Posts Tagged ‘education’

Money Leeches in the Family?

If you have not yet read Part 2 of this article, please click here to read it now

In the last article, I talked about being aware and effectively stopping your Money Leeches!  Should a Money Leech appear who is NOT Immediate family, I recommend that you only offer P50 and not a Centavo more. Although it may seem very harsh, this is the first real step in getting your money to stay with you. Also remember, if you think you can’t do it, think about the welfare of your immediate family. Money leeches are not your burden, they are not your problem. Instead, think of them as “Money Management Tests”. If you are able to stop your leeches, you pass the test and you immediately get to the next level. Fail the test, then you will stay stuck where you are.

But what if the “Money Leech” is from immediate family? Like a brother or a sister or a parent, what then?

First, let me define what an “immediate family money Leech” is. — This is the brother or sister or parent that will habitually ask you for money. Most of the time, they even feel entitled to it because of the blood relationship they have with you. You know the type right?

Well, this is where it gets very sensitive for a lot of people. Everybody has a different opinion on this, but this is my clear cut view on it. Not all members of your immediate family have the same weight. You must prioritize who within your immediate family to be generous to first.

In my life, this is my prioritization: My first priority is to my wife and children, then my parents and then my siblings. And with that in mind, I give 90% of my money to my wife and children first, then the next 5% goes to me and the remaining 5% goes to a special fund just in case an immediate family needs it.

Side note: If you give 90% of your money to your wife / husband and children, make sure that it is not siphoned off by a relative of your wife/husband because they too may have a money leech or leeches. This is a concern of many married people as well. –Sit down and talk to your wife / husband about this if this is indeed the case with you. Your objective is to teach your spouse about money leeches and have a unified front against them.

Now, should there be a money leech in my immediate family the maximum amount of cash I or my wife gives is only the 5% of whatever we have at the time. Now depending on how much money you have right now, that can be very little or that can be very big, the point is, even if it is immediate family (outside of my wife and children) our cash generosity is budgeted, controlled and managed.

Another side note: If you are single, I do not suggest offering 90% to your immediate family unless you plan to never marry, still budget it to 5 to 10% because of 2 reasons: 1.) If you give more than that, you might not have a money leech now, but if they get used to it, you would have created a money leech down the road; And 2.) You need money for when you get married someday. If there was a major regret I had in my life, it was that, I didn’t plan financially when the time to marry the love of my life came along. Even though it worked out in the end, I could have planned so much better.

Make no mistake; my life’s wealth is meant for my immediate family. Everything I make and have is meant to be shared with them, and to give them a better life BUT if I have a Money Leech problem and do not budget, and control it. The Money Leech will most definitely bleed me dry financially as well, especially if it is family –and let me add, if you are married, a money leech in the immediate family, if not managed will DESTROY your marriage. Trust me; I’ve seen it happen to those very dear to me. This is why I urge you to understand what I am sharing. If nothing else, I want all of you to have a great and happy marriage.

Be Generous in the Right Way

Now some of you who have read up to this point might be having a violent reaction right now saying “I can’t just abandon my brother, sister, parents and just give them 5% if they desperately need the money??? If I do, I am not being a good son/daughter/ brother/sister, I am a Filipino, they are my blood, I must give!”

Okay, calm down before you decide that I am a heartless scrooge.

Remember that we are just talking about Money Leeches in the immediate family who “habitually” ask for money and even feel entitled to it. If they are not “leeching” you dry and they desperately need help and you can afford to do so then give what you can. But I suggest that you only do so once because if you give more than that, you are creating a money leech down the road.

I am a very generous person by nature. The problem that I had before was that I was generous in the wrong way.  Being overly generous with money, especially if you do not know how to manage it, is extremely dangerous and is a clear recipe for money running away from you instead of towards you.

So instead, what I learned to do, and what I want you to learn to do as well is to be extremely generous in the right way, and that is to be generous in “kind”. To explain this further, I will give you 2 assignments today.

