Archive for May, 2012

Do You Suffer From Call Back Entitlement Syndrome?

May 31st, 2012

I originally ran this post about 15 months ago and thought it might be time to repeat a valuable lesson!
Ah the ancient sales ritual of hemming and hawing (aka pissing and moaning) about the prospect who isn’t calling us back.
Unfortunately I’ve been there many times and it definitely isn’t fun, but I’m just curious
Why do […]


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Please Stop And Do This

May 31st, 2012

Stop what you’re doing and answer this simple question . . .
What am I most grateful for today?
Make an inventory of as many things as you can.
Now go back to work . . . richer than you were before!
Peace!


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Your “Preferred” Is Somewhat Irrelevant!

May 30th, 2012

Yesterday, I asked . . . What is your preferred method of acquiring new business?
Its something that many of us aren’t really conscious of . . . we just cling to our preferred or
Sometimes we even make it really clear what we don’t prefer when it comes to how we go after new business!
Here’s the […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

What’s Your Preferred Method?

May 29th, 2012

I’m sure you’ll agree that there are many ways to hunt for new business.
Some prefer to pick up a phone and call someone “cold”
Some prefer email, snail mail or even overnighting things.
Others prefer networking and/or social networking.
Some are all about creative approaches and others work only by referral.
Some prefer seminars, webinars, lunch and learns or […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

How the Facebook Social Plugin can ruin your business

May 29th, 2012

Recently I have seen more and more websites utilizing the facebook social plugin.  Let’s look at why this is a HUGE mistake.

First, what is the Facebook Social Plugin? It’s a simple tool that you include on your website, showing fans of your business page.  It is a display box which shows postings from your Facebook Page, a sampling of pictures of people who “Like” it, and it also includes the ability to “Like” your Facebook page directly from your website, via the integrated box.

Example of the plugin on a website is this Video Editing Software Review: http://www.clicknewz.com/3439/best-video-editing-software-reviews/

Why are people using the Facebook Social Plugin? Because, in a really straight forward way, it shows your business Facebook page, it allows for a quick “Like” and, in a way, it shows how popular you are.  It can be effective at driving “Likes” to your Facebook page.

Why you should NEVER use the Facebook Social Plugin! Because you don’t have any control over who “Likes” your page!  Yes you can ban people, but you cannot keep people from liking your page.  Why is this a problem???  Because unscrupulous folks are on Facebook.  We have all seen them.  Beyond that, there are REAL friends of yours that will change their profile photo to something inappropriate for business because they are not using their facebook for business, but YOU ARE!  Because you cannot control what fans profile pics show via the Social Plugin, you are creating the opportunity for disaster.

So how can the Facebook Social Plugin ruin your business? Think of this extreme example. I concede that this example is extreme but you should understand that it could happen nonetheless. You post a cool product link on Facebook with a coupon code or information to drive fans to your website. The fans click it and are delivered directly to your site, exactly what you wanted… Success!  Then they see the site and they see the Facebook Social Plugin which loads 10 Facebook Fan Profile photos.  However, recently, you were not aware that you got hit by a Facebook Spam bot and received 50 new likes from fake profiles that promote Online Drug Sales, or worse yet,  Adult Related Content.  Your user sees the profiles on the plugin, and out of 10, 3 are inappropriate.  Even though you had no control over those profiles being seen on the plugin, your prospect or client immediately connects that action to you the business owner.  It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility.  Furthermore, what do you believe the action of your prospect would be?  I believe the greater percentage of prospects will choose to never return to your website because they were offended by the spam-generated profile picture, and they will likely “Unlike” your Facebook page and unsubscribe from your email newsletter.  Finally, you have done irreparable harm to your company because of the inclusion of the Facebook Social Plugin.

The Solution So, if you cannot include the Facebook Social Plugin on your website due to potential harm, what should you do to drive prospects to your Facebook business page and notify them that you have a Facebook page?

Answer:  Use the Social buttons that identify Facebook and other Social Networks that most people use.  Try, if at all possible, to get these buttons “Above the Fold”.  ”Above the Fold” means that you won’t have to scroll to see the buttons from your landing page, which may also be your home page.  Make sure you are not looking at your website with a resolution set to 800×600, as very few people use that setting any more.

Amy’s Photography

May 29th, 2012

Here's a photo I took of myself with a time-lapse photo of a sparkler.In today’s highly digitized world, photography has become more of a mainstream hobby. You don’t need fancy expensive equipment to get started. In fact, nearly everyone carries a camera of some kind around with them today due to the popularity of smartphones. Even older phones that don’t quite qualify as “smart” (it’s okay, flip phone, I still love you better than all the other phones, don’t listen to them) still typically come equipped with a camera at bare minimum. Yet there is a certain “je-ne-sais-quoi” element of beauty that is captured in some images, while others are sadly just a bunch of pixels that just happened to get lumped together in the same file.

