From the Archives: 9 (Business) Things I am Thankful for This Year

  • Posted on November 19, 2013
  • by John Scranton

Updated: 9 (Business) Things I am Thankful for This Year

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 by John Scranton

  • The Internet – Al Gore’s great invention has allowed us to build a great and profitable company from a series of virtual (home) offices.  Amazing technological progress.  Thanks Al!
  • GoToMeeting – I meet with clients, prospects and colleagues via GoToMeeting everyday.  Easy to use, effective and affordable.  Thank you Citrix!
  • LinkedIn – The social network of business has allowed me to consistently find prospects and clients via the web, for free.  I will repeat that because it is so important – for free!  Thanks LinkedIn!
  • WordPress – Simple and easy to use blog interface.  Attractive and professional blog templates.  And like our friends at LinkedIn, they provide this service at the low cost of free.  Thanks WordPress!
  • eMarketing – What if I told you that you can email your target prospects, then see who read, opened or clicked on the email?  Then you can call these interested parties and sell to them.  I do this every week, and our results have been impressive.  Thank you eMarketing!
  • Skype – You may be noticing a theme, but it appears I like things that have little or no cost.  I used to have a cell phone glued to my ear.  Now I have a comfortable headset that allows me to connect with people for free.  Thank you Skype!
  • SEO – Not only has SEO become a great source of new business, it has also become one of our most popular services.  Agencies find us as a result of our impressive SEO, and want to develop the same pervasive presence.  Thanks SEO!
  • The Knack – This book by Norm Brodsky with Bo Burlingham has become somewhat of a small business Bible for me to refer to and learn from.  I have read it twice this year, and reviewed chapters several times.  Candid and direct insights for small business people.  Thanks Norm!
  • My Pipeline – The best way to finish off the year is with a flurry of sales activity.  The best way to achieve this is with a vibrant, robust prospect pipeline.  I am fortunate to have a great pipeline to work with and great sources for new prospects.  Thanks Pipeline!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sell More & Work LessSell More & Work Less is a web selling tips book revolving around my 4-Phase Sales Process which helps business professionals quickly learn and apply many new web sales tips and techniques to improve their sales effectiveness. Simply said, allowing them to sell more and work less. The 4-Phase Virtual Sales Process facilitates the transition to a web based sales model and the greater profit potential, improved methods of selling and more flexible business and personal lifestyle this affords many salespeople and businesses, aspiring entrepreneurs and existing sole proprietors. Readers can replicate the 4-Phase Virtual Sales Process to create their own tailored sales process using the techniques explained in this web selling tips and techniques book.

Author Alan Blume was fortunate to be assisted by three “in the trenches” coauthors, Mike Lauducci, me and Andrew Blume in the writing of this web selling tips book.

Sell More & Work Less is now available on Amazon, the Kindle version is expected later in January. http://www.amazon.com/Sell-More-Work-Less-Techniques/dp/ …

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, Business, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Sales, Small Business
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What a Contractor is Teaching me About Great Customer Service

  • Posted on November 30, 2011
  • by John Scranton

Whenever I have a commercial interaction, I try to glean a few insights into why it was enjoyable or why it was annoying.  My most recent endeavor has been the engagement of a contractor to make some home improvements.  As my wife and I researched vendors we heard many horror stories of dishonest contractors delivering a shoddy product or poor customer service.  So far the product appears to speak for itself, and I have noticed a few things that make the service superior:

  1. They Never Bother Me – Working virtually, I am in the same building, so it would be easy for the contractors to interrupt me to ask questions or review specifications.  They never do.  The only interactions I have with them are on my terms.  Imagine if this was the case on a car lot?  How can you avoid bothering your clients?
  2. They Deliver a Little Extra – One of the contractors noticed the felt pads on the feet of some of my kitchen chairs had worn off.  Replacing them will require a $5 purchase and 10 minutes of labor.  This is an infinitesimal task relative to the project scope, but it makes my life just a little easier at no additional charge.  What extra value can you deliver to your clients?
  3. They Simplify Billing – We only meet once per week to talk about money.  On Fridays I pay for what has been completed and they tell me what will be completed the following week and what the cost will be.  There are no surprises.  This relieves any anxiety I might have about the financial plan for the project.  What are your clients prospects worried about?
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Posted in: Business, Sales, Small Business
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My Virtual Commute vs. Your Traditional Commute

  • Posted on March 31, 2011
  • by John Scranton

Across the country, business executives spent most of their morning in the car commuting to work.  Maybe a 15 minute ride into Boston, or a 30 minute train ride into New York, or an hour long trek through gridlock into Los Angeles.  This is not uncommon – the bulk of American professionals drive, ride or fly to an office each day.  They invest personal time day to seek greater opportunity.

I understand the concept, and engaged in the practice for many years.  The problem is that it is a waste of time.  Lets look at a snapshot of the traditional commuter’s morning I experienced for a few years while living 20-30 minutes from my office:  Wake at 6:30 to leave the house at 7:30.  Possibly a stop at Starbucks or for gas.  With a little luck, I was fully caffeinated and ready to begin working by 8:00.

