Successful B2B Marketing and Business Development – Become a Trusted Advisor

Here is some advice for business to business service businesses, i.e., professional business services. If you want to gain more customers you must be viewed as a trusted advisor. Large corporations are finding that they have to use consultative sales techniques to win business. The days of the adage “the three most important aspects of sales are close, close and close” are over. This is especially true with the advent of web 2.0 marketing and sales. There is a great book on the market entitled Spin Selling by Neil Rackham, and while it has been around for a while, it is gaining ground in influencing sales and business development departments in companies large and small. Neil advocates consultative selling….in other words, establishing your self and your company as a trusted advisor.Briefly, Spin Selling is a style of selling that takes the emphasis off presentation and closing and puts it on discovery of needs. It achieves this discovery with four types of questions, thus the acronym SPIN. It stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Needs-Payoff questions that are designed to discover pain/problems and lead the prospect to the logical conclusion of a solution that becomes increasingly self evident. In order for this to work properly, the seller has to establish him/herself as a trusted authority who understands the prospects pain and likewise the solution to it.So how do you establish yourself as a trusted advisor? The answer is made easy with web 2.0 and the social media. The first way that I would suggest is to publish a blog that offers helpful information to the market that you seek to serve. If you maintain a blog that offers at least forty articles a year, (I think more is better) that publishes information that is beneficial to your market segment you have gone a long way toward becoming a trusted advisor. If you don’t have time to write articles all the time, you can find writers that will take your topics, use your research and information and will write your articles for you. I think that you can find writers that will give you quality at an affordable price.You can use FaceBook, LinkedIn, and twitter to establish yourself as a trusted advisor also. A great way to do it is by sharing blog and news articles that you happen across in your daily web activity. They can be written by others and, you show yourself as a trusted advisor by the articles that you choose to share. It is all about presenting value to people. If I use myself as an example, I can assure you, that even when I spell out how to do things in marketing…making it possible for one to do it on their own, the truth is that many people are too busy to do it themselves and will then call on me to do it for them and, they choose to do that because they see me as a trusted advisor an expert.

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Dressing So Chic – The History of Italian Fashion

Italian fashion designers are known and loved all over the world for innovative fashion and stunning design that is ever so wearable. Can anyone but the Italians create wearable art that takes the breath away? Historically, Italy began to surface as a desirable fashion source or role model in the 1000s, the year being a tongue twister to say, and the Italians being a tough act to follow with fame for starting the Renaissance. The Renaissance is a nostalgic period which is the time in history known for including a revival among arts and the classical period which was also the same time as the budding of Christianity. The cultural or artistic influences of a Greek, Roman or Oriental nature were abundant at this time and show in the articles of clothing that were produced then.

Given all of these influences the Italians’ flair for fashion became the most popular in all of Europe. Italy continued to lead the fashionables in Europe for several more hundred years going from being the choice of Queen Catherine de’ Medici to being fashioned after the paintings of Raphael or Michelangelo among other favorite Italian painters. The popularity of these fashions seemed to be due to the elaborate fabrics and embellishments included in the designs as well as the accessories that either accompanied the clothing, or were meant to be used with it. Items were embellished with brocade, jewels or velvet, just whatever was elaborate or beautiful and consisted of fashion items such as dresses, shoes, robes, fabric, shoes or jewelry. In the 1400s skirts were dramatically pleated or gathered and even often made so as to reveal another dress hiding beneath them. By the 1600s French competition beat out the Italian designers until a period falling in the 1950s when the Italians again stood out. Designers in the 1950s included Giovanni Giorgini who successfully put the Italians back of Europe’s popular list with a fashion show he led in Florence, Italy in February of 1951.

Some of the most popular fashion icons wearing Italian fashion throughout the 1900s and beyond include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Christina Aguilera, Victoria Beckham and Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Celebrity men wearing Italian labels included or include Peter Sellers and even musician Elton John. The fashion capital cities of Italy began with Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome or Vicenza in the beginning and over time have gravitated heavily toward Rome, Florence and Milan with Rome and Milan being the leading fashion capital cities currently. Italian designers and their perspective labels include Gucci, one of the most popular among celebrities, Armani, Bulgari, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo and Prada. Giorgio Armani is a creator of fashion wear of the high-end caliber, cosmetics, perfumes and even eye glasses. Bulgari produces jewelry, handbags, watches and accessories. Versace specializes in luxury fashions, items for the home and makeup. Dolce & Gabbana tends toward an urban influence and markets eyewear and clothing. Gucci’s lines include luggage, clothing, shoes and distinctive fabric treatments in many of the products. Prada specializes in hats as well as high-end clothing, shoes and accessories. In the past and now Italian fashion is a sought after commodity and a mark of prestige that serves as a main influence over all the other designers in the world today.

