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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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Sell Like a Superstar


The successful sales professionals of today and the superstars of tomorrow embrace selling philosophies and attitudes that can be translated into 12 strategies.
These can help anyone who is in sales perform better, turn prospects into customers and keep them coming back for more.

1 Know yourself
What are the opinions, prejudices, judgments, attitudes, values and beliefs, philosophies and old baggage that may be sabotaging your sales success? Do you know who you really are?
A thourough, honest self-appraisal and a subsequent modification of incorrect attitudes and behaviour are critical for autonomy and success in selling in the new business climate.

2 Know your fundamental mission
Ask yourself why you are selling. Is it to make money? Have fun? Serve your clients? Grow your company? Contribute to society? Provide for your families' current and future needs?
Your reasons - more than your goals for staying in this demanding, challenging and rewarding career - will determine the peace, balance and fulfilment in your sales career.

3 Build strong relationships
What type of people do you like to be around? How do you like to spend your time? What else is important to you in your life besides your career? Are your companions satisfied with your current selling position or circumstances?
Selling today is about building successful, positive on-going relationships.
Your overall success will be greatly impacted by your willingness and ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with everyone who is directly and indirectly connected with your sales success.

4 Devote time to personal growth
It is important that you regularly read good books, listen to great CDs, attend seminars and network with people who can help you.

5 Look ahead
Solving your prospect's or client's problems is no longer an effective sales strategy.
The successful sales staff in the marketplaces of today and tomorrow are creative problem-solvers. They think far ahead of their clients, not just along with them.

6 Build trust
People buy from people they trust, not people they simply like. The key to building trust is simple. Promise a lot and deliver more.
I am a trainer, speaker and consultant but I do not actively sell myself as any of these. I do, however, sell myself as a client resource.
Think about what you can offer your client other than your products or services.

7 Don't sell on price
Successful sales staff sell value. The price will always seem high if value is perceived as low. When you focus on price either because of poor product knowledge, poor client knowledge or poor sales skills, you will always lose in the long run. Clients want the best value for their dollar.

8 Prospect for information
Effective prospecting is the most important sales skill you need to master. It is more important than good closing techniques, impressive sales presentations or the ability to handle client resistance.
The most important element of the sales process for successful sales staff is not the giving of information, but the getting of information.
They do not just plan their sales presentations but have a presentation strategy.

9 Have a conversation
An effective sales presentation is not a presentation but a two-way conversation. Many sales staff have been trained to deliver their sales message. This message is often a programmed discussion of the various features and benefits of their product or service.
Every prospect buys for his own reasons, not those of the salesman or the company.
When you deliver you standard approach or presentation, you are assuming that each prospect buys for the same reasons, at the same time and in the same way in the buying cycle.

10 You cannot sell to everyone
Sales resistance from the client or prospect gives you valuable insight into his thinking. Successful sales staff do not try to manoeuvre around this resistance but get it into the open as soon as possible.
The myth is that you should be able to sell to everyone, sooner or later.
I wish this were true. It would make selling so much easier.
But the reality is, not everyone in the marketplace is a good prospect for you, now or in the future.
They may be a prospect, but not the best one for the time, energy and resources you have available at the present time.
Timing is critical in successful sales.

11 Closing is not a fluke
Closing the sale is not a matter of tricking or manipulating the customer.
It is not using fear, guilt or hard-sell tactics.
Closing the sale on a well-qualified prospect is the natural conclusion to everything you have done in the sales process that is correct and effective.

12 Follow up
After-sales service is the glue that keeps clients loyal, makes them buy more and be willing to give you referrals and positive references.
Re-examine your selling philosophies in the light of current market and consumer trends.
You may need to re-focus some of your attitudes and approaches if you are going to excel in the sales profession in the years ahead.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Thu, Sept 27, 2007
by Tim Connor, a US-based management trainer and author of Soft Sell, a best-selling book on sales]

For complete content, please check this book below out!
Soft Sell, 4E (Soft Sell: Use the New Art of Selling to Create Opportunities & Close More Sales)


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

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Fear NOT, Take the Plunge!


Being your own boss can be exciting and challenging, but you also have to be prepared for some sacrifices and a lot of changes

Your job may be interesting, but you may occassionally wonder whether you should look at alternatives.
Perhaps you would like to join another company or become an entrepreneur and do something on your own.
You may have thought about it before, but something always held you back.
Having spent over a decade working for large companies, you probably hesitated at the thought of getting out of your comfort zone.
Running your own business is like sailing into uncharted waters. In the end, you shelved the idea because the security of a job outweighed the risks of entrepreneurship.

