Which US President Posted The Largest Dow Gains In History?

  • Posted on January 23, 2017
  • by Alan Blume

Market Performance By President - image from BespokeWhich US president posted the largest Dow gains in history? According to MarketWatch and Bespoke, it was Calvin Coolidge. His 252% gain outpaced all other US presidents. There were however, other presidents who enjoyed triple-digit percentage Dow gains during their terms including: Democrats Bill Clinton (227%), Franklin Roosevelt (197%) and Barack Obama (148%), along with Republicans Ronald Reagan (135%) and Dwight Eisenhower (120%). Who were the worst performing presidents? Hoover, a Republican, saw the largest Dow drop (-83%), with the second and third biggest falls occurring under Republicans George H.W. Bush (-22%) and Richard Nixon (-16.5%). What will Trumponomics yield over the next four years? Your guess is as good as mine, though after eight years of market gains, a correction would seem to be more likely than not.

What’s the only sure thing? Try a complimentary insurance agency marketing and lead generation review with the experts at StartUpSelling. Click here to learn more.

Original MarketWatch article and Bespoke image here.

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Your Virtual Success – Selecting Your Target Market

  • Posted on June 9, 2014
  • by Alan Blume

Entrepreneurs, startups and emerging businesses need to define and test their markets. There were multiple criteria recommended in the Business Basics Chapter of Your Virtual Success. Is the recommended criteria written five years ago still valid today?

B2B Web Marketing

B2B Web Marketing

  1. Vetting the value proposition
  2. Is it a want or a true need
  3. Will prospects pay the target selling price
  4. How does it compare to competing products and services
  5. If it’s an innovation, is the market ready to adopt it
  6. Is it affordable for a sufficient number of prospects
  7. Is there current demand for this product or service
  8. How difficult to reach the buyer
  9. How long is the sales cycle
  10. Can you collect up front (deposits)

Little seems to have changed in this list – it is as valid then as it is today. If we were to apply this to an emerging agency, they would need to determine which lines of coverage to offer, the size of the target prospect by revenues or employees, would they need to add experts to their sales efforts (compliance expert for ACA for example), how difficult would it be to reach a given decision maker (risk manager, owner, VP HR, ect.), and the competition in their given target sales area. For more information on Your Virtual Success, or my new book Sell More & Work Less, visit startupselling.com/book.html. For assistance with b2b marketing or insurance web marketing, call (518) 222-6392.

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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, business, Business Book Review, emerging business, Entrepeneurship, Home Office Business, Virtual Business
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Sell More & Work Less Excerpt – Jumpstarting Your Pipeline

  • Posted on March 30, 2012
  • by Alan Blume

Description: C:UsersAlanDesktopSell More & Work Lessimage icon 3 Globe.jpgReal-World Scenario (Excerpt from Sell More & Work Less)

About ten years ago, I helped a company develop their virtual sales and marketing strategy. Its solution, let’s describe it as a client behavioral research solution, was new to the market and required an evangelical sale. The businesses targeted for this new solution had to be convinced to take a leap of faith and try a new method to analyze their customer behavior. In addition, this method was a completely Web-based, SaaS solution. Evangelical sales are common with technology companies seeking to sell a breakthrough product (e.g., eMarketing solutions, MP3 downloads, cloud computing, electronic reading devices, and even DVRs). The first step in the process was to identify the target market and build a suspect list, just as I mentioned above. The CEO had an insurance background and landed a few insurance company clients. We decided this would be the first niche market to target. How did we build a comprehensive virtual suspect list? We utilized several top 100 industry lists and imported them into a simple Microsoft database. We searched for on-line insurance company listings and added them to our virtual suspect list. Then, we called every one of these insurance organizations (there were about 300 initially targeted). These targeted cold calls resulted in up-to-date contact information, key executives, titles, direct phone numbers, and emails. These were often gathered by offering the suspects an opportunity to attend an informational Web seminar. Within a few short months, the database was quite comprehensive, and the suspect list began to yield a compelling prospect list. Utilizing my Prospect Scorecard system and qualifying acronym, we were able to identify possible buyers, convince these buyers to review the solution in a Web seminar or one-to-one web meeting, and then move them to the qualification phase. Out of the 300 initial suspects targeted, we were able to convince over 150 to review the solution in our first year of sales efforts, and about 20 percent of them purchased within that same year. An impressive result for a self-funded, emerging operation selling 99 percent virtually, without travel or face-to-face meetings and the costs and inefficiencies associated with that model. Today, many years after we helped this client create a target suspect list, they continue to dominate their niche.  

