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man opening arms to buusiness

Beware the Confidence Man. He will tell you all that you want to hear. Build your ego without any fear. He will speak of your great potential and actual success. He may have none of his own to boast about. Or perhaps he will spin his wheel of deception to fool you into believing he is a winner.

Like a mirror of your reality, he will project a crystal clear image, which is really only an empty shell. The confidence man weaves stories into believable truths. He will proclaim he has earned large sums of money and sell you on how you can too! All that is required is for you to give him all that you have to share in his wealth.

Similar in nature to a Ponzi scheme or pyramid scam, he layers his stories of fanciful fiction high upon a hill of beans. Fools are taken in by the swift demeanor, skillful prose and focused gaze of the confidence man.

There is even a theory that explains how fools or unsuspecting people are taken in by the ploys of the confidence man.

The greater fool theory states that the price of an object is determined not by its intrinsic value, but rather by irrational beliefs and expectations of market participants.[1] A price can be justified by a rational buyer under the belief that another party is willing to pay an even higher price.[2][3][4] In other words, one may pay a price that seems “foolishly” high because one may rationally have the expectation that the item can be resold to a “greater fool” later.[i]

Confidence schemes were made famous in the movie Matchstick Men. In this film the confidence man is made to seem as a loveable character by portraying him as a loving father. First among the features of the swindler is the style factor. Dressing well and always being the process of creating or growing a business are the telltale signs of a scammer. How can one always be creating a new business? It is the seemingly constant growth process that lures the potential partner in.

If a business is in growth mode, then everyone wants to join in to reap the future rewards. Even companies utilize this sham process, in continuously posting job vacancies in store windows. By always seeming to be in hiring mode, the mask of growth is proudly worn by these businesses.

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_fool_theory

 

women balancing on board

Achieve Balance

Does every transaction function or operate based on the premise that there is a requirement for give and take for the deal to be completed? Let’s say that you are in a social rather than a business relationship: Is there still a necessity for give and take for an agreement to be reached? Yes it is the case that every deal requires a negotiation resolved.

To be successful in your deal making transactions you need to prove that you have something to offer that is greater value, from your own perspective, than what you hope to gain from the person with whom you are striving to seal a deal. You need to be confident in your abilities to seem persuasive. If you do not completely and fully believe in your abilities and in the products and / or services that you are offering for sale or trade, then how can you expect a competitor to believe in your capabilities or the worth of your wares?

You are probably wondering why I used the term competitors to explain the partners in the deal making process. But is this not certainly the correct term? It is right. Everyone is ultimately competing in this world for goods, resources and services. During every transactional process each person is in stark competition to win at the game of life.

Realizing that every transaction has a requirement for a systemized pattern of give and take is essential to being a capable and contributing member of society. This sharing of value for value is crucial for relationships to work and to do so effectively with optimal efficiency. To believe otherwise is foolish and delusional.

Let us take personal relationships as an example of value for value sharing. You are dating or married and you are hosting a dinner for friends, with your partner. One of you has agreed to cook, in exchange for the other person having consented to be the designated cleaner of dishes, preparation and table areas. This is a transactional process, whether you choose to realize it or not.

Is the situation really that much different in the realm of commercial deals? Not really. In a seemingly friendly, but really aggressive way, business matters involve one person trying to get the better of the other. The value for value trade is not always equal, as may seem to be in person relationships. The determining factor for equality, or the lack thereof, in business deals is the intellectual intelligence or business savvy that one negotiator brings to the table – which is projected from a higher echelon of thought – versus the less experienced thinker. Are you the more or less capable deal maker? What value do you provide and what do expect for it?

 

 

 

two hands connecting

Making Connections

The first step in making a connection is demonstrating relevance. Without the potential for a meeting of the minds on a mutually beneficial purpose for people to have a conversation there will be no discussion.  Once you have determined that you have something of value to offer in a partnership the next step in the partnering process is to prove your worth to the potential partner.

Even if you have a value services or products to offer you need to prove to the possible partner that they will gain an advantage in the marketplace, by joining forces with you. Your beneficial value must be either in terms of marketing presence, in print or online or in terms of a client list / contact database. These key areas of value will prove to be value added assets to the prospective partner.

If you can save money for a company in the realm of advertising, then it will be most grateful. You can pitch the option of allowing the enterprise the option of promoting its products or services on your website. This will ensure that the company will see you as a partner that maximizes their marketing presence with prowess.

Assuming that you have great marketing skills and have a high traffic website you will seem to be a great potential partner. But how do you establish the partnership. No doubt there will be a highly trained gatekeeper (also known as a receptionist) who will not be eager to refer your information to the Marketing Manager. You will likely receive numerous rejections to your partnership offer. The general pattern will be two rebuttals to you effort to promote your services, during the initial or follow-up call.

