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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Social Media Masterclass

Just to let you know that we still heve a few places left on our Social Media Masterclass on Monday 24th October in Manchester and Tuesday 25th October in Leeds. If you are not using Social Media effectively to grow your business, then now is a good time to start.
During the Masterclass we will cover:
• Using LinkedIn to grow your ness
• How to intigrate your Social Media Marketing
• How to use YouTube and video marketing
• Facebook for business
• How businesses can systemise Twitter
• How to use Social Media to drive people to your website
• And much more.
For further information click this link.
Kind regards,

Frank

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gary Player Country Club - Your decision....

As you know I travel constantly around the world and experience great customer service almost everywhere I go, especially in Asia.

I have returned to my home country South Africa for a vacation and booked into Sun City for the week.

Unfortunately my experience of customer service here leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, this will not be on my list of places to visit in the future.

Today I decided to treat the two ladies in my life to manicure, pedicures and hair treatments (at London prices) at the Gary Player Country Club.

My mom is in a wheelchair and as there is a massive staircase, I decided to take her in the elevator. Imagine my surprise when I found the elevator full of furniture which I had to unload myself.

The elevator was in such a bad state of repair that my mom was a nervous wreck when we reached the top. It stopped and started, jolted and at one stage I thought we were going to drop to the ground.

My mom said that she would rather slide down the staircase than get into the elevator again.

I asked for the manageress, Ms Vermaak, who was no help at all. She just pushed the blame onto maintainance and said that is it was ok with them, there was nothing she could do about it.

As I had to sit around waiting for two and a half hours, I asked if Marie and I could use the jacuzzi as I was going to spend a substantial amount on the treatments.

I was told that as they were going to have the treatments, they could use it, but not me.

I said that my mom would not be using it, so could I use it in her place.

I was told that the rules stated that under no circumstances could that happen.

Don't you hate it when bad customer service always hides under the 'rules'.

How easy would it have been for her as a manager to allow me to use it while waiting, but unfortunately her service experience did not allow her to even think of that.

How sad, a wonderful country club and resort is so badly let down by lack of service.

Fortunately for me, I am an international speaker, so will be sharing this story with thousands of people in my talks and books around the world.

My only advice to the Gary Player Country Club would be to buy a copy of my book 'Walking with Tigers - success secrets of the world's top business leaders' and read the section on Pam Wilby who manages the Le Royal Meridien Hotel in Dubai.

They could learn a lot......well maybe not

Monday, June 13, 2011

Has Virgin Atlantic lost the plot by Frank Furness

As a professional speaker, I make around 40 international flights each year. Unfortunately they can’t all be with the same airline as I am at the whim of my clients. I have tried to stick to Virgin, Singapore, BA and Emirates if possible to maximise my mileage points.
I have been very loyal to Virgin over the years and even have a Virgin Amex card that I use for all my business expenses (about £30,000 a year).
I am currently on a flight with Virgin to Shanghai (this is my fourth international flight with Virgin this year) and experienced the worst customer service ever with any airline. With this flight, my client gave me the choice of a higher fee and economy class or a lower fee and business class, so I thought I would go for economy as the flying time was not that long and I could watch a couple of movies and do some work.
When checking in, I told them that I was 6ft 2in and asked if the aircraft was very full and if at all possible I could get a seat with an empty seat next to me. He told me that the flight was full and that every seat was taken. When I entered the aircraft, I noticed that there were a number of rows of empty seats in economy and asked if I could move to one of them. I was told that I could if I paid an extra £30 which I duly did thinking ‘what a con.....’
A number of other passengers also opted to pay the £30 for the flight which was collected in cash (I saw no receipts being given), so I insisted on paying for mine with my card and getting a receipt. Is this a new tactic to collect money stealthily by Virgin, I have never seen it before.
Three hours into the flight the entertainment system was still not working, but I expected that as it has happened to me on my last three flights with Virgin (do they ever get serviced)
The service was below par and twice when I went to the toilets they were in a filthy state with no toilet paper or tissues.
I am used to having a choice of snacks when flying, but was told that there are no snacks on Virgin.
When it came to breakfast time, I was told that I could only have one choice as they had run out of the others. I asked for a second cup of coffee and was told that I could go to the back of the plane and get myself a cup if there was any left.
By this time I felt like I was on a ‘Faulty Towers’ aircraft and asked to see the chief purser. This request was ignored twice and when I eventually got to see her I was told that a lot of crew were sick and instead of a full crew of 30, this aircraft only had 10 crew and it was not her fault that the service was bad because they were understaffed. I asked that if I was only getting 30% of the service, could I opt to only pay 30% of my ticket, you can guess the answer.
This has really soured my view of Virgin who I had a lot of respect for in the early days when Richard Branson still was actively involved.
The bad news is that I have another flight booked with Virgin in 2 months....the first thing I do when I arrive is to phone my agent and ask him to change it to another airline.
I have also decided to move my Virgin Amex card to British Airways Amex after discovering that BA gives a free partner ticket for every £10,000 spent. I have just lost out on 3 tickets with Virgin as they don’t do this.
I speak and present on sales and customer service and feel that virgin have really lost the plot. From my experiences this year, their service sucks (they have even outsourced their check in, how can you control customer service this way).
I personally feel that Virgin should go back to basics and take some lessons from Singapore airlines or even Air Asia.
Air Asia is a company that specialises in low cost flights around Asia, but combine that with great customer service. I always use them if I am flying short hops in Asia.
They are a company that I speak about in my presentations as an example of great value combined with great service. I was fortunate enough to meet their CEO, Tony Fernandez, at one of my talks in Malaysia recently and he is a super person with great stories about the company.
He decided to build his own airport a few miles from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and now has more than double the number of people going through his airport than KLIA.
How is it that some companies get it right when it comes to value and service and other lose the plot?
Virgin used to be a great airline and I was a loyal client.
From now on, not only am I going to avoid using Virgin Atlantic whenever I can, I will also be telling the story of my experiences to thousands of people around the world.
Please comment on your experience with Virgin Atlantic or any other good or bad experience you have had with an airline.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Professional Speaking Bloopers by Frank Furness