For more information on web marketing go to StartMarketingTech, StartUpSelling or JurisMarketing.

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Cloud Computing Up and Big Box Stores Down

  • Posted on March 29, 2012
  • by Alan Blume
eTail vs Retail

eTail vs Retail

Two interesting, albeit expected news reports came across my browser today. The first was about Cloud Computing, with a recent Microsoft study showing a significant increased in paid cloud computing services expected for small and midsize businesses over the next five years. As reported on PR NewsWire, “The research conducted by Edge Strategies includes survey responses from IT decision-makers or influencers at more than 3,000 SMBs in 13 countries.” We’re talking about doubling and tripling of paid cloud services here, an obvious trend even for those who are still unsure about the cloud.

In a somewhat related matter Best Buy announced it will close 50 big-box stores and cut 400 jobs in corporate and support areas. Best Buy will continue to roll out smaller, Best Buy Mobile stores. Best Buy big box stores have been hit hard by the likes of Amazon, with shoppers researching products in their stores, then buying elsewhere based on price and availability. I blogged about this on June 9, 2010 (BestBuy vs Amazon) when I tried to buy an new stereo receiver but was unable to purchase a model with the features needed at Best Buy, ultimately buying it from Amazon.

The casualty list of retailers is getting longer with the likes of Circuity City, Computer City, Linens ‘n Things’ and Borders, and recent challenges for department stores including Sears (A Company Problem or Industry Issue). Best Buy is working hard to reinvent themselves, something that malls and shopping centers may need to work on simultaneously with growing eTail trends and continued challenges for many retailers. No wonder there are so many shoe and sneaker retailers in the malls these days – one size does not fit all in that business. We’ll have to see if Amazon and other eTailers can fill those shoes when it comes to online sales.

For more information on web marketing go to StartMarketingTech, StartUpSelling or JurisMarketing.

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Sell More & Work Less – Tip 36 Getting Past Legal Hurdles

  • Posted on March 22, 2012
  • by Alan Blume
Web Selling & Web Marketing Tips and Techniques

Web Selling & Web Marketing Tips and Techniques

Another tip from Sell More & Work Less: Web Selling Techniques Everyone Should Use

During the closing phase, you may encounter challenges with your prospect’s lawyer or legal department. In some cases, if you have your own legal department, the challenge might actually be your own legal requirements. But for now, let’s focus on a few important qualifying questions for the legal department. Do they have a lawyer or legal department that must review your contract? Do they insist on using their own contract? How long does it take to review a typical purchase? Can you work with them directly or does your sponsor act as the liaison? Do they insist on certain standard clauses, which must be included in every contract, and if so, can your sponsor provide those for you to review? Is your solution considered a work for hire, do they require ownership of IP, are there onerous damages clauses? Will they consider a mandatory arbitration clause which might be helpful to your boutique operation? We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves in the sales process, but it’s helpful to identify potential issues early and to have a game plan to solve them in the present and close phases. Though many of these questions pertain to B2B sales, some are also relevant for B2C sales. If you can simplify your own contract, it can help reduce the legal hurdles immensely. Consider creating an order form with the key legal clauses you require on the back of the form or on page two and include an arbitration clause. Simpler is usually better. If you wind up in a legal battle before or after the sale, it’s usually a losing proposition for everyone.

www.sellmoreandworkless.com for more information on our new web selling tips book

www.startmarketingtech.com for more information on B2B web marketing

www.jurismarketing.com for more information on law firm web marketing

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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, Entrepeneurship, Home Office Business, Insurance Agency Leads, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Law Firm Marketing, Soical Media Marketing, Virtual Business
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As an early adopter of the original Kindle, and the new and improved Kindle Fire, I find it faster, easier and more convenient to read. As noted in blogs of days gone by, I try to read a mix of books from business topics to inspirational stories to those offering rewards merely from an entertainment perspective. I like to read at least a book a month, I read 15 this year, a dozen of which are listed below, in no particular order.

