Link Exchanges or Business Development Strategy

Viewing the ever growing issue and concern of Link Exchanges and the method by which they are being performed, I can clearly say to every white hat SEO consultant that WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

I myself as a manager in several organizations receive my share of irrelevant and sometimes insulting exchanges of link invitations from companies/organizations that have absolutely no relevance to my area of business and/or complementary industry. I am always amazed that those companies portray themselves in such a poor manner.

The Common Method

It is a known fact that links are a major concern for every site owner or SEO consultant looking for better rankings and higher PR. Today site owners and even some SEO consultants do not care where they get the links, sending thousands of e-mails through automated programs to whichever company/website that comes across their path. These companies work on a pure statistical assumption that out of all these thousands, few individuals will agree to the exchange.

The problem with this method is that most of us today regard Link Exchange as nothing more than another form of spam. This results in a built up resistance in cooperation to take part in a Link Exchange program as it might indicate your website as a non professional website.

I believe that part of the solution to this problem is for anyone who is looking for SEO consulting to take better care as to whom he/she chooses and to take some involvement in the process of his/hers company’s representation to the world.

Link Exchanges as a Business Development Strategy

After years of conducting Link Exchange activity for my business and those of my clients I started noticing the effect this program brought to my clients. I further wondered how we could create a more organized and thought-out effect from the beginning.

The Effect: The effect that started to happen for my clients was that slowly but surely they were gaining international contacts and forming business relations with distant partners, thus enabling them easier access to their local clients and free promotion of their name. It also brought activity into their circle of contacts and other business associates. That of course led to formal relations which evolved into a full international network with a sole existence to serve the respected clients of the international network’s members.

Creating the Effect

The development from this point was very natural, as it was logical to assume as a multilingual SEO expert that the bridging between cultural differences and forming the same kinds of relationships with local companies and in their own language will add to the tremendous strength of this business possibility. This is exactly what we did, realizing that giving time and attention to the type of companies you are contacting and industries you are targeting is imperative to the success of your Link Exchange campaign.

Many times I have heard that Link Exchanges work on statistics and the more you send the more links you will have. This theory might be true but the quality of the link is affected by this method, and not to mention the constant depletion of the internet resources such as SERP and directories while e-mailing in ignorance.

You will get more links and much more directed traffic and generated business if you take time and thought to the quality of your Link Exchange program. This had taken a tremendous effect for all the companies I consult and work with and will have the same effect for you.

Another excellent way to broaden the Link Exchange program is to contact the most desired of exchanges and explain the idea of business development opportunities that may be involved in such an exchange.

Conclusion

To summarize my thoughts and experience on the matter, the link exchange program will stop having a negative effect on the SEO industry, if professionals and non professionals will give the time and attention this major issue deserves.

I believe that with the simple and familiar advice I have passed along with this short article, there is great potential to create healthy Link Exchange programs where users will truly benefit from the links posted on ones website. Don’t forget this is the first and primary reason for the Link Exchange program to exist and why it is effecting your ranking in such a profound way.

Business Development Tips For Massage Therapy Business

Massage therapy is one field where if you know your basics right, eventually there is just no need to market. The interested will in fact look for you. The field has a massive career opportunity waiting for you. Your massages can treat illness and as they say, only the rich can afford the luxury of being treated, so just no need to worry about making money.

So the first tip for business development of the message therapy business is to work on your offering. If your massages are capable of treating illness like joint pains, act as a stress buster, and help achieve the state of relaxation, then the business prospects are bright. On the other hand, if you are counting on your knowledge in the field, then ensure that you have the right subordinates with the requisite skill set.

The second crucial advice to grow your existing volume is to ensure that your existing clientele make more frequent visits than otherwise. This is one stream where slight manipulations can get you double the business from the exiting client base. Introduce some monthly packages, offer discount schemes on frequent visits, plan special massage therapy charts for specific requirements like pains, render the comfort edge and most importantly SMILE! Most of the time, you tend to ignore the importance of a smile. Your cheerful attitude can help you strengthen the client base more than your services. A simple smile can help you charge double the amount and still make it look meager. The trick is to befriend your customers who expect personal attention, especially in the small business segment. Entertain them and have all the necessary equipment. The right music, the right fragrance and privacy are a must.