Making the transition from a traditional job to working from home or starting your own business can be scary. Not all of us can become entrepreneurs.
Deciding to make the transition from being an employee to becoming your own boss can be one of the toughest things you will face.
A million questions will keep popping into your mind. What should I do? How will I start? Where will I raise the capital? What if things don't work? What will be the impact on my family? Is this the right time?
When you are self-employed, you have nobody to handle all the office tasks that someone in some department used to handle - bill payments, stock counts, maintenance, software installation, advertising, and so on.
These tasks are now your responsibility. You have to be a multitasker.
Suddenly, you are the receptionist, book-keeper, store manager, marketing executive and cleaner. And most importantly, you're the salesman - you have to get customers!

As an employee, you take instructions on tasks and assignments, but as an entrepreneur you have to be a self-starter. You have to motivate yourself to get things done.
The fear of unknown and the fear of failure are two phobias that grip many people when they think of a career change from employee to entrepreneur.
Change is often frightening and uncomfortable. Most people prefer to maintain status quo until events and circumstances force them to change tracks.
An entrepreneur's life is not easy. As in life, nothing you do can completely prepare you for the daunting task of being the owner and president of your own company.
While there may be support, you are ultimately on your own. Your money, time and energy are on the line.
The decision to be or not be an entrepreneur is an intensely personal one. It is one that needs to be discussed and debated with family and friends. It depends on each person's appetite for risk.
There is never a right or wrong answer, just as there is never a right or wrong time. The fundamental decision has to come from within.
Once you have decided to leave the world of employment and move to the world of entrepreneurship, you must let go of the former completely.
If you know that there is always the option of going back to the safety and security of the other world, it will be much harder making the entrepreneurial option work.
In a sense, as you close one door, other doors will open. But you have to close the door first. You have to fight knowing that there is no going back.

A start-up is exciting because the pace is so quick. For example, in the technology industry, products and players change rapidly, so quick decision-making, quick assessment, prompt resolution and immediate follow-through on ideas are essential.
You must understand the market, the competition, and, above all, define and reinforce your unique selling proposition.
A clear statement of purpose provides you with focus as you develop your business plan. Going back to it frequently will keep you from veering off course.
When you talk with clients, bankers, investors, and vendors, it will enable them to easily grasp what your aims and goals are.

No matter which option you choose, you will most likely be making a sacrifice of some sort - and taking a chance. Plan smart, believe in yourself, and resolve to do whatever it takes to make your dreams come true.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Mon, Sept 24, 2007
by David Wee,]


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Thursday, July 17, 2008

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Take Temporary Positions Seriously


Doing a first-rate job as a temp is a worthwhile investment of your time. Here are some tips:

You may be looking for a temporary job because you are still waiting for the right job to come along. Perhaps you wish to supplement your family income, earn some money while studying part-time or, simply, be gainfully employed.
To truly make the best of your time, treat the company, yourselft and your resume as seriously as if it were a permanent job.
If you are a great temp with an outstanding attitude, people will sit up and take notice of you, and this is always good for networking or creating new prospects for yourself.

Temporary job
Don't feel that temporary jobs are demeaning and unimportant. The fact that the employer is willing to spend money to hire someone shows that he takes the position seriously and believes that the temporary staff can add value to his business.
Do take your application seriously and show that you are the right person for the job. Your resume should be concise, organised and well presented in a widely acceptable format such as a Word or PDF document.
While you do not have to include everything you have ever done, you need to be explicit and highlight the knowledge and experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a temporary accounts position, be very specific about the accounting functions that you used to be in charge of.
Similarly, if you are a fresh graduate applying for a temporary creative position, make reference to any relevant experience acquired during your industrial attachment or school projects, and provide a portfolio showcasing your best work.
A resume that is untidy, lacking in information and obviously unrelated to the requirements of the position only shows that you do not take pride in your own resume and you do not know or care what you are applying for - and hence you are wasting the recruiter's time.

The interview
Don't arrive at the interview late, tell the company that you are not really interested in the job after all, or that you have already committed to another job offer. Be considerate to your interviewer and call to cancel the interview in advance, since he has set aside valuable time to see you personally.
Do find out a little more about the company and the nature of the work so that you know how best to highlight your professional qualities and abilities during interview. Dress appropriately as a courtesy to the interviewer and so that he will see that you are always professional in your outlook.
Be truthful about your experience, the timeframe that you can commit to and your career aspirations. Your employer will appreciate your honesty, and you will not be forced to come clean when they offer you a permanent position that you really do not care for after your temporary stint.