I was booked to speak in South Africa and Mauritius and was asked to recommend two other speakers. I have great arrangements with many speakers where we refer each other and I organised the top speaker fromNew Zealand and a friend of mine from England.

It was his first time in South Africa and he decided to take his wife with and turn it into a vacation. He also wanted to see a gold mine, so another speaker friend in South Africa arranged for him to do a talk to a group of gold mine managers followed by the tour.

The gold mine managers are hard men working underground every day in difficult conditions. I wasn’t there for the talk, but he told me that things seemed to be going really well.


Some way into the talk the miners held their lit lighters in the air. At the big pop concerts when things are going well the crowd hold up torches and lighters, so my friend thought that this was great. The more enthusiastic he became the more lighters would light up until every man in the room was holding up his lighter.


This seemed to be the highpoint of his career until someone quietly walked to him and handed him I note. It said ‘the boys want a smoke break’

Red faced, he quickly finished his talk. His big lesson here was to do more homework on the local habits and customs of the people of any new country he was speaking in.

For more information on Professional Speaking, take a look at Coaching for Speakers or contact Frank Furness at frank@frankfurness.com for dates of the next Speakers Bootcamp

Success Techniques for Financial Advisors by Frank Furness

I enjoyed 23 years in the greatest business in the world, a financial advisor. I managed to qualify many times at Million Dollar Round Table ‘Top of the Table’ level and right now is a full time motivational speaker sharing ideas and strategies in 48 countries. In this article are some of the basic strategies I used over the many years to achieve the highest levels in financial services.

One of the most important things that I learned early on was to remember people’s names. This was brought home to me in a disastrous interview early in my career. I was going to see a top executive at IBM and he’s name was Eustace Harris. Well I remember sitting in the waiting room saying to myself, ‘don’t call him Useless’ (instead of Eustace). As you can imagine, I had just conditioned myself to do just that. What happened? I walked straight in and said, “Hi Useless, my name is Frank Furness, how’re you doing?” and throughout the rest of the interview I kept calling him Useless. Fortunately he had a sense of humour and became a client and up until today he still reminds me about that first interview.

Keep alert and pleasant, I mean it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, you’ve got to be alert, you’ve got to be pleasant and let the clients talk about themselves. Put yourself into the position of the client and think about what may be some of the things on their mind just before seeing you.

They’re probably thinking, who are you, how credible are you, and how long have you been in the business, how qualified are you? Who is the company that you work for and how long have they been around, how credible are they, whose products do you sell? Are you there just to line your pocket or to actually look after the client? Are they going to see you again?

These are some of the questions that are on the client’s mind and you’ve got to clear these questions before you go any further. Now the way you do that is using a method called the ‘Ben Duffy’.

