5 Must-Haves for Retail Business Success Today

Retail Business

 Retail Business

Before opening a retail store, make sure you have defined the legal structure of your business and picked the right name for it. You have made the right financial plans and chosen the best location.  Unfortunately, your family members and friends are appalled by the idea.

Don’t judge them, they have every right to be. It was reported that as many as 2,692 retail stores shut down in the first half of 2018. Now, you are scared and thinking about changing your decision. No, you should not.  Amidst the retail apocalypse, 1,569 stores opened. These stores closed down because there were unable to move with the trend.

It is important to note that, starting something new takes patience, precision and of course guts to compete with the rest of the world. We have highlighted 7 essential things your budding business would need to thrive.

1. A website

If your initial plan did not include having an online store, it should now. E-commerce is transforming retail. According to Statista, online sales account for 21.5% of the country’s retail sales. Most retail stores closed down because they could not afford to compete with online stores.

More consumers are tilting towards buying products from the convenience of their home. And as such, a website is a must-have for your retail store.  It is advisable that your website starts running before your store. Or at the very least at the same time as your store. Your website should be secure and have simple web navigation.

2. Marketing Tactic

Marketing is an important strategy for every business. It does not matter how many people know, have, you need a strategy to get customers. Your marketing plan should be detailed. It should include how your website will look like, your target customers and how you intend to get them to notice your store.

It is important to combine online marketing with traditional forms of marketing. This will give you an incredible ROI. Also, you need to have a strategic social media presence.

3. Insurance

It is not enough to have a store. You need to make sure both your online and offline stores are insured. Insurance protects your business in the event of natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstance. Your insurance should cover public liability, employers’ liability, contents cover, cyber liability among others.

4. Having the Right Staff

As passionate as you are about your business, you would still need members of staff to run it. You cannot be in the store all the time and if you are, you cannot oversee everything at once. The best way to help your business is to get the right set of people and train them.

Train your staff on how you want them to represent your store, operational procedures and customer service.

5. Store Layout

The layout or flow of your store determines how your customers shop and whether or not they would return. Plan this aspect with precision and coordination. Determine the floor type, kinds of fixtures and shelving to be used, how items are to be arranged.

Put basic items at the back of the store, and make attractive items more noticeable. This way you would have succeeded in drawing the eye of most shoppers.

Conclusion

Opening a store could be overwhelming. Make sure you start with small goals and work your way to the larger once. We hope this guide helps you achieve your dream. Good luck.  

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Why Microservice Architecture Gaining Even More Importance in 2019?

Microservice Architecture

Microservice Architecture

In a dynamic environment where businesses operate in this age, most corporations are drifting towards the microservice architecture.  Why is microservice architecture gaining even more importance in 2019?

The main reason why microservice is gaining valid popularity is because of the gaffes with the monolithic development architecture. Microservice is simply jumping in to fill the gaps and inefficiencies of the old system.

Faster problem solving

On the monolithic architecture, you would generally have problems fixing a single anomaly in code without interfering with the other parts of the application. The beauty of microservice architecture is that it isolates every program and makes problem-solving a lot easier.

Additionally, if you want to upscale a specific section/program of the app without affecting the rest, you would need to reorganize the whole application architecture. This could be expensive.

For example, when your app deals in online payments and you just want to revamp the security features of the payment section, you would have to modify other unrelated components like servers and databases.

More stable and secure

Microservice also happens to be one of the safe bets in application development history. With this arrangement, you are sure that one cyber attack does not paralyze all essential company functions.

With the monolithic application architecture, any attack on even simple components as registry could end up disabling the whole app. Similarly, fixing the problematic parts places companies in a fix as it means upgrading the whole app environment.

Given that applications are fairly expensive to develop and maintain, you would usually be safer with an approach that greatly reduces the risk of starting over.

Microservice application development approach has gained much attention and a ton of blogs have written on its pros and cons. In the blog Svitla- a Silicon Valley based application Development Company, microservice is loved by developers due to its ability to develop decoupled application programs that could be deployed on their own.