  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, Millard, Candice
  • 50 Ways To Love Your Startup, Mancinelli, Bruce 
    Sell More & Work - January 2012
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains, Kidder, Tracy
  • Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919, Puleo, Stephen
  • Google Places Success, Towland, Chris
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Hillenbrand, Laura
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin, Benjamin
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Larsson, Stieg
  • The Coke Machine, The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, Blanding, Michael
  • The Secret Life of Houdini, The Making of America’s First Superhero, Kalush, William and Sloman, Lary
  • A Splendid Exchange, How Trade Shaped the World, Bernstein, William
  • Sell More & Work Less, Web Selling Techniques Everyone Should Use, A. Blume, J. Scranton, M. Lauducci, A.J. Blume

These books range from truly inspirational stories of triumph over hardship (Unbroken and River of Doubt for example) to small business best practices (50 Ways to Love Your Startup). Some were fast and easy reads like The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, while others like Franklin’s autobiography and Houdini’s life offered granular detail amidst historic context. Dark Tide and Unbroken fall under their own unique category as in, “are you kidding me – do these things really happen”? And my most recent read arguably falls into the same genre, with Roosevelt’s (of the Bull Moose variety) journey through the Amazon. The book I spent the most time reading this year, was the book which I was writing this year. With the assistance of three colleagues, we put the finishing touches on Sell More & Work Less, Web Selling Techniques Everyone Should Use this past week and hope to see it finally hit the virtual Amazon book shelves in January. Writing and publishing requires multiple read through cycles, and I expect the final cycle to happen this month. Sell More & Work Less is just over half the number of words when compared to my first book, Your Virtual Success, but the reading cycles were certainly comparable. The latter was over 60,000 words while the former, a more succinct “web selling tips book”, is only 35,000 words.

My recently purchased Kindle Fire helped me rip through The River of Doubt, the crisp text and improved user interface makes it really fast and easy to read (at least for this user). These days, I find both reading and writing enlightening and cathartic and wished that I read more when I was younger, compelling me to think of the famous Shaw quote, “youth is wasted on the young”. Will the day come that most of youths will be using Electronic Reading devices? And upon such a day will that help them read and assimilate more information? Only time will tell, then again technology may be an enabler, but it isn’t necessarily a motivator.

Three of these books were gifts (The Coke Machine, The Secret Life of Houdini and A Splendid Exchange) of the “paper” variety, the rest were downloaded to my Kindle. I can recommend all of the books on this list, though my favorites were Unbroken, River of Doubt and Dark Tide). And it is with obvious prejudice that the last item is even included on the list. As my years progress, I’m gaining momentum with writing and hope to publish another book around the end of 2012, then a novel in 2013 or 2014. The novel would be a departure for me as most of my works have been in the business genre. It’s a challenge I look forward to, mundane in comparison to the challenges faced in Unbroken or River of Doubt (or Mountain’s Beyond Mountains), but a challenge nonetheless. Sell More & Work Less will be available in January.


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Posted in: B2B Sales & Marketing, business, Business Book Review, Entrepeneurship, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing
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Have You Tried The Prospect Scorecard?

  • Posted on September 1, 2011
  • by Alan Blume

The Prospect Scorecard

The Prospect Scorecard offers salespeople, sales managers, entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, insurance agents, realtors and other business people a simple and easy way to qualify, track and rank your best prospects. Salespeople often refer to prospects in vague terms such as: new, warm, hot, cold, likely, qualified, etc. These terms do little to better understand a sales pipeline or convey likelihood of purchase to other members of the team. The Prospect Scorecard resolves this issue, simply, quickly and easily for any salesperson or business.

