constant contact logo

White River Business Specialists Receives 2015 Constant Contact All Star Award

constant contact logoWhite River Business Specialists, a southwest Missouri marketing firm, has been named a 2015 All Star Award winner by Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing adviser to hundreds of thousands of small organizations worldwide. The annual award recognizes the most successful 10% of Constant Contact’s customer base, based on their significant achievements leveraging online marketing tools to engage their customer base and drive results for their organization.

White River Business Specialists services clients around the US with marketing, PR, business development, social media and website needs.  Specializing in small and medium sized businesses, owners Gordon and Ladona Weathers have found their niche helping organizations grow by becoming a seamless part of their team.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by Constant Contact for achieving strong marketing results and helping our clients reach their customer engagement goals,” said owner Ladona Weathers. “Engaging with customers via email is not as easy as pressing send.  To be successful you must first provide customers with information they want, and then design that information in an easy- to-use and professional way.”

Small businesses and nonprofits using Constant Contact’s online marketing tools are eligible for this award. Criteria used to select this year’s All Stars included the following:

  • Level of engagement with email campaigns
  • Open, bounce, and click-through rates
  • Use of social sharing features
  • Use of mailing list sign-up tools
  • Use of reporting tools

“At Constant Contact, we aim to help small businesses become marketers so they can do even more business. Our All Stars are leading the way, showing us the difference online marketing can make for a small business. It’s truly inspiring,” said John Orlando, chief marketing officer at Constant Contact. “We’re thrilled to recognize White River Business Specialists for their commendable achievements in 2015 with this All Star Award.”

About White River Business Specialists
White River Business Specialists was born out of years of experience in business management by Gordon and Ladona Weathers in the tourist mecca, Branson MO.  White River Business Specialists has become the premiere agency in Southwest Missouri for online content marketing, social media management, marketing services, branding and business development.

About Constant Contact®, Inc.

Constant Contact, an Endurance International Group company and a leader in email marketing since 1995, provides hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the world with the online marketing tools, resources, and personalized coaching they need to grow their business.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

 

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talking business

Talking Business

White River Business Specialists’ owners Gordon & Ladona Weathers recently were invited to sit down with Earls Broadcasting Talking Business hosts Greg Slavik and Steve Willoughby.  Gordon and Ladona shared how they make their husband & wife business partnership work.  The Weathers also gave insights on website marketing and tips for search engine optimization.

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Click the play button to listen to the entire broadcast.

 

Responsive web page

5 reason why you should consider a website.

If you have not created a web site for you company yet, you might want to consider an avenue to reach the 3.2 billion people that are online. 191 million dollars in transactions were performed on the internet in 2014. When someone is looking for contact information for a company they are more likely to search on their laptop, tablet, or cell phone than open a phone book. If you haven’t yet, the time to act is now, here are 5 reasons your company should have a website.

1. PrintAn online presence is the best way to answer your client’s question 24 hours a day, engaging with them about your product or service on their terms. This day and age we want everything on our terms. If it is 9 pm at night and we are curious about a product or service we Google it. According to a report by GE Capital 81% of the respondents said they do online research before making a big purchase. You can close the doors and leave the office when the work day ends and still answer you prospective client’s questions about your product or service. With e commerce you can even make the sale while you are spending time with the family or in bed sleeping. A website with great engaging content will sell your company 24 hours a day 7 days a week at your customer’s convenience.

Print2. A website is the perfect tool to build credibility, trust and a reputation with potential customers. An engaging website gives them the opportunity to become familiar with your company and its products. It is the perfect medium to showcase your work and accomplishments to potential clients. Your professional image can be portrayed on a beautifully designed website. Potential clients can become comfortable with your products and services by reviewing customer testimonials, client portfolio and projects, and information about ownership and employees experience. The same information you would want to share in a sales meeting to build customer confidence and trust can be shared by your website.