Modularity

The fact that the application programs operate independently allows developers to isolate and correct defects within the application without interfering with the whole app. This is equally important in testing each component of the app to determine the weak points and strengths.

Compatibility

Microservice produces programs that are reusable, making them more effective in bringing down development cost. Also, microservice is compatible with a wide array of many applications. This ensures efficiency in the deployment and smooth flow of services.

Improved flexibility

Unlike the monolithic development architecture, microservice offers much more flexibility in providing a great User Experience. When the company decides to change the theme of their enterprise application, for example, they could do it effortlessly.

In the old order, you would require developers to literally dismantle every component part of the application to effect one change. This presents a huge financial implication and is, therefore, not good for business.

Easier to develop

Microservice is gaining importance because developers generally love the freedom that comes with Microservice architecture. Developers have the freedom to choose the coding language to use.

Is Microservice architecture a silver bullet?

While microservice presents a host of new efficiencies lacking in the old dispensation, it also has its fair share of drawbacks.

One notable challenge is that due to the number of interactions that have to occur to link each program to the other, communication could take up more costs. You could also experience challenges of consistency especially where developers use different programming languages.

Conclusion

Microservice architecture is gaining even more importance in 2019 due to its improved efficiencies. While it also has challenges, they are outweighed by the major benefits that come with its usage in app development.

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Email Marketing Continues to Be One of the Best Forms of Digital Marketing

If you want your company to shine today in terms of sales and profits then good marketing has to be at the forefront of any organization’s activities. Today, when the subject is marketing, the conversation is usually around digital marketing and its ability to attract and capture customers.

Digital marketing is the name for a variety of online marketing strategies that includes websites, social media marketing, SEO, and blogs. The first type of effective digital marketing however was email marketing.

Email marketing became prominent because many people began using email as a primary form of communication. Its ease of use and no-dost elements made it become the primary communication tool in the world and from this position marketers simply could not ignore it as a means to reach out to their current customers and to create new ones.

Today, email marketing has exploded. There are more than than 6 billion active email addresses and 3 billion people using email. With this representing nearly half of the planet, email marketing cannot be dismissed as a secondary marketing channel.

Email marketing grew into and remains a core part of any good digital marketing strategy because if offers a variety of benefits for brands and marketers.

Firstly, it is a way to both engage new customers as well as keep in touch with those customers you have in a meaningful and consistent way. The fact is that people read and react to emails at a high rate.

The top companies develop email campaigns that compel and engage potential customers. They utilize newsletters, informative mail pieces, simple notes, and push discounts and valuable data to a targeted audience in a timely manner. The best companies have learned how to create emails that are always rewarding. When done well, email marketing creates  great results that translate into positive name recognition and sales.

Emails also allow for companies to get great analytics and to track results in real time. Email campaigns also offer the benefit of being able to be adjusted midstream to produce better results.

Most importantly, email marketing is the cheapest form of digital marketing by far. If you manage your own email marketing campaigns or use an agency to run them, the costs will still be less than other forms of marketing.

To learn more about the benefits of email marketing check out the infographic from Campaign Monitor below.

 

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Hiring Small Business Attorneys

contract

contract

Every business requires certain things to run. The obvious things being a manager, advertising, a building to operate from, supplies, and several others. There are also things that are always immediately thought of such as a lawyer. Every business should have an attorney on hand for many reasons. One reason is that you can have easy access to legal advice, something that is often needed in business. Another reason is that, the longer a business is in operation, the more likely it becomes that someone will file a lawsuit against the company, perhaps even against you directly. When this inevitably happens, you will have an attorney ready to defend you or handle the situation in whatever way it warrants legally. Also, having a lawyer at your disposal means ease of drafting contracts and other important documents. This will allow you to ensure that you are doing everything by the book so to speak and you will have someone to guide you if you get off track. Because having a business attorney is important, it is equally important to ensure that you find the very best one available. To do this, you will need to follow a few basic steps to help you with the process and ensure you are hiring the best business lawyer that you can. What you will find here is a list of the steps you must take and how to accomplish each one. Finding the best lawyer for your business is not an exact science, but thankfully there are ways to improve the process.

