April 2010 Archives

Here's what separates the most effective salespeople from everyone else. Reproduce this list and distribute it to your entire team.

  1. Knowing that solutions rest with the customer, not the salesperson. The customer knows the issues and understands the problem. What the customer needs is a way to find the solution and put it to work. Salespeople who think of themselves as the only "solution expert" in the room usually don't make it to the next level. Top salespeople make certain the solution meets the customer's requirements. They understand that convincing a prospect to buy comes down to a strong understanding of buyer needs. Then they accept complete responsibility for everything that happens with their customer.
  2. A commitment to improving presentations. Highly effective salespeople hone their presentation skills continually. They make presentations look effortless because they take nothing for granted. Industry hot buttons are constantly changing and effective salespeople keep up with the trends. They make it a priority to stay up to date on buying patterns, up-and-coming trends and innovations in the industry. They focus on what motivates the prospect's buying decision instead of what they want to accomplish.
  3. Embracing new ideas. Top salespeople see change as an opportunity. They know that customers don't have the time to educate themselves about all the products and services being presented to them. They develop reputations as people who can be counted on for new, innovative ideas.
  4. When they make a mistake, they admit it. They don't try to cover it up with excuses. And once they've admitted the mistake, they start working on how to solve the problem.
  5. Asking questions that help prospects uncover their real objections without pressuring. Asking questions also shifts the focus away from the salesperson to the prospect, where it belongs.
  6. Approaching prospects/customers with the attitude of a consultant, not a vendor. Top salespeople recognize they must be experts and authorities in their fields. They invest time to learn their products and services inside and out. They spend hours familiarizing themselves with every single detail of what they sell -- and what their competitors sell.
  7. Setting clear goals and plans to attain them. Highly effective salespeople are both concerned about the customer and concerned about the sale, and manage to keep the two in balance.
Source: John R. Graham, President, Graham Communications, Quincy, MA
See here on businessbrief.com
I'm quickly loving Fred Pryor and the topics he offers workshops on. A couple weeks ago we discussed an upcoming audio conference on how bad attitudes in the workplace can effect an entire office. Coming up next week in New York is a one-day seminar on "Finance and Accounting for Non-Financial People." Whether you're the Controller, Owner, Operations Manager, or anything in between, this seminar promises increased knowledge and confidence in financial planning for your business. Other dates and locations in NJ available too.

Read what he says are the 21 ways you and your organization will benefit in the brochure.

Save 20% by registering online and use this code! #687152

John Haydon wrote a great post on how small businesses and non-profits that have a Facebook page can leverage the Notes application to drive web traffic to their sites.  Here's a snippet if what he says about this: 

Facebook currently lets Profile users import one RSS feed from a blog into their Facebook wall using the Notes application. Here's why this is powerful: 

  • If you have 30 fans who each have 100 friends, your blog post will be seen by as many as 3,000 people. These blog posts appear both on profile walls and on the Home Page news feed.
  • The folks who have added your RSS to their notes have essentially endorsed you to their friends. This type social proof is a big part of what influences consumer buying decisions and which non-profits get support.

Click here to read the rest of his article.

Homeowner Claim Satisfaction

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks
Claims Magazine came out with an interesting article about homeowner's satisfaction when filing. Policyholders who file auto claims are still generally happier with their experience than are those filing property claims, results of J.D. Power and Associates' yearly Home Claims Satisfaction Study.

When it comes to quality service & customer satisfaction to insurance company's bottom lines, it matters. You may be asking, isn't it possible to get both great value and a decent price? In our opinion, these things aren't mutually exclusive. "Getting what you pay for" really has to with two simple but often misunderstood concepts: QUALITY & VALUE.

On average, customer satisfaction with the home claims experience registers 828 on a 1,000-point scale. Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates said, "Although satisfying home claimants is particularly challenging, it's still crucial for insurance providers to meet the needs of these customers, given the significant impact the experience has on long-term policy retention.... An experience that meets or exceeds customer expectations may foster long-term loyalty, just as a negative experience may drive a customer to shop other insurance companies."

Read the rest of the Claim's article here.
According to NJ Today, in just two weeks since 12 New Jersey counties were made eligible for federal disaster assistance, nearly $5 million has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in the recovery efforts.

