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        a home based business onlinehome business ideas

        Another AHBBO Article
        Why Am I Afraid to Sell?

        © 2003-2017 Elena Fawkner

        Relationship marketing.  It's the backbone of a successful
        online business.  Fail to forge online relationships and your
        business will suffer.  Simple enough concept, right?  But what
        does "relationship marketing" really mean?  Simply put, it
        refers to the principle that, in order to be successful in business,
        especially online since it's such an anonymous medium, you
        need to establish a relationship of trust with your site visitors
        and ezine readers before you can expect them to do business
        with you.  It requires a commitment to customer service and a
        willingness to help others for no certain reward other than the
        satisfaction of helping another and building for yourself and
        your business a reputation of credibility and trustworthiness.

        At the end of the day, though, if your business is to be
        successful, you have to turn a buck.  One of the most
        common anxieties expressed by new (and even not so new)
        online entrepreneurs, though, is that they don't want to come
        across as "selling something" to those with whom they have
        forged the very relationship that is a prerequisite to actually
        making the sale!

        In other words, the focus on "relationship marketing" has been
        so much on the relationship that the marketing begins to
        feel crass and a violation of trust.  Many new online business
        owners report that they feel like they're taking advantage of the
        trust of those with whom they have forged a bond.  Of course,
        there's no reason to feel any such thing so long as you believe
        in what it is you're selling and that it's something that will
        benefit your customers.  If you don't feel this way, then your
        bad feelings are well placed.  You ARE taking advantage!

        The discomfort associated with selling is not restricted to the
        business owner, either.  I have received several indignant
        emails over the course of the past year or so from readers of
        my ezine in response to promotions I have run for programs I
        actively promote.  The recurring theme of these sorts of
        communications is that I have a "responsibility" to my readers
        because they've come to rely on me as an authoritative source
        of information and I have somehow breached this responsibility
        by doing something so crass as to actually market the
        programs I promote to earn part of my online income.  Some
        have even gone so far as to suggest that, since I accept paid
        advertising in my ezine, I should be content with that revenue
        stream and not seek to make money by promoting outside

        My response to this line of reasoning is simply that I'm running
        a BUSINESS.  I'm not working nights and weekends on my
        site and on my ezine out of the goodness of my heart.  I'm just
        not that noble, believe me.  I have a profit motive.  Despite
        what some people seem to think, a profit motive is NOT, in and
        of itself, a Bad Thing.  A profit motive is only a Bad Thing when
        one misleads, deceives and otherwise takes advantage of the
        trust of another to pursue that profit.  There's no reason to
        apologize or feel guilty for wanting to make an honest profit.

        How about you?  Do you have just a twinge of uneasiness when
        it comes to marketing your products and services?  Here are
        some ideas to help you overcome the reticence you may feel
        in pursuing sales from your prospective customers and how to
        manage these relationships so that your customer understands
        that, although you are there to help them, you are also out to
        help yourself by earning an honest living.


        The very first thing you need to do is decide what it is you're
        really doing when you create your website or publish your
        ezine.  Is it a hobby or is it a business?  The difference,
        respectively, is the absence or presence of a profit motive.  If
        it's a hobby, fine.  Don't try and turn a profit, just enjoy yourself
        and make just enough to cover your expenses if you can.  But
        if it's a business, understand that making a profit is non-
        negotiable.  It's the reason for your business's existence.  You
        will no doubt have several purposes.  But the profit motive is

        Do whatever it takes to crystallize your purposes.  For some
        people, just thinking about it and making a mental decision is
        sufficient.  For others, crystallization requires seeing it in black
        and white.  If that's you, write down your purposes.  Again,
        though, if you're running a business rather than indulging in a
        hobby, turning a profit must be on your list of purposes (unless,
        I suppose, you're running a non-profit business but we'll leave
        that aside for present purposes).  Recognize that purpose for
        what it is.  Embrace it.  PURSUE it with a vengeance.  It's
        nothing to be ashamed or coy about.  So long as you intend to
        do so, and actually do so, by legitimate, honest and ethical
        means, give yourself permission to aggressively chase a dollar.