Responsive web page3. When your business cards, letterhead, print ads, and commercials have a web address on them it adds credibility to your company. A creatively designed website can improve customer confidence and make you look bigger than you may actually be at this time. Even a one man shop can look like a large successful business. Not to mention you can now have a real business email. Nothing says you’re a reputable business like an email address. Owner@BusinessSoulutions.com is more impressive than owner@yahoo.com right?

meet the team4. A website can display a large amount of information that is current and can be changed at a minutes notice. New website back ends now make it easy to change your websites information through an easy to use content management system. Your website becomes an interactive, high quality 4 color brochure that lists the products and services you offer. You are not limited to a 3 panel brochure or an 8 ½ x 11 flyer. With easy updating capabilities your website becomes a place where you can advertise specials and spotlight your amazing employee and clients. You will soon be answering potential customers questions 24 hours a day and with e-commerce selling a product and collecting the payment. One distinct advantage to online sales as opposed to selling direct is people shopping online are trained to make a payment before they receive any merchandise.

dot com image5. When people ask you what you do you can give them your 15 second elevator speech. When they approach you on the street, at a networking event, or on the phone you can’t possibly tell them everything about your business. But with a website you can easily say if you would like to learn more about us you can visit our website at AwesomeBusiness.com. It can also help you cut down on lengthy radio ads and television commercials. You can give a 15 second teaser and direct them to your website address to learn more.

If you are now asking yourself why I don’t have a website, give us a call at White River Business Specialists. We can help you get connected to the World Wide Web through a website and social media. Or to learn more about us you can visit our website at www.WhiteRiverBusinessSpecialists or send an email to Gordon@WhiteRiverBusiness.com

Periscope

What exactly is Periscope you ask? It’s your view of the world live to the world!

Periscope In mid-March Twitter launched their new social media platform Periscope. It was a slow beginning but after 4 months it seems to really be taking off. A month ago I thought Periscope was another MySpace, Google Hangout, or MSN Messenger. When Meerkat a similar platform was launch as SXSW in was launched, Twitter quickly purchased its rival Periscope for just under 100 million dollars. Twitter’s first attempt at video was vines that took off quickly with the younger generation and quickly fizzled out. Periscope however has caught the eye of the business community.

This emerging platform now has businesses and retailers scrambling on how to promote their companies and drive sales. If by this point your now wondering what exactly is Periscope is a social media app that allows you to stream video live around the world to your followers and strangers from around the world from your phone or tablet. Periscope allows viewers to interact with broadcasters by text and send them hearts for an enjoyable broadcast. As of last month it in now available on IOS (apple) and Android as a free download. With over 3 million broadcasters and growing Periscope may just be here to stay.

Some helpful hints for Periscope “your view of the world”

  1. Since it is a Twitter product you can log into Periscope with your twitter account and password. You can them share you live feed with all your Twitter followers.
  2. Before you begin your broadcast you must give it a name. Your broadcast name and topic is what people will see it by and decide whether to watch your live video feed.
  3. Once your begin broadcasting you can switch from your rear to front camera of your device by double tapping the screen.
  4. Your videos will remain visible as a replay for your followers for 24 hours and then disappear forever. You do have the option of saving your video to your camera roll and you can them upload to apps like Facebook and YouTube.
  5. If you think this is the new place to see nude videos you’re in the wrong app. When Periscope first emerged I was sure it would turn into the next video Chat Roulette. Surprisingly Twitter is closely watching video content. They no doubt have their handful policing video. The users of Periscope are very similar to Instagram users who managed to keep Instagram for the most part porn free. I have not seen any pornographic activity however I have seen a number of church rebroadcast.
  6. Location Sharing. Many are concerned about a privacy issue and Periscope gives you the option to turn on location sharing. It automatically defaults to off so if you are a business and shooting a video to get people to attend your event you will want to turn on Location Sharing. You will see the option when you are setting up your broadcast.

Is Periscope here to stay? I think the jury is still out but I can tell you it is the most hopeful new Social Media Platform I have seen in some time. Plus With Twitter spending just shy of $100 million dollars I would say they need to make it go “VIRAL” as they say.

