Sales

Conquering The World – Chatbots Gone Wild (Infographic)

In the early ‘90s, when personal computers could only beep and boop, you had to buy a sound card to hear realistic sound effects or music. By all measures, Creative Labs, Inc. was the undisputed king of PC sound cards, selling their Soundblaster hardware to video game enthusiasts across the country. 

Soundblaster touted 16-bit audio (later 32-bit) and multiple channels of sound as their “drool-factor.” But when I first picked up a sound card from the shelves of Circuit City (remember that store?), I was interested in it’s hidden secret: Dr. Sbaitso.  

Dr. Sbaitso may not have been the first chatbot ever created, but he was the first chatbot with whom I ever spoke. Hearing his canned digital voice tickled my geek feathers. But it wasn’t all kittens and unicorns. Dr. Sbaitso had an unrecoverable problem... 

He was quite possibly the worlds worst chatbot posing as an even worse clinical psychologist. 

  Dr. Sbaitso... you were cool, but not very helpful.

Dr. Sbaitso... you were cool, but not very helpful.

More recently, chatbot have entered into consumers lives and minds with force. And for good reason. In an age where instantaneous communication is valued over human interaction, getting the answers you need from a chatbot makes good business sense. 

Given my historical interactions with Dr. Sbaitso (and equally dissapointing interactions with Amazon Alexa’s chat service), I doubted chatbots would have a positive influence on business owners. Then I came across this comprehensive infographic...

Check it out and let me know in the comments below if and how you think chatbots can help your business succeed in 2018 and beyond! 

(Posted with permission from Josh Wardini, 16Best.com 

Chatbots-infographic.png

On Systems for Continuous Business Improvement

On Systems for Continuous Business Improvement

I remember the pain of losing my first sale.

I’d spent nearly $1500 on flights and hotels, taken two days out for travel, and spent another two days preparing for what I thought was going to be a slamdunk meeting.

As it turns out, if you want to slam dunk, you have to clear a path to the basket before you jump.

The funny thing was, my meeting went exceptionally well. I had my talking points, I answered all their questions, I was friendly, funny, and otherwise firing on all cylinders.

But in sales, that’s not always enough...

The One Thing Business Owners Should Be Doing Every Day

The One Thing Business Owners Should Be Doing Every Day

With my body aching from head to toe and hands covered in fresh blisters, the thing that hurt the most was my pride.

I tried to hide the pain from my two sons. But they could see right through my stiff posture and a fake smile.

Anybody could have. 

When you run out of strength and have to ask for help, it hurts. 

When you hear people laughing at you, it hurts more. 

When you realize that you were rowing a boat with the anchor dropped while dragging 75 pounds of seaweed through the mud, you feel like a complete and total dunce.

3 Hours Earlier…

How to Grow Your Business with Strategic Customer Retention

How to Grow Your Business with Strategic Customer Retention

The rising power of consumers is perhaps the biggest game-changer in the world of modern business.

People are well-informed, less tolerant of shabby service, and more specific in their demands. Digital technologies have empowered them and transformed the way businesses perceive and deal with them. Nowadays, attracting customers is just one part of the success equation.

The real work starts once you need to keep their attention and win their trust. ..

How to Turn Anxiety Into Opportunity with Business Networking

How to Turn Anxiety Into Opportunity with Business Networking

If there's one thing that makes business owners anxious, it's networking.

Some would describe it as difficult, others stressful. However, the importance of it cannot be understated.

Business networking can lead to partnerships, sales, and future contacts that can help you (and you them) in unforeseen ways. It's a necessity for any business owner, and if you do it wrong, you'll miss countless opportunities. 

So how does someone (like me) who is anxious about networking with other professionals push through? 

How to Get Unresponsive Prospects to Return Your Calls (and Emails)

How to Get Unresponsive Prospects to Return Your Calls (and Emails)

It's mind-boggling, isn't it?

You have a great meeting with a potential customer. Your presentation is on point. You answer all their questions. And they show all the buying signs. 

Before leaving, you end with a hearty handshake and promise to send more information. 

Only when you do, they don't respond.

You leave them a friendly voicemail. You shoot them another email. You remind them about your great meeting. And what do you get in return?

Nothing.

You follow up again. You ask them to call you back. You try anything to get them respond. And what do you get?

Silence.

At some point, you give up... figuring your prospect was never interested to begin with. Enough with them. On to the next client.

Sound familiar? It's happened to me dozens of times. 

Unfortunately, I learned later, I had left dozens of sales on the table.  

There's good news, though. With one simple technique, you can drastically increase the number of silent prospects that return your calls. Case in point, when I implemented this technique, my response rate increased by over 60%!