Many years ago a large tobacco account was up for grabs and every big advertising company was after this account. There was a fellow called Ben Duffy and he was also after this account. He had a tiny firm and he thought to him, how am I going to get this account, I’m just a small guy with a small company, there’s no chance.

Then he thought about it and said to himself, ‘let me put myself in the position of the buyer that I going to see. Let me think about some of the questions, some of the things that might be on the client’s mind’ and he wrote out a list of fifty questions, then narrowed those down to about ten questions and answers.
He went in to see the client and said, ‘in preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there might be some things you’d want to know about me, my company, what’s in it for you, what’s in it for me and as such I’ve prepared a list of ten questions.’ Well the chap from the tobacco said, ‘well I’ve got ten questions as well’. They swapped lists, six were the same and he won the account.

For many years now I have used exactly the same strategy. When I met a potential client at the first meeting, I would reduce tension levels by getting the client to talk about themselves and then I’d say to the client, ‘you know Joe, in preparing for today’s meeting, I put myself in your position and thought there might be some questions on your mind. Who is Frank Furness, who is XYZ Financial Services, how long have they been around, what’s in it for me, what’s in it for you? Are these some of the questions on your mind?’

They would normally nod in agreement and this is the only time you will speak about yourself. This is the opportunity to sell yourself and establish your credibility. So if you’ve got a degree, if you’ve been in the business for ten years, whatever you have done well, this is where you sell yourself.

Next you would speak about your company, how well established they are and what sets them apart from everyone else.

Next I would say ‘ you’re probably also wondering what’s in it for you and what’s in it for me; well what’s in it for you, all I want to do is take a snapshot of where you are now, and where you want to be in the future and really just help you develop the strategy to get there. What’s in it for me; if you like what I’m doing and feel that I can do a credible planning strategy for you, all that I would ask of you is, should you be satisfied with our recommendations, that you place the business with us. Secondly, whether or not we do business together, should you find us to be professional and ethical, we would like you to refer us to other professionals such as yourself. (get commitment)

Right now I am an International motivational speaker specialising in sales and technology, but where I learned my selling skills was in financial services where I qualified amongst the top half percent of salespeople in the world at the Million Dollar Round Table ‘Top of the Table’ level.

I used all of the methods explained above and these are also detailed in my comprehensive 15 CD/DVD resource Sales Strategies for Financial Advisors

For more articles, please take a look at my website http://www.frankfurness.com and please download complimentary eBooks and software at http://www.frankfurnessresources.com

Frank Furness CSP CFP is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in sales and technology. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 42 countries. His publications and sales CDs have been sold globally. He is the author of ‘Walking with Tigers - Success Secrets of Exceptional Achievers’ and 'How to Find New Business & Clients.'
For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email frank@frankfurness.com or telephone+ 44 (0) 1923 248200. http://www.frankfurness.com

NOTE: You're welcome to "reprint" this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to
frank@frankfurness.com Take a look at other articles, free software and e-Books at http://www.frankfurness.com/
Download 39 Power Sales Closing Scripts at
http://www.frankfurness.com/closingscripts.cfm

How to make money with Ezines and Online Newsletters by Frank Furness

Ezines – Develop a 10 touch plan for all your existing clients (making contact at least 10 times a year). You can email, phone them, meet face to face or the easiest way is to have a newsletter. Whether it is a hard copy or online newsletter, this is a great way to keep in touch.
With so many newsletters circulating, content is king and is going to be the one differentiator between getting your newsletter read or deleted.
• Always ensure that you have a main article that provides information that your readers will find valuable.
• Within your Ezine, throw in links to related articles that you have written or been featured in when appropriate.
• Offer testimonials from satisfied clients
• Give real life examples and show how you’ve helped clients
• Case studies always position you as the expert in your readers’ minds more than you coming out and saying so.
• Jot down eight questions your clients have asked you in the past
• Answer each one in a short article, as there may be many other clients who have the same questions in mind.
• If you have been to any industry conference workshops or seminars where you’ve picked up some helpful hints, share these with your readers
• Offer a list of your top five to ten tips on a certain subject
• Recommend books or resources and offer reviews on some of these books.

Headlines
Today, money is "created" by the words you say, how effectively you say them and how quickly you get them in front of your readers. Your Headlines MUST stop your readers dead in their tracks and get them to read further into your ad, article or sales page.

