Monthly Archives: November 2016

How To Afford A Virtual Assistant

This is a guest post by Laura Licursi, Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants.

I’ve found a couple things to be true over the years; if I really want something I find a way to get it. When I come up with an excuse on why I can’t do something, it’s just that…an excuse.

Instead of saying, “I can’t afford a virtual assistant”, you need to change your mindset to “how can I afford a virtual assistant”? Once your mindset makes that change, you’re ready to work the help you need into your budget.

In the beginning stages of a business, money is tight. You need to allocate dollars carefully to areas that are going to bring in revenue. For some it could be a website, buying office equipment or hiring help to get things off the ground. Many of us will create a list showing our needs vs. wants. Once you put in place the things you need, you’ll eventually get to the stage that you can go after what you want. When you consider a VA as something you need to grow your business, you’ve overcome the obstacle of thinking you can’t afford it.

Hiring help tends to be at the bottom of everyone’s list. As an entrepreneur or small business owner we feel the need to do everything ourselves and do as much as we can for free… and there’s a lot of information out there for free. But free only goes so far, and then it’s time to really decide what you need to get to the next level and invest in what will get you there.

Having a family member that wants to help run your social media campaign is not going to deliver the same results as hiring a professional VA who does that for a living. Sure, free or discounted rates might initially look good on paper, but they’re not going to look good a year down the road for your bottom line.

Highly successful people have a secret; they don’t do everything themselves. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so making the most of that time is what will make the difference in your business. Change your mindset from “I Can’t” to “How Can I” and you won’t believe what you’ll be able to accomplish!

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re ready to change your mindset, give her a call today!

Benefits of Financial Advisors Outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant

Whether you are a one-person firm or you have a team, there just never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you hope. Outsourcing your calling, specialized tasks or projects to a virtual assistant can be a great way to increase productivity and increase your income.

So what are the benefits of working with a virtual assistant?

*You only pay them for the time they are needed so you don’t need to worry keeping them busy to justify them sitting in your office full-time. They are independent contractors and invoice for the time worked.

*No need for extra office equipment or office space. A virtual assistant works from his/her own office and takes care of their office equipment and expenses.

*They offer specialized skills that you need in your business. Perhaps you need a professional caller, a social media manager, a CRM wizard or a content writer who can work with your compliance. Perhaps you need help with seminars and events, whatever it may be a virtual assistant can help you.

*They are able to work with you and/or your office staff to fill in the gaps or only work during the busier times. Or do you have someone out on an extended vacation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc.? Virtual assistants are a great resource to look to in times of need as they will work around your schedule.

*They are experienced. There is no need to train your virtual assistant. You will be able to find someone with experience working with financial advisors and experience in the areas you need them to assist you with.
 

Are you in need of more help? Now is a great time to enlist the help of a virtual assistant. They can help you maximize what’s left of 2016 and get you started off to a fantastic 2017!

 

 

 

Selling During the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching and you know what that means. Your sales calls are being met with the all too familiar, “Call me after the first of the year.”

Once Thanksgiving hits clients and consumers tend to slow down for the year. They feel that certain decisions would make better sense to wait until after the New Year but sales people still need to work and still need to finish out the year strong. So how do you get them to change their thinking?

*Create urgency! Creating urgency as to why they should meet you or buy your product or services before the end of the year are a must! Change their way of thinking from – “I’ll just wait until next year” to “I need to get this accomplished by the end of the year and then I don’t have to worry about it in January.”

*Help them reach their year-end goals. If you sell to other sales professionals highlight how your product or service is going to help them accomplish their year-end goals. Everyone is looking for a way to increase year-end production and create sales during the holidays. Lead with how you can help them.

*Create an attention grabbing email. The holidays are busy and getting people on the phone and/or getting past gatekeepers gets a bit harder. Create an attention grabbing email that highlights the reasons why someone should meet with you now!

*Get past the gatekeepers. This time of years certain people train their gatekeepers to start pushing off all sales calls until January. Unless you have the person you are trying to reach email address you may not get to them or their voicemail. When the gatekeeper insists that you must call back next year act disappointed and say something like, ‘Shoot, I know Jim would be really interested in helping his clients with what I have to share with him before the end of the year. Is there any way I could send him an email? I was just hoping to increase his sales numbers for the last quarter.” Or something like that.

Another way to get past the gatekeeper is the chat him or her up. Be friendly, humorous and even complimentary.