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Collection Services – How to Hire the Right Agency to Collect Those Unpaid Bills

Are you having hard a time collecting unpaid bills from your customers? Do you find it difficult to keep track of the payments your clients owe to your business? Do you want timely collection of your money? If yes then you need to hire a collection agency. Studies have shown that the possibility of collecting an unpaid bill drops dramatically within a few months, so it is important to act on those delinquent account sooner than later.All companies at some point face delinquent accounts that need to be collected. Often it is easier to hire services of a professional collection agency to recover the overdue amounts. Collection agency locates the debtors and collects the money on your behalf. Studies have shown that the possibility of collecting an unpaid bill drops dramatically within a few months, so it is important to hire the collection agency early to improve the chances of successfully collecting the money and to recover a substantial portion of your unpaid accounts. For example according to a survey by the Commercial Collection Agency Section of the Commercial Law League of America, the probability of collecting an overdue account drops to 73 percent after just three months, to 57 percent after six months, and to only 29 percent after one year.Using an agency saves you time and money. They are simply more effective than you can be in recovering delinquent account. They have trained professionals backed by phone systems, computers, and software to make them more effective at collections. Downside to using a collection agency is that they charge between 15 to 50 percent of what they recover. But it is worth every penny. You will still end up with more than what you would if you try to collect yourself.But how do you know it is time to hire a collection agency? There are some tell tale signs that your customers are not going to pay you and you may need a professional agency to collect the payments.One of the first signs of a customer unwilling to pay their bills is excessive complains that are mostly unwarranted. They will call in repeatedly to customer service and find problems, ask for discounts and even ask for free service. Some of the other common signs are customers simply denying that they owe you money despite concrete evidence. They will frequently ignore collection notices or will be unresponsive to your phone calls. As a last resort many of them will change their contact details without informing you. Their mail will bounce and the phone number on file will show as disconnected.As a business owner, it is important to read into these signs of trouble and take action immediately. Ask your friends and business associates for recommendations. You can also find multiple collection agencies at a B2B marketplace on the internet or the yellow pages. Call up a few and ask them their modus operandi. It is important to feel comfortable with their approach before hiring them. Additionally make sure they are licensed to operate in your state and will work within the law to collect your money.

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Just In Time Systems Training

Your organization probably has proprietary information systems that some of your employees need to use to perform their work. So, when new hires enter your organization, they need to learn about those systems. They need to learn first, that they exist. They need to learn what they would use each system to do. Then they need to learn: how to locate and log onto each system, how each system is organized, how to navigate through each system, and how to use each system properly. Finally, they need to practice using each system to build their proficiency.If there is a large number of proprietary information systems that a new hire will be expected to use, when and how should the introduction to each system occur?I am working with an organization that has seven different proprietary information systems. Their approach to new hire orientation is to teach all seven systems in one day. And, no, this is not a 24-hour training day.I would like to convince the organization that there are several things wrong with this approach.The first and obvious problem is that, after four 8-hour days of intensive orientation, the new hires cannot help but be exhausted both mentally and physically. They will not be prime candidates to learn the systems on that day.The second problem is that, although the new hires are expected to learn all seven information systems in one day, they will not be using more than one or two of these systems in the orientation days that immediately follow. Brain research and professional observation have proven that unless new information is used immediately and consistently, it is highly unlikely to be retained. This means that the new hires will have to be retrained once they actually use the systems.The third problem is that the exact same approach will be used to teach each system. Seven different times in a row, the new hires will be told: the purpose of the system, how to access and log onto the system, how the system is organized, and how to navigate through the system. They will then have an opportunity to practice using the system for approximately ten minutes.You might say, and you would be correct, that this is the logical and really the only way to train new hires in how to use a new computer system.However, there are two issues that still need to be addressed. Hopefully, it goes without saying (although I’m going to say it) that ten minutes of practice is definitely not sufficient for the new hires to get comfortable or proficient using a system.The larger issue is that, when all of the systems are taught at the same time, one after the other, the new hires will have a terrible time remembering each individual system. The specifics of one system will be lost as each new system is learned. The information will flow together, ending up confusing rather than enlightening the new hires. They will be completely overwhelmed.So, what is the solution to this multi-faceted training dilemma?Take a four-pronged approach:1. Teach the new hires about one of their primary job responsibilities and what they need to do to perform it.2. Then show the new hires how to use the specific system tool that will help them perform that responsibility. In other words, give them just in time training on the system in the context in which they will typically use it.3. Next, give them sufficient time to practice using the system tools with several simulated examples. They will need the three examples to ensure that they are able to develop a real understanding of the system.4. Finally, make sure that the new hires are able to practice using the system every day, to reinforce their learning and build their competency.That is what I’m planning to recommend. What do you think? Is there some better way to approach this?