The first thing you need to do is determine whether you want to hire a law firm on retainer or hire an attorney to work exclusively for your business. There are several factors that will go into this decision, but the primary consideration is the size of the business. Small businesses generally do not need nor can they afford to hire someone to work exclusively with your business. Larger companies and corporations, on the other hand, should heavily consider hiring an in house attorney to handle the regular influx of legal tasks. Another issue is the budget. Even larger businesses do not always have the funds necessary to hire a permanent lawyer into the company. Whereas a small business could be incredibly profitable and the owner may decide to hire an exclusive attorney. Other considerations may include the current need. If the company is currently dealing with a lot of legal related problems, consider hiring someone in the house, at least for a while. As a general rule, most companies choose to hire a firm on retainer, but this does not mean that you must follow the masses. You know your business and your situation better than anyone else ever could. Because of this, only you can make this decision.

Once you have decided what type of business lawyer to hire, you need to find out what is available. Depending on your needs, you may even want to consider a telecommuting firm. Many things are now possible through the internet, including a lawyer’s ability to act via a video chat or conference call. Also, you can email regularly to keep all information accurate and up to date. Either way, you need to compile a list of possible firms of lawyers. Thanks to the advancements of technology, the best way to get this information are to perform a basic search through your favorite search engine. All you have to do is input a few keywords and you will find all of the information you need. First, it is important to note that not all lawyers will be an option. Only some practice specifically to act as counsel to businesses. Because of this, you will need to be specific about the type of lawyer you are looking for in your search. Be sure to include the term “business lawyer” or “business law firm”. If you are specifically looking within the area where your business is located, you will need to add some type of location descriptor to your search. An example of this is “Chicago business attorneys”. If your first search does not yield the results that you need, change your keywords a bit and search again. Continue alerting and searching until you find what you need. Although, you will likely find what you are looking for with no more than two searches.

Once you have a list of potential lawyers or firms, it is time to begin comparing each one to a set of requirements. Obviously, they need to be a business attorney, but there are other aspects to consider as well. For example, if you are hiring a firm on retainer, be sure to find the best rate available. Different firms will offer different retainer fees, some specialize in providing retainer services to small businesses and as such have lower rates than others. Some cater to large corporations and therefore have higher rates than others. Firm size is also important to some. Inevitably some firms will be smaller and some larger. As such, there will be slight differences including availability.  Also, consider that yours will not be the only business the firm is working with if you choose to go the retainer route. This means that there is no guarantee about availability at a moment’s notice. You can add any considerations that you feel are important, just be sure that it is actually important before you start comparing firms.

Finally, look at reviews. Yes, even the law office has been reviewed online. There are dedicated review websites where people leave reviews for any type of business you can imagine. Also, there are review blogs to consider as well as social media pages. All of these will hold important reviews that will give you insight into the different law offices and lets you assess each one in a whole new way. When looking at reviews, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, never jump to conclusions if you find a bad review. Before really reading the reviews themselves, compare how many reviews there are overall and then compare that number to the ratio of good reviews to bad.

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Becoming A Trader – What Are The Steps?

Thanks to the Internet, becoming a trader has never been easier. Previously the exclusive premise of trained Wall Street brokers and professionals, the trading industry has been blown wide open by the range and reach of information available for amateurs and newcomers online. Trading is lucrative, it’s (reasonably) simple, and it’s enjoyable, too, especially if you like your work to be varied and exciting.

It’s not easy to know exactly where you need to start, though. Trading might be more accessible than it’s ever been, but it can still sometimes seem a little “closed off” to those who aren’t in the know about the steps they need to take. We’ve put together a useful list of steps you need to take to get you started as a trader.

1. Know yourself

Unfortunately, the first step doesn’t actually involve getting started on trading, or at least not right away. Put simply, you need to know who you are before you start trading. Do you have the skills required to make this a full-time job, and to commit yourself to it as though it were any other form of employment? When you become a trader, the onus is all on you. There’s no employer looking over your shoulder and making sure you complete that assignment on time, and there’s no punch card you slot through every time you clock in.

