You Have Your DREAM Client, NOW WHAT!?

You put a lot of time and effort into turning your dream clients into clients. Once you acquire them as clients, you have to manage and deliver the outcomes that you sold and promised. You must also understand and become an active participant in their buying cycle—or someone else will!

Where the Cycle Starts

Your dream client became your client after they became dissatisfied and after you built the relationships, created value before claiming it, and developed the necessary trust to deserve and opportunity.

The buying process always starts with dissatisfaction. Once a buyer becomes dissatisfied, they start to work to understand their needs, identify possible options that will deliver an improvement, and then to resolve any concerns. If your dream client is now your client, it’s a pretty safe bet that you helped them through this process.

You may have delivered your solution, and you may have already made a significant, measurable improvement for your client. But know this for certain: your solution did nothing to change the deep fundamental that began this process.

The Deepest Fundamental

The deepest of all fundamental trends is change. More still, the pace of change is accelerating at a breath-taking and astonishing speed. Great change and shifts in the business environment and economy mean that the buying cycles are shorter.

The time between a new solution and an external change that causes dissatisfaction is growing shorter. Retaining your client means understanding these shortening cycles—and then getting deeply engaged in your client’s buying process. Again!

It’s You—Or It Is Your Competitor

When the buying cycle starts again—and it will start again—it begins, as always, with dissatisfaction. Something has changed. Your solution no longer produces the needed result. Or some other part of your client’s business comes unraveled and needs to be put back together because something changed.

You have a choice: you can either work with your client through their buying process, or you can wait for your competitor to find their way in.

The pattern is one you should know. Your client is dissatisfied. Either you help them identify and understand what they need, or they will find someone who will.

Your client needs ideas. They need solutions. They need options. Either you get engaged in working with them to identify all of the potential changes that might be made, the new products, the new services, the new solutions that may be necessary, or they look outside.

Someone is going to help your client build a vision of the right way to move forward and deal with the change that has been thrust upon them. Someone is going to help them sell the case internally, and someone is going to resolve their concerns about undergoing a change effort. It’s up to you whether they resolve the concerns about switching partners or whether they resolve concerns about your proposed changes.

Retaining your clients means understanding the buying cycle begins with dissatisfaction and that the deepest fundamental, change, means that dissatisfaction will be making its rounds again soon (sooner than you imagined!). The only way to retain your client is to become an active participant in their buying cycle and ensuring that they don’t need to look elsewhere for help identifying and understanding their needs, coming up with options, or resolving their concerns.

 

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Mind Yo Manners on Facebook!

Alright you have joined facebook for business purposes and are wondering why you are not getting instant results. Well first thing you have to realize it will take time to build it up. Second is that there is definitely a facebook business etiquette that you should follow. Why is this you are thinking, let me explain it for you.

Facebook is a social community online and people go on there to communicate with others and build relationships. This sure is a perfect place to do business if you use the right etiquette when approaching others. No matter where you are from in the world the basics are the same.

Basic facebook business etiquette that everyone doing business on there should know.

  1. Someones personal profile or page is their own personal space. Now in real life you would not go up to someone and say ‘I’m a car sales man, buy this car. Here is my card ring me as soon as you can so we can get it all settled.’ I am sure you would not be interested one bit in what they have to offer. Facebook is the same as real life when it comes to approaching people. When you friend someone or they friend you means they are giving you the okay to form a relationship with them. If you were to go and put your business link on there wall or post about a great deal you have on there, you are not only being disrespectful to them you are invading their personal space.
  2. Sending out friend requests. When sending out friend requests it is polite to send a personal message with it. A personal message is not Hi my name is …. then a business link. This is a sure way to have your friend request ignored. You need to treat people as you would someone you meet for the first time. A hello and the reason why you are wanting the friendship is a good way to start. This does not mean Hi I want to add you so your can join my business or buy my product. You need to have something in common with the person so you have a reason to connect.
  3. Sending messages. To be in business for yourself you have to have passion, this does not mean you go spamming peoples inboxes because you believe in your product or service. People will either stop reading your mail or will delete you. Remember it is a social network with real people.
  4. Pages are for business. This is one people seem to forget regularly. Sure you want to get your business out there but to only post business on your personal profile not only is boring for those who read it but is not excepted by facebook. A personal profile is a place to share who you are and what you enjoy or have learned. A page is a place to share your business as everyone who has decided to be on your page is happy to read about your business and receive mail about it. Together we can all make facebook a great place for business and pleasure if we follow this basic facebook business etiquette. Happy facebooking to all you business owners.