Now let us review a snapshot of the same time frame, as experienced in my virtual lifestyle.  Today I woke up at 7:00 and began the day by having coffee with my wife and giving my dog a belly rub.  I grabbed the paper and gave it a glance as I poured a 2nd cup of coffee and sauntered into my office.  By 7:30, I was working at full speed.  Here is what I was able to accomplish during the time slice that I previously spent weaving through traffic:

  • Cleaned out my email Inbox
  • Posted a New Blog Entry
  • Shared that Blog with thousands of professionals on LinkedIn
  • Emailed an opt-in list of 6,000 in-profile prospects
  • Reviewed a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming meeting
  • Reviewed and edited an article for a colleague

After accomplishing all that, I was fully caffeinated and ready to begin “working” by 8:00.  Now I can spend my entire day focused on revenue producing activities instead of playing catch up and trying to shake off the stress of a hectic commute.  Imagine how much more you could accomplish if you were able eliminate your commute?  Not to mention the distractions that constantly occur in the traditional office environment.

I challenge all of you to analyze your responsibilities as an employee or employer, and determine what sections of your business could be virtualized.  20%? 50%? 100%?  Allowing an employee to work virtually just one day per week would give them enough extra time to accomplish all of the important tasks I listed above.  The more virtual, the more effective and efficient.  The more effective and efficient, the more profitable.  And do not forget about starting off your day by having coffee with your spouse and giving your dog a belly rub.

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Posted in: Business, Small Business, Virtual Business
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Go Virtual And Stay Profitable

Great blog entry from our CEO today regarding virtual business.  Enjoy!

Perhaps you’re considering creating a business or expanding a current business. As with many businesses, investing in inventory, product development or warehouse space might seem requisite. And perhaps this appears to be a reasonable or even logical approach, borrowing the famous quote from Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” After all, your simple business plan projects profits after only a modest startup period. My advice is to think about this again. When creating a new business, it’s highly advantageous to operate in a way that is both conducive to a flexible lifestyle while mitigating downside risk, including ramp up time or significant upfront investment.

  1. A short path to the money (limited ramp-up or development time)
  2. No upfront capital
  3. Customer deposits in advance of delivery
  4. Contractor based assistance for delivery
  5. Niche marketing opportunity (it’s much easier to target a vertical than a horizontal)

For the full blog entry, please visit: https://startupselling.com/blogs/alanblume/top-5-tips-when-creating-a-virtual-business/

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Posted in: Small Business, Virtual Business
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Bigger Isn’t Always Better

  • Posted on December 7, 2010
  • by John Scranton

At StartUpSelling, we are firm believers in the Small Giants philosophy: it is better to be a great company than a big company.  Therefore, we focus on developing cutting-edge customized solutions, delivering excellent customer service, and operating at maximum efficiency to create superior value for our clients.  We strive to achieve these goals, even at the expense of expansion.  Because, as mentioned above, we are much more interested in being great than big.

Whenever I come across another business that appears to be acting in the same capacity – whether purposefully or coincidentally – I take note.  On Friday night, I ate at an excellent restaurant in the Princeton, NJ area.  I won’t mention their name since I did not ask their permission – but those who have eaten there may be able to figure it out.  This is a small restaurant with maybe a dozen tables, that also operates a deli and bakery during the day.  Because they are small in size, they are extremely agile and flexible – allowing them to accommodate special requests.

On this particular visit, we reserved a table for 6 for sometime between 7:30 and 9 – depending on traffic.  They had no problem accepting this request.  One of our diners emailed the chef to see if he might have any veal or lamb on the menu.  He didn’t earlier in the week, but he had both on the menu by the time we arrived Friday.  The chef also included wine suggestions (its a bring-your-own establishment) in his email response.  The meal and the service were outstanding, and we did our best to compensate them accordingly with generous gratuity.

It is highly unlikely that a large restaurant would have been able to take our reservation without a specific time.  It is even less likely that a big establishment would customize their menu to include our favorite dishes.  At probably least likely that a highly talented chef would take the time to contact us with wine pairing suggestions well enough in advance that we would have time to locate the proper vintage.

Think about the adjectives I have use to describe this business: flexible, agile, accomodating, outstanding, excellent.  Plan your growth carefully, and consider which of these attributes you are willing to sacrifice when your company expands.  You may decide that you are not interested in simply growing for growths sake.

