RF Web Studio » RF Web Studio News http://rfwebstudio.com Tue, 23 Dec 2008 07:03:30 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=abc en Hot RE Tech - free websites for real estate pros? http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/hot-re-tech-free-websites-for-real-estate-pros/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/hot-re-tech-free-websites-for-real-estate-pros/#comments Sat, 29 Nov 2008 07:17:27 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=271 I am proud to announce that I will be partnering with Ho RE Tech as their head developer and designer. HOT RE Tech provides FREE websites and web tools to real estate agents in Atlanta and surrounding areas. The site is scheduled to go live on December 15th. When you have a moment, take a look and tell me what you think. Please remember that nothing is “official” yet.

Hot RE Tech - the home of FREE Real Estate Websites and FREE IDX search for Real Estate Professionals.

Craft Appliance Company Website http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/craft-appliance-company-website/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/craft-appliance-company-website/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2008 20:53:48 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=199 Here is a very simple Wordpress theme I modified for Craft Appliance Company, a Appliance repair company in Ann Arbor, MI. Take a look

Strategies for effective website sales – a guide for professionals who sell web development services http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/strategies-for-effective-website-sales-%e2%80%93-a-guide-for-professionals-who-sell-web-development-services/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/strategies-for-effective-website-sales-%e2%80%93-a-guide-for-professionals-who-sell-web-development-services/#comments Tue, 20 May 2008 15:25:00 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=134 I have been thinking for the last couple of months about some times I was able to close large web development deals, and likewise some of the times I was not able to close the deal. I even thought back to my very first web site sale, and tried to find out if there was a pattern of any sort, or if I was just wearing the right suite. There are several factors that contributed to my success. Most of these are true for any sales person, in any industry, but I have found them to be especially helpful when selling web development services. They are in no particular order, although I think the last one is most important.

First things first, find out how internet savvy they are. Ask if the person or people you are speaking with were involved in the last web development project or have ever been involved in one. If your prospect has worked with numerous firms in the past, they are likely to be more up to speed on terms etc, than if this is their first experience working with a web development firm. Have a mental 1 – 10 scale that you rate your customers on, and once you determine you are working with a six, keep that in mind throughout your process. Don’t just “dumb down” your geek speak so that your six can understand, rather acknowledge that you are aware of your customer’s knowledge in this area and attempt to educate them. People hate feeling ignorant, but love to learn. I always try to bump them up (four to a five or a seven to an eight) throughout my conversation with them.

Determine what they are looking for in a web development firm. Finding out what your customers are looking for out of you before you ever talk about design comps, applications, etc. will help you determine if you are well suited for this customer, but will also allow them to set their expectations early. If they say that they want a company that can guide them what to do, then you can expect to spend some extra time explaining things to them. Knowing this up front is better than finding out that you misunderstood and under (or over) delivered. Keeping your customers expectations well managed, is often just as important as keeping their project managed.

Find out what past experience they have. Often times I found that the reason a customer made a decision was not based on features, price, my portfolio, testimonials, or any of the factors that traditional sales people think was the reason for their failure or success. Often it was because they had a particularly bad, or good experience with another firm, and I did not manage this element of the presentation. If they worked with a firm who was not good at returning phone calls, simply stating that your support line is open 24/7, or that they can always reach someone in your office, can put a customer’s fears at ease and allow them to trust you to. Likewise, if they had a good experience, it is a good idea to find out what elements made it successful and be sure you utilize this knowledge during your process.

Ask them to state their objectives and write them down. This seems obvious, but you may be surprised how many developers just assume that the primary goal is to have a nice website so their customers can get their address, hours etc. I once asked a customer why they wanted a website and the only thing they cared about was having something to show to venture capitalist so they could secure funding for their business. As in any thing you do in life, having written goals always makes things better. I also found that finding a numeric value assigned to these objectives was also helpful. For example, ask them to rank each objective by importance. This allows you to keep the project on focus and typically keeps surprises few and far between. This information can also frame negotiation of price.

What do they need/what do they want? Two totally separate questions here. Asking them in tandem to one another often identifies what a customer’s true priorities are and also what their secondary goals are. I once asked a customer this series of questions regarding their career section of their website. I said, “Regarding the application process, what do you need?” They said that all they had to have was a single page form that allowed resumes to be uploaded. Then I asked them “what do you want?” And they told me that they wanted a career portal, where people can sort jobs by zip code, education requirements, departments, full time or part time etc. They further stated that an RSS feed of jobs by category would be nice as well. All of these ‘wants’ were potential selling opportunities, but ultimately I know this is where the fat is in my proposals, so when it comes time to close the deal, I know where to shave off features if need be without compromising their true needs.

Make them commit to the buying and selling process. In enterprise web development sales no deals are won in one sales meeting. Even smaller websites are usually not closed on the spot the first time you meet a customer. Giving a customer homework to do in the mean time is often a helpful way to ensure that they are thinking about you. If you promise to give them a quote, tell them you need for them to fill out a brief document first. Keep the document handy so they don’t have an excuse not to do it. I used to have several copies printed at all times, so I could give one to the decision maker and one to the secretary. I called this my size up sheet. This serves several purposes, such as, keeps your name, phone number and website address in front of them while they are thinking, makes you unique, clarifies some earlier questions, and gives you a real reason to follow up with them in the coming days. But most importantly it keeps them involved in the process and reveals your customers sense of urgency. I once gave this to a customer, who, as soon as I left, filled it out and faxed it to me. When I arrived to my desk to find it waiting I know that this customer was excited about their project, and they showed me that they were committed to giving me a fair stab at their business.