As of April 15, 4,942 flood survivors had registered for assistance.  Funds awarded to date total $4,977,148 which includes:

• $4,624,655 in Housing Assistance to cover temporary housing, home repairs or replacement

• $352,492 in Other Needs Assistance (ONA) to cover essential personal property losses, subsistence items, medical, transportation or serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance

Twelve Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) are now open in the affected counties of Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union.  Applicants can get the location of the DRC nearest to their home or business when they register for assistance.

Daily hours at each DRC are 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The DRCs are closed on Sundays. Disaster registrants from any declared county may visit any of the DRC locations for assistance.

To register for assistance, residents should call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired (for relay service, call 711 or 1-800-852-7897) between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m., seven days a week. Multi-lingual operators are available to answer calls during this time. Residents may also register online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov.

To read more of NJ Today's article, click here.
Picture 1.png
In light of the recent travel disruption to most of Europe because of the ash cloud, TOXBOX is generously lifting their $18.99 video broadcasting fee until April 25th. With the ability to have an audience of up to 200 people, this is an incredible deal.

If you don't take advantage of their offer, be sure to check out their other features, which are always free, like live video chat, group chats, and video messaging. I personally would take them over Skype any day of the week.

Earth Day

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
Today is its 40th Anniversary. And in honor of that, we chose today to launch our Being Green Initiative.

According to ED's website, Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.

And if you're in Washington, they offer many ways you can take action. Volunteering, Celebrating the day in your neighborhood with events they provide, and if you're interested in some core issues, they have a place for that too.

Join MAXONS and find a way to better your world!

Clear the Way for Improved Claims Handling and Customer Service

Date: April 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm EST | 11:00 am PST

Did you know 70% of all costs incurred by an insurance company are associated with claimsadjudication (expense and indemnity)?  By reducing some of these costs you could greatly improve your company's bottom line.  But what if you could reduce these costs and improve your customer's satisfaction at the same time?  We'd like to show you how.  

In this FREE Web Seminar you'll be able to see how other insurance companies have used document automation and workflow management to successfully streamline their claim process.  Get control and visibility into your claims today! 

Register now to learn how to:

  • Use analytics to understand, measure, and track key claims KPIs to drive down claim costs and improve combined ratios 
  • Get market insight and improve your strategic decision-making with powerful mapping and geographical visibility
  • Uncover the potential areas for improved customer service, satisfaction and compliance
  • Flag potential fraud by identifying claims that fall outside the radius or path of event damages
  • Deploy and route adjusters to improve efficiency and service 
  • Facilitate programs such as "preferred vendor" services to reduce cost while improving customer service
  • Adapt quickly to changes in environment and industry demands 

Over a holiday weekend recently our file server decided it was giving up and died on us.  After several attempts to revive it on the weekend, our IT firm diagnosed the crash was not fixable and we had to enact our server crash contingency plan! We had prepared a protocol for just such a situation, and our IT firm jumped into action with setting up the replacement server so we could still operate normally while we then figured out what we wanted to do about a permanent solution to the problem.
Within 4 hours we had access to our email and database again!
If we had not prepared an Emergency Contingency Plan before this occurred I am not sure we would have weathered the crisis as calmly and professionally as we did.  No one outside the company had any idea we were operating with a crippled system for several hours because we were able to continue to provide excellent service as we were confident in our planned response for just such a situation.  
We handle other peoples' emergencies and disasters on a daily basis, and it is a relief to know we can handle our own with patience, professionalism and a dedication to maintaining top performance during a challenging experience. 

Social Media Marketing

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
A couple weeks ago we had what most in the Social Media Unknown would consider a scintillating workshop with Mardy Sitzer of BUMBLEBEE. She offers these on such topics as: Marketing Tools That Drive Business Growth. For many in the world today, site such as Twitter and Facebook many not be as widely used as some would think. Having launched for college students, Facebook has only recently took off in the slightly older population of early to late 30s and 40s, and many more still have yet to latch on to Twitter, even more foreign to the general population. But it is a fact that this trend is growing rapidly. And fiercely. And a lot want in on the action.