If that sounds attractive to you, then that’s a good start, but you’ll also need a very good head for numbers, a sense of self-worth that doesn’t get knocked during periods of downtime (which there will be), and a working knowledge of the ins and outs of finance. If you’re confident that you have all that, or that you can acquire it, then congratulations: you’re the right kind of person for trading.

2. Research markets and brokers thoroughly

The Internet isn’t just a great resource for trading in itself; it’s also a fantastic place to simply learn more about your chosen subject. In the case of trading, for example, it’s imperative that you understand the difference between the various kinds of securities you’ll be trading in, as well as the dynamics of how these different securities trade and how they will impact your capital.

Depending on the kind of trading you want to engage in, you’ll also want to research your brokers thoroughly to get an idea of the best services available to you. Websites like Forex Trading Expert are fantastic for this. Forex Trading Expert collates all the top foreign exchange trading brokers and rates them based on independent research and community review, so you’ll always know you’re getting the best service available.

3. Build up capital before you start

During your time as a trader, it’s inevitable that you will have downtime. Whether you make a mistake in terms of investment or the stocks you’ve invested in simply don’t perform too well in a given period of time, it’s no reflection on you that there will be times when trading doesn’t make you the profit you’d like it to. During these times, it’s really important that you have a bed of capital you can fall back on.

This also depends entirely on the scale at which you intend to trade. If you’re a small-scale trader and don’t want to enter too heavily into the market, then you’re probably safe with a smaller amount of capital (say $25k-50k). If, however, you want to trade as a full-time job and don’t intend on having any other supplemental income, then you should have at least around $100k-$150k before you begin.

4. Keep an eye on strategies – and don’t be afraid to switch

There are a number of tailored trading strategies available to both novices and experts, and they’re great ways to get started. It’s wise to have more than one strategy under your belt so that, should one strategy fail, you can easily switch to another one without too much loss of capital or time. There are plenty of books and articles online which can help you to devise or adopt optimal trading strategies.

There will also be times when a strategy which has served you well for months suddenly doesn’t work any more. When this happens, it’s time to switch. Find yourself more than one trading strategy, preferably from different sources, and switch between them depending on the state of the markets. You should also be continually looking for new strategies – keeping on top of the markets and how they’re moving is crucial for a trader.

We hope these initial few steps help in getting you started on the road to becoming a trader. It’s unpredictable work, but it can be immensely exciting and – more importantly – extremely profitable for you.

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Using Your Blog to Win Over Clients

If you’re in business, then you probably have a domain and website. If you don’t, you can find one here. Many businesses also have a blog that’s been dormant for quite a while or are just starting out. Many business people don’t always know how to utilize their blog effectively, whether that is to win over their clients or to gain more organic traffic to their website by ranking higher in search engines.

While there are many ways to utilize your blog, one of the most important is to win over clients. Your blog can take potential customers who are on the fence about who to use for a service or what product to purchase and make them your customers for life. Here are just a few ways to help you convert prospective clients into buying clients.

Ask Open Ended Questions and Ask for a Response

Asking your audience their opinion goes a long way toward creating a relationship with your client. It healps them feel connected to you when you show that you truly care about them and their ideas. Create surveys and post them on your blog.

Once the survey has closed, you can review the answers and create a blog about the results. For example, If you run an appliance repair business, you can create a survey asking your blog readers how long they’ve had their appliances and which appliances they have in their home.

Once you’ve collected all the information, you will better understand your clients and be able to focus on their needs. These answers may also interest them, and inspire them to explore repairing old appliances instead of buying new ones.

No matter what your business, you can apply the principle of asking open ended questions to engage and convert your readers.

Communicate about Deals and Sales

Everyone likes a bargain, and communicating through your blog about latest sales and deals will keep customers coming back to see what you are offering next. You can even create a special sale activated by a code or coupon only shared on your blog. Encourage readers to share it through their social media channels and offer them incentives to do so.

At the same time, share your blog across your social media outlets as well. This will drive traffic to your blog, and can gain you both blog readers and e-mail subscribers, another place to share unique deals that help convert browsers into clients. Users also may browse other articles you have written, and at the same time learn about your business. Make the deals personal and those you use them feel like a privileged, part of a community, and they will keep coming back over and over.

