BizConNH Blog

BizConNH 2011: More of What You Need Most

Welcome to BizConNH — New Hampshire’s Business Connector!

In late 2008, a number of our members, led by Sequoya Technologies’ owner Tom Strickland, first began talking about promoting better B2B (business-to-business) networking opportunities for our members. In 2010, we launched BizConNH, a Business Connector where new and established businesses and the people behind them could connect for mutual success. Time and again, the attendees—over 135 business owners, entrepreneurs, managers and employees—stopped to congratulate the Chamber on this well organized, inspirational and educational event. So in 2011, we’re doing it again!

So, what is BizConNH? Yes, part of it is a traditional expo, with dozens of B2B vendors primed to make a deal on their goods and services. BUT, it is much, much more:

As executive director of the Greater Peterborough (NH) Chamber of Commerce, it’s my pleasure to welcome you both to this blog and to this event.

This is the second year for BizConNH and we’ve lined up new speakers, exciting table talks, networking opportunities, new exhibitors and the Café Sequoya (free coffee and snacks in the exhibit area).

BizConNH has grown to include participants from throughout the state — not just the Monadnock Region — and beyond.

  • Your choice of four from among 24 workshops, where you can energize your business and yourself.
  • Informal “table talks” for up-close-and-personal interactions with our specially selected presenters and other attendees.
  • A not-to-be-missed keynote address
  • A $20 discount on new and renewed membership in the Greater Peterborough Chamber
  • Oh, and did we mention a great free lunch and lots of other networking opportunities?
  • And that it’s easy to get to and there’s plenty of free parking?

In short, for a great price, this will be a great day all about growth: business growth and personal growth.

Please look me up when you get there — I’d love to hear your story!
Jack Burnett

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Customers Are Made, Not Born

Create your new customers today!

Create Your Customers by showing them what they need – Be a resource!

Stop Selling to your customers.

By fulfilling the needs of your prospects, you will soon “make” them into your new customers.
Create a “needs based” plan for selling.  Once you’ve engaged with your lead, whether by phone, in-person or through networking, determine the emotion that is driving that lead to your business.

Repeat the message back to the prospect to be sure you are hearing the right emotional message….that message will tell you their need.
Then provide the solution…be the resource.  Once you’ve determined the need you can offer the product…YOU, Your Service, Your Product.

How do you know what a Customer needs?

Use these Steps:

  • Find out the Information
  • Create an Understanding
  • Provide Clarification
  • Give them Advice
  • Offer Assistance
  • Always give Reassurance
  • Help with the Transaction itself

Have a system of selling.
Have Structure to what you do.
Have Substance in how you do it.
Use Scripts – Select words & how you say it.

It’s Not a Sale, it’s a Relationship!

Keep that relationship by delivering on your promise to fulfill your customer’s needs with quality through your products and services.

Achieve Quality by:

  • Appealing to customers’ unconscious needs
  • Promising to satisfy those needs
  • Delivering exactly what you promise
  • Exceeding customers’ expectations

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The Quickbooks Paradox

Quickbooks is the accounting software used by most small businesses.  Why?  Because it’s so easy to use, you can be up and running in just a few minutes, with no training at all.

Quickbooks accounting software is prone to lots of errors.  Why?  Because it’s so easy to use, you can be up and running in just a few minutes, with no training at all.

Quickbooks is a tool for running your business, and just like any other tool, it’s important to know how to use it properly.  One of the things that makes Quickbooks easy to use is the fact that it’s so flexible, there is often more than one way to do any task.  The problem is, the way you enter information will have a direct effect on the information you are able to get out of it. 

Proper training to help you get the most out of Quickbooks, and will also save you time every day, because you will learn the most efficient way of using it.

To learn more about Quickbooks and how it can help you run your business, attend “Making the Most of Quickbooks – An Accounting Toolkit for Your Business”.  You’ll be glad you did!

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The Human Resources Factor in a Company’s Productivity, Profitability and Success

The quest for the right balance on addressing employee needs and business needs is ongoing. 

The first question employers often ask is, “Why bother? Does investing in my employees really make a difference in the success of my business?” Employers need employees and employees need employers. It’s a partnership. It’s about more than the money for employees. It’s about the rewards of using your talents and feeling satisfied, seeing the organization reach its goals, developing important relationships, providing a structure and, for many employees,  a place to live one’s purpose in life, to name a few.

The second question employers ask is “What’s important for employees?” Employees may appreciate programs and bonuses but the returns on those are short lived. What really matters to employees is the work culture and climate that is established and expected from the top down. 

The goal is not to make employees happy but to create a work environment that is positive and respectful of the employees’ knowledge, skills, and intelligence.  It is about trust: trust that the employees want to do their best. It is about the employer asking employees what resources they need to help themselves and the organization be successful.