You must believe in the value of your skills and the worth of your partnership potential. Your confidence needs to shine through during the dialogue. Many other people are calling with a similar sales pitch. To make your sales presentation shine you must seem to be more valuable than the rest of the herd of callers.

To project yourself properly you should consider some basic rules of telephone etiquette. Here they are in no special order:

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Be sure to smile (good to have mirror on your computer screen or within sight). Your smile will be heard through your voice.
  3. Remember to pause, even though you will likely be a fast talking pitcher of marketing prowess.
  4. Listen to the reply / response. Take notes of what is said.
  5. Do not interrupt no matter what reason you may have for so doing.
  6. Thank the receptionist for listening and always be polite, even if you see no potential for partnering.
  7. Request a time and date for future follow-up on the call.

 

man playing chess planning next strategic move

Practice Safe Business

Do you practice safe business? Do you offer protections to your client’s?

Let us be clear and direct about the nature of general business practices, online and in-person there are common processes that companies utilize when conducting transactions. Not all of these activities are safe for customers or for the business itself. Perhaps you visit a website that seems to offer a complimentary service, such as an initial free trial period to download images, only to later discover that you are now being regularly billed for a subscription service to which you do not recall agreeing.  A situation such as this is a case of unsafe or illegitimate business process.

It may in fact be true that the website had an option to unsubscribe within a set time period (usually 5 days to one week), but if the option was not obvious, then the business process is surely unsafe and illegitimate. Based on how the company responds to your request for a refund will determine whether or not you should continue a working relationship with the company. If the company immediately agrees to issue a full refund and is helpful in instructing you on how to unsubscribe to prevent unrequested potential future billing, then this is good sign that you may have found a quality business partner for the long term.

If you are a business that sells a product or service and does not clarify the terms of service or emphasize the warranty on the products sold, then you will not be able to build a loyal following of customers. Purchasers want to know that they are at all times dealing with an above board business that is upfront about all of the features and terms of their products and services. It is not worth losing highly valued potential business for the future for a small deal at present.

Nowadays there are review websites all over the Internet / Web that list complaints about unreliable and questionable business practices. For the sake of a few bucks you do not want or need to be seen as scammer on one of these review boards. Instead, you want to be spoken about on social media outlets and be given a five star ranking on business review boards. The more you are praised by satisfied customers, albeit an initially small following, the greater will be your staying power in your industry niche. Remember to always practice safe business!

 

men discussing options and business numbers

The Deal Breaker

It may seem as though you have a done deal that is sure to be completed. Even when it may seem as though all documents are ready to be signed there is no real deal, until the contract is signed, sealed and delivered. You may have had a promising conversation with a capable business prospect, but can you be certain that all of the items of consideration were equally understood? During a high-spirited discussion both parties may state many seemingly relevant details as possible to get their point across. While making the big sales pitch one may not hear the reply or rebuttal, or the sale presentation simultaneously being promoted by the other party.

After some perceived understanding of the potential to partner, it is jointly decided that a meeting should be arranged. Both attendees have their fixed perspective on how the meeting should unfold. During the meeting, however, different ideas seem to surface, other than those thought to have been originally presented during the telephone communication. It could be the wrong person shows up for the meeting; not being the initial party with whom one spoke or an expected party is conveniently available to attend.

Whatever you decide, be sure that you are professional in your demeanour and cordial by way of reply. If you decide to conduct / participate in the conference you should be sure to have a pen, a notebook and business cares, and above all else – dress to impress. Your image should always demonstrate that you are deserving of respect, irrelevant of what the other party may decide for the deal.

During the meeting be sure to focus the discussion to resemble, however, modestly, the initial telephone conversation, which preceded it. If you are concerned that an expected party is not in attendance, express your dismay immediately, at the onset of the conference. Request, if possible and practicable that this so called promised participant be summoned to appear.

Be sure your ideas are considered and fully listened to by the parties in attendance. Also be sure you listen intently to the ideas presented by the other party. If not offered, politely request a business card from the other people at the meeting or ask them to e-mail you their Vcard.

If during the conversation topics are discussed that do not parallel the original phone conversation, then you should ask for clarification about the actual real intention for the meeting. Is there a hidden agenda? Will there be an unexpected sales pitch or some attempt to run a deceptive scam. While you may feel slighted if the meeting doe not turn out as initially planned, nevertheless you need to continue to seem professional throughout the consultation. If you don’t want to appear as being impolite during the meeting you can later send a follow-up e-mail to request clarification on the next step and as way of summarizing the specific goals of the conference. You can state you believe to be the next step in the process towards the growth of the business relationship, based on details of the meeting.

If the other party has different or varied goals, than those that you had relied upon to agree to attend the meeting, then he / she will clearly state the same in his / her reply to your correspondence. If it is not obvious that there is not a ‘meeting of the minds’, then you can just chalk this experience up to a lesson learnt. Perhaps this knowledge will help you realize that you should be more thorough during your preliminary discussions.

men shake on a closed land property deal

Partnerships and Ego Trips

Let go of ego or ‘let go of my ego’.  Is this correct? Do egos enter into partnership agreements? They certainly do form the nature of the business relationship. We will examine partnerships and ego trips.

