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Newsletter

Turning Contacts Into Income – Fast

In our last issue, we left you hanging with the spellbinding question:

How do I follow up with all the people I just met at that mixer? And we were kind enough to give you the simple answer:

1. prioritize
2. organize
3. contact your prospects with songs from WII-FM.

But there’s a lot to know within those three steps in order to make the most effective use of your time. So, in this issue, we’ll go into significantly more detail.

Hopefully you caught our last issue when we discussed how to leave your new prospects properly motivated to meet with you. It will make your follow up work significantly more easy and productive. It also tells you what kind of music they play on WII-FM (very important). If you didn’t catch it, you can review it by
clicking here.

In accomplishing each of the above-mentioned tasks you will follow your own inclinations, preferences and criteria, but the end result of your efforts should always be to strengthen, extend and enhance the effectiveness of your network of contacts.

Prioritize

Regardless of your system, the first thing you need to do is sort your contacts according to their potential importance to your network. Your time is valuable, and if you're like most people in these busy times, you have to ration it. We recommend a triage system:

The A list consists of contacts with whom you definitely want to develop relationships and maintain regular contact, whose cards you want to keep near at hand. This category can be further subdivided into three groups:

1. Prospective clients.
2. People you will refer to others.
3. People who will pass referrals to you.

The B list includes contacts whose cards you might want to keep for possible reference, but that will not be developed under any of the A-list criteria. These are people with whom you don't expect to stay in regular contact other than sending them an occasional sales letter, promotional piece or newsletter. To simplify your filing system, it's usually best to keep these cards separate from your A-list cards.

The C list is everybody else—people or industries you don't want or expect to contact. There's no reason to keep these cards, so if you're short of desk space, throw them away. But think carefully before you toss them: Haven't we all dropped something into the trash, only to regret it a day or two later?  A separate card box might become a lifesaver.

You can note the date of contact on the back of the card and leave it in the C box for a few months or a year. Go through it periodically and cull the ones you've had the longest and never used. In the meantime, your C-box cards will come in handy as bookmarks… or toothpicks.

Organize

Any two-way relationship, whether personal or business, is based on a familiarity with each other's interests, skills, preferences, ambitions, desires, charitable activities, hobbies and other factors. It is also based on making contact often enough to avoid being forgotten or ignored. These two principles guide the way your A list helps you build and maintain relationships.

Once you've done your triage and have sorted everything into three piles, you can start to organize your A-list database by alphabetizing your cards, grouping them by region or industry or profession, cross-referencing them or applying any other criteria that fit your profession and your business habits.

There are two principal ways of setting up your database: the old way and the new way. The old way is a manual filing system. The new way is a computer database. One of the most common and underutilized contact management software programs is Microsoft Outlook. Since most business owners already own some version of Microsoft Office, they already own Outlook and don’t have to invest in new software.

Unfortunately, few business owners we’ve met are even aware of its power, let alone use it to its fullest potential.

Take a look at the Help section in Outlook, ask your technology consultant, or work with Level IV to unlock its full potential as it applies to your business.

Follow Up and Playing the Right Music

Your filing system may differ, but the importance of using it to make and maintain contact is vital.

Write out a schedule and set goals for making contacts. You could set aside 30 minutes each day to look through your file and choose someone to call. Or you could leave the time factor open and set a goal to call five, 10 or 20 contacts, new and old, every week. Keep an eye out for people and events you can discuss and choose the people most likely to be interested in or able to benefit from these opportunities.

When you actually make contact to set your follow up appointment, always, always, always make sure you are playing music on the right station! Answer your prospect’s unasked question: WII-FM? If your prospect believes that you are interested in buying their product or service, or that you can refer them to someone that is a prospect, they will be highly motivated to set and keep an appointment with you.

Few of the people you meet for the first time at a business mixer are going to express a need for your product or service, but that doesn't mean you have nothing to offer them. By distributing their cards at other functions you attend, you build value in them maintaining a close relationship with you.

You also build a certain feeling of indebtedness that will have them choose you, or refer you, over your competition. At the very least, they are for more likely to think of you first. Let them know you've passed their card to an individual, recommended their business and that the prospect is expecting a call.

This will create a positive, lasting impact with your prospect and may even lead to a referral fee. Once you've made that first contact, you need to keep building on it. One important way to do this is to follow up on previous contacts. A few weeks after your note to someone, follow up with another note or a phone call to ask whether the referral worked out. This will remind that person of your interest in his or her business and other pursuits.

It will also reinforce his or her resolve to look for ways to return the favor. Another powerful, cheap, and effective way to build and maintain relationships is with newsletters. But that’s a topic for another conversation…

The Ultimate Networking Event

LA’s Largest Mixer VI is the granddaddy of all mixers

With dozens of exhibitors
(Level IV will be one of them) and nearly a thousand hungry Networkers looking for new business, this one promises to be the best yet! One of the things this event has become famous for is the amazing quantity and array of food being offered for free. A while back the promoters learned the important lesson, “if you feed them, they will come.” So feed you they do.

