Creating a Professional Image For Your Home-Based Business Written by Elena Fawkner
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Once Potential Client becomes an actual client and you've proved to his satisfaction that you are professional and competent, you can tell him that you've decided to start working out of your home to reduce unnecessary overheads and give him your direct phone number.
No matter how enlightened your client-base is as a general rule, it is imperative that telephone be answered in a businesslike manner. I don't care how sympathetic, supportive and admiring your clients are of your decision to balance your work and family commitments by running a successful business from home, there is nothing cute about a five year old answering your business line. It's unprofessional, not to mention downright annoying.
So have a separate phone line for your business and lay down law to your household that no-one, NO-ONE, is to answer it but you (unless, of course, you're employing your teenage children in your business in which case they should be instructed on how to answer telephone in a professional manner). If you're away from your office, divert your calls to your answering service.
Something else to think about is image of your email address. Which is Potential Client to consider more corporate/professional: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com?
It's worth spending $35 a year on your own domain name just for professional email address, even if you never intend to create a website. Mind you if you're going to have your own domain why NOT create your own website? But that's another article ...
STATIONERY AND PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS
It goes without saying that your stationery, business cards and other promotional materials should reflect a professional image. If you have incorporated your business or registered a fictitious business name as recommended earlier, this is a good start. A company or business name on letterhead and business cards can't fail to convey a professional image provided they are professionally printed on quality stationery stock.
There's no point having quality stationery if you're going to use a cheap and cheerful inkjet printer for your correspondence. Invest in a medium quality laser printer instead. They don't cost a lot of money these days and you can get a unit that triples as a fax machine and photocopier for only a few hundred dollars.
So, what do you think? You may be thinking "I wonder whether it's really worth effort to try and please just a small number of potential clients". Is it worth it? Well, look at it this way. Are these suggestions really anything more than basic, common sense, professional business practices? Regardless of what your potential and existing clients may think about concept of businesses run out of their owners' homes, first impressions DO count.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com/mmp/sub.cgi?AHBBO=!FLM
Hits, Hits, & More Hits! But, What's Wrong?Written by Steve Parke
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3) Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up! Learn how to write exceptional, professional sales letters, and emails. Again, ask a pro to critique, tear them apart, help you to make them best action oriented sales letters. Stay with your customers that inquire, and overcome their objections. Ask if customer has any questions. Answer questions, sell your products, or services, use features and benefits. Remember top four: Gather information(Facts), benefits and features, and closing sale. (Features Tell),....(Benefits Sell!) Keep in mind, WIIFM - " What's In It For Me?" A benefit clearly spells out WIFFM for prospect. However, it is possible to overdo benefits. Do not oversell your potential customer. Focus only on those benefits that will be of interest. Don't forget to ASK FOR THE SALE. you can't overcome objections, if you don't ask for sale.
4) Finally, Use a personal approach. Online or in store, customers want individual attention, and are willing to pay for it. Autoresponders, done right, save a ton of time, but you still can take a individual approach. You like knowing your business is highly valued, and so do your customers. The other half of your job is Customer Satisfaction!
So, there you go, 1,2,3,4,Score! Turn your hits into sales, and satisfied customers! Educate, and develop your customer and sales skills. With a great web site, and following above steps, you really can score! (Financially that is:)
Steve Parke - Networks, CNA, A+, & MCP's, NT, NTWS, W2000Pro. and has written many articles on "Succeeding Online With A Home Business". His articles have been reprinted all over the net. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to his and Heather Parke's newsletter "C S News Now!" or visit www.centurysites.com or www.csnnow.net