Top 7 Small Business Topic Posts of the Year

Top 7 Small Business Topic Posts of the Year

I’m a big believer in looking back, reflecting on what has gone well, and building on that in the new year to get closer to my goals.

When I look at Modern da Vinci, the growth we’ve seen is incredible. It’s a sign that we’re on the right track, but more importantly, it’s a sign that the small business community is as vibrant as ever.

Here are some incredible statistics from 2016:

  • Average reading time is up 21.45% over last year.
  • Bounce rate is down 35.14%.
  • 521.74% more page views this year over 2015.
  • 850.70% increase in new visitors in 2016!

These statistics are obviously exciting for Seth and me here at Modern da Vinci. But more so, these statistics should make you proud. Proud to be a small business owner. Proud to be part of an ongoing conversation with owners like yourself, all learning and growing together.

We’re excited for what’s to come in 2017. We’re looking forward to growing more with you and finding new small business owners like yourself to learn from.

But before we end 2016, it’s worth reviewing the top posts in each of the five areas for a growing, thriving small business.

How to Delight Customers on this Small Business Saturday

How to Delight Customers on this Small Business Saturday

It's Small Business Saturday, and today's the day when small businesses like yours get to fight for your share of the pie.

And the pie is quite large.

In 2015, over 95 million people spent $16.2 billion (with a B) in small businesses and more than 55% of Americans were aware of the holiday! This year, some project small businesses can look to claim nearly $18 billion in receipts, a 10% increase over last year [Grasshopper Blog – Small Business Saturday Statistics].

Whether you've prepared for this day or not, it's too late to adjust course now. It's too late to develop a new marketing campaign, and too late to create flyers for some new sale. 

But it's not too late (even if you are reading this at the end of the day) to do a few simple things that will delight your customers, getting them spending more money, getting them to share the word with friends and family, and ultimately attracting more customers to your business.

How to Win More Negotiations by Changing Your Conflict Style

How to Win More Negotiations by Changing Your Conflict Style

When a conflict arises, most people have a default approach for how they handle the situation. Many of us are not conscious of our conflict style; we respond automatically without giving thought to the circumstances.

This is significant in the context of negotiations. A negotiation is a type of conflict – a situation where your concerns and interests are not aligning with those of another person, and you are actively seeking a solution.

Understanding your tendencies in responding to conflict, and how you may need to adjust them, will give you an advantage as you work through a negotiation. If you can assess each conflict and negotiation situationally, you can intentionally utilize the style that will be most beneficial to you.

How to Win a Negotiation Without Destroying Relationships

How to Win a Negotiation Without Destroying Relationships

So far in this series, we have explored several common mistakes that can harm negotiations as well as tactics you can employ to avoid negotiation pitfalls. This post is about re-framing the way we view negotiations, especially regarding how we look at the “other side” that we are negotiating with. The idea is to achieve a satisfactory result without damaging relationships.

How to Negotiate Better by Creating New Possibilities

How to Negotiate Better by Creating New Possibilities

Negotiations can be tough.

They are often high pressure, high stakes situations with tight deadlines and demanding stakeholders. Opinions and interests can differ widely among parties, and strong emotions may come into play. When we are under this type of pressure, we often find ourselves stumped. Our thinking narrows and our creative muscles feel constrained.

The Principled Negotiation Method defined in Getting to Yes suggests several strategies to counteract this. The premise is that “The key to wise decision making lies in selecting from a great number and variety of options.”

How to Prevent Negotiation Disasters with a Plan B

How to Prevent Negotiation Disasters with a Plan B

Preparation is essential to effective negotiation. If you wish to reach a fair and satisfactory deal, you need to enter the negotiation with a clear understanding of your interests, options, comparative data, and objective criteria.

One of the most important data points to consider is your “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”. This serves as your “Plan B” to the negotiation. In other words, it is the best option you have and the one you will live with should you leave the negotiation without an agreement.

If you don’t know your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, you may end up taking a deal that is worse than your backup option, or you may walk away from a deal that is better than your backup option.

In this podcast, we will give you some simple steps to create your best alternative to a negotiated agreement and use an example to drive the point home. 

How to Dramatically Improve Your Negotiating with This Simple Technique

How to Dramatically Improve Your Negotiating with This Simple Technique

Negotiation is a back-and-forth communication that is designed to reach an agreement among parties that have both shared and differing interests.

We all deal with negotiating each day, whether on simple matters like what to eat for dinner to complex decisions involving high stakes business matters with multiple parties.

The purpose of negotiations is to produce wise agreements as efficiently as possible while maintaining or strengthening relationships.

In this brief podcast, we specifically look at what “Interests” are, and what it means to focus on interests (not positions) to get better results from your negotiations.