Generating referrals is the third most-important aspect. Advocate consultancy, if required, free of cost. Encourage people to drop in with friends who have any specific problem, which you can solve with your massaging capabilities. This free advice can pay beneficially in the form of new customers. Give more time to curious visitors and tell them in detail about the associated benefits. Do not give discounts to new entrants, since this could create a commotion among the existing clientele.

Another tip is to pass on add-on services rather than advocating discounts. If you have to oblige an old customer, do so by adding more treatments in the existing package rather than allowing them to pay less. This is an addictive habit. If they can talk you into a discount once, the tendency would be to get as many more as possible. So discourage any monetary bargains.

Introducing life memberships, home massages, free pick-ups and other related add-ons are just a few more ways to increase the client base and hold on to what you have. However, the key is to impart the best massages and ensure a soothing effect to every one of your customers.

Business Development Training: Follow Up Business Opportunities

Consider the scenario of a business networking event. These are superb sources of leads and referrals that can be the life blood of your business. The business skills you develop in this arena can easily be applied in any business scenario. Assume you have engaged in conversation with a good potential contact. Once you have created a positive first impression start the interesting chat about various areas of common ground. By careful listening, you may identify an opportunity to do some business to your mutual benefit at some later date. You are looking for the moment when someone says something to you to make you think, “Ahaa, there’s a potential business opportunity here.” Suppose you are a business development consultant who specialises in the food industry and who has a good track record in helping companies to increase their margins. If you were asking all the right questions such as “So how you finding things at the moment?”, and you hear the answer “We’re doing reasonably well but we don’t seem to be getting the efficiencies in the factory.” That is an Ahaa moment.

Can I mention again, that networking using business development skills isn’t selling; it’s building business relationships, and gathering business information?

This should be the start of the follow up business development process which is as follows

1. Ask for their business card and read it carefully.

2. Always find something to comment on; maybe the spelling of their name or perhaps they have their business in a particular part of town which you know intimately. It doesn’t matter as long as you show them that you are interested in them, their business and their circumstances.

3. Now this is a key moment. Ask if you can phone them next Wednesday or Thursday to discuss the problem they have with their margins. You can say something like “Now isn’t the time or place, but maybe your problem is a simple issue which I can give you some help on”. The chances are if you have made the right impression, the answer will be “yes”.

4. Bear in mind all the time that if you don’t ask the question then you don’t give the other person, with the business opportunity, a chance to say yes.. You will be at your most popular at this juncture. If you have done it all right, are you really going to waste a great opportunity? Not every business event and not every person you meet is going to turn into a business opportunity but if you are awake alive and alert, listening attentively and with empathy… you just never know.

5. Write down on their business card the day you have agreed to call and let them see you do this. This shows that you are serious and the chances are you’re likely to do it. At this point, there is no reason whatsoever not to excuse yourself in one of several ways which we will show you another time.

6. As part of the bridging process ensure that when you get back home or to your office or even before you leave the business networking event write down where and when you met the person a quick description of them and any salient facts which you may use at a future date to show them that you are truly listening to what they had to say.

7. When you make the follow up call as agreed, review the business card or refer to your business development software if you use it and confirm that they were happy for you to follow up. If you had picked up that the person was going away for weekend then make sure that one of the questions you ask is “How did the weekend go?” I’m not asking you to remember these details. What I am doing is asking you to write down some small talk facts that you gathered on their business card. It helps break down their barriers to talking about business.
When I ask my audiences “what is the most important thing with regard to business cards?” the normal answer I get is “make sure you carry plenty of them with you”. Of course you know now that the most important thing is to ask for theirs. Offer your business card by all means, but don’t be too quick to do this. I think it’s a little pushy and it’s another form of saying “aha you want to know all about me don’t you. Here’s my business card”. It just may be that they don’t want to know all about you … not at that moment anyway. There’s a lot more to say about business development training and in particular working the room but you can find out about that on my other articles.
Take note that business development and networking is about giving first and receiving second. If you go into it thinking “What’s in it for me and what am I going to get out of this tonight” then the chances are you won’t succeed. If you ask questions such as

· “How can I help you?”

