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Five Tips for Improving Your Business

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(1) Have an 800#. You can get one very cheaply through your long distance carrier. Sprint provides mine, and it costs $10 a month, plus the cost of calls that come in. It’s set up as a Wats line, so it’s very inexpensive. I highly recommend Sprint because of their Free Friday campaign good through the year 2000. We do all our direct mail faxing and calling for new fax numbers on Fridays.

(2) Use an electronic voice mail box so callers never get a busy signal and you never have to stop an order to take call waiting. Make sure your message includes your fax number and your address, so people who want to order that way can go ahead and do so if they get your voice mail. If you have to leave your office in the middle of the day and no one is there to cover the phones, take the phone off the hook so callers get the “all our lines are busy” message.

(3) If you sell business-to-business, always keep your mind on “what’s in it for them” not “what’s in it for me.” Your customers want to know why they should buy from you. Give them a good reason. With our attorney customers, we offer a Flyer Distribution Program. They distribute flyers to their clients and then get $2 from every sale we see from flyers with their codes. They take on absolutely no risk. They invest absolutely no money. We send them the flyers; we send them checks. Simple, efficient and profitable for us all.

(4) Answer your phone and treat each customer as a special person. Say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” before your company name when you pick up the phone. Say “I can help you with that” when they ask to order a book. Say “All our books come with an unconditional money back guarantee.” Say “We’ll get your book right out to you.” Say “Thank you for your order. I hope you enjoy the book.”

(5) Read all your sales materials OUTLOUD and see how they sound. Call or write to past customers and ask them for their comments on what they found most useful about the book. Ask them if they found anything surprising about the book. Ask if their expectations about the book were met. Make sure you make it easy for people to order your book. Is your order form on every piece of literature? Your 800#, your address?

Okay… the ball’s now in everybody else’s court. Share your five tips and let’s get those sales rolling!! I don’t want to be the only small publisher out here that’s making money, okay?

Paula E. Langguth is the author of Bounce Back from Bankruptcy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Back on Your Financial Feet, PO Box 47, Tracy’s Landing, MD 20779, 800/507-9244.

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