Who knows this could be a game changer in how news is broadcast. Anyone anywhere can now become a live news reporter and broadcast live from the scene. Celebrities are now joining the Periscope phenomenon. I just watched a video of @TomGreen  walking in Hollywood with David  Faustino the young son from Married With Children and sees  Keith Richards walking down the street.

 

If your curious download the app Periscope, sign up for an account or log in with your twitter account and make sure you follow me  @SaleSuperHero. Some of my friends I suggest following are @KarenBest (She is the Mayor of Branson Missouri),  @BransonMill, and Branson’s Country music star who’s single Good Show just entered the Top 40 @JasonPritchett. If you are not ready to commit and want to see Periscope live videos without the commitment you can view them at http://onperiscope.com/. Don’t be scared the water is fine jump on in!

 

Check out our blog at www.WhiteRiverBusiness.com for our coming blog on how businesses can use Periscope!  #PeriscopeDown

facebook-app-iphone-hed-2013

The Real Story on Facebook Policy Changes!

After seeing many friends, colleagues, and clients posting the Channel 13 jargon on their page prohibiting Facebook from sharing their information and data, I decided to blog about it. It seems that many of my friends are worried about their Facebook privacy so here are few tips for you regarding Facebook privacy. These tips will help protect your Facebook page from getting hacked which is really the threat to be worried about. If someone was to hack your personal account they could easily make themselves an admin of your business page and then make themselves the lone admin leaving you out in the cold!

This scare is from an announcement that Facebook released in November about privacy notice changes to take effect on January 1, 2015. Most of the policies are still the same. As I was reviewed the privacy policy changes I noticed not much is changing. If anything, Facebook is just being clearer on terms that were already agreed upon when you signed up for your Facebook account.

Here is what hasn’t changed:

  • The way Facebook shares your content and information
  • Page Terms
  • Registration requirements
  • Account security options
  • Protection of other people’s rights
  • Safety
  • Advertising terms

 

Here are the changes:

One of the biggest changes is Facebook has now made their Privacy Terms easier to understand. https://www.facebook.com/about/basics. Facebook has also added all of their products and features to their Facebook Services Terms. In their Cookies Terms, Facebook lays out exactly how they will use cookies or tracking pixels to allow you to make purchases directly from your phone and charge it to your cell phone bill! This is only affects you if you choose to make purchase through your cell phone. Basically a provider may use a pixel to collect information about your phone and only if you decide to make a purchase, Facebook will bill you through your cell phone bill. This is a change to the tracking cookies, but you’re only affected if you choose to buy things with your phone.

Now let’s talk about the big change that has caused all the turmoil on Facebook, Facebook’s new Data Policy caused people to place the “I don’t allow you Facebook, to use my information.” As with most internet hoaxes the biggest scare isn’t really that big of a deal. What Facebook has done is simply spell out a little more clearly what they have been doing all along. So the policy you agreed to when you sign up for your FREE Facebook account stated; you allowed Facebook to collect data on your wear a bouts by only mentioning GPS or “other location information.” The policy now states that they may collect your data through GPS, WIFI, and Bluetooth signals. WIFI and Bluetooth were currently covered under “other location information.” This information is collected so that they can push ads and notifications to your mobile phone based on your location. If you remember, in April, Facebook rolled out their “Friends Nearby” feature that you had to opt in and agree to allow Facebook to collect you phones location. If you are upset or worried about Facebook collecting this data, turn off your GPS location setting, WIFI and Bluetooth.

Personally, I would be more concerned about an ill intended person hacking your Facebook page over whether Mark Zuckerberg is tracking my Starbucks runs. So I have included a nice bonus of a few things you can do to protect your Facebook Page.

About Admins

First of all you need to assign at least two page admins to your page. So if you lose access to your Facebook account, the other admin can still manage all aspects of your business Facebook page. Make sure you assign someone you can really trust, because they can remove you as an admin at any time and take over your page!

Log In Alerts
If you are concerned about security you can turn on login notifications / alerts. This feature will notify you immediately if someone logs into your account from an unknown browser or device. If this should happen you will receive a notification from Facebook as soon as they login to your account!