Together we can all make facebook a great place for business and pleasure if we follow this basic facebook business etiquette. Happy facebooking to all you business owners.

The GROWING Optimism of Credit Availability

Overall, 61% of borrowers and 74% of lenders who responded to a NREI survey expect credit to become more available over the next 12 months. That fits the emerging storyline that the economy is on the mend and that property values for commercial real estate have begun to stabilize or even rise in some cases, forcing lenders out of hibernation. Still, 30% of borrowers and 19% of lenders say that the availability of capital will stay the same or worsen in 2011. That sentiment could reflect the fact that lending conditions in secondary and tertiary markets are less favorable and more stagnant than primary markets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Customers ATTACK!

When making the decision to become a small business owner there’s a good chance that at some point in your career you’re going to come across a customer or two that might have had an issue with the service that your business provided.  I would imagine that the more conversation that occurs between veteran business owners and newbie business owners the better off everyone will be, or at least customer service concerns might get handled faster.

It’s safe to say that you’re going to need to have tools that you can use in order to address and resolve those customer concerns in the fastest possible manner. Your business relies on it.

1. Respond QUICKLY

No matter what you do make sure that you always have a prompt, lightning fast response. Yes, even if you don’t have a resolution or an answer to the situation you should still make sure that the customer receives a call that let’s them know that their concern is being worked on. A stewing, raging, waiting customer is NEVER a happy one.

2. HOLD Your Tongue

It’s so easy in business, especially as a young manager or newbie small business owner to wanna jump right in and start running your mouth. This sounds nice, but it won’t solve the problem, sit back and shut up and remember that the customer is the one that has a problem with your business. Jumping in before you hear your customer out will only frustrate your customer and it can cause you to miss important details.

3. Professional Reply

Assuming that you actively listened (based on step 2 above) it’s now time for you make it very clear to the customer that you understand their problem, 100% of it. Take the time to repeat back to the customer what they said to you and be sure to focus on the key points to ensure that the customer is comfortable with exactly how much you understand their concern.

4. Resolve the issue

Now that you’ve listened to the customer and displayed good active listening skills it’s time for you to get down to solving the problem, this is the big moment. Once the screaming and yelling stops it’s time to focus on the problem and get it resolved, no matter what it takes.  Overdue it.

5. Follow Up

Once the issue has been resolved it’s always a good practice to follow-up with the customer to ensure that things are still moving in the right direction.

6. Training

Complete your customer resolution process by taking the time to train fellow staff members and associates, doing so will help avoid the same issues in the future.

It’s important to handle every customer service issues as an experience and learn from it, it gives you a chance to improve your skills as a leader and business owner and helps you to mentor others.

The 411 on the Commercial Mortgage Loan Process!

If you are looking for a commercial mortgage loan it helps to know exactly what commercial mortgage lenders are looking for in advance so that you can have all your “ducks in a row.”

To make sure your commercial loan application flows smoothly and closes in a timely manner you need to make sure your preparation is 100% complete.

With a commercial mortgage lender the best way to make sure everything goes as planned is to make sure you are prepared with everything that is needed before the lender even asks for it. That way you can save a lot of time and effort when it comes time to do the paperwork.