If your headline doesn't grab your reader's attention, then all the rest of the time and effort you have spent writing your ad, article or sales page have gone to waste! They have NO value if your headline hasn't done its' job.


Every one of your marketing tools needs a headline. Headlines get attention, make your message easy to read, get your main selling points across, and lead your customer to a sale. Use a short three word headline for classified ads. Use headlines frequently in your web site copy to help people get your main message without having to spend a lot of time online.

Seven Proven HeadlineTechniques
1. Ask a Question. "Are you worried about filing your tax return this year?" A question headline gets the reader to answer in their mind. You automatically get the prospect involved in your message. Many people will read further into your letter, ad, or web site copy just to find out what answer or solution you provide.
2. Start your headline with "How to." "How to buy a second home with no deposit." People love information that shows them how to do something valuable.
3. Provide testimonials. The recommendation of a satisfied customer can go a long way in convincing others to buy from you. "This product really works! I'm happier and less stressed. Joe Kelly, ABC Widgets." Always include the customer's full name and the city they live in.
4. Issue a command. "Aim High" and "Lose 15 pounds now." Turn your most important benefit into a commanding headline.
5. Important news makes a good headline. This particularly works well for big changes in your company or the introduction of hot new products.
6. Use deadlines and special offers. Most of us are busy and tend to put off taking action. If you don't get the prospect to act now, you may never get the sale. Deadlines encourage people to respond when their interest is highest. "Save Money Now" and "Get More If You Buy Now" offers increase response.
7. FREE offers often pull the best response. "FREE report on Search Engine Optimisation" is a powerful way to get lots of interested prospects.

Tip
Useful Tip for Headline Creation
How do you convert casual readers of your marketing brochures and websites without pulling your hair out with the time-sucking chore of producing a winning headline? I now have a great piece of software that automates the process for you, take a look at http://www.headlinecreator.co.uk/

For more articles, please take a look at my website http://www.frankfurness.com and please download complimentary eBooks and software at http://www.frankfurnessresources.com/

Frank Furness CSP CFP TOT is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in financial services sales and sales management. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 52countries.
His publications and sales CDs have been sold globally. For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email frank@frankfurness.com and for resources take a look at http://www.frankfurness.com and http://www.frankfurnessresources.com
NOTE: You're welcome to "reprint" this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint to
frank@frankfurness.com Take a look at other articles, free software and e-Books at http://www.frankfurness.com/
Download 39 Power Sales Closing Scripts at
http://www.frankfurness.com/closingscripts.cfm



Sell More and Earn More - It's Back to basics by Frank Furness

After 20 years in sales and management, I have found that the most successful people stick to the basics. They have an abundance of knowledge of their product, a positive and winning attitude, excellent selling skills and the habits that ensure a full diary with qualified prospects.

Some time ago, I attended a Tom Hopkins ‘Boot Camp’ in the USA. This is one of the world’s greatest sales courses and runs for 3 days. There were 800 people attending (I was the only South African/Brit) and the amazing thing was that these were not beginners attending, but some of the world’s top sales people from every walk of life. Some had returned for the 13th time and the sole purpose was to get back to basics.

Working with top sales people in 48 countries, these are some of the basic skills that I have discovered helps them to be top in their fields.

Prospecting
Top sales people are master prospectors. They are not afraid of cold calling and are socially mobile. They belong to sports clubs, social clubs (Round Table, etc) and have an inbuilt antenna in locating new prospects. They can differentiate very quickly between prospects and suspects and will spend their time with the best-qualified prospects.


I work with a great salesman in Hong Kong who earns over a million dollars a year selling financial services. He only mixes with millionaires and his aim is to find the wealthiest person to sell to. He has the belief that everyone will buy from him (and most do). Another client has his own polo team and spends £500,000 every August arranging a worldwide polo tournament. Most polo players are extremely wealthy and as his company sponsors the tournament, he has a high profile. Sales that follow the tournament each year amount to £2 - £3 million.

Phoning
I have very rarely met someone who loves making appointments on the phone. Top salespeople have developed the habit of phoning regularly.

They work on ratios and follow a simple script (though it never sounds as if they use a script). They also prepare well for phoning, having only a diary, prospect names and their script in front of them.

