While I’ve found this level of connectivity rocks, it’s also important to set aside time to disconnect. I find myself constantly looking at my phone for emails, tweets, messages and other minute distractions, which end up amounting to a lot of lost time. Being continually absorbed in your phone can also come across as very obnoxious to the people around you. When you turn off your phone, you get back to being a considerate human being, an individual capable of interacting with others like a courteous adult.

5) Work With Smarter People Than You

“Entrepreneur” is synonymous with “control freak” meaning you would rather do something yourself than risk someone else doing it wrong. Some entrepreneurs have issues with their ego, preventing them from admitting anyone can do something better than them.  If you consistently think and express you can perform a duty better than someone else, you’re going to come off like a know-it-all jerk. Try to hire people that can do things better than you, even if you’re adequately skilled in that area. Hiring individuals whose talent impresses you won’t allow room to think with a superiority complex.

by Kelli C. Holmes

5 Key Traits of a Courageous Leader

 

Be a Visionary – What do you envision for your TEAM chapter?

Be Passionate – Be the fire in your chapter!

Be a TEAM Builder – To be a great leader, you need a great team!

Have Integrity – Lead with the right example!

Take Action – Just Do It!

 

So, are you a courageous leader? Or do you have the desire to become one? A courageous leader is one with a clear vision and can show others what they want to achieve. It is something they want to passionately pursue and do so by building a great team to help them.  Being a courageous leader takes integrity and a willingness to lead with integrity. And finally, being a courageous leader takes a person of action!

 

Take that first step of action….Become a TEAM Leader!!!!!

 

Did you know it’s time to start the process of changing leadership in your chapter?  Do you know what the process is?  What would you do if you were asked to step up to be President of your chapter?  How about Vice President? How about Treasurer?

 

Sometimes these roles in TEAM are a mystery to our members. Allow me to    de-mystify them for you.

 

So what do the TEAM Leaders do exactly?

 

President – Their primary job…run a GREAT TEAM meeting!  Presidents also send regular emails to all chapter members with news and information about TEAM; they communicate on a regular basis with their TEAM Director; and they oversee the other team leaders to ensure their productivity.

 

Vice President – They are the statistician of the chapter.  They track attendance, referrals and visitors. They oversee the Membership Council including approving new members, renewing current members and assist in handling any issues that may arise within the chapter.

 

Treasurer – The money person!  They collect new and renewing membership fees. Send regular reports to the TEAM office updating the status of all chapter members. They manage the chapter checking account; meal fees; 50/50 funds and they are usually the contact person for the restaurant/facility where the chapter meets.

 

 

It may surprise you to find out that TEAM leaders are not “elected”. There is no formal nomination process or vote.  A more correct term for the process we use in TEAM would be “selected” rather than “elected”.  We “select” leaders through a transition process that works this way:

 

 

You will then be asked…

 

TEAM leadership can offer you an opportunity to…..

Your TEAM wants you, your TEAM needs you!  Step up!  Be courageous!!!