To learn more about how to engage and motivate employees, be sure to attend the 2010 BizCon Conference.

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When Good Writing Goes Bad

Good writing is clear writing. If you clearly tell your customers that you can solve or prevent their problems, they want to find out more. Clearly written websites, brochures, newsletters, blogs, user manuals—all your written materials—are a gift to your customers that they repay by buying your product or service.

Good writing goes bad when your message is:
• All written down—but doesn’t speak to the customer. Customers want to know immediately, “What’s the benefit to me?”
• All written down—but doesn’t make sense. Customers become frustrated when a document is inconsistent or outdated or lacks any logical order.
• All written down—but isn’t news. Every company in the world boasts about great customer service and high quality. At the very least, tell customers what you mean by great customer service and how you measure quality.
• All written down—but never stops. Dense pages of text overwhelm customers. You want to give them a reason to call, email or walk in the door for more information.
• All written down—but hidden deep in the middle or end. Readers won’t hunt for your message. They want answers fast.
• All written down—mostly. Your most knowledgeable readers still know less than you do about your product or service. Missing information frustrates them. Beware any time you catch yourself thinking: “Everyone knows that.”

Painful as it is to admit, if customers fail to understand what you’re telling them about your product or service, the fault probably lies in the writing. The average customer is looking for clear answers and hasn’t a clue where to find them. Help them find what they want at your company. For practical, easy to implement tips on clear writing, come to Write to Sell at BizConNH. See you there!

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How Do You Differentiate Yourself from the Competition?

In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace where products and pricing look alike, remember that often times the only difference is you – how you manage a call, how well you assess the buyer’s situation, how well you apply your products and solutions to the buyer’s needs, and what kind of impression you build along the way.

So how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd, articulate value, and capture a greater market share? Invest time in these three areas:

1. Focus on highly investigative questions – the more accurately you understand the client’s situation, the better you will provide the exact solution they are looking for the first time. For example: Help me understand how I can be most helpful to you?
2. Prove that you heard them and don’t waste their time. In competitive environments, buyers have very little tolerance or patience for having their time wasted – don’t make the mistake of an off-the-shelf sales presentation; focus your time and energy on solving the needs and expand only if applicable. Relevance is the key to long-term success when the market gets tight. You bring value, you get to stay.
3. Be an expert and sharpen your sword. Increase your value perception by bringing targeted expertise to the table. Think on your client’s behalf. Be innovative. What can you do to help them meet their business objectives this year that they may not have thought of – a new idea, a new product, a new approach, a new application of your solutions? Sharpen your sword with exceptional sales skills –know your stuff and understand how to manage the sales conversation flawlessly.

Learn more on how to differentiate yourself in the selling process along with other tips to improve sales performance by attending our session at BizConNH 2010- Finding Your Next Sales Superstar – Maybe it’s You!.

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Your First Steps Toward a Strategic Plan

“A Strategic plan is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people.” (Wikipedia)

Your Strategic Plan is one of the most important documents that you will use to run your business.  This is where your dreams and vision for your business become a reality.
Take this time to think about why you went into business.  What did you want your business to do for you? Read the rest of this entry »

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Quick Medicine Helps Cure Businesses in Distress

According to the Turnaround Management Association, only 20% of distressed businesses recover. You can imagine what that means for the other 80%; they limp along as a shadow of their former self or they disappear into another firm or into the bankruptcy process.

That high number traces back to one thing – not acting soon enough.  A recent client of ours waved the white flag while the last few dollars were headed out the door. We went straight from health issues into cardiac arrest.  Clearly, their previous two internally-lead turnaround efforts  hadn’t worked. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m Not a Salesperson But….

Ever wonder why it’s so easy to postpone sales activities that can grow your business? Few businesses are started by people from successful sales backgrounds – still, what is it about selling that has business owners opening up QuickBooks before opening up a prospecting file?
The truth is that sales has a longer history than any other business function. In fact, sales is one of the the oldest professions!  When humans first began to have surplus, selling facilitated the transfer of that surplus.  Professional selling has since evolved significantly.  Today, the best sales practices incorporate proven disciplines from neuroscience, psychology, communication, and other sciences.
So why do otherwise solid, forward thinking, successful professionals break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of having to ‘sell’ something? Read the rest of this entry »

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Delivering Projects, Noun by Noun

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a mythic document in Project Management. Every textbook reminds us that the WBS is the foundation of the project plan. But what the heck is it? Perhaps appropriately, I’ve found a lot of mythology on this topic. So let’s talk about what it is and how to build it. Read the rest of this entry »

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