  • Helps you create ideal attributes to form a buyer persona
  • Creates a simple numeric system to leverage your buyer persona
  • Assigns numeric values to rank your best prospects
  • Helps you create a simple qualification acronym to determine likelihood to close
  • Ranks your prospects by Prospect Score, Quality Score and Alphabetically
  • Color codes your prospects into Green, Yellow and Red, displaying prospect categories

It’s a fast and simple way to understand, quantify and qualify your pipeline. The Excel version is available at no charge at: https://startupselling.com/sales-tools.html. Look for more information in our upcoming book, Sell More & Work Less.

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Sell More & Work Less To Be Released in November

  • Posted on August 17, 2011
  • by Alan Blume

Our new book, Sell More & Work Less, Web Selling Techniques Everyone Should Use, is expected to be released in November and is currently at our publisher. Offering 101 Internet Sales Tips stratified across our 4-Phase Sales Process, Sell More & Work Less focuses on leveraging the web to help you sell better, faster and more efficiently.

Most sales cycles, particularly B2B sales cycles can be expressed in four distinct phases: Identify, Qualify, Present and Close. Each of these phases might have 5 or 10 steps, helping salespeople compartmentalize tasks, ensuring they are following a guide that helps them arrive at their final destination, a new client. The reason I refer to this as a “Virtual” Sales Process is that much of the work can or should be done virtually. Keep the car parked in the driveway, avoid planes and trains whenever possible, leverage Skype, GoToMeeting and other virtual selling tools.

Sell More & Work Less reviews many virtual sales tips and techniques including The Prospect Scorecard, a simple but effective pipeline qualification tool which can be used on a PC or mobile device.  Sell More & Work Less will help sales people, business owners, sales managers and entrepreneurs focus on those activities which will optimize prospecting, qualifying and closing. For more information, read Your Virtual Success (www.yourvirtualsuccess.net), or in September, Sell More & Work Less.

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Posted in: Business Book Review, Entrepeneurship, Home Office Business, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Virtual Business
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A World Without Borders

  • Posted on July 24, 2011
  • by Alan Blume
Virtual Business vs. Brick and Mortar

Virtual Business vs. Brick and Mortar

You’ve probably heard the recent news, Borders is closing all of its remaining stores and the company could go out of business by the end of September. This creates an interesting double entendre, thus the article title, a world without Borders. When I think of Amazon, a thriving non brick and mortar firm (at least non retail) it seems like they can sell anywhere, anytime, like a business operating without borders. Whereas, Borders, as in Borders book stores, a bastion of brick and mortar, will now vanish from the world. Today this obvious metamorphosis deserves both mention and contemplation.

Retail is a tough business for any line of products or services. The creeping incremental costs and overhead of retail stores insidiously and perpetually attack retail profits. The list of retail bankruptcies and closures is long, with well know names Hollywood Video and Blockbuster, Tweeter, Ritz Camera, CompUSA, Tower Records, Linens ‘n Things, Circuit City, etc. When it comes to industries or niches that can morph to virtual or digital, traditional brick and mortar businesses must transition very quickly or face a certain fate. This is an Amazon versus Borders and Netflix versus Blockbuster story. Barnes and Noble, the surviving big box book store still remains a question mark in my mind. Every time I wander into their local store I witness a retail paradox. In the huge bookstore section there is usually a modest number of people browsing, with perhaps one or two buying, and rarely a line at their register. However, in a tiny corner of their bookstore is a coffee shop we all know called Starbucks. I’d estimate Starbucks represents 5% of the total space, yet there is always a line at their register even though they are well staffed, and well run. Furthermore, everyone in Starbucks is buying, as opposed to browsing. Perhaps this model is working in reverse, the Starbucks store could be much larger, and the bookstore area much smaller, offering a plethora of digital book samples, or a computer kiosk point of sale for traditional books, allowing shoppers to sip their latte’s and order the books online.

The magazine area in this store is also a source of business fascination. There are often several people in this area, one of the busier sections of the store on many days, sitting on benches, reading through the litany of magazines offered. Arguably Barnes and Noble has a very worthy selection for their enjoyment, everything from automobile to fitness and gardening to zoology.  When I stroll by, with my Starbucks coffee in hand, it reminds me of a library. I rarely to see anyone grabbing a magazine and walking toward the checkout counter, rather I see people reading, then returning the magazines to the stand. This model seems to be rewarding for the browser and even for the Starbucks consumers, but not for the bookstore. Whenever I stroll through this very nice bookstore, I do make note of interesting books, but then I download them on my Kindle, definitely not a shopping experience which will prove profitable for their brick and mortar infrastructure.