After the meeting I approached her to ask a few questions about blogging and Tweeting frequency, an encounter which I surprisingly discovered she blogged about later on her own site.

If you're out there living in the crazy Virtual World today, just remember that Google cares about your Twittering and Blogging frequency. Choose your frequency and then stick with it. Once a week, once every other week, but never back and forth. It may not matter much to your viewers, but it definitely matters to the Search Engine Monsters, and I definitely care about what they think.

If you're interested in one of her workshops, make sure to check out her site. And for more Twitter etiquette, check out TwitJobs' 5 Golden Rules.
Dear X,  

I would like to thank you and you crew for the amazing job they did on our basement. We had a huge flood when our sump pump stopped working after days and days of rain on the morning of March 30. Our insurance agent gave us 2 names of companies to call. My husband called you and you were at our house with in the hour. A few hours later a crew came and worked in our basement until midnight - pulling up carpet, cutting out molding and sheetrock and insulation, setting up fans, cleaning everything, etc. They were just fantastic. I will definitely be recommending you and your company in the future. 

Thanks for your wonderful service,

PS The OTHER company called us back finally at 9:30 PM !!!
The Two Seem To Fit, Right?
Starbucks Treats on Tax Day!

Bring in a reusable mug to your local Starbucks today and get a free brewed coffee, 4/15 only.

Continue bringing in your mug and get a $0.10 discount every time you buy a cup. It's not much, but it adds up, and every bit makes a difference. Join in Starbucks' efforts to reduce waste.

Also keep your eye out next week for an unveiling at MAXONS -- how we are lending a hand in helping make this world a better place- one relationship, one project at a time.
800.3MAXONS | maxons.com

Lead-Based Paint Law

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
The dangers of lead-based paint have been known for many years now-- use has been discontinued, homeowners and renters don't reside in old homes where traces are detected... but a facet that hasn't been considered is the effect of hazardous lead dust and chips that occur when old buildings are demolished, old walls sanded down, and the like.  Until now.

Next Thursday, April 22nd, a new federal law takes effect. To protect that risk, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued a rule requiring lead-safe practices. The Renovation, Repair, & Painting Rule will affect contractors, painters, maintenance workers, property managers, owners, and many others who disturb painted surfaces by means such as sanding, demolition, renovation, repair, etc, and applies to residential houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities such as schools and day-care centers built before 1978. Fines up to $37,500 could be incurred if not followed properly.

What does it all entail? Multi Family Investor outlines it well:

New Training Requirements
The rule requires individual renovators/contractors to complete a state or EPA accredited course and obtain certification. This includes building employees who do work that disturbs lead based paint  Owners and contractors can get a list of accredited trainers online. The rule also requires firms that employ workers to have a company license issued by the EPA. In the past, the EPA rules for lead based paint only governed activities for abatement.  Workers who have already been trained under Local Law 1 and who already have a Lead Safe Work Practices Certificate can be grandfathered in by taking a 4 hour refresher course given by a certified training firm. Owners who use outside contractors should make sure they are properly trained in Lead Safe Work Practices under the new rule and should ask to see their certificates.

Notifications and Disclosures:
The new rule requires contractors to notify tenants before disturbing any painted services by giving them a hand out called the 'Renovate Right" pamphlet. This pamphlet, replaces the "Protect Your Family from Lead" pamphlet previously required. You can get a copy of a pamphlet by going to the EPA Web site. Contractors must also give tenants a disclosure form informing them of the nature and timing of renovation activity and the potential of lead hazards. The EPA has also provided a sample for contractors and owners can use here.  In addition, workers (including your building staff) are required to post warning signs around the affected areas. If the owner's employee is acting as the contractor for the work, the owner must give the pamphlet and disclosure form to the tenants. Owners who are using an outside contractor should be certain that the contractors have a copy of the "Renovate Right" pamphlet and a proper disclosure form.

Safe Work Practices
Like the city's lead based paint law (Local Law 1), the new EPA rule requires safe work practices.  Workers are required to cover all HVAC ducts, remove or cover loose objects, cover floor surfaces and doors.  Upon completion, the work area is required to be properly cleaned using a HEPA vacuum or wet mopping. These work practices are very similar to the ones required by Local Law 1. So owners should easily be able to come into compliance.