Assignment 1: Read my past article entitled “Business Reciprocity”. Click Here To Read That Article. Then Comment on either that article or this one. Complain to me about the problems you have in completing the assignments. Believe me, I will read every single one — even yours and I promise that I will not ban you or even get mad at you when you do. It is all part of the process.

Assignment 2: Set a budget for your Family Leeches and stick to it. Create a script on how you will say it to them. You can email it to me if you want. Email to: markso@zerocapitalclub.com

Good luck and see you in the next article!

Author Box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, Investor and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, A Trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the Founder and Chief Trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses.  A sought after speaker for business, investing, You may email your comments and questions to: mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at 6874445 / 6873416 / 6874645 for a schedule of his seminars

Today, I want to share a very special topic — How to make money run after you. This is a topic that I have never shared with the public before now. It is I believe something that anyone and everyone can and should benefit from, especially those who have been looking but could not yet to find a job. For those working very hard but still not having enough to make ends meet. For those who are stressed out with not having enough money, and are becoming desperate, this article is for you.

Don’t think for one second that because the world is in financial crisis that there is no more money going around, the truth is far from it. The fact is, the world is literally overflowing with money.  It may not seem like it to you right now my dear reader but read on and let me enlighten you.

Always remember this: Money is never destroyed, only transferred.

Wealth, on a daily basis is constantly being transferred from those who do not know how to handle money to those who know how. Even, and most especially, during financial crisis, does what I just said hold its truest meaning. My goal in this article is to make you one of those people where wealth is transferred to and not taken from.

First let me take the most recent financial crisis, break it down for you and explain how wealth was transferred in relatively simple terms, then let me show you the steps to take today so that we begin the process of “wealth flow”.  This article will be the first of a series, and after each article I will give you an activity or task to do. If you seriously want money to run after you, I strongly recommend that you follow the assignments for every article and give me feedback every step of the way.

In the most recent financial crisis in the US that started June of 2007 and reached its peak in October of 2008, the US stock market and consequently the Philippine Stock market had lost more than 50% of its value. Most people panicked and took out their money, or whatever that was left of it for fear of losing even more. When they did that, they lost half of their wealth in just a few short days, which took almost a lifetime to build. As of September 29, 2008 according to CNN money, approximately $1.2 Trillion dollars was wiped out in the US alone.

Let me repeat: The money was not lost. It was merely transferred.

During the same crisis, there were a few, very few brave souls who bought those stocks at extremely low prices. They held on to it, and became a whole lot richer overnight.

**Warning: Do not get overwhelmed with what I’m going to share next; Even if my examples are in Billions of US dollars, the principles that I want you to pick up, will and can be applied to your situation. Also, and more importantly, do not put in everything you have in any investment vehicle because of this. This is not the point of my example**

In the US, the most notable figure to do this of course was Warren Buffet who at the time bought a significant chunk of shares of Goldman Sachs in September 2008. Despite the odds and the panic, Buffet bought those shares at basement bargain prices, He invested $5 billion, held on to it during the worst of the crisis (which was October 2008), and turned it into $8.7billion just recently. Another similar story, although he did not buy stocks but rather bet against them (a.k.a. short trading), John Paulson of Paulson and Co. made a killing betting against the US subprime mortgage market. He made $4 Billion after the worst of the crisis was over. Although Buffet and Paulson were the few covered by the media, there were more who made a killing as well, the public at large just didn’t know it.

Okay, you might be thinking well those guys are professional investors, how can I ever come close to doing that myself? Well, first let me explain that this is just one of many, many examples of “wealth flow transference”. You don’t have to be in stocks or investments to apply what I will be teaching you in the next few articles. And for those of you who know me and have been following my many articles, you know that I will teach you how to do it in a very practical and “anybody-can-do-it” way, so please, read on.