I originally became interested in taking my own photos while I was a student in college. I had a basic point-and-shoot camera that I bought for myself, and I went to my friends’ rugby matches and took pictures for them. As the season passed and I found myself attending more and more games, I realized that my sense of timing was improving as I learned more about the game. If I knew what to expect on the field, I would have a better chance of snapping the shot at the right time. I never took any photography courses and instead just focused on teaching myself the skill set I wanted to have.

Two of these guys don't have their feet on the ground.

After a couple years, I upgraded to a digital SLR (a Canon Rebel XSi for anyone who is interested) and was seriously intimidated by its vast array of settings. However, these machines come with an automatic setting for a reason. Don’t be afraid to use the automatic settings just because you think it means you’re not a “real” photographer. Real photographers have to learn sometime too!

My favorite approach to teaching myself is totally hands-on. If there’s a shot I want to perfect, I’ll use the automatic settings for my first shot, then look at the photo on the camera screen. Not only does my camera tell me all the settings used for the shutter speed, the ISO setting and the F-stop, but there is a lot of other information to take advantage of. Then I’ll adjust one of the settings and take another version of the same shot. This is a great way to show yourself visually what each different function does.

Triumphant graduate brandishes her newly acquired diploma just after the ceremony.

If you’re interested in improving your photography skills, my advice is to get a camera of some kind (nearly any kind will do) and start by taking photos of something you love. Your affection and expertise of your subject will shine through your photos even without the top quality camera or perfect composition. The internet has plenty of tutorials and explanations so you can educate yourself. After all, photography is a creative art and creativity comes from within!

Today, I rarely go anywhere without my camera. I bring it with me to work in case anything exciting happens during the day. Sometimes while driving, I’ll see a scene so pretty I just have to stop and snap a shot of it. My favorite thing about photography is that you never know when you are going to get your best shots. I also provide photography services for my friends and family in times when they can’t get behind the camera themselves – weddings, band performances, skateboards in the skate park, and more. It’s more than a hobby for me, it’s a lifestyle! If you’d like to see more of my photography work, just check out my Facebook page!

Browser Statistics – April 2012

May 29th, 2012
Browser Statistics
Browser Statistics – April 2012

The web browser statistics have been released through April 2012. The stats are published monthly at W3CSchools.com.

Below are the web browser stats for April 2012.

2012 IE9 IE8 IE7 IE6
January 5.3% 10.5% 3.1% 1.1%
February 5.7% 10.2% 2.6% 1.0%
March 6.1% 9.4% 2.5% 0.9%
April 6.4% 8.8% 2.3% 0.7%
2012 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
January 37.1% 35.3% 4.3% 2.4%
February 36.6% 36.3% 4.5% 2.3%
March 36.3% 37.3% 4.4% 2.3%
April 35.8% 38.3% 4.5% 2.3%

In summary, people who use Internet Explorer seem to all be upgrading to the newest version, which isn’t very surprising if you think about it. They probably get upgrade prompts all the time. Among the other browsers, Chrome is maintaining a firm lead and increasing by a solid percentage point every month, while Safari and Opera are hovering at their respective percentages. Firefox is really the only browser here that is becoming less popular.

Security Compliance

May 29th, 2012

Nowadays online privacy is more important than ever.In today’s modern world with the internet presence of businesses skyrocketing, it’s important to maintain proper security protocol to safeguard the personal information and privacy of yourself,  your business, your staff and your customers. The websites designed by inConcert comply with both the Mass Privacy laws and also comply with PCI rules when producing eCommerce websites. Check out the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries website for more details about Massachusetts internet laws and online policies.

As for PCI DSS 2.0 Compliance, eCommerce websites developed, hosted and maintained by inConcert Web Solutions are  PCI Compliant as is required by the merchant services company. If a client decides to host and maintain their own website we can not guarantee PCI Compliance upon release of the website. Sometimes we have clients who use other hosting services, or maintain their own websites while we provide hosting. We always do our best to help each of our clients, of course, and recommend ways to keep their websites PCI Compliant (if they are not already doing so).