On the job
Don't contribute in any way to the office gossip or comment on the management style of the company, no matter how tempting it may be. You may be leaving in matter of days or weeks, but what you say will be remembered and it will reflect badly on you if your negative remarks were quoted by anyone else.
If you are asked for comments, say something diplomatic but true, or politely decline by saying that you do not know enough about the situation to make a fair judgement. It is certainly better to be silent or, at least, maintain a neutral stand than to be considered to witty for your own good.
Display the same good attitude and commitment you would if you were a permanent staff member. Arrive on time and do an excellent job even when you think no one is looking, so that when the big boss asks who the new face is, your immediate supervisor will be able make mention of you and the good work that you are doing.
If people at the workplace do not take your contribution seriously, it is only because they fail to recognise that you are actually saving them from shouldering the extra responsibilities themselves, over and above their existing workload.
Be sensitive and respect the way things are done - at least for the time being. This is not to say that you have to remain silent and do everything. You can make polite and constructive comments - when you are very certain of the facts.
Keep in mind that there may be reasons for certain procedures and policies that your supervisor or colleagues may not feel at liberty to reveal to you, as they do not foresee that you will stay long.

Exit Strategy
Don't go missing in action suddenly when you want to quit. Instead, give due notice to your supervisor according to the company's expectations.
Thank your supervisor and send a thank-you e-mail message to the interviewer or recruiter at the end of your assignment.
If you found your stint enjoyable and a good learning experience, say so. If you were unhappy, it is in good taste to exit peacefully and amicably anyway. As far as possible, do not give anyone a reason to fault you on your attitude and behaviour.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Thu, June 28, 2007
by Anna Chan, former recruitment consultant, now teacher]


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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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Make It a Good Deal!


Negotiation is something everyone does, knowingly or otherwise. A child negotiates to do homework later, watch his favourite TV programme or for a reward for passing his examinations. An employee negotiates for a raise or promotion. You may negotiate to buy or sell a house.
These are just examples of numerous negotiations that take place every day. If they are handled with the right skills, it can make significant difference to the outcome.
The moment you are given the discretion to grant any kind of concession to an "opponent", you are in the role of a negotiator. And if you have an exchange item that is of a perceived value to your opponent, you are likely to go for an agreement rather than a deadlock.
In the first example, the parents can use the situation as an opportunity to structure a positive study plan together with their child, who will be positively motivated as he is the main stakeholder. By determining the goal jointly, they can work out a plan to achieve results that would satisfy both parties.
Having a structured arrangement to achieve the goal is more constructive than making a casual promise.

The most important stage of the negotiation process is the preparation and planning stage. This is where you identify the goal, objectives, the strategy and decide what tactics to use.
Gathering information and using it to analyse the situation is critical. Find out as much as you can about your opponent and identify any advantages.
Anticipate your opponent's list of demands, and identify which are the ones you will have to make decisions on. Knowing which issues you have to make a spontaneous decision about and which ones you need to buy more time for is important because you cannot afford to make a mistake.

Strategy in negotiation refers to a win-win, win-lose or lose-win outcome. You can expect to build a long-term relationship in business only when your customer is always on the winning side. However, you might consider using a lose-win strategy if you want to break into your competitor's stronghold to let the customer try your product for the first time.
At the start of a negotiation, the one who makes the first move is referred to as the "opening gun". There are advantages and disadvantages of this position, but whatever you do, never adjust your opening.
For example, you are prepared to open a negotiation at $1,000. But your opponent opens at $600. If you panic at the 40 per cent difference and name your opening price at $800, you opponent has gained an advantage. Therefore, never let your opponent's opening affect you.
The next stage in negotiation is called the "exploration stage". This is when the more experienced negotiator can be identified and both parties find out more about each other's personal and company agenda.
A series of well-placed questions and the probing technique are applied at this stage to get vital information that will determine your next step. Use appropriate comments like, "that's interesting, tell me more" and "help me to understand your constraints".
During the discussion, the professional negotiator will always take notes and re-confirm important details and summarise the meeting at the end.