Also, I will not be saying that you cannot be a billionaire, I will leave that option wide open for anybody willing to try, but before we think about billions, or even millions, let’s first come back down to earth and start with the basics.

How and where do I begin?

I’m designing this and the succeeding articles to be very thorough and slow so that you not just understand it but experience it by applying it into your life, article by article. Of course you can go faster if you wish and I will inform you how to do that in the very, very near future.

In the meantime, this should be your first “realization” for this article– Running after money if you do not know how to manage it will result in forever chasing after money. Get your house in order first, build a strong foundation for money management first and you will see that the money will start running towards you and staying with you!

Now to learn and apply this lesson, here are your first assignment(s)

  1. Go to my blog http://www.markso.wordpress.com and subscribe to it (There is a space on the left side to input your email address)
  2. Search for, read, and comment on the following articles in the search box of my blog (Type it in the search box)
    1. “The Most Important Advice About Money I can Ever Give You” (You may have to scroll down the list to find it)
    2. “Money Management Simplified part s 1 to 3”  (You may have to scroll down the list to find it)

Good luck and see you in the next article!

 

Author Box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, Investor and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is the founder and Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Asia, A Trading club of Forex Traders across Asia. He is also the Founder and Chief Trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses.  A sought after speaker for business, investing, You may email your comments and questions to:   mhso@businessmaker-academy.com or call the office at 6874445 / 6873416 / 6874645 for a schedule of his seminars

Hello Everyone, It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Well, today I want to teach those who have a Business or those thinking of starting a business a very simple, very powerful, and almost effortless way to increase profits. And although what I will explain is pretty obvious, most businesses would surprisingly go the complete opposite of what I will share. You might even be practicing this in your business or are planning to do this when you launch your business.

So if you want to increase your profits with minimal effort, then my dear reader, please read on.

Almost all businesses I know at one point in time will resort to discounting as a way to increase their sales.  In fact, this practice has become ‘gospel’ to starting and even growing businesses that it becomes the ‘go-to’ tactic when they want to get more sales. I myself have discounted a lot in the past and even though it gets additional sales, I slowly and painfully realized, that it does something that you will not immediately notice, it will inevitably decrease your overall profitability.

So over the years, I have learned how to increase sales and profitability without resorting to discounting. And believe me, this will be a lesson you would want to take to heart and try on your business soon. But first, let me share why you should take this simple lesson seriously by showing you the math.

Let’s say your product’s selling price is P50 with a profit margin of 30% or P15. Now, the number of people buying that product is 10 per day. So, if we do simple multiplication, your total profit for the day will be P150 (10 people X P50 X 30%) or ( 10 people  X P15 profit ).

Now you feel your sales are low and you want to increase it, and what do you immediately think of?  “let’s give a 10% off promo” or let’s do a “Buy 1 take 1 promo”, etc.  Am I right? Of course I am because I’ve done it myself many, many times 😉

So, let’s take a look at the 10% off promo. 10% off your selling price means your P50 now becomes P45 (P5 discount).  Now, let’s assume that your promo produces 1 more customer or 11 customers for the day, then your total profit will now be P110 (11 people  X  P10 profit). P10 because it used to be P15 but I discounted P5 so my new profit is now P10.

If you get 2 more customers for the day, then profit becomes P120 (12 people X P10 profit)

3 more customers, P130 profit

4 more customers, P140 profit

5 more customers, P150 profit

So what can we conclude in this simple example? If I give a 10% discount, then I would need to add at least 5 more people or 50% more buyers just to have the same profit of P150! What more if you do a buy 1 take 1 promo or a 50% discount? Well, you do the math and you’d be very depressed I assure you.

So here’s my first lesson for you to increase your profit without any effort at all. STOP giving discounts if you really dont need to.