Clearance Requirements
Upon completion of the work, the certified renovator must perform the post-renovation cleaning verification by using the EPA provided post verification "check card" to determine if clearance is met.  This will be done by using disposable cleaning cloths to wipe various surfaces in the work area.  The color of the cloth is then compared to the color of the verification check card--if the cloth matches or is lighter than the card, the surface will pass the cleaning verification.  Surfaces that do not pass the first attempt must be re-cleaned.  It is important to note that the post verification check card does not supercede the need for third party clearance dust testing under Local Law 1. Property managers and owners in New York City will still need a certified lead inspection firm and lead inspector to perform clearance testing per Local Law 1 guidelines.

Records Requirements
Owners and contractors must maintain documents demonstrating compliance with the new rule must be maintained for three years.  These include the signed disclosure form, any owner opt-out forms and documentation that safe work practices and clearance requirements, as described above, were used.

The rule allows for exemptions from these requirements. The new rule doesn't cover lead abatement as defined under the previous rules.  It also doesn't cover minor repair (defined as work disturbing less than 6 square feet inside the building or 20 square feet out side the building) and maintenance activities (for example, the rule wouldn't cover the painting of an apartment if the owner did not do any surface preparation that would cause dust to be released), areas found free of lead based paint by a certified inspector or risk assessor, and work performed by an owner in an owner-occupied residence.  Owners who got an exemption under Local Law 1 where no lead based paint was found to be present will be exempt from the new EPA rule.

New EPA Rule and Local Law 1
The new EPA rule does not supersede previous EPA regulations or Local Law 1.  In general, work done in pre-1960 rental units will remain governed by Local Law 1 with certain exceptions.  For instance, owners will need to hand out the new "Renovate Right" pamphlet to tenants.  In addition, Local Law 1 covers a broader amount of work (work disturbing two or more square feet inside the building) than the new EPA rule (work disturbing six or more square feet inside the building). So owners of New York City who make smaller repairs will still need to comply with Local Law 1, even though they are not covered by the new EPA rule.  Any other issues or conflicts that arise will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis. Owners who hire contractors to do work in their buildings that may disturb lead paint should ask for references.  The best way to insure that your contractors are achieving compliance with the various rules is to use a qualified lead paint consultant.
If you haven't seen Intuit's commercial on building your own website or hiring someone to do it for you, you should. It's hilarious and SO, so true.

If you've ever been part of the design (or re-design) process of a website, you'd know that it can be an excruciating experience. And unless you have dozens and dozens of pages, information, and moving parts on your site, why go through that when you have a much easier option online these days? Companies like Intuit offer programs that let anyone create a site from scratch for a minimal fee, and others who let you do it for free, like Weebly, who I particularly like, and right now Weebly's offering a contest where they're giving away $13,000 in cash to top designers. Create a theme for them for a chance to win and have it used by websites all over the web. Not a designer? Send this to a friend who is, and maybe they'll even share their winnings with you.
All of us have experienced these 'toxic personalities' in our lifetime. Heck, you may have one in your office now! Career Track addresses these issues. How do you correct attitude issues and defuse behavior problems? Protect your team from further contamination. Fred Pryor is hosting a Career Track Audio Conference on how to transform toxic employees into positive performers and he says, "The bottom line is that these 'bad apples' and 'sour grapes' cost organizations time and money because of their impact on morale, retention, productivity, and teamwork. Attitudes affect everyone, and, as a supervisor, it is your responsibility to manage and improve them."

With 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed and only a one hour commitment, it seems like a no brainer. Learn about how to enroll here.
The Northeastern Build Expo is coming up this year on July 21st & 22nd. It's going to be held in the Meadowlands Exposition Center. MAXONS participated last year in the city. Invited buyers included: 

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Designers
  • General Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Commercial Builders
  • Home Builders
  • Developers
  • Real Estate Professionals
  • Building Managers
  • State Planners
  • Spec Writers
  • Government Agencies
  • Municipalities
  • Facility Managers
  • Property Management Firms
If you're attending this year, let us know. We may be there!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2010 is the previous archive.

May 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.