· “Who would you like me to introduce you to?”

· “How will I know if someone I’m talking to will be a good introduction for you?”

You will be showing them you are a proficient and skilled business networker.

Dr. Albert Scweizer once said “Give without remembering and receive without forgetting”. That should stand you in good stead when you’re out there looking to create new business opportunities.

Sales Management – Selling and Business Development in the 21st Century

The marketing components that used to generate leads — product, performance, promotion and price –are no longer effective. The tools for selling — lots of sales calls, lunches, golf and give-always — are expensive and inefficient. In the 21st century, selling and business development require the following:

* Prospecting Using the Internet
* Relationship Selling
* Network Selling and
* Investigative Selling.

Prospecting Using the Internet

Cold calling is dead. It’s not productive. It’s demoralizing. It’s expensive. Prospecting in the 21st century involves setting the stage for people and companies to find you so that you can solve their problems. Flaunting advertisements and brochures is also a waste. Everyone goes to the Internet these days to find solutions to their problems. Therefore, the successful sales person will have to know how to use the Internet to generate qualified leads. Corporations should have an Internet program, but territory and product-line sales people should have their own Internet marketing program as well. And it’s not about having a website, it’s much more. This is the passive side of prospecting. This means that sales and business development professionals must set up an aggressive Internet Marketing process for their territory or product so that the people they want to do business with will come to them.

Relationship Selling

The other 21st Century prospecting element is the active side of prospecting. This is where you use professional relationships to find out about problems or opportunities where you can assist. There are so many opportunities for a sales person or account manager to discover within their existing and old/lost accounts. Using professional relationships make this prospecting method effective and easy.

Sales and Business Development people with professional relationships are seen as a resource to protect or enhance buyers’ careers. These people will be open to give information and coach you for cross-sells into their business unit, associate divisions and/or other product lines. If you develop professional relationships, these people will give you qualified leads, buy more and more from you, and refer you to others.

Network Selling

However, one has to learn how to use these relationships to get networked to others. There are two focuses for successful selling in the 21 Century:

1. You must spread like a virus in your customers’ organizations. I use the phrase – move up and out.

2. You must get to the profit-center leaders, C-level executives, and senior staff of the business units you sell into and develop professional relationships with these people to effectively close sales, cross-sell and be seen as the preferred supplier. Hanging out with the subordinates will never secure your position with your customers.

The only way you’ll move up and out and connect with the leaders is by using your professional relationships to network you to others. People with whom you’ve developed credibility — your Golden Network as I call it — will help you if asked. But if they are not asked for a referral and introduction to others, they will rarely offer to connect you with the leaders and others you should be meeting. So you must ask for their help.

To make the networking process productive, what you ask for, how you ask for it, and where you look for help will make all the difference between getting to the right people and getting to useless people for your initiative. This process is Network Selling.

Investigative Selling

Once a sales or business development person connects with a person of value, using his or her network connection, the goal is to convert that individual into his or her Golden Network. In other words the sales or BD person will have to develop a professional relationship with this new contact.

People will consider another individual a professional relationship only if there is something in it for them. So a sales or BD person needs to investigate the critical drivers of their target contact in order to learn what this person values that s/he can deliver. Everyone is different and without knowing each individual’s triggers, a sales person will flounder or worst yet, become annoying. But if the sales person can make the connections between the desires and the deliverables, a relationship can be established, and then this new contact will continue networking you up and out until you are connected to the leaders and their staffs.

The process for determining one’s triggers is Investigative Selling. It requires knowing the questions to ask and how to ask them. Although this sounds simple, it requires finesse, skill and confidence. Investigative Selling also requires effective listening, and the ability to expose and entice. Both of these are advanced skills never taught in schools and rarely taught in product or sales training. So the successful sales or business development person will have to learn these Investigative Selling skills and be able to take them seamlessly to the street.

The sooner the sales or business development person masters these Internet Marketing, Relationships, Network and Investigative Selling Skills, the sooner sales will close and closing ratios rise.