Secure Login Codes

One of Facebook’s added features takes your log in security a step further. By turning on a feature known as approvals, you must receive a special log in code via text message before you can log into your Facebook page. This option prevents a hacker from logging into your Facebook page, unless he also stole your cell phone he cannot login to your Facebook account without receiving a special login code (sent to your mobile phone via text message).

If you don’t like Facebook’s policies and procedures your only recourse is to close and delete your account.  When you choose to enter the world of Social Media, nothing is ever completely private or secure. You need to be cautious of what you post and share because once it is out there you can’t get it back. Never post anything on your personal or business Facebook page you would not want your worst enemy or your strongest competition to know about you or your business. Because they are watching your pages, I guarantee it!

woman-public-speaking

Present like a Super Hero…Tips to a being a amazing speaker.

So you have been to the sales trainings you have sign a few clients and now you have prospected like only a superhero would and landed a meeting with a potentially large client and have to have the big presentation to the decision maker and his executive committee. This is where we as sales people get the cold sweats and panic attacks. There have been many studies conducted and Americans fear public speaking over death. So at a funeral most of the people would rather be in the coffin that delivering the eulogy.  Fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias ever diagnosed. I once had a member of my sales team ask “What can I do to get over my fear of speaking.”  I said “It’s pretty simple really Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.” Public speaking is definitely an important skill that every sales person and businesses manager or owner needs to master. When you enter the sales world or executive management, I promise you there will come a time when you will be required to deliver some sort of presentation whether it is the board of directors, a group sales presentation, speaking to a committee, or just a group of peers.  Presenting is a tool that every Superhero needs in their tool belt. Today I am going to share with you what I perceive as the top 5 pitfalls to presenting like a superhero.

So where do we start, first you need to research your audience. Researching your audience will help you decide if you need a PowerPoint presentation or a nice printed piece. Next you will need to decide what message you will be presenting. I suggest you brainstorm every possible answer your audience may ask and have answers prepared. Once you have your audience and message prepared, you must practice in front of a mach audience. This can be co-workers, friends, or family members. My daughter Lauren who is now almost 13 has been my mach audience since she was 2. Someday she is going to set the world on fire in sales. Your mach audience will help you with what questions might be asked of you and what holes you may have in your presentation.  You have to practice, practice, practice,

So let say, you have researched your audience, practiced in front of your mach audience, and feel  you have a solid list of what questions that might be asked?  No matter how much you prepare you cannot predict the future. The first pitfall is technical troubles; technology is not 100% reliable so when a laptop crashes or a projector bulb blows you need to be prepared. This should not be a problem if you have practiced your presentation and you have back up printed materials. Don’t waste your precious presenting time fussing over a technical disaster.  Thirty seconds of down time will kill a presentation.  In the worst case scenario, if your super techno presentation crashes in the middle of your presentation don’t panic, remain calm. You will need to decide if the time it takes to reboot or revive your laptop or projector is worth the trouble. If you decide you can sacrifice time and momentum, distract your audience from the technical fidgeting. Engage them in question and answers or continue presenting while you reboot your laptop. Once the laptop is rebooted continue with your presentation. You and your confident presentation skills are what sells, not a high tech sales presentation. Keep Practicing and over the next 4 days I will give 4 more pitfalls that can crush your sales presentation!

The second pitfall is rookie fumbles. The number one rookie mistake is making up an answer. There is nothing wrong with saying, “That’s a great question I have never been asked before, let me research the answer and get back to you.” Your audience is always testing you and they may already know the answer, so if you make up an answer you could be setting yourself up to be the fool. Another rookie mistake is starting an answer with um or I think. Always give your answers with confidence.