Upon completion of the eCommerce website, the site is reviewed and approved by the merchant services company for PCI Compliance before the site can be released. There are 12 standard rules of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) that our websites, hosting and maintenance conform to.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • hosting on a fully PCI compliant dedicated server
  • firewall protection
  • a dedicated ip address with a 2048 bit encrypted SSL Certificate
  • complex passwords and password storage redundancies
  • server virus protection
  • restriction of physical access to cardholder data
  • unique user access IDs
  • access logging

Even one breach of your website’s security can do serious damage to your company’s reputation. If your website doesn’t meet PCI standards, you should definitely take action to protect yourself and others as soon as possible. For more information on this topic, read our earlier blog article about security standards.

The Chamber: Making It Work For You

May 29th, 2012

Chamber networking events are great for you and great for business.I meet many people throughout many different networking events, some of which are members of their local chambers and some not.  What I have found to be very effective for me is to participate.  Yeah I know, you have heard that before, and it sounds so lame, but it’s true.  The more active you are, the more others will recognize not only who you are, but what you and your company do.  Like anything else, though, results will come over time and won’t happen right away.  So how do you make sure that you get results?  Here is my process, which I believe will work for anyone if done correctly:

  1. Show up often
  2. Show up early
  3. Find compatible businesses that can you can refer business to
  4. Setup a time with those businesses to learn more about them in depth
  5. Talk about them, not you
  6. Show up again
  7. Make sure to find folks you have met with and greet them, thanking them for their time
  8. Spend about 40%-50% of your networking time with folks you have met with before, no more.
  9. Find and send referrals to people that you know, like and trust.
  10. Referrals will come your way now!  Believe me…they will, just be patient!

This system works very well for me.  I continue to have success with it and will continue to work with the system because it works.  I look at the process about once each year to see if I need to tweak it at all.  One note:  Track your sales by referral source, this way you can pull a report at the end of each year to see which networking group is sending you the most business, as well as the least business.  Once you know this, you can now decide if you want to drop the group that sent you the least and spend more of that time in other places.

Your Website’s Contact Page and Why It Matters on Your Website

May 29th, 2012

Your website should be generating leads for you.Recently I have come across a number of cases where the information on the Contact Page of a website is lacking important information or simply incorrect.  The reality is that it is your CONTACT page.  So you want people to be able to contact you.  Here are some things that I saw and that I pointed out to the website owners if I was able to get in touch with them:

  • The Contact Page simply had a form on it and no other info; and the problem wasn’t the form, it was that I wanted to call them and I couldn’t find their phone number anywhere on the website.  Eventually, after looking, I found it on the About Us page of all places.
  • Phone number listed was out of service
  • The map that was on the page was showing an incorrect location
  • The address was spelled wrong
  • The phone number was a graphic and was not in Text format
  • Email address is listed on the page

Here are some quick things you can do to ensure that your contact page is effective…

  • Check your page for accuracy every quarter, it only takes 5 minutes
  • Test your form every month, it only takes 2 minutes
  • Make sure your phone number is in text format, this way all the new smart phones can read it and recognize that it is a phone number and the user can click to call
  • Make sure your address information is complete
  • If you have a map, check its location to be sure that the map application is up- to- date
  • Remove all emails from the page, you will get more spam by showing your email on the page

Browser Statistics – March 2012

May 29th, 2012
Browser Statistics
Browser Statistics – March 2012

The web browser statistics have been released through March 2012. The stats are published monthly at W3CSchools.com.

Below are the web browser stats for March 2012.

2012 IE9 IE8 IE7 IE6
January 5.3% 10.5% 3.1% 1.1%
February 5.7% 10.2% 2.6% 1.0%
March 6.1% 9.4% 2.5% 0.9%
2012 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
January 37.1% 35.3% 4.3% 2.4%
February 36.6% 36.3% 4.5% 2.3%
March 36.3% 37.3% 4.4% 2.3%

To sum these results up, people who use older versions of Internet Explorer are declining steadily in number, while Internet Explorer 9 is seeing a slight rise in popularity. Firefox usage continues to decline during the first few months of this year. Chrome is gaining a percentage point monthly in popularity. Safari usage numbers seem to be pretty stable as well as the small Opera crowd.

Durachip Poker Chips

May 29th, 2012

Durachip Poker Chips

Size: 1.5625” dia. x .125” thick

Imprint Area: 1.33” dia

Product Color: Black, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Pink, Purple, Orange, Grey

Imprint Color: Full Color Process

Setup Charge: .00

Layout and Design: .00

Shipping Weight: 32 lbs. (appx.) /1000

Price Includes:

Full Color Imprint

1 Imprint Locations**

Digital Proof

FOB Gardner

Shipping Additional


DurachipPokerChips

(Price Per Piece)

500 1000 5000 10000
$.78 $.74 $.72 $.69
Terms: 100% Prepay or 50% down with approved credit. Most printed items are printed per “Standard Trade Practice”, meaning 10% over/under and billed accordingly.
*Design time is estimated at 30 minutes. Additional design time will be billed at our standard hourly rate.
**For additional imprint location(s) and/or color(s) call for a quote.
NOTE: Prices are subject to change.