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The Joys and Education of Stamp Collecting

Love it or loathe it, stamp collecting has been around for a long time, and is here to stay. Nevertheless, it captivates people in all walks of life, and from all age groups. Even with fax machines and e-mails, many items are still being sent by conventional post. It would seem that the earliest reference to collecting stamps was in England in 1841, the year after they were first issued. People have different reasons for collecting stamps. Some find it relieves stress. Others like the educational side of it. Prospects of financial gain motivate still others. Prior to postal service, people forwarded messages and letters via trusted travelers. By the sixteenth century an international postal service operated among a number of European states.In 1837 Sir Rowland Hill published a pamphlet on “Post Office Reform.” He recommended that letters be delivered anywhere in England for a penny. The British Government followed through and in 1840 penny postage started, issuing the first adhesive postage stamps for use on letters. These were the famous one-penny stamps bearing a profile of Queen Victoria (the Penny Black) and the blue two-pence stamps. A couple of years later the first adhesive stamp in the United States was put in circulation by the Despatch Post of New York city. It prepaid a three-cent delivery charge on a letter mailed inside the city. Canada followed suit in 1851 with a three-penny beaver design stamp. Innumerable books are available through public libraries and bookstores as aids to knowing stamp values and what to collect. Information is freely available on the Internet. An album is very helpful for classifying, as well as a magnifying glass.Some start by saving stamps from letters coming into their homes or places of business. Others build a collection by purchasing packets of various kinds of stamps. Most collectors find that the larger packets have the best stamps in them. A chronicle of human history can be seen through the picture window of stamps. Peaceful scenes, war and other human tragedies, scientific accomplishments, profiles of kings, queens, presidents have all been depicted. During World War II postage stamps were converted into a medium of propaganda by the opposing sides. Commerce and industry have played a part in influencing their design. Some collectors specialize in animal stamps. The koala bear, the egg-laying platypus and that noted jumper the kangaroo have all had their pictures on Australian stamps. Peruvian stamps have illustrated the llama, while Liberian letters have been decorated with the crocodile. The tortoise has appeared on Vietnamese and Ecuadorean stamps. Some people enjoy doing this by collecting stamps on which various nations have portrayed birds common to their lands. The eagle has a place on the face of Polish, Albanian and Syrian stamps, to mention only a few. Venezuela has featured the vulture, Hungary the raven, Spanish Sahara the ostrich, Korea the hawk, while Austria, China, Monaco and others have pictured the soaring wings of the gull. The pelican has appeared on the stamps of Yugoslavia, Mozambique and Antigua.Unusual stamps, needless to say, interest many collectors. Stamps come in literally all shapes and sizes. A Papua stamp bearing the names of every post office in the country was not only an oddity but a first. In 1853 the Cape of Good Hope issued the first triangular stamps. Brazil’s first stamps in 1843 were oval shaped. One of the world’s rarest stamps, (thus very expensive) is the British Guiana – now Guyana – 1ยข magenta, issued in 1856. It was issued in limited numbers, and only one specimen is now known to exist.An Austrian stamp pictured a wine merchant of Lower Austria in native costume with everything correct except the man’s ears, which were the wrong way around. A St. Kitts-Nevis stamp showed Christopher Columbus on his ship approaching the Americas on his historic trip of 1492. A sharp-eyed stamp collector noted that Columbus was looking at the land through a telescope. Yet telescopes were not invented until over a hundred years later!

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