The third pitfall is the boss gets called away. After you have been presenting for a while you will experience this pitfall. The decision maker is suddenly called away from the office and two mid level managers are sent in to hear your presentation. At this point an ordinary sales person would get offended and blow off the presentation. However, a Sales Super Hero will give the managers the full blown presentation. You want to make these people feel important.  Look at this new audience as an opportunity to find out more about the company, the called away executive decision maker, and how the product can be beneficial to the client. Use it as a fact finding mission and an opportunity to develop a stronger relationship with people who can be your cheerleader with the decision maker. One added bonus is let’s say the decision maker gets fired, hit by a bus, or finds a new job. These mid level managers can easily become the new decision maker and you already have a relationship with them. You must remember they are not the final decision maker, avoid price negations if possible.  They may have a use and like for your product but no buying authority.

The fourth pitfall is clock watchers. Avoid end of day presentations and right after lunch. These are times your audience is most likely to be disengaged and tired. If you have to present in theses time frames you must engage your audience from the beginning. Ask lots of engaging questions, you might have prizes for answers. Some great prizes can be promotional products  with your companies name on them.  You can only hold the attention of adult learners for so long. Using their names often to perk their interest and keep them engaged. Let them know you realize it is late in the day or right after lunch and you feel their pain. You can do this by assuring them you will get to the point and keep things fast paced and interesting.

The fifth pitfall you cannot avoid and most likely cannot control. We call this the cynical executive; they have sat through one too many presentations. He beats on you with questions, interrupts your carefully considered replies, and doesn’t believe that you have anything that will be of benefit to him.  Focus on our presentation share some of his industry specific information that you have researched and not just your product or service, remain focused and deflect his hostility. Build relationships with others in the company and mine them for insight into why their leader’s is so cynical. This may help you break down his wall. Don’t take their challenge as an attack. Don’t be offended their behavior might be related to a past negative encounter with others at your company or a past sales rep. You may remind them of someone they dislike or distrust. If you are presenting to a group it could be office politics at play. You may offer the hostile executive a private session. If they continue, stop talking, never get into an argument, insult your client, or have a prolonged debate with one individual when you are presenting to a group. Turn the spotlight on him at least you will find out what his issues are or why he is so irritated. If you discover what is most important to the interrupter, you can possibly break through the hostility.

Presenting can become one of the most enjoyable parts of your job. You have to remember to always remain calm. Remember what I said about Americans fears of public speaking. 75% of you audience doesn’t want to be in your shoes. Present with confidence, show them you are passionate about your topic and practice, practice, practice. Prepare for the worst and you will present like a Superhero.

Follow Gordon Weathers and learn other techniques for your Superhero tool belt on Twitter @SalesSuperhero visit our website whiteriverbusiness.com

Open-to-feedback

That Doesn’t Suck…Is not a compliment!

“That Doesn’t Suck” is not a compliment. Believe it or not I actually heard a manager use this statement. As a leader or a manager it is your job to build up your employees and subordinates. People will work to the potential that is expected of them. I always prided myself as a manager that I was willing to roll up my sleeves and jump in the trench alongside my employees. This will gain you respect as a manager or boss faster than any other action.

Screaming or yelling does not solve anything. This is true in your personal and business life. Last time I checked we all make mistakes. According to John Wooden who as a coach won 10 NCAA Championships,   “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”  Mistakes are learning opportunities…not opportunities to ball out an employee.

There is a golden rule in management that all leaders should live by and that is “Praise in Public and Reprimand in Private.”  It is never acceptable to yell at an employee in public.  If you are a manager or boss don’t ever underestimate the power of simply telling an employee “Good Job”, or “Thank You”. You will be surprised how far a sincere compliment will go in building loyalty with your employees.

I know a manager whose I admire greatly and has been a mentor to me for almost 40 years. He recently retired and boosts in all his years in management he has never fired anyone. When you ask him how he accomplished this amazing feat he will tell you; whenever an employee made a mistake or broke the rules he would sit them down and explain what was expected of them in the position they were in and then give them the opportunity to change their action. If they failed to make the changes that he required he would give them a few days off work and tell them. If you want to change your habits you may return after your suspension. If you don’t want to change don’t bother coming back. He simply allowed them to make the choice for themselves. He was widely respected by his subordinates because he told them what was expected of them and held them to that standard

If you are a manager and you find yourself complaining that there are no good employees out there….Your wrong they are out there… They are just not working for you. I challenge you to ask yourself, why is that?