Tell Your Business Story

People by from you because of why you do what you do, not because of what you do, or because you offer the cheapest product or services. Customers want to feel a deep personal connection with the people they do business with.

It’s not about how cheap you can sell something. All businesses have a mission statement and you can tell the story of why what you do is important to you and what you’re doing to connect with your community.

Share what you are doing in the area of community outreach. Write about your passion for creating viable living spaces for the homeless. Find those passions that push you to do better in your business and highlight them by sharing them on your blog.

Blog Regularly

Regular blogs are important. People these days are inundated with so many communications that they are likely to read or watch only those that engage them right away. If you regularly post on your blog, your clients will come to expect and anticipate your blogs and willingly interact with you on social media.

Even if you don’t get interaction at first, keep at it. Most businesses require months of blogging before their clients and potential customers start to interact. It doesn’t mean they’re not watching, they could be reading all your posts and not yet engaging.

Also, know that to spread the word about your blog, you are going to have to spend money. Boost posts, take out Twitter ads, and advertise on LinkedIn. You will gain attention, readers, and clients, and that will make it worth the cost in the end.

Post Case Studies and Guides

A great way to gain client trust is to create case studies and offer them on your blog with a synopsis. These easily read documents can come as small e-books or white papers. Creating how to guides for your clients to do small do-it-yourself projects activates the principle of reciprocity, and case studies prove that your products or services work they way you say they do.

It’s subtle, but by giving away information, how to guides, and useful documents inside case studies proves your expertise. And because you’ve given your knowledge to those you serve; the client feels indebted to your for sharing your expertise.

That client will think of your company when she’s ready to tackle those hard projects or buy that big-ticket item. If you have a service business, this technique is important to creating a connection along the buyer’s journey.

Even if the person who is using the information on your blog does not buy from you right away, they may. share it with someone who is ready to buy, or may introduce you to a connection or client that turns in to something bigger.

Whether you’re just starting your businesses blog or you’re restarting it, these tips for using your blog to win over clients will help you get a jump start on the process. many businesses use a blog of some sort to communicate with their clientele. If you want to win them over, you’ll need to create a blog that people will want to read and that continues to create value for your clients. In the end, it’s about giving the client these small values and they’ll give you big returns in gratitude.

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How to Use Salesforce Event Monitoring Software

For many years, companies would need third party experts to come in if they wanted an event organizing. Their methods were hugely expensive, with some even calling them exploitative. The costs of organizing events were so high, in fact, that many businesses had to significantly limit the number of events they held. However, thanks to salesforce event monitoring software, which is now available online, there is no more need to do this.

What Is Salesforce Event Monitoring Software?

This type of software is incredibly easy to use. It is a type of SaaS (Software as a Service) and it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and the right credentials. No extra hardware has to be installed and if you opt for the cloud-based solution, you don’t even have to download software. You also don’t have to worry about downtime because of upgrades and you don’t need any specialized training to use it.

A Brief User Guide

In order to make sure you get the greatest benefits of this type of software, you need to make sure that you understand the different tools and functionalities that it offers. Some of its key features include:

  1. Online event registration, which means you can add numerous events with standard templates. You can also incorporate graphics and content into these templates, so that you develop forms that are just right for you. They are uploaded onto your personal portal automatically and can then be accessed 24/7 by those who can register for the event.
  2. Online payment management, which includes a variety of payment gateways supported by the Payment Card Industry. They are SSL certified, which means they are completely secure. This means that people can pay for their attendance with ease.
  3. Automated emailing, which is a really robust system. It enables you to send out bulk emails to stakeholders and end users, thereby improving communication. It ensures that you can send communications about the event that people have signed up for, but also to keep them informed of new events as and when they happen.
  4. Group registrations and promo code engines. This means that you can offer people special prices and discounts to attend events. Additionally, you can include group registrations, which makes it much easier for people to book as an organization, for instance.
  5. Social media promotion and other forms of online marketing. These tools, including things such as online catalogs and calendars, enable you to send information about events all across the internet and therefore the world. You can link it to your own social media accounts to further spread awareness of events happening.
  6. Name badge printing services, so that those who attend can have their name badge waiting for them at registration.
  7. A lead retrieval system that is smartphone compatible, so that you don’t need expensive scanners anymore.
  8. Report creation, which is a great tool to make sure that you can review how well an event went once it has taken place.
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Understanding the Best Material Handling Equipment Financing