YouTube as a Business Tool

May 29th, 2012

Make and post your own videos for greater web success.YouTube is an ideal tool for your business, don’t you agree? Most business professionals don’t agree; however, I am going to show you how it can be a useful tool for your business. First, would you agree that you want you business to show up high in google? I think you would. Did you know that YouTube is owned by Google? Did you know that Google gives weight in the search results to relevant videos? Did you also know that YouTube is the second most popular search engine? YouTube receives more searches than Yahoo or Bing! Google will also integrate relevant videos into their natural search results. All of this makes YouTube a purposeful business tool – and a viable one – resulting in reasonable ROI for your time.

So how do you make YouTube work for your business? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add one video per month
  • Use a simple tool to record a video and upload it. Two suggestions are Flip Video and iPod Touch – they work great and are fairly simple.
  • Don’t worry about editing all the videos, it’s not always worth the time
  • Establish a YouTube channel and configure it to have your business information on it
  • Embed the videos that you upload into your website or blog
  • Share the blog or website page on Facebook
  • Share the YouTube video on Facebook

So, what do you create videos about? This is always a challenge to think of these things. First, remember that you need to spend time educating and providing valuable information to your viewers and readers, so provide reasonable information that makes sense. Second, think about relevant information that you want to show up for in Google, and write/record videos about topics that will include those keywords and phrases. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Tutorials – what do your customers want to know how to do – use a product? decorate a room? make repairs?
  • Advertisements -make a video ad for each product/service you offer!
  • Events – when you’re hosting an event, break out the Flip Video and simply record how much fun everyone is having. Maybe you had a few speakers, put up excerpts of their speeches. Did you have a famous performer/speaker at your event? Time for a video! …you get the idea.
  • Testimonials/Case Studies – Do you have a client that wouldn’t mind being on camera? Ask them to give a video testimonial!

Those are just a few ideas, but the options are limitless…just remember this: you’re representing your business, we suggest not recording any material that might be deemed inappropriate or controversial. Creating and managing your videos is a very simple process, that takes very little time and effort, and can result in more traffic to your business, and that could mean more revenue to your business!

Browser Statistics – December 2011

May 29th, 2012
Browser Statistics

Browser Statistics – December 2011

The web browser statistics have been released through December 2011. The stats are published monthly at W3CSchools.com.

Below are the web browser stats for December 2011.

2011 IE9 IE8 IE7 IE6
January .5% 16.6% 5.7% 3.8%
February 0.6 % 16.7% 5.7% 3.5%
March 1.1 % 16.3% 5.4% 3.0%
April 2.1 % 14.8% 4.9% 2.5%
May 3.1 % 14.1% 5.3% 2.4%
June 3.6 % 12.9% 4.4% 2.3%
July 3.9 % 11.7% 4.1% 2.3%
August 4.2% 11.9% 4.2% 2.0%
September 4.8% 12.4% 3.9% 1.8%
October 5.1% 11.8% 3.5% 1.3%
November 5.1% 11.5% 3.4% 1.2%
December 5.1% 10.7% 3.2% 1.2%
2011 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
January 42.8% 23.8% 3.7% 2.4%
February 42.4% 24.1% 4.1% 2.5%
March 42.2% 25% 4% 2.5%
April 42.9% 25.6% 4.1% 2.6%
May 42.4 % 25.9% 4.0% 2.4%
June 42.2 % 27.9% 4.0% 2.4%
July 42.0% 29.4% 3.6% 2.4%
August 40.6% 30.3% 3.8% 2.3%
September 39.7% 30.5% 4.0% 2.2%
October 38.7% 32.3% 4.2% 2.4%
November 38.1% 33.4% 4.2% 2.4%
December 37.7% 34.6% 4.2% 2.5%

In summary, again, Internet Explorer numbers are pretty much holding steady. Firefox usage is still on the decrease while there has been another full percentage increase in Chrome users. No changes to Safari usage, but there has been a strange slight uptick in Opera users.

The Importance Of Asking “Why?”

May 29th, 2012

When was the last time you challenged your thinking by asking “Why?” as in . . .
“Why do I hunt business the way I do?”
“Why do I structure my day this way?”
“Why do I avoid these things?”
“Why do I present my company with the words and phrases I’ve chosen”
“Why do I feel the way I […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).