Easier said than done you say? Well, read on as I’m not yet done. In fact, in my businesses, I will go a step further by doing the complete reverse of what most of my competitors will typically do, I increase my prices by at least 20%. Now I know what you are thinking — yikes! Less people will buy from me if I do that — Not necessarily true, but for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at the math again and see what happens when you start losing some customers:

The original profit = P150 with 10 people @ P50 @ P15 Profit. I increase my price to P60 (add 20%) @ P25 profit from P15.

If my volume drops by 1 person to 9 people/day then, my profit will STILL be P225 (9 people X P25)

8 people/day, P 200 profit

7 people/day, P175 profit

6 people/day, P150 profit still

Now even if I lose 4 people or 40% of my volume, I will still get the same original profit.

Okay and I know what you are thinking, increasing prices are in many, many cases viewed by a lot of businesses as “Taboo” or “Evil” or “Un-filipino-like”. And I would agree in some cases, but I do not in many. I do not agree that businesses have to resort to “I’m-a-good-guy-so-I’ll-price-it -just-to-get-by” pricing or “Buy-from-me-because-I’m-the-lowest-priced-in-the-universe”. Thinking that way will surely run your business to the ground sooner or later.

If you are worried about those very thoughts, I want to assure you that you do not have to be a Bad guy when you raise your prices. Far from it actually, and you certainly do not have to be the lowest priced for you to have top sales. What I have learned throughout the years is that price is NOT the only thing that the customer is concerned with.  Customers for the most part are  concerned with 2 other things and sometimes even more so compared to price. 1.)  Quality /assurance and 2.) if it solves their problem.

And so, the 2nd lesson I will leave you with in this article will be this: have the courage and the strategy to increase your price by communicating and even going so far as to guarantee the quality of your product and making sure that it solves a problem that the customer is willing to pay a premium for. If you can do that, you are on your way to increasing your profits with minimal effort.

Author Box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, Investor and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Founder and Chief Trainer of the Philippine Franchise Institute which specializes in training and growing existing Franchise businesses.  A sought after speaker for business, investing, Sales and Marketing he is inviting you to attend his 2 day course on Proactive Sales and Marketing to give solid strategies on increasing your sales through practical, no-nonsense marketing. To register for this please go call (632)6874645 or 6873416.  You may email your comments and questions to:   mhso@businessmaker-academy.com

PH Blogs

Over the past year, I’ve written a good number of business advice articles for Manila Bulletin and each of those articles were and still are meant to help as many people as possible. These articles are from my experience and discoveries through a lot of trial and error in “business making”, and to be honest, all of those articles contain a secret or two of mine on being successful in business, so in this particular piece, I’d like to summarize some of the more valuable lessons and what has made me who I am over the years. I do hope that you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Keep things simple

If there is one truth about what works in this world is that the simplest of solutions are all you really need. A lot of times, I find myself looking at an opportunity and immediately start thinking of all sorts of “creative” ways of making money with it. Most of the time, it becomes an exercise in creativity rather than making a decent profit. In my article entitled, “Do Not Overcomplicate Your Business” I talk about this incident where a student from an Ivy League school was over complicating what should be a very simple and straightforward business — printing and selling of t-shirts. (Go to my blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com and search the title if you have not yet read it) I mean, come on, how complicated can that be right? Well, as the story turns out, you’d be amazed at how our train of thought can be so devoid of common sense.

Find the customer first

When I first heard this line from a successful entrepreneur (a close and dear friend) a long time ago, I was blown away at the simplicity of the logic. This is really not a secret in business making, just find and talk to a successful businessperson, they will instantly validate it, and many a times, that is most probably how they started in business in the first place. So to explain further, I used to think like the throngs of would-be entrepreneurs when it came to starting a business, find capital, put up the business, then make money. The problem with that logic is that in order to be in business, you needed capital first and in many, many cases that was the whole problem, the reason why you want to start a business in the first place was because you did not have money to begin with, so I experimented with that line “Find the customer first”, tried this and tried that until finally I figured it out. I discuss this a little bit more in my article: “How to Make Extra Money with Zero Capital” (again go to my blog and search for it if you have not read it yet).