The list of paper work needed for your commercial mortgage lender to look over is listed below:

  • 3 years of both business and personal tax returns
  • Paper work documenting any tax extensions
  • 3 months worth of recent bank statements
  • Your personal financial statements: These need to have been updated within 60 days.
  • Your year to date business operating statements
  • If your property is or will be self managed you will need a copy of your resume
  • Your property management company’s resume if you will use a management company
  • A letter of explanation for any derogatory credit you may have
  • Schedule of real estate holdings – include purchase date, purchase price, and current mortgage amount
  • A copy of the property’s rent roll
  • Any leases held by the property
  • Any income and expense statements of the property
  • If the property has a single or anchor tenant you will need the tenant financial statements

If you are trying to purchase a commercial property through a commercial mortgage lender you will need:

  • Valid purchase contract
  • Verification of escrow
  • Selling agent contact information
  • Property insurance information

If you are trying to refinance with a commercial mortgage lender you will need:

  • Payoff information
  • Title policy
  • Survey
  • Property insurance
  • You will also need any subordinate loan information if the property has a subordinate loan.

Even with all of the paper work in order you still may not be able to close on your commercial loan within a month.

Your commercial mortgage lender will need a commercial appraisal done on the property and this alone can take 3 weeks or longer to have done. It may not be easy to get the loan to close in 30 days but it can be done.

To get a loan to close fast, though, you will have to move fast yourself. Start with making sure you are dealing directly with experienced commercial mortgage lenders for the type of loan you need.

If the lender usually makes loans on residential properties then you may be able to close the loan but it may take longer then 30 days so choose one that specializes in the loan you need.

Make sure you check and double check that you have all the information and paperwork handy.

Ask the commercial mortgage lender several times to double check their needs so you can gather the information. It is a unnecessary delay if something is forgotten until the last minute.

Open Your Cash Flow Spigot!

Cash is the lifeblood of small businesses. Cash comes from sales, account receivables collections, and the sale of assets. Unfortunately, as long as more cash is flowing into the company than going out, many owners fail to pay close attention to their cash management plans.

If that sounds like your business, it’s time to take a closer look at your system. One of the major lessons from the recent recession is the importance of having an adequate supply of liquid assets, such as cash and its equivalent, on hand when business slows down.

Implementing efficient cash flow techniques ensures that your company always has enough money to meet its financial obligations. A shortage of cash could lead to embarrassment due to late payments, or in the worst case scenario, bankruptcy. To avoid those problems, check out these tips to make sure your cash flow system is top-notch:

Get organized.

It may sound obvious, but making sure your billing, collections and payables systems are efficiently operating should be your first stop. Use check lists and automatic calendar reminders to keep track of payments that are due.

If the account payment is a receivable, then make sure that you bill promptly, follow up on overdue invoices, and quickly collect on overdue accounts. The longer your customer’s balance remains unpaid, the greater the chance you will not receive full payment.

Offer “carrots” for early or pre-payments.

To the extent possible, get your customers to pay you as early as they can, perhaps by requiring up-front deposits or offering an incentive. “You’d be surprised how many of your customers might be willing to pre-pay for your services or products if you offer a nominal 2-5 percent discount,” Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of 99designs, tells The Huffington Post.

Give bad customers the boot.

If a customer is consistently late in making payments, cut that person off. This may cause you to have fewer clients at first, but it will allow you to focus on providing optimal services for your loyal customers, thereby building a better reputation, which will more likely pay off in the long run.

Tighten credit requirements.

Offer the best product or service relative to your competitor so that you can obtain the best possible credit conditions, says Isabel M. Isidro, managing editor of PowerHomeBiz.com.

“To improve your cash flow position, you can be more stringent in your credit and terms, requiring more customers to pay cash for their purchases,” says Isidro. “This will increase the cash on hand and reduce the bad-debt expense.”

Be aware of the trade-off to tightening credit, however. A flexible credit policy gives more customers the opportunity to purchase your products or services. Weigh the potential decrease in sales against the benefits of having more cash before making any changes.