They were clever enough to allow food exhibitors (usually restaurants and caterers) to receive a free booth (everybody else pays $600). There’s just one catch; they have to bring food samples to feed a minimum of 700 people!! So be sure to bring a healthy appetite to this one!

If you’re looking for new business, this is the place to be! And if you’d like to have a booth, but just don’t want to shell out the $600 plus all of the marketing materials you’ll want to bring,
Level IV has agreed to make space for two members of our business community to join us.

And the cost will be less than a third of what having your own booth would run. Your investment would be $175, and that includes your admission and all the food you can eat (of course). So if having an opportunity to meet close to a thousand new prospects in one 4-hour period would benefit you and your business, send us an email at the address listed below.

But whether you go there for the business or go there for the food, go! And bring lots of business cards!

Date: Thursday, July 22, 2004
Time: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Place: Los Angeles Center Studios
450 S. Bixel Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Regarding Money… (Part 2) by Robert Chun

In our last issue, we left off with the question “What does the concept called ‘intangibles’ have to do with money and exchange?” If you recall, intangibles are things like promises, requests, value, trust and view points as well as future and dreams.

Allow me to explain.

When someone asks you for something they are having a dialogue with you and are making a request. A request is being made to you because they perceive that you have something of value. When you agree to the value of something you are making an Agreement. When someone agrees to deliver something in exchange , that someone is making a promise. When they keep a promise they create a reputation and history with you. And after exchange happens, you have a totally different Experience than the moment before. Exchanges create a new future.

Allow me to explain it further.

When you buy a Ferrari, you are not buying metals with plastic and glass. You are buying the future that car represents for you. Whether that is a future of comfort, safety, high-speed racing, or a hot night on the town. Or it could be a speeding ticket. It depends on the driver, right? When you are making an exchange, you are promising a future -- and later, after delivering that future to people – you are creating a new future. This is true whether you are exchanging an ice cream cone or making a delivery to someone.

YOU are creating a new future for yourself and those around you all the time -- and exchanging it with other futures that someone else has created. Each and every moment that you have a dialogue with someone, you are exchanging something. Sometimes that is for money, other times it’s something else – but I am getting off the topic here.

So money is really a tracking device for the futures you create and exchange with someone else. The access to money is in your imagination (your ability to create value for someone else) and in your dialogue. This " access" does not exist in one person. (No hermit ever drove a Mercedes.)

So here is my definition of money and how to access it.

Money is mechanism for tracking futures that you create and exchange with someone else. Money is really a translating device and has no value or point of view by itself.

To access money you must create a future that someone else wants. Then you must create a physical thing that would allow another to access that. (For example: sweater for a future of warmth.) This future and a product or service must be communicated to another in exchange for money. Future delivered is money made.

To deliver a small future you can simply do it by yourself. This will touch people in your immediate circle.

To deliver a big future you need big teams and must touch many, many people. You literally have to make life better.

Living inside of this definition, you get to truly impact quality of life as well as quantity of life. Business becomes a force for good. So in a paradoxical way, to be rich and powerful you have to make a difference and become known.

So by this definition, when you create a better future that others want and exchange it for money, you will get wealthier and wealthier. What do you think of this definition? Drop a line to Level IV and let me know of your thoughts.

At Level IV, we are committed to building a future that works and where no one is left out. A future where we all belong together, creating the Next Level for everyone. Our job is to work in partnership with you and build that future – a future that we would all be proud of. Thanks for joining us in this conversation today. May it provide you access to the future that you seek.

Angel Investors

You’ve got the greatest business idea in the world, but can barely make enough money to keep a roof over your head, let alone invest big money into your business idea.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how great your idea is if you can’t raise enough money to get it off the ground. So where can you turn? The first choice is always friends and family. If that doesn’t get you enough, you can turn to the banks or SBA.

But they want to see a significant investment on your part, plus a great business plan, a great management team, a great track record, and collateral. Another option is venture capital. But they want to see most of the same things the bank wants to see, plus they usually want a huge piece of your company. But what if you knew someone that could write you a check for any amount that you needed, and they had so much money already that almost any amount would feel like petty cash to them? (Think Bill Gates.) This is a fair description of an angel investor.

Angel investors are people that are disgustingly wealthy. Most have made their money by investing in or building very large businesses. So they have a soft place in their heart for the entrepreneurial spirit. Often, if they hear the right pitch, it’s not that hard to get them to fund all of your start up expenses, as well as lending you their business expertise from time to time. And rich people tend to hang out with rich people. So if they can’t/won’t help you, they may refer you to someone that can. But how does one find these people?