Learn how to sell

Business in its purest form is selling. So naturally, if you want to be in business, you need to learn how to sell. Now the problem with this for a lot of people is that the mere mention of the word “sell” sends shivers up and down their spines, “can’t do it”, “don’t want to”, “I don’t think I can” would probably be the three phrases that just popped in your head right now. But the truth is, anyone, given the right motivation can sell, in fact, the people who you think can’t sell are actually the ones who can outsell even the most gifted of sales men. In my article series “The Tale of Two Salesmen Parts 1, 2, and 3” I unravel the mysteries and debunk the myth that sales and selling are only for a select few. When you get to read those articles on my blog, you will soon realize that sales is not a position, it’s a way of life.

Manage your money

Now, the thing about selling is that if you do it very well, money comes in. And I used to think that the more money coming in, the richer I will be. Well, it is true, but unfortunately that’s only half right. What I experienced was that, the more money that I made, the lesser there was of it remaining because I spent most of it on useless stuff. It took my wife and a huge knock on the head for me to realize that no matter how much money you made, what mattered more was what you did with it. In other words, how you spend is much more important than what you make. This is another key to my business success. In my article series “Money Management Simplified Parts 1, 2, and 3” I discuss step by step how you can spend properly and of course manage your money. So if you haven’t done so yet, go to my blog now and search those articles.

Keep investing in yourself

I said this once, and I’ll say it a thousand times more. The real secret to becoming a success is to never be content to just stay where you are. You are a product of evolution, when times change, so must you, when times get tougher, so must you. In this world we live in, it is the strong that survive, and so the most basic and yet most potent advice I could ever give you my dear reader is to never stop investing in improving your self, expanding your knowledge, practicing until you understand, making mistakes and boo boos along the way are all the things that you need to do constantly to keep on growing and succeeding.

In the end, I hope that my business advices through my articles and my blog have helped you in some way, hope or form. If it has, do leave a comment on my blog on any or all of the articles that you read there. Good luck and God bless!

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader, marketer, sales consultant, and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So is slated to conduct his 7 Point Formula for Business Start Up and Expansion this November 13, 2010. If you are interested in attending this seminar, email Mark directly at markso@zerocapitalclub.com. To read more of Mark’s interesting and life enriching articles you can go to his blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com

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So in this concluding article I will explain that being a great sales person is NOT just about developing a skill or transforming yourself from Yin to Yang or Yang to Yin. Instead, evolving as a salesperson is simpler than you think.

Money Money Money

Money Money Money

In my Sales and Marketing Seminars I ask my students what their motivation for selling is. Can you guess what their three main answers are? Correct:

1.) Money

2.) Recognition, and

3.) More Money.

To which I reply, “That’s very honest of all of you, but you see Money and Recognition can be achieved through some other means, you don’t need to engage in selling to achieve those. You can inherit wealth for Money, or you can learn to Invest and grow your money, or you can invent a new gadget or write an article for a newspaper for recognition, in other words what you mentioned were indeed motivations, but not really motivations to make you sell better.” Does that make sense? the crowd nods in agreement. So I continue, “You see the best sales people in the world, whether Yin or Yang are motivated by only two things when they start selling. these two things are what I call the 2 core sales motivations that you must develop to be better at selling. These are:

CORE MOTIVATION # 1.) Great Sales People are Excited and motivated by the product itself; And

CORE MOTIVATION #2.) Great Sales People absolutely CARE about the people that they sell to, their customers.”

Ok, so let’s talk about these 2 core sales motivations a little more shall we? In the world of selling, there is a simple but often forgotten rule which is:

“You Can’t Sell Properly What You Don’t Believe In”

If you remember, my wife, Jhoanna is as I mentioned a Super Yin, she absolutely gets freaked out when she needs to do the selling herself, but not when it comes to our seminars and our real estate properties.