This by no means implies all retail is doomed. There are many retail operations which require infrastructure, from groceries and coffee to furniture, home repair and haircuts. When it comes to digital, however, a virtual spin on the business model or dramatically adapted retail will be necessary. What’s an example of dramatically adapted retail? Redbox comes to mind. At one time Blockbuster Video had a large store, let’s estimate six thousand square feet, about a mile from my house. People could browse their shelves and select a video in the traditional sense, carrying it home to watch on their DVD players. Redbox is a video store in a box, sitting inside 27,000 existing retail locations, like the grocery store I frequent. They rent movies for a $1 a day in a small kiosk that takes up 12-square feet. They advertise that these red boxes have up to 200 titles and 630 movies. Redbox is a fully automated video rental store, meaning no staffing and very limited labor (someone has to stock and service the machines).  Compare that with 6,000 or 8,000 square feet consumed by a Blockbuster store, along with 15 hour a day staffing. Of course even the Redbox model faces the inevitable pure virtual and digital threat. After all, shouldn’t all video be truly digital, streaming directly to your TV or PC monitor? Those days are here for some, coming very soon for many, and it will be interesting to see if and how Redbox and Netflix adapt to this change.

The cheaper, faster and better distribution system will prevail. Whether we’re morphing from clipper ships to steam boats, from the horse drawn wagon to the locomotive, or from the retail bookstore to eReaders, the only constant in business, is change. Businesses must innovate or perish.

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Posted in: business, Entrepeneurship, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Web Marketing, Virtual Business
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LinkedIn Tops 100 Million Mark

  • Posted on March 25, 2011
  • by Alan Blume

On March 22nd LinkedIn reached a major milestone, eclipsing 100 million members worldwide. That’s a pretty significant number, one which according to LinkedIn is now growing at “roughly one million new LinkedIn members every week, the equivalent of a professional joining the site at faster than one member per second.”

LinkedIn sent me an email, noting that I was member number 356,048, an early adopter according to their email. I’m sure many of you reading this blog joined even earlier. The lesson here is about change, a roller coaster of change. Sometimes it takes a while for the coaster to make it up that big first hill, and then, it comes speeding down the track, weaving and winding its way toward a final destination. Of course on a coaster it is a known destination while on the internet, the horizon remains a vague blur. In both cases we can anticipate many unexpected (and sometimes thrilling) turns along the way. LinkedIn is now speeding down the track, and like any other roller coaster, and internet related things in general, don’t expect things to be in the same place very long. The internet is changing our lives and doing so quickly.

Many industries are in the process of climbing up that first roller coaster hill. And once they hit the peak, the subsequent velocity can be truly amazing. What’s changed so far? Social networking of course, trade shows, seminars, book publishing, etailing, newspapers, news reporting, public relations, marketing, banking, auctions and telecommuting to name just a few. Next up is movies and television. We’ve already seen some significant changes here – and we’re still climbing up that first roller coaster hill. Will traditional network TV be supplemented by a vast array of online, homegrown shows, or will it be replaced. Will individual reality shows be home produced and become the norm, or will the audience still prefer to see a professionally (if I can use that term) produced reality show? Will movies change, all but the mega special effect blockbuster replaced by indie movies, once pervasive and cheap internet distribution is available? Will we soon be watching news broadcasts and TV shows predominately on our Androids and iPhones? My eyes say no, though my brain says it will someday be likely.

Marketing has already hit the top of the hill and is changing rapidly. Telemarketing is on the decline, search marketing optimization, blogging, ePublishing and social media marketing are becoming mainstream. What’s the next big change we can expect to see? There are many expected, and they will likely change our lives, and optimistically I’d like to say for the better. Congratulations to LinkedIn on achieving this significant milestone, I use it (and so do many of my colleagues) every day – and it sounds like many, many others are finding value with this new network too.



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