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Posted in: Small Business, Uncategorized, Virtual Business
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Updated: 9 (Business) Things I am Thankful for This Year

  • Posted on November 23, 2010
  • by John Scranton
  • The Internet – Al Gore’s great invention has allowed us to build a great and profitable company from a series of virtual (home) offices.  Amazing technological progress.  Thanks Al!
  • GoToMeeting– I meet with clients, prospects and colleagues via GoToMeeting everyday.  Easy to use, effective and affordable.  Thank you Citrix!
  • LinkedIn– The social network of business has allowed me to consistently find prospects and clients via the web, for free.  I will repeat that because it is so important – for free!  Thanks LinkedIn!
  • WordPress– Simple and easy to use blog interface.  Attractive and professional blog templates.  And like our friends at LinkedIn, they provide this service at the low cost of free.  Thanks WordPress!
  • eMarketing– What if I told you that you can email your target prospects, then see who read, opened or clicked on the email?  Then you can call these interested parties and sell to them.  I do this every week, and our results have been impressive.  Thank you eMarketing!
  • Skype – You may be noticing a theme, but it appears I like things are have no cost.  I used to have a cell phone glued to my ear.  Now I have a comfortable headset that allows me to connect with people for free.  Thank you Skype!
  • SEO – Not only has SEO become a great source of new business, is has also become one of our most popular services.  Agencies find us as a result of our impressive SEO, and want to develop the same pervasive presence.  Thanks SEO!
  • The Knack – This book by Norm Brodsky with Bo Burlingham has become somewhat of a small business Bible for me to refer to and learn from.  I have read it twice this year, and reviewed chapters several times.  Candid and direct insights for small business people.  Thanks Norm!
  • My Pipeline – The best way to finish off the year is with a flurry of sales activity.  The best way to achieve this is with a vibrant, robust prospect pipeline.  I am fortunate to have a great pipeline to work with and great sources for new prospects.  Thanks Pipeline!

Happy Thanksgiving! 



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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Virtual Business
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Insurance Agency Marketing

Join us tomorrow for this brief, complimentary web seminar about new Web Marketing, Social Media and SEO methods. Guest speaker Alan Blume, author of Your Virtual Success: Finding Profitability in an Online World, will explain how social media marketing, search engine optimization and blogging have become a critical component for your 2011 marketing plan.  Topics include:

* Effective Website Design
* Search Engine Optimization
* Blogging & ePublishing
* Integrated Website Video
* LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter

Please register for the webinar at either of these convenient times:

October 20th at Noon ET: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/753755440

October 21st at 4:00 ET: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/611444433

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Marketing Plan, Search Engine Optimization, Small Business, Social Media, Virtual Business, Web Seminars
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Webinar: Building your Insurance Agency Marketing Plan for 2011

  • Posted on September 6, 2010
  • by John Scranton

Webinar: Building your Insurance Agency Marketing Plan for 2011

   
 
Insurance Agency Marketing   
   
 

StartUpSelling, Inc.

 
Join us for this brief, complimentary web seminar. Our team of agency marketing experts will discuss how to build your Insurance Agency Marketing Plan for 2011. Agencies are faced with the difficult challenge of building an effective strategy with an often limited budget. Coupled with the changing face of marketing in our Web 2.0 society, drafting a plan is an immense challenge. We will discuss the the most efficent ways to invest your resources for maximum results. Topics include:* The importance of Social Media Marketing
* eMarketing & Web Seminars for Lead Generation
* Effective Website Design and SEO
* Branding and Collateral for a Web Centric Era
* Traditional Advertising and Marketing Tools
Title:   Webinar: Building your Insurance Agency Marketing Plan for 2011
Date:   Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Time:   12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/278100432

 

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Posted in: eMarketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Insurance Agency Marketing Plan, Search Engine Optimization, Small Business, Social Media, Telemarketing, Virtual Business, Web Seminars
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Coffee is for Closers

  • Posted on August 27, 2010
  • by John Scranton

Yesterday during a meeting with a client (who we have a great relationship with and like very much), my CEO pulled out the classic Glengarry Glen Ross quote: “coffee is for closers only.”  My first thought was that I drink an awful lot of coffee, so I better keep closing business.

My second thought was that we often hear from our clients that they are very pleased with the pipeline activity we are generating – but they are having trouble converting the leads to closed sales.  This is a common problem across the sales industry, and one that takes dilligent efforts to correct.

Here are a few concepts that have helped me, and may help you close business and earn the right to go to the coffee pot:

  • Stay in your Prospect Profile – It is very easy for us to accept appointments, calls or emails from prospects who are not in profile.  For some organizations, this may be due to the fact that their profile is poorly defined.  Make sure you honestly assess your prospects relative to your buyer persona, and invest your time accordingly.  Critically important.
  • Refine your Presenation – Continually massage and update your presenation.  Every few months, start from scratch.  Then practice.  If you do not have your presentation outline memorized, keep practicing.  And make certain that your last slide provides “next steps” for your prospect to advance through your sales process.  Show them, ask them, ask them again.
  • Trial Close – I have often underestimated the power of the trial close.  But when I analyze using the concept, I find that nearly all of the prospects who respond candidly and positively to a trial close become buyers.  If your sales cycle typically takes 3 meetings, trial close in meeting 2.  This will help you plan your closing presenation and strategy.
  • Keep Calling – If you have presented to a prospect, and they have not responded to you – keep calling.  Call every day.  Email every night.  Never leave an oppurtunity on the table because you neglecting to make the needed efforts to reach your prospect.  This sounds simple, but I have made this error in the past.

Good luck!

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Posted in: B2B Marketing, Insurance Agency Lead Generation, Insurance Agency Marketing, Small Business
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