Jhoanna absolutely believes in practical education, she has read “self-help” and “How to” books all her life and has become a maven of information, the Seminars we hold at Businessmaker Academy is the product of her beliefs (and mine of course), which she is very proud of and will be willing to sell to anyone who inquires about it. When she is in the office and answers a phone call inquiring about any one of our seminars, her face lights up and she can sell very naturally and easily. (She closes 99% of them literally) The same goes for Real Estate, yes she loves real estate, in fact ever since she was 7 years old, she would regularly encircle with a red marker the properties for rent or sale in the classifieds section of the Manila Bulletin and ask her parents to call and inquire how much it was. She would even insist on going with her family every Sunday to see some of the properties they owned at that time. She was and still is obsessed with Real Estate, so when one of our condominium units was turned over to us, she was able to rent it out on the first day we opened the door (I am not exaggerating). This is the power of believing in your product.

How about you? Are you motivated by the product you are selling? If you never saw it that way, here’s a simple exercise that you can do right now. Get a piece of paper and write on the top part: “I LOVE my product because…” then create a list, make the list as long as possible. Once you finish, I want you to read that list every morning before you start your selling day, do it everyday until you memorize it. The moment you see your product in a different light, the moment you start loving your product, you will immediately see your sales increase.

Ok, you are half-way there, now lets talk about the other core motivation of selling, which I believe to be a crucial ingredient in the sales process:

“You Should Not Sell If You Do Not Care For The People You Sell To”

Notice that I said “should not”, and not “cannot” because you can sell to people you don’t care about, but they (the customers) will know that you are not selling for their benefit but for yours only. And this is the other “Must have” ingredient when it comes to selling very well. You must “Love” your customers for you to be able to gain their trust and their loyalty. It is easy to fake sincerity, but if you do, your customers will know. And without sincerity there can never be trust. If the customer trusts you, the customer will buy from you, if the customer doesn’t trust you, they may buy from you once but maybe never again. It’s really that simple. So when you sell, be sincere, do not say what you think the customer wants to hear, instead, say the things that are true no matter if it may hurt the sale.

I honestly can tell you that I care for my customers, I sincerely do and they know it. But it is not just about what I say, it is about what I do that make my customers understand that I and my businesses are here for them. In my seminars I tell my students that I am sincerely excited to be here today to teach them, and indeed I am excited and thrilled, I always am because at the end of the day I love the feeling of being able to help, inspire, and provide a means for a better life for all of them. After my seminars, they would walk up to me and say “thank you” and the next time they would come over, I would shake their hands and ask about their family or how their start-up business is doing, I would mention the details of our meeting several weeks ago and they get surprised that I even remembered. These small things, these sincere things that I do over time show my customers that I care.

But I go several steps further, I don’t just sell to my customers, I build businesses around them to provide them what they need. And my customers would gladly buy from me, almost any product that I offer them because number 1.) I believe and trust in the product that I’m selling and 2.) All my long time customers know, I am selling something that I know that would be for their best interest.

Would you like to become more sincere? Here’s another exercise that will help with that. I want you to go and get a picture of a person that you would never ever lie to. Someone that you respect too much to just “sell to” It could be anyone. Go ahead and get that picture now. Got it? Great, now I want you to tell that picture why you would never want to lie to him/her. Go ahead, “I won’t lie to you because…” Done? Great, how did it feel? Feels honest right? Did you feel a bit liberated? You see, this exercise is meant to make you understand that customers are not just “people”. Customers can be your Mom, your wife, your Husband, your teacher, anyone that you care for and respect a whole lot. In that frame of mind, would you agree that you will only “sell” them something that will benefit them? Yes? Great, you are on your way to becoming a better sales person.

So in my examples and exercises above, Jhoanna and I, together with our growing businesses continue to strive to be better sales people using these two core motivations, 2 very simple truths in selling. I truly and sincerely hope it will help you too in your quest to be even better as a sales person now and in the future. Good Luck and God Bless!