Lots of businesses can benefit from the best material handling equipment financing. This equipment includes such things as industrial shelves, forklift trucks, and various other pieces of equipment that allow for the moving, storage, and transportation of items. Unfortunately, all this equipment is incredibly costly, which is why financing options are so important. Most businesses do not want to invest capital in equipment that do not have a direct link to production revenue, and that is if they have the capital in the first place.

How to Recognize the Best Material Handling Equipment Financing Option

There are lots of financial institutions, banks, and individual companies that offer a range of different programs for those who need to finance their equipment. It is important to look into the different terms and conditions they offer, as well is into their interest rates. Usually, the application process is very straightforward, although that does not necessarily mean that you will be accepted. It is important, therefore, to properly do your research first.

There are different categories of material handling equipment financing as well. These include small value loans, term loans, bill discounts, hire purchase, and operating lease. The latter is perhaps the most popular of all, because it has so many benefits, the greatest of which is that it ensures businesses can use the equipment they would otherwise never be able to afford.

When a business leases equipment, they do not have to make a down payment. Rather, they simply make monthly payments towards their equipment, which is not theirs for that duration. In essence, they rent the equipment, although there are some different terms and conditions associated with it. Namely, a lease generally has a lengthy minimum time period associated with it and, at the end of the lease, there is the option of purchasing the equipment or returning it for an upgrade. There are some key benefits to leasing, including:

  • That no down payment is required.
  • That monthly payments are affordable.
  • That payments are tax deductible.
  • That the company that leases the equipment does not hold any responsibility for the machinery becoming obsolete.
  • That the equipment can sometimes be purchased at the end of the agreement, or upgraded.
  • That payments usually include such things as insurance and maintenance.

A lease is a type of financing agreement, however, which means that it will not be give to anybody. You will need to meet the terms, conditions, and other qualification requirements as set by the financing company. This will usually include passing a credit check. However, the requirements are generally a lot easier to meet than those for a bank loan. Mainly, however, a lease is far more advantageous than a bank loan because of the fact that you do not own the equipment for the duration of your finance agreement. While it may sound strange that not owning something is better, it makes sense when you consider it also means you never have to have responsibility for continuously using it and maintaining it.

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Why You Need To Embrace Live Interactive Broadcasting For Your Business

We’re all used to sitting down on our couch and turning on the TV, only to be greeted with a news segment where the broadcaster is going over the latest news from the day. Can you imagine, instead of sitting on your couch as a passive viewer, if you were able to have a conversation with the broadcaster about the current segment?

That’s the promise of live interactive broadcasting for most of your customers, and it’s up to your business to turn that promise into a reality. After all, most of your customers are already familiar with live interactive broadcasting, as social media apps like Periscope and Snapchat already allow them to record live video easily and stream to friends and followers.

Your business can take advantage of live broadcasting too, and while 84% of businesses successfully utilize video for their marketing campaigns, you can go one step further and broadcast directly to your customers. There are plenty of reasons to set up a live interactive broadcast, but here are a few of our favorite reasons to use this trending technology.

Host Real-Time Product Trainings

Managing your expenses is a big part about running a lean business, and while onboarding customers is important, you don’t have to run those client onboarding sessions in-person. Using live interactive broadcasting, you can host video onboarding sessions in an instant, and that doesn’t just help your bottom line. When you transition to using live interactive broadcasting, you’ll be able to host onboarding and training sessions easily, no matter where you are in the world. This also allows you to host more product trainings than you normally would, improving client service, while keeping your costs low.