Research their industry. Again I am surprised how many firms do little to no research about a company before presenting to them. I once sat in on an appointment with the CEO of my company, and she did not even know what they sold, and she was trying to close the business. Having some insight to what is going on in a particular industry, who their big competitors are, and how that industry is taking advantage of new internet technology will help you speak to your customers on their level, will make you stand out from your competition, but will ultimately demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to their project.

Follow up appropriately. “Follow up, follow up, follow up” seems like the default golden rule of selling. The real thing to be aware of is not the frequency of your follow up, but the quality. Calling in to a CEO the day after you pitch your project and asking if he has made a decision is almost always a mistake. However, calling to see if there is anything you may do to assist them in their decision making process is a great way to keep a dialogue going. Scheduling follow up times is a good way to show respect for your customers’ time and your own. I used to get a lot of “call me tomorrow” and “let me think about it over the weekend, call me on next week.” Then when I called back it was more of the same. I now ask if I can call them at a specific time on a specific date, like “how does 9:15 on Tuesday sound to you?” Furthermore, I tell them that I will put their call on my calendar, and if for any reason they need to reschedule the call to please email me to reschedule. Keeping yourself and your customer accountable to the process is the name of the game.

Ask for the business. This should be a given right. Well you may be surprised how many times I and other sales people simply do not ask for the business at all or enough. Here are some ways you can ask for business that usually get a valuable response.
• Is there anything else you would like to know before you can feel comfortable hiring my firm?
• Do you trust our firm to complete this project beyond your expectations?
• It seems to me that we are moving in the right direction, do you agree?
• Are you still considering other firms or have you decided that we are the right firm for the job?

Always ask yourself, Can I add value? The most important thing that you can do in all of the above areas is to identify what value(s) you will bring to the table? Finding out what the success of this project will mean to them, and how that will affect them is the key. Do they see you as a valuable asset to their business, as a consultant, partner, or just as a resource? Does your firm fit the profile they are looking for? Will you ensure they have a better experience than the last? If so the way you do business has added value to your presentation. Find out what accomplishing each objective or goal will result in; will 15% more online sales increase profit $40,000 annually? Will the ability to recruit better employees mean less HR overhead and more productivity, if so how will that benefit a company? How will giving them the online systems they need affect their processes, sales, etc? Will giving them what they want in a website turn it into a valuable asset to their business? Will your mutual commitment to the process make you a valuable part of their company or a valuable partner? Will your research in their industry add value to the project? Will your follow up help them make educated decisions, saving them valuable time and money?

Happy selling!

My Family and I http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/my-family-and-i/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/my-family-and-i/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2008 03:37:12 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=45 Hi! Thanks for coming to the blog! As you know much about business is not just what you have, but who you are. For this reason I would like to share with all of you a little about me, my family and our story. Find out what we are doing right now and what we are doing together.

Julie and I are celebrating our third wedding anniversary this fall and we will be going to New Orleans for a while. Also, this Summer is both of the boys birthdays with their party in June.

The Boys

Julie Graduates in May, both of her folks will be down in the next few months and she is going to Michigan the weekend of Feb 21st. Please keep her, her travels, and her family in your prayers.

The Boys RJ and Jacob are growing up way too fast. We are loving it. Jacob is cutting four of his top teeth, and RJ is almost potty trained. RJ is also talking like a little man, and Jacob is crawling like a gerbil and developing his own taste in food. Stay tuned for r2j2.net will launch soon.

R2J2 - get to know me http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/r2j2-get-to-know-me/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/r2j2-get-to-know-me/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2008 06:43:43 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=22 I am currently developing a personal site for Julie, myself and the rest of the family. Currently I plan to have a blog and photo gallery, but additional development may occur later. Now I just need to quit working on clients’ sites and work on something I won’t get paid for. Check it our (still not done) r2j2.net

RF Web Studio version 2.0 http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/rf-web-studio-version-20/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/rf-web-studio-version-20/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2007 06:28:12 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=18 rfwebstudio.com is undergoing some serious changes as you may have noticed. The point is to use a simpler, easier to navigate, more user friendly, and easy on the eyes interface. We think we have done a good job, but understanding that this site is for you not us. We welcome any comments, questions or concerns, Enjoy!

Sign Up for How to Blog and Sophisticated Blogger http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/sign-up-for-how-to-blog-and-sophistocated-blogger/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/sign-up-for-how-to-blog-and-sophistocated-blogger/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2007 06:02:25 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=16
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Sign Up for How to Blog - Internet Publishing Made Easy http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/sign-up-for-how-to-blog-internet-publishing-made-easy/ http://rfwebstudio.com/rf-web-studio-news/sign-up-for-how-to-blog-internet-publishing-made-easy/#comments Wed, 07 Feb 2007 18:25:07 +0000 Russ http://rfwebstudio.com/?p=9
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