        Why crystallize your purposes in this way?  Because they'll
        keep you on track when you're confronted by the naysayers
        who'll inevitably pop up in your porridge.


        The concept of "relationship marketing" does NOT mean
        getting up close and personal with your customers.  You'll save
        yourself a lot of grief and angst if you just keep things
        businesslike and professional - friendly to be sure, but not
        *overly* personal.  It's possible to be friendly and helpful in a
        professional, businesslike manner without stepping over the line
        into the personal.  The people you're dealing with are not your
        friends, they're your customers.  Of course, over time, you may
        become friends with certain people who started out as
        customers.  But don't start from the position that you have to be
        friends with your customers in order to engage in relationship
        marketing.  You don't.  Keep it businesslike and professional
        and you won't raise any unrealistic expectations.


        One way of keeping yourself in check is by constantly testing
        your decisions against the criteria "is this decision in the best
        interests of my business?".  If so, do it, recognizing that
        something can be in the best interests of your business even
        if it doesn't involve cash flowing in your direction.  If not, don't.

        Occasionally, it will be in the best interests of your business
        to do something that may be perceived by your customer as
        a personal favor.  An example might be giving a refund for a
        purchase under circumstances where the customer is not
        strictly entitled to one and where you have an ongoing
        relationship with the customer.  You do so in the interests of
        customer service and this is certainly an example of something
        that is in your business's best interests.

        Sometimes, however, customers can take advantage of such
        a policy.  To forestall this type of problem, if you decide to do
        something that benefits your customer/reader/visitor over and
        above what they have an entitlement to, make it clear, in a
        subtle way, that you are doing so for business reasons.  Be
        prepared to set limits though.  Know how far you are prepared
        to go before it stops being a business decision and becomes a
        personal one and to the detriment of your business interests.
        Being uncomfortable saying "no" is not a good enough reason
        to sacrifice your business's best interests if that's the right
        decision in all the circumstances.


        Don't be shy about promoting your products and services and
        letting your prospective customers know you would like for them
        to purchase from you.  Be direct, open and honest about it.  For
        example, if someone emails me and asks for my advice about
        how to get started in an online business of their own, I'll
        recommend products that I think will benefit them.  Typically, I
        recommend Cookie Cutter and Cash Cow if they're new to internet
        marketing.  Why?  Firstly, I believe in both products and think
        they give the newbie an efficient, cost-effective way of learning a
        lot about how online businesses work in a short period of time.
        Secondly, I am an affiliate of both programs and earn $20 a pop
        each time I sell one.  Would I recommend any products that
        are directly relevant to my business that I don't have a financial
        interest in?  No.  Why?  I have a profit motive.  My time is money.
        The key is, I believe in the products.  If I thought there were
        better products out there than the ones I was promoting I'd
        recommend them too.  But only after I signed up as an affiliate
        so I could make a profit from my recommendation.

        On the other hand, occasionally I'm asked to recommend a
        webhost.  I'm an inactive affiliate of one of the major webhosting
        companies but I never recommend them because I think they're
        too expensive.  In this case, I refer the enquirer to the webhost
        I use for my own site.  I'm not an affiliate of theirs and I have no
        financial interest in making the recommendation.  I'm not
        particularly interested in webhosting as a product to promote so
        I haven't bothered (yet) to sign up for my webhost's affiliate
        program.  It's just an honest recommendation, just as Cookie
        Cutter/Cash Cow is an honest recommendation.  The only
        difference is, I make money on the latter and why not?

        The point is, so long as you're making an honest
        recommendation, there's no reason why you can't make a
        profit at the same time.  It's a win-win situation.  So stop being
        afraid to sell.  It's the reason your business exists and it won't
        if you don't.

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