Stream Live Events

If you host any live events already, then you’ve got a great opportunity to bring more customers or prospects to your event instantly by adding live broadcasting to the mix. There are a few ways to do this, but one of the best would be to set up a high definition stream of your event, while including some form of live feedback. For smaller live broadcasts, you could have a direct video feed that allows streaming viewers to ask questions over the video. For larger events, you may want to set up an alternative mechanism for taking questions and answers, so that you can filter the questions before presenting them to the event host.

Take People Behind The Scenes Of Your Business

An excellent way to foster greater customer engagement is by showing your customers that your business is more than just a suite of products and services. Live video is a great mechanism to bring people behind the scenes of your business, introducing them to the people and environment where you work. When you incorporate an interactive component of that live stream, you can give your team a chance to connect directly with customers, something that they might not usually have the opportunity to do.

Host Q&A ‘Office Hours’

If you’re regularly getting questions from customers about a particular product or service, one way of handling a lot of those questions at once is to host regular ‘office hours’, where you go through and answer customer questions for a set period of time. This will let customers join to get their questions answered, or to get a quick walk-through of a specific issue that they’re having, and they can leverage the live broadcasting to ask you questions that may come up during the Q&A session as well.

Live interactive broadcasting is a great new technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way that you interact with your current and future customers. While having access to live video is a great way to increase customer engagement and to grow your business, it’s important that you make sure that your video feed is fast, high-definition, and lag-free. The last thing that you want is for your video feed to cut out or buffer during a heavily attended event, but you can get around that by using a video chat service like Agora.io to stream video all over the world. Regardless of the technology that you use, it’s essential that your video quality and video connection speed leaves your business looking great, and not like an old, stodgy firm that has trouble with technology.

How are you thinking about using live interactive broadcasting to reach more customers? Let us know in the comments.

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Turning the Tables: How to Evaluate Sales Prospects

Knowing How to Evaluate Sales Prospects can make a big difference in your business

(Image Credit: 123RF / liravega258)

Salespeople are accustomed to prospects evaluating them and may assume that is the sole purpose of their meeting. However, sales professionals should get into the habit of evaluating their prospects as well. This helps them determine the worthiness of each one based on how much time, resources, and attention he or she will require throughout the sales process. After weighing this against the potential return, the sales representative should have a better idea of which leads to pursue and which ones to thank for their time and move on.

Questions to Help Determine the Most Valuable Prospects

Both parties should ask questions of each other during the initial meeting. This is the only way they will know whether it’s a good fit. It can be more challenging for sales representatives to know what to ask since they’re usually the one answering the questions. Here are three questions to help them get into the right frame of mind for every meeting:

  1. What problem are you trying to resolve with the product or service my company has available? Most company leaders don’t even consider spending money until a problem becomes too significant to ignore. The salesperson should sense at least a little bit of desperation for a solution during the initial meeting. Without a significant problem to resolve, the sales prospect could be doing little more than window shopping. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good use of the salesperson’s time or resources.
  2. How have you tried to resolve this problem in the past? If the prospects answers that he or she hasn’t done anything about it until now, the salesperson may need to work a bit harder to find the ideal solution. By probing what hasn’t worked as an effective solution, he or she can steer clear of the same mistake and present a more targeted resolution. The sales professional should also ask the prospect to envision what would happen if he or she did nothing about the problem.
  3. Have you prepared a budget for this project or do you expect to soon? It’s a big waste of time to go through the qualification process only to learn that the prospect hasn’t been authorized to spend the required amount on the product or service. There’s nothing wrong with asking whether a budget has been approved or when the prospect expects to receive approval for the expense.

Create a Winning Pricing Strategy

All customers want to receive the best value for the lowest price. It’s the salesperson’s job to convince his or her prospect of the value in the product or service and minimize the focus on cost. A business that continually sells at the lowest price in the industry may not remain profitable for long. When considering selling price, company leadership needs to consider whether it encourages structures that ultimately prove unprofitable.

For example, selling at a volume discount brings in customers but not necessarily as much profit as the company would like. What sales managers can do instead is create incentives that align with pricing realities. Taking control through customer value-based pricing means looking at ways to reduce the cost to serve customers while still exceeding their expectations. Customers who don’t feel like they are getting their money’s worth may not say anything, but they will send a loud message by taking their business elsewhere.

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