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This is the kind of website every web designer should design

I just signed up with www.carbonite.com, a web-based backup solution. The process meets almost every criteria I can think of for a positive web-based ecommerce service: – First, I heard about the service from a respected colleague, so I was already predisposed to buy. – The home page is simple yet glorious. In a single sentence it tells you what the service does and how much it costs. It also offers a free trial — one...

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Don't read your prospect's mind

Here is an interesting observation: Many times, prospects call me and ask me if my programs do X or Y (i.e., in the case of my Boxing Fitness site, do I provide Continuing Education Units? Or, is my Certification accepted in gyms in Great Britain). Usually the answer is “no,” so when I get these questions, I cringe. I fear I’m not going to get the sale. But I just answer honestly, without trying to sell, and a funny...

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The sales funnel

Today’s post covers a basic principle in sales, but one that is always worth a refresher. The “sales funnel” is a nice image for conveying the overall marketing and sales process. Imagine a funnel, with a wide top and a narrow bottom. Your overall target market represents the top of the funnel. Then gradually the funnel narrows as you have suspects, prospects (at various stages of hiring you), clients, and repeat...

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The importance of non-judgment and non-attachment in sales and entrepreneurship

The last blog post talked about the importance of failure. There are two mindsets that makes failure acceptable and bearable, and they are non-judgment and non-attachment. Both of these mindsets mean that you can go all out to get your business going, or to make a sale — but you stay a bit detached. You don’t judge yourself. You don’t take things personally. You don’t wrap your ego up in how things go, and...

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Be honest -- do you have the intensity required to be self-employed?

A colleague of mine had an interesting experience recently. She is a stay-at-home mom with an online business. With all of her responsibilities, she was devoting maybe a day a week to her business. But she thought she was doing what it took to run a business. In fact, she loved to boast about her business and how exciting it all was. She spent more time playing tennis than on her business. Her goal has been to get the business up to...

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How to know which ideas to pursue

A Sitepoint reader emailed me with an interesting question. He comes up with all sorts of great ideas and wants to know how to figure out which to pursue. It’s an important question since we have limited time and money. Here’s some advice: 1. If the idea is really good, you can find an angel to invest in it. By asking an angel for help, you vette your idea to see if it really is good and also build leverage to do more...

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Do you nickel and dime your clients?

Getting paid can be a stressful thing, and can make some web developers/professionals do things that lack judgement. Here’s an example: I referred a videographer to a colleague of mine recently, to shoot a commercial for him. The videographer did a good quality job with the shoot. But then he started demanding payment — after two days after the shoot. Now he won’t finish editing until he is paid. Meanwhile, the client...

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Hodgepodge of lessons learned from a busy week

Well, I’m as swamped as I’ve been in a long time, thanks to a business trip to Illinois to work with a University on commercializing a beautiful market maker website and technology for agricultural users. This was a great trip, and here’s a mish mash of lessons: 1. Universities are an untapped market. Many of you who live near universities should consider stopping by some departments to discuss potential projects for...

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How your gut instincts can help you sell and market

Studies show that physicians generally start out in their career ordering too many tests. Then, as they get more experienced, they order fewer than average. Their gut instincts have developed, and they get pretty good at diagnosing patients without a bunch of unnecessary tests. Hopefully you, too, have developed your instincts for your business. However, in this case, your instincts should tell you: – When your pipeline is...