Any distractions such as papers are taken off the desk while they phone. They also set themselves a definite target of prospects that will say ‘yes’ in each phoning session. They don’t allow any distractions and psyche themselves positively for every call and don’t take rejection personally. For more scripts take a look at my audio series on telephoning and setting up appointments calls ‘Telephone Sales Skills for Winners’

Dress for Success
It doesn’t matter what you sell, you need to dress appropriately. I work with many professionals and the standard dress code is that of the City of London. Dark suits, white shirt, conservative tie and clean, black lace up shoes.

Green and grey suits are a no-no. Different occupations allow for short sleeve shirts and more casual dress, but remember, it’s the small things that count. Neatly ironed shirt and trousers, good grooming, gold pen (or gold plated if you’re new to sales - fake it till you make it) and decent looking briefcase.

Be very aware of body odour and halitosis (bad breath). It is very inexpensive to buy ‘Gold Spot’ and spray your mouth before each call. I recently went to a well know high street electrical store to purchase and expensive piece of hi-fi equipment. I was knocked out (and nearly sick) by the salesman’s bad breath and quickly left the store and purchased the equipment elsewhere. Here was someone with no idea on the basics, losing his company a lot of money. Remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Developing Rapport
People love to talk about themselves and whenever I meet someone for the first time, I firstly ask them how they got started. I then ask about their present situation and where they see themselves in the future. At this stage, I can learn more about them than at any other time. The important thing is to keep quiet and listen. I also realise that there are a number of things on the prospect’s mind when I first meet such as, who am I, how credible I am, the background of my company and what’s in it for him and me. My introduction is as follows (after past, present and future).

“In preparing for today’s meeting, I thought there may be some questions on your mind such as ‘who am I, who is my company and what’s in it for you and me,” at which stage they always nod in agreement. I tell him about myself and my qualifications (this is the only time I talk about myself and most professionals like to deal with other professionals). I then go on to tell the prospect about my company. Following that comes ‘what’s in it for you’ when I say quite simply that I would like to take a look of where they or their company are right now and where they would like to be in the future and to help them achieve these goals. ‘What’s in it for me?’ “I get paid in two ways, firstly if you think my proposals are feasible, I would like you to place the business with me and secondly, whether we do business or not, I would like you to refer me to 2 or 3 other people/companies similar to you.”


Questioning and Listening
Most top salespeople are master questioners and excellent listeners. These are the tools of their trade and enable them to find out what is really important to their client.

Lighting the fire
All successful salespeople know how to ‘light the fire and ignite the passion’ that will enable the prospect to buy. They realise how important emotions are in the sales process and sell the benefits of their product or service.

Closing skills

Statistics show that most top salespeople close on their fifth attempt. Mediocre salespeople don’t even know 5 closes.

On the Tom Hopkins sales course, we were all expected to learn 27 closes verbatim as well as the importance of overcoming objections and uncovering the real and underlying objection to proceeding with the sale immediately. If every step of the sales process is followed correctly, the close is the natural progression. Please go to
www.frankfurness.com/closingscripts.cfm to download 39 sales closing scripts.

The power of words
Most people have been conditioned to react either positively or negatively by the use of certain words. An example is ‘I would like to make an appointment’. Who do you make an appointment with: doctors, dentists and other people out to hurt you? Rather use, ‘I’d be happy to drop by/pop in (as friends do). ‘Sign the contract’ is something we’ve all been warned about. Rather use ‘Please authorise the paperwork’. Always be aware of your ‘sales language’.

Pride
All successful people are proud of their professions and love selling. This becomes very evident to the prospects.

Enthusiasm

Selling skills and enthusiasm count for 85% of the sale. If you are boring, tired or not in the mood to sell, you will never be amongst the elite of salespeople.

Superb service
Top professionals deliver what they promise. Their levels of excellent service ensure that their client will never ‘shop’ elsewhere and they will in turn provide a constant source of referrals.

Fun
Top salespeople have fun and look forward to each day. They have great senses of humour. When I first started selling 20 years ago, I had an appointment with a schoolteacher. On arriving at her house, her little sister told me to sit and wait in the lounge as her sister was taking a shower. Five minutes later, she came walking through the lounge drying her hair, stark naked! She looked up and saw me, ran out and locked herself in a bedroom and shouted ‘go away, I don’t want to see you’. Well I left without a sale, but that’s when I realised ‘money isn’t everything!’

Have Fun!

Frank Furness CSP CFP is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in sales and sales management. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 52 countries.

His publications and sales CDs have been sold globally. For more information or to sign up for the free ‘Sales Tips & Ideas’ newsletter, email frank@frankfurness.com or telephone+ 44 (0) 1923 248200.