*Hire some good help. I’ve worked in the financial industry since I was right out of college – so it’s been a few years – and there are definitely two main types of mentalities around the holidays – those who want to decrease their appointment setting services because it’s a slow time and those who want to either increase their appointment setting service or start an appointment setting service to finish the year strong and start the New Year off with a bang! Which one are you?

Even though meeting sales goals and having a banner year is important don’t forget to celebrate and enjoy the holidays! Schedule a little time for yourself to have some fun! This year needs to be celebrated and what better way to celebrate than to enjoy fun times with your friends and family. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season! Cheers to 2016 and here’s to a fantastic 2017!

 

Attract Customers/Clients with Your Brand

I don’t know about you but one of the first things I do when I go to a business’s website is click on the About Us or Our Story tab. I’m always interested in learning about the people who started the company, the people running the company and how the company even came about.

In an online search I found that many marketing experts consider the About Us page to be the most important page on a website. Consumers like to feel that the people they are doing business with are reputable business people. The About Us page is often a page that businesses have trouble optimizing.

Your About Us page is your brand, your story, what makes your business so unique? Why should people do business with you? What do you have to offer?

Your About Us page should be written in a conversational tone and include:

  1. The story behind how your business was started.
  2. The services and/or products you provide.
  3. How you benefit the customer.
  4. A call to action such as entering their email for a newsletter or leaving your phone number for them to call you.

Use your About Us page in your marketing, in your branding, on social media – update it and post bits and pieces of it throughout social media. Write a blog post or newsletter article about your About Us page. You really can use it as a marketing tool to create customer awareness and attract new business.

If you need help writing your About Us page consider hiring a copywriter or content marketer to help you. They know what they are doing and can take your thoughts and turn them into a lead generating piece of copy!

Need a more in-depth idea of what your brand should look like? Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. What do you sell?
  2. What are you really selling? For example – you may think you sell financial planning but really you are selling peace of mind.
  3. What is your target market? Is this market small enough – would you be better served to narrow your focus and go after a niche market?
  4. What are the characteristics of your target market?
  5. What are the characteristics of your company?
  6. What would your company look like if it were a person?
  7. What would your company act like if it were a person?
  8. What makes your company unique?
  9. What need does your company fulfill? Or what problem does your company solve?
  10. How do you want your target market to see your company?

Write down the answers to the questions above and start formulating your true brand. The brand that is going to attract customers and the brand that is going to move you toward success!

Your brand is the mark you want to leave on the world.

Use this new brand in all aspects of your marketing. In the near future we will be offering more on on branding at www.eliteschedulingservices.com and www.elitevirtualassist.com.

 

 

 

 

Plan for Success, Plan for Chaos

The holidays are fast approaching and for some that means there’s no doubt chaos will ensue! This year my goal is to plan ahead, to be prepared and if chaos rears its head – well that’s life. Flexibility and improvisation are traits to be desired.

What are the best steps to take to ensure this holiday season is as low stress and fun as possible? I’m going to share those with you now.

  1. Get organized! Take few minutes over this week and update your calendar for November and December. Include all of your holiday work parties, kids’ events, family gatherings, etc. After you’ve updated your calendar for the next two months you should have a clear picture of how many ‘working’ days you have left in the year. You may think this seems early but here’s the deal – do it now while you are LESS BUSY! Too many people wait until they are overwhelmed and then try to get organized. It’s so much easier to get organized now. Your future self will thank you!
  2. Create a list of goals that you’d like to accomplish over the next two months. This can include work, personal, travel, etc. Once you have them written down implement them into your calendar. If you have sales goals – look at how many working days you have left and figure out how much you need to sell each of those days to meet your goal and put that into your calendar.
  3. Say NO! The holidays are a crazy busy time and also a time where it seems everyone needs you for something – if it’s not important to you or your business feel free to say no.
  4. Plan ahead. Start putting things into your calendar so that you are prepared. This may be for work or home. For instance you may need to schedule time to send holiday cards for your business, or you may need to create a gift list of all of the people you need to purchase for. The more you plan and the earlier you get things done the better you will feel!
  5. Enlist help if necessary. Now that you are looking ahead you can see when and where you may need extra help to accomplish everything you need to accomplish for the remainder of the year. There are lots of things you can outsource from holiday cards and gift purchasing to appointment setting and social media marketing. Figure out what you need and get someone now.

 

If you do all of these things you’ll sleep better and be better prepared for the chaos. Remember in business and life, it’s all about balance. You have to take the bad with the good because the bad makes the good that much sweeter.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Danae Branson owns Elite Scheduling Services, LLC and is the Co-Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants.