01Jun/09

Governor Crist Signs HB 903 into Law, Saving Florida Employers Million in Workers’ Compensation Costs

Friday, Governor Charlie Crist signed HB 903 into state law, saving Florida employers millions in workers’ compensation costs. This victory for Florida’s employers was possible thanks to your thousands of calls, emails, and in-person meetings with your legislators during session.  Your grassroots efforts to urge Gov. Crist to sign the bill into law made the difference.

The Florida Chamber applauds the Governor and the Florida Legislature on the passage of this Florida Business Agenda priority.  With unemployment in Florida at 9.6%, Florida’s employers need these resources to hire more employees and assist them in transitioning through these tough economic times.  This legislation ensures injured workers receive more in benefits than plaintiffs’ trial lawyers do in fees. The Florida Chamber, working with the support of our local chamber and statewide partners, fought for the passage of this bill throughout session.

The signing of this critical legislation is a victory for Florida’s employers, especially small businesses, who cannot afford higher costs while facing many other financial challenges.  The legislation was aggressively opposed by the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.

01Jun/09

Marketing Mondays | 7 Tips for Leaving Great Sales Voicemails

The SAMBA blog offers the following in regards to leaving excellent voicemails:

One of the biggest hurdles (and most frustrating) to making a sale is getting the right person to call you back. As ancient as voicemail seems to be these days, it’s often the primary tool you have to persuade someone to talk to you. Here are 7 great tips for leaving good voicemails.

  1. Explain the benefit of the call, not the service - Don’t try to sell your service in a voicemail message (you won’t have enough time), just sell the conversation. Tell them what will they get by calling you back? A free assessment, advice, peace of mind…what will motivate them to want to talk to you?
  2. Understand unconscious language triggers #1 - Don’t start out your message with “Hi, (customer’s name) my name is (your name)…” because most telemarketers and strangers start that way, it often evokes a negatively conditioned Pavlovian response. Try using “Hi (their name) it’s (your name)” this is the language a friend or acquaintance might use, and usually accesses a positive unconscious trigger.
  3. Understand unconscious language triggers #2 - Robert Cialdini describes how the word “because” is an unconscious trigger that increased the likelihood someone will comply with your request. If you use the word “because” when you describe why someone should call you back, you might be surprised at your increased response rate. Click hereif you’d like to understand why.
  4. Create curiosity - If all the information you want to convey is already in the voicemail, why would they call you back? Create curiosity. Tell them you have information that is really valuable to them, but they have to call you back to get it.
  5. Express urgency - Why do they need to call you back right now? How can you create an emergency? What will happen if they don’t call you back right away? But don’t just focus on content. The urgency you create will be largely based on the tone of voice you use. If your family was being held hostage and their life depended on this person calling you back…what tone of voice might you use?
  6. Use good VM etiquette - No one likes a really long VM, keep it as short as possible. And say your number in the beginning of the message and at the end – not everyone has an iPhone.  If the person misses your number the first time they hear the message, and they have to playback the entire message to retrieve it, it’s less likely they’ll call you back. Just use common sense.
  7. Sell your message second by second - Just like any written sales copy, realize that if the first part of your message sucks, they’re likely to press delete right way. Make your first 5 seconds compelling so they’ll listen to the second 5 seconds, and make those 5 seconds make them want to listen to the next 5 seconds and so on.

Great advice for anyone looking to increase their call-back rate!  Julianna posted the following caveat in comments, which is well worth considering:

My husband who receives tons of sales calls gives everyone 10 seconds to make him want to listen to the rest of the message. If someone starts out pretending to be his friend, and he doesn’t know them, not only does he hit ‘delete’, he’s annoyed, feels lied to and is not likely to communicate with the rep in any way. So be careful about advice in #2. When I write sales scripts, I try to stick with being professional (Mr., Ms.) and honest (reps first and last name). Big fan of the rest of the list.

What advice would you add to this list?

29May/09

SBDC offers free workshop on “Understanding Small Business Administration Stimulus Loans”

(Lakeland, Fla., May 29, 2009) — The Small Business Development Center at the Central Florida Development Council presents a free workshop, “Understanding SBA Stimulus Loans,” June 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 5204 U.S. 98 S., Lakeland. The presenter will be Jim Parrish, certified business analyst.

“Small businesses suffering financial hardship as a result of the slow economy may be eligible to receive temporary relief to keep their doors open and get their cash flow back on track through a new loan program,” said Doretha Brooks, Small Business Development Center director.

Beginning June 15, the U.S. Small Business Administration will start guaranteeing America’s Recovery Capital loans. These deferred-payment loans of up to $35,000 are available to established, viable, for-profit small businesses that need short-term help to make their principal and interest payments on existing qualifying debt. ARC loans are interest-free to the borrower, 100 percent guaranteed by the SBA, have no SBA fees associated with them, and repayment will not begin until 12 months after the final disbursement.

To register visit www.polksbdc.org or call (863) 667-7913.

The Small Business Development Center at the Central Florida Development Council is a non-profit organization that designs and delivers a collection of programs directed towards strengthening the economic benefit of Central Florida. Services include free one-to-one counseling, on-going educational entrepreneurial training workshops, and support of the activities of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network.

26May/09

Two Lakeland Schools Named SMART Showcase Schools

Lakeland schools Crystal Lake Elementary and Lincoln Avenue Academy are among eight Florida schools named SMART Showcase Schools for their outstanding use of SMART boards and SMART technology. SMART Showcase Schools act as host sites for other schools interested in learning how SMART products and services are used to improve teaching and learning. According to the SMART Technologies company, the Showcase Schools Program is comprised of schools that use classroom technology in outstanding ways. Crystal Lake and Lincoln Avenue will become resources for other educators wanting to learn about the benefits of implementing the technology.

SMART Showcase Schools are chosen by invitation only. Polk, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties all have two Showcase Schools. One school each is from Alachua and St. Johns counties. Six of the Showcase Schools are public and two are private.

26May/09

June Business & Breakfast

The June Business & Breakfast will be held June 11th form 7:30 – 9:00 AM and will be hosted by Campfire USA Sunshine Council. The topic will feature “Creating a Team Culture” led by Campfire’s Team Building Corps.

Camp Fire 2color

CampFire USA Sunshine Council
2600 Buckingham Ave.

Thursday, June 11
7:30 a.m. ~ 9:00 a.m.

“Creating a Team Culture” led by Campfire’s Team Building Corps.

Featuring a traditional “Campfire Breakfast”!

RSVP and pay online now!