Many tactics are used in negotiation, and some might be even considered unethical or unprofessional. There are four main pressure tactics:
  • Time pressure: Shortening and delaying the deadline
  • Physical pressure: Dragging the negotiation and skipping meals etc
  • Mental pressure: Loss of sale or account, not meeting targets or quota
  • Financial pressure: Loss of commission, revenue or profitability

To be a good negotiator, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the negotiation process, know your own strengths and weaknesses as a negotiator - and get some practice.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Wed, June 27, 2007
by Michael Low, Sales Training Consultant at Dynamic Life]

Find more references at Negotiation Skills!


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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How to Choose Your Forex Software


The forex software that traders choose to use should have several features. These are some of the features that must be there in the forex software.

As a start for your forex (foreign exchange) learning and software testing, you can give Forex Tester software a try.

Web based software

If you wish to trade from anywhere, then it the forex software should be a web based software. This enables you to just login from the site and start trading instantly. You can trade real time and will receive all the information that you require online. Exchange rates are constantly changing each second and this has to be factored by the traders that are making the deals

Downloading the software

Forex software can also be downloaded onto the system and the web can be used to make the deals easily. Many of the companies that provide the forex software also provide practice accounts and demos. Many of them also have consultant that are available online for chat as well as over the phone. Many believe that the internet should be supplemented with the personal touch that they receive.

Many of the software and the companies also allow the traders to trade with as little as $100 of margin money. It's imperative that the forex software provides a safe and secure environment for the transactions to take place. The data should be stored securely in a central exchange.

Secure transactions

Unauthorized entry can play havoc with the accounts and margin money. This can be quite harassing for the traders as they could lose substantial amounts of money. This is reason that the SSL by verisign should be displayed on the websites for forex trading. This ensures that the data is been suitably encrypted and the users are safe to use the forex software and the website

Locking in the rates

When the trader wants to execute a trade, they need to lock in the rate on the forex software Usually the rates are displayed on the forex software in real time for about 10 seconds. After this another rate is displayed for the currencies been traded. Usually the forex software will also show whether the currency pair is going up and down. Many of the forex software will display the forex quotes for over 30 of the currency pairs been traded currently.

Since the forex market is a 24 hour market with no central exchange, the rates are extremely dynamic nod the forex traders are responding to it extremely fast.

Article Source:

For a start, you may want to try this software, which meets all the above requirements.

Furthermore, you may want to try this professional forex tester software to:

  • Study trading on the FOREX market in a fast and convenient way.
  • Develop and test your own trading strategies without being a programmer.
  • Test your trading strategies on years of historical data.
  • Save your money and time.


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Monday, July 14, 2008


Grab Your Audience


Want to give a talk that is captivating and notable? Here are some tips:

Humour can enliven your talk, but avoid telling generic "funny stories". Instead, find and build more humour within the context of your own stories.
Jokes may get a laugh, but a humorous personal story pertinent to your talk will freshen up your anecdote and will be memorable for your audience.
For instance, come up with an experience that was embarrassing for you - if the point you are making can be tied into an awkward moment which caught you off guard and is humorous in the retelling.
Study your material, find a description that is relevant to a segment of your speech, insert it as a humorous example in your talk, and cap it with a punch line - this is the essence of comedy.
It is also fun to introduce an entertaining "character" to your story.
Then, as you present the anecdote, learn to affect the role of that character on stage by shifting your position, changing your head movement or facial expression. You will be amazed at how the audience can "see" the story and appreciate it more.
It takes practice: Rehearse in front of a mirror, try new material out on friends, and discard it when the story falls flat.

Effective role-playing and character portrayal depend heavily on the use of body language.
On the platform, it is an essential part of your message and can help you enhance the words you use to create pictures in the minds of your audience.
First, avoid repetitive use of the same movements or gestures. It is a difficult exercise, but it is important to practise a veriety of movements and to control the same repeated gestures with your hands.
Try practising a speech by clasping your hands behind your back to avoid meaningless, repetitive arm and hand gestures. It will be tough at first to concentrate on your talk without using your hands, but it will help stop superficial flailing and gesturing. Remember, if you lose track of your gestures, it does not mean your audience will.
The same applies to facial expressions and movement on the platform. To emphasise a shift in your speech content, move to the left or right of the lectern. If you have a strong point to make, use that moment to take a step or two forward to highlight that issue.
Movement rehearsal is essential to ensure your gestures are relevant and not superficial or redundant.

Your voice and the inflections of your speech are vital to your talk too.
The way you pronounce words can weaken your presentation. An example is saying "axchually" in place of "actually", or "perfekly" in place of "perfectly".
Use short, simple declarative sentences and cut out useless words. You can be more articulate if you make a special effort to pronounce the final sound in a word and use its energy to carry over to the following word. Pay special attention to the final "t" and "ng".

Pausing at exactly the right moment in your speech is often more effective than anything you do with your voice or body movements.
A symphony orchestra becomes a lot more "listenable" because of the variety of sound - sometimes soft, sometimes loud, sometimes still.
Learn to pause more often. As you know your material very well, you may have a tendency to talk too fast. Your audience may be hearing your information for the first time, so it is important to slow down and give them the opportunity to catch every word.
The faster you speak, the more you have to open up your material with pauses. If you do not, you limit your audience's ability to absorb your stories and ideas.
Using pauses and silence to punctuate your material will draw in your audience. After making a point or delivering a punch line, accentuate it by standing still and shifting only your eyes. The impact will be much greater.
Another key element to the delivery of a speech is the use of your energy levels. Studies have proven that the first and last 30 seconds of a presentation make the most impact on the audience.
Do no be afraid to grab your audience. But develop pacing and variety in your delivery energy. If you come on with a gangbusters opening and then drop to a steady low-energy level, your presentation will seem flat.
If you stay high energy for the entire programme, you may risk losing your believability. Adopt variety and pacing in your delivery, and your audience will remain alert.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Mon, June 25, 2007
by Patricia Fripp,]


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Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Transform Yourself


Make changes as you journey through your career and discover new things

On our sailboat passage from Canada to Australia, my wife and I got stuck in the doldrums, about 1,600km from land.
Just as sailors must sail through the doldrums if they want to realise their ambitions of sailing to far away places, we too must make difficult transitions in our careers. If we are to move from junior to senior, from ordinary to extraordinary, there are at least four major transformations to navigate:

  • Being reactive to being proactive;
  • Fulfilling a role to contributing your gifts;
  • Serving your workplace to aligning your work context to your career goals;
  • Continuous learning to teaching others.
Each transformation requires not that we do different things, or that we do things differently, but that we become fundamentally changed, that we be transformed.
But like passing through the doldrums, when we are in the process of transforming, we feel stressed, uncertain and confused.
How then do we navigate through the transitions of our career?
Begin now to cultivate within yourself each of the 5Cs. This is where you will find the strength and wisdom to navigate the trials of career transition.

Pick a Course
More than anything, to cross the uncertainty of transitions, you must have a destination in mind. That way, when you are becalmed in transition, you will have a course to set your sails by as you work each breeze to inch your way forward.
It does not matter that your greater destination will change as your career proceeds, it only matters that you have a course to set your compass by.
In particular, set goals that define how you will be proactive, decide what gifts you want to contribute through your work, what work context will support your career goals and how you will help others learn.

Build Courage
To be extraordinary, you must practise taking risks - this is how you will build the courage to be extraordinary.
You must practise standing out and being proactive. You must also practise stepping out of your role and your comfort zone and declaring your unique contribution.
You must risk insisting that your work aligns with your gifts. You must risk allowing those you are teaching to make mistakes on your watch so that they can learn.
Does it help knowing there is no way other than by risking? Probably not, so you might as well get started.

Build Capacity
Do this every day, in every way.
"Work only" is never sustainable by itself - you must have the strength of a full and balanced life to sustain you.
Being "extraordinary" means bringing who you really are into play at work, and that is how it feels when you are extraordinarily successful - like play!
A life of integrated play and work is your platform for excellence.

Be deeply Committed
If you are to make your work an expression of your gifts, you will have to make difficult choices, big commitments. This requires you to stand by your choices, at first for yourself, and later as a leader for your colleagues.
You build your capacity for commitment by learning two things: how to say "no", ironically, and by learning to take responsibility for everything over which you have the slightest choice.
Learn how to "decide", that is, learn how to kill off the alternatives until you are committed from the very core of your being. This unleashes the power to be extraordinary.

Be Compassionate
Compassion is love for yourself and then love for others.
Show me a workplace that works and I will show you a workplace where people care about themselves and one another.
I will show you a workplace where trust is the basis for relationship, not power of fear, and where people are committed to their own and everyone's success.
Call me old-fashioned, but that looks like compassion to me. To build compassion, learn to love yourself first by discovering how to accept who you really are - the good, the bad and the ugly. It is a process that is surprisingly fun and powerful.
Seem like a lot of work? The next 5Cs, like your career, are not so much a destination as a journey.
Begin today in the spirit of learning and discovery.

The Straits Times, CATS Recruit - Fri, June 22, 2007
by Cresswell Walker,]


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