Welcome to AngelSearch™, the coolest wealth identification tool ever invented! AngelSearch™ combs government records to gather investment data, industry preferences and total stock positions of America's wealthiest individuals. This provides you with unlimited access to valuable contact information on potential Angel investors, customers and clients and can be an invaluable tool if you are trying to raise capital, find investors, contributors, or wealthy new customers in your area.

Every individual in their database has a net worth of at least $1 million. It is constantly updated, cleaned and checked for accuracy. You can search the database as many times as you like, and result counts are free. Once you get a count of wealthy individuals that match your needs, you can buy all matching records, a portion of the records, refine your search or start a new one!

The cost for each record starts at $1.

If you develop and execute an effective strategy to follow up on these prospects, you will have a much better chance at finding the money you need for your worthy project.

The link below will take you to AngelSearch, where you can find more than 30,000 angel investors.

Good luck!

Find more than 30,000 Angel Investors

Business Affairs by Kevin Khalili

Kevin will be back next issue

Open Forum

Entrepreneur: We have a small company, and it seems that whenever we have enough work, I'm too busy to market. Then I have to play catch-up when business is slow and really hustle to bring in work. What can we do?

Level IV:
If you're like many entrepreneurs, you're so busy doing the "work" that you tell yourself you have no time to market. You work and work until you complete most everything in-house. Then, suddenly, you're in urgent need of business. So you market heavily for a few weeks or even months until more work comes in. Finally, deluged, you stop marketing once again and the whole cycle repeats itself.

Sound familiar? If so, you're condemning yourself and your company to life on an economic roller coaster. It's always feast or famine. In fact, the very way you market your business contributes directly to these peaks and valleys and keeps you from ever finding an even keel.

Lower Your Cost Per Sale

Some business owners mistakenly use the word "marketing," when what they really mean is "sales." When you're meeting with a prospect, you're not marketing, you're selling. In fact, sales activities are all the one-on-one tactics, including phone calls and meetings, that bring you into direct contact with your prospects. Marketing, on the other hand, exists to support sales and consists of tactics that produce leads or motivate prospects, such as direct marketing, public relations and advertising.

Selling is more time-intensive than marketing, which can be largely automated or subcontracted. While some sales activities must go on continuously, such as meetings with prospects to sign contracts or make presentations, at other times, marketing tactics can take their place. Not only will you benefit significantly thanks to the amount of time you'll save, but you'll also lower your overall cost per sale.

Consider this: Depending on your industry and type of business, the average sales call can cost you several hundred to several thousand dollars. So, imagine you compile a list of 100 prospects, contact them all individually by phone and then go out to meet with as many as you can close for appointments. This could take you months and cost thousands of dollars. On the other hand, during your busiest times you could send e-mail solicitations to those 100 prospects—plus 5,000 more.

You'd generate leads from the most qualified and meet only with them. You'd have results in a matter of weeks, not months, and expend considerably less time in the process.

Do Advance Planning

The key to maintaining a year-round marketing program, without those nasty peaks and valleys that can cost you so dearly, is effective preplanning. Have you written down your annual marketing plan? It doesn't have to be elaborate—just an outline will do, so long as you also schedule your tactics in a contact management software program or even on a paper calendar. Contact managers are indispensable when it comes to tracking both sales and marketing functions, and the granddaddy of all programs, ACT!, is priced affordably for most businesses. And if you have Microsoft Office, it comes with Outlook, which is a basic, but functional, contact management program.

I can’t remember the last time I met anyone that was using even one tenth of its functionality. With an outline and schedule for your basic marketing tactics, you can "gang" production and planning. For example, a monthly e-newsletter is a terrific way to maintain contact with prospects and takes less time than making individual phone calls. Each quarter, you can plan three issues at once, picking your topics and compiling content so that on the designated monthly mailing dates your newsletters are ready to go.

Choose Time-Saving Tactics

Some marketing tactics take more time than others. Public relations, for example, can be more time-consuming than advertising. Small-business owners rarely have the significant PR budgets necessary to hire agencies and tend to handle public relations in-house. And there are so many hands-on steps involved—such as compiling the media contact list, creating press releases and press kits, sending them out at the appropriate times, contacting the media and supplying information for stories or interviews—that they add up to hours upon hours of time

I’ve seen many books and articles that extol the virtues of public relations marketing, but the reality is that even the best publicists will pitch 50 to 100 editors to get one feature story written about their client. An ongoing advertising program, on the other hand, can be preplanned and booked once or twice per year with the help of an ad agency or directly with the media reps.

There's no hard and fast rule telling you exactly how much time you should spend marketing your businesses. In the fastest-growing businesses with sales of $1 million or less, the owners tend to spend from about 25 percent to nearly 40 percent of their time in sales and marketing every week. However, if your business is new, you may need to devote about 60 percent of your time for a while to get it up and running. The most important thing is to maintain a consistent effort. This will keep your growth rate steady and enable you to more effectively build your business over time.