Satisfied Customers

Ask Your Customers How You’re Doing!

I am reminded of a quote from Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” What are the last two complaints you have heard form you customers? What can you learn from them and how can they be used to minimize the likelihood of them happening in the future.

Do we ever really breakout the looking glass and examine what our customers are telling us? I teach in my seminar, Sell Like a Superhero, the easiest way to find out what a customer is thinking or how to sell a customer is to ask them! All too often we are afraid to ask the simple questions. Fear is holding us back, fear of the reality of the answers.

It doesn’t matter what we think…Did you hear that it doesn’t matter what we think or how we perceive our product or service. The only thing that matters is how our market and our customers perceive our product or service. Perception is reality.

The only way to find these answers is to ask it in the form of a question. You can do this in one of two ways. Ask them in a face to face meeting, which I prefer, or a customer satisfaction survey.
Most of the time, a customer will just go away. I know when I am dissatisfied with a store I rarely call them and let them know. I just choose another store. It is human nature to avoid conflict. I bet most you do the same thing and so do your clients.

You have to be bold and ask your client simple questions like, “How are we doing?” Then once you get the answers, you better do something about it. The worst thing you can do is ask a client, “How are we doing?” Then do nothing after receiving a negative response. You have to be bold to ask the question and be willing to offer a solution. I challenge you to look closely at your last two customer complaints and take actions to correct them. Superheros are bold, and never afraid, so sell like a superhero today!

Who We Are

White River Business Specialists was born out of years of experience in business management by Gordon and Ladona Weathers in the tourist mecca, Branson MO.  The company began with the purpose of selling promotional products.  As Gordon met with customers questions about marketing decisions seemed to always work their way into the conversation.  In 2012, Ladona joined White River Business Specialists full-time and the decision was made to phase-out the sale of promotional products and focus on services that truly fill a gap for small and medium sized businesses.

THE NEW FRONTIER
Websites are a must for most businesses and the days of build it and they will find it are gone.  White River Business Specialists has become the premiere agency in Southwest Missouri for online content marketing, social media management, marketing services, branding and business training.  How did this happen so fast?  One word…RESULTS!  Our clients receive exceptional customer service with White River Business Specialists truly becoming your partner and member of your team.  Learn more about White River Business Specialists.

Business Training

An outside expert can provide valuable insight into your business.  Our consultants can look at specific areas of your business such as sales, leadership or customer service.  We will evaluate, build an action plan and train your staff to reach a new potential they may never have dreamed of.  If you prefer a whole-business approach our experts will spend time in every aspect of your business looking for strengths and weaknesses and working with you to increase your company’s profitability.

Business Training and Consultation

Gordon Weathers, a proven leader in the business management can help your staff meet new goals to take your business to the next level.

Sales Team Management

  • Meet with staff on weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly
  • Work individually with staff
  • Create sales goals
  • Create motivation tools
  • Teach your staff how to not just close the sale but keep the customer coming back

Leadership Training

  • Meet with an entire team or individuals
  • Access current leadership levels
  • Create reward / motivation tools
  • Teach staff how to retain the best employees
  • Teach staff how to train / motivate or move out underperforming employees

Ladona Weathers has become a sought after expert in the area of customer service.  Her workshops on customer service have helped hundreds of businesses think about service in a new way and with a new importance.  Customer service workshops are available for mixed groups of businesses or to work one-on-one with a business.  Customer service training can be designed as a one-time session or on an on-going basis.  When working directly with a business, secret shopping services are also included in the customer service training.

Customer Service Training

  • Unique material specific to your business or industry
  • Solve real-life problems
  • Teach employees to plan for problems
  • Employees work on how to communication with customers effectively

Secret Shopping

  • Unique and custom program created for each business
  • Phone and in-person shopping conducted
  • Work with management to create what service is to be measured
  • Work with management on how to motivate employees to improve

Contact us for more information on White River Business Specialists’ Training Programs.