Review your expenses

Make sure you are not trying to grow your small business too fast by spending aggressivley. “The largest problem entrepreneurs face is the pull between revenue generating and ‘brand building’ activities which do not generate steady cash flow,” says Kris Ruby, founder of Ruby Media Group LLC. To bridge cash flow gaps, focus on your top 3 revenue generators, recommends Ruby, and put your “brand building” on hold.

Network for SUCCESS! Have a PLAN!

Large-scale networking events can help you bolster your Rolodex and make connections that can land you a wealth of new contacts, connections and clients.

Coming across as both professional and engaging to those new contacts, however, isn’t as simple as it may seem.  Did you know that it takes about 200 times the information to undo a first impression than it takes to make one. Landing new clients or investors at an event requires more than just a pulled-together pitch and some original ideas.

It might seem like a lot of pressure, but remembering the things you shouldn’t do may help make networking a bit easier. Here are networking’s biggest no-no’s:

1. Arrive ON TIME.

To make things easier on yourself, time your arrival so you can maximize the interactions you’re most interested in having.
People who typically shy away from networking, the inclination is to arrive on the later side. The opposite is a much better strategy. Being the first person there, it’s calmer, laid back, and people haven’t yet settled into groups. You won’t feel like there’s no one to talk to.

2. Don’t just stand there.

This is not the time to wait around for people to approach you. You need to work the room—even if you’re on the shy side. There are ways to step outside your comfort zone and avoid awkwardness.

Start off by asking questions. And don’t worry about impressing the person you’re speaking with—just act naturally.

3. Don’t feel like you need to talk to everyone.

As a budding business owner or executive, you might enter a networking event with a “more the merrier” mentality when it comes to making new connections. However, it might be advantageous to take a “less is more” stance instead.

It’s better to meet fewer people and create a deeper, lasting connection than simply talking to everyone in the room.  Instead of going to a networking event and grabbing 40 business cards in two hours, speak with fewer people for a longer period of time. Give each person you talk to at least five minutes to get to know you—and you them—before you move on, she advises.  This way, you’ll leave networking events energized by new, true connections rather than tuckered out from meeting too many people.

4. Don’t come unprepared.

Once a new contact tells you what they’re specifically looking for in terms of products or services, you need to be ready to tell them how your specific experience lines up with their needs.

Your goal isn’t to hard-sell them right then and there—instead, it should be to get them interested in you and what you have to offer. To do that, you need to be prepared with an understanding of what everyone from an investor to a potential client will need, and be armed with the most relevant, useful information to show that you have a solution that works for them.

What’s “useful,” you ask? Results. “Don’t stand there and tell them what you do, tell them what results you get,” says business coach Craig Jennings in New York. “Have examples of a situation, a problem and a solution that you can say in two breaths.” Also, keep in mind that what an investor might find useful is likely different than what a customer wants to hear—so having a mental catalog of a wealth of your previous experiences will help you fill all kinds of niches.

5. Don’t forget the big picture.

The bottom line is that, once you leave a networking event, you want the contacts and connections you’ve made to follow up with you and your services in the future.

“You should know your production and delivery capabilities, and be able to set a realistic expectation for potential customers,” says Frank Dadah, general manager of financial contracts with Winter Wyman, a Boston staffing firm. You’re trying to maintain the image of your company, and if you’re not prepared to answer detailed questions that cover the ins and outs of what you have to offer, or if you can’t offer it to them in a timely manner, they’ll move on—fast—to someone who can.

6. Don’t try to multi-task.

Within the first few minutes of meeting someone new, you probably don’t whip out a notebook to write down what they’re saying—and that should be a rule for networking events, as well. Instead of being distracted by a pen and paper, focus intently on the conversation you’re having. After you’ve grabbed a business card and stepped away, jot down a few things that will help you jog your memory when you follow up with them later.

7. Don’t forget to follow up.

If you’re not following up, you’re not networking!  You should stay in touch, without thinking about what you’ll get out of the relationship.

Within 48 hours of your first meeting, you should email a note that pinpoints the most important parts of your earlier conversation, so your contact remembers who you are specifically. A timely turnaround will show that you’re both interested and available to continue the conversation.