You may be an entrepreneur or a sole proprietor or howsoever you choose to phrase your obscure business entity. You get many business leads, but you are not a sales person. You have highly specialized skills in your area of work. Therefore, you are confident in your abilities to achieve greatness and generate revenue. It seems, though that you may need to form a business alliance; a so-called partnership. Now enters the scenario of ‘partnerships and ego trips’.

If you are requesting the assistance of a business partner to share part of the work process for your company you can bank on personalities participating in a realm where you had formerly thought only ‘common sense’ or smarts prevailed. You were mistaken if you thought you could be cold and unfeeling and all about the money. Once you acquire a partner you join forces with another personality in a battle of sensibilities.

Before you agree to any terms verbally, jot down notes on all discussions that occur during your partnership interviews. Then send an e-mail containing the notes to your potential partner and ask this person to sign off or agree to the points noted. It is very important that you also create a detailed partnership agreement or contract for service prior to assigning any leads and / or work.

Where money is involved greed is sure to show its face. Even if the leads seem to have no realizable value, once you have assigned prospective clients to you new business partner, surely the partner will determine their own value of the potential deal. Certainly any proposal will be one-sided in one’s own favour when possible money is to be gained.

Be sure that you have properly positioned yourself in the business relationship. You should appear and sound confident in your own abilities, at all times. Any sense of a lack of confidence is a certain weakness in business matters. When you submit the proposed agreed or partnership contract be sure to emphasize simplicity in the terms used and in the overall contents of the document. Less complications means less discussions on fine points and more clarity.

It is essential that you are clear about the money that you are expecting for each realized or closed deal. Once there is money at issue egos will surface and disagreements will certainly erupt. When this happens all you can do is draft a new agreement. But is it going to be more difficult to obtain agreement for your benefit once potential money is at play.

person paying for goods or services with card

How exactly does the transactional process occur? Let’s say you are a small business owner and you want to sell your products / services? You have many inquiries from prospective clients / customers. How should you reply to all of them? Should you actually consider each one to be serious candidate for a business relationship?

Some people just like to talk business without doing any business. As a business owner you need to be cautious and set up protective guards. First you need to require prospective clients / customers to pay a consultation fee. You should create a standard reply e-mail wherein you specify your most prominent accomplishments and sell skills in the way of marketing pitch. You can also create an intake form that requests specific details about the company / person who has inquired about your services and tailor it to find out what the company / person expects or requires from you.

If a potential client / customer does not want to pay your initial fee and / or complete an intake form, then it is also likely that this same person will not pay your any money once you actually do work for them or provide them with product for sale.

A little bit of time during initial screening can save much valuable time later on. Do not waste time doing work for free. Instead take time to qualify leads and to determine which potential client will really becoming a paying one.

 

man walking with business bag

Regardless of whatever business you are in you need to have a strategy for success. The first call or initial consultation, with a client, sets the stage for every other future communication, since it is the first impression and these count a hundredfold.

You want to dazzle your potential client with your knowledge of your industry and paint a mental image in your potential client’s mind that portrays you as an expert in your field. But offering too much information can be counterproductive.

Instead you want to present your abilities in a good light. Keep the conversation short and to the point. Ask for a retainer or a consultation fee before the end of the telephone call. Yes, be bold be proud and make sure that your effectively communicate that your expertise has a value.

If you demonstrate your worth through seeming to be a professional in your industry during the initial consultation, then this image will remain in the mind of your client for the duration of your working relationship.

Be clear on your capabilities. Be confident in your skills. Be sure of your ability to deliver superior results. Set a timeline for completion that will certainly meet or exceed.

business man putting on suit for meeting

There is a clear difference between being in business and being a business that generates a profit. Are you going out for business? More important though, then having profits, is existing as a company has a regular customer base and a good reputation among its demographic constituency.

Whether your company has one store or a chain of locations, your key requirement must be to have a steady following of customers who sing your praises. Some juggernauts department stores have majorly failed at maintaining a customer base. These businesses were going out of business while there competition was going out for business.

Newly emerging chain stores have come to realize that having a large selection of products is only one valuable resource. Great customer service should be coupled with low prices. Otherwise customers will choose to pay less every time.

Large department stores should invest in their staff, in terms of instilling morale; and in developing leadership skills among their management. Staff members who will regularly be in contact with customers should be thoroughly trained on how to smile, how to listen, how to sell, how to upsell and how to ensure superior customer satisfaction.

The right approach will lead to going out for business, while the wrong approach will likely result in a major chain going out of business. The choice is obvious. But will management choose correctly?

 

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