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader, marketer, sales consultant, and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila. Mr. So is slated to conduct his Proactive Sales and Marketing Course this July 10, 2010. If you are interested in attending this seminar, email Mark directly at markso@zerocapitalclub.com. To read more of Mark’s interesting and life enriching articles you can go to his blog at http://www.markso.wordpress.com

First off, I’d like to thank all of those who visited and commented on my blog for Part 1. For those of you who have not yet read it please click here

The Yin and The Yang Salesman

The Yin and The Yang Salesman

From the comments, it was apparent that everyone has a favored salesman type, either Yin or Yang. But I was truly amazed and happy to read some of the comments that came very, very close to what I will be revealing today. These comments validate what I believe a True Salesman should be.

But first here are some interesting stats. 45% of those who commented were Yins, 30% were Yangs and  25% were unsure. And out of all the comments, a whopping 91% believed that Yins will outsell the Yangs!

And that verdict is absolutely, in my experience, CORRECT. Here is the most important revelation that I have discovered in all my years as a Salesman:

“Yangs Can Move Mountains when it comes to selling, but it is the Yins who are the ones who can best influence and maximize the full selling potential of the Yangs. And it is the Yins who have the best chance of closing deals if they so want to.”

One comment on my blog says a lot:

“I Am a Yin but I know that I can beat the Yang…How? By hiring a Yang to sell for me. Hehehe. I am not the type of person willing to develop my weaknesses. Rather, a person who wants to look for a person who can compensate it. Regards!” –Julius

That comment is classic Yin thinking and I applaud Julius for his concise and dead on insight. But you see it is not enough to just hire Yangs, because Yangs can also hire other Yangs to sell for them. The true power of the Yin is that they are one of the few people on earth who can control, correct, influence, and persuade the Yangs to be the best they can be.

Yins Naturally Control Yangs

The Yin Naturally Controls Yangs

Yin Naturally Controls Yangs

I want you to picture a thoroughbred champion race horse, now that horse is a powerful and magnificent creature — that’s a Yang Salesman. A Champion race horse can run 55 to 65 Kilometers / hour, which is pretty darn fast. Anyone (with a lot of money) can buy one (hire a Yang Salesman), but not everyone can ride one (control a Yang Salesman) without causing any serious injuries to the rider or the horse.

Only the right horse Jockey can control the race horse, and typically horse jockeys are no more than 5’5” in height and weighs no more than 116 pounds. Jockeys look normal in every sense of the word, in fact you might not even notice them most of the time, but, they have an enormous power inside of them, they can control the race horse. Now think of the Jockey as the Yin. Without the Yin, a race horse can run like the wind, but it will not be able to run as fast and as hard as when the Jockey is in control, even with the additional 116 pounds.

Do you get the picture? Good, let me go a little deeper now and let me now go back to salesmanship. You see not all Yins would like to become horse Jockeys, in other words, not all Yins would like to venture into sales because not a lot of Yins think that it is possible for them to succeed in it.

From the comments coming from the Yins on my Blog, it is very apparent that Most Yins, are still thinking that to be a true salesman, you need to be a Yang. So I want to let everyone know that that is NOT TRUE, and there really is no need for any transformation. Just a little confidence to know that you have what it takes as a Yin to possibly be the greatest salesman ever. I’d like to add another comment from my blog:

“…with perseverance, direction, interest and positive perception … you can make your goal come true….Its within you….” -Sofia

Great words Sofia, and let me add to that this truth: All Yins, and only the Yins have the immense power to control the Yangs if they so wanted to. Can you imagine a racehorse controlling another racehorse? Or an outgoing, extroverted person controlling another outgoing extroverted person? In some cases it can work, but in most of my experience, that relationship will be “explosive” in tagalong: “kapag pinagsama ang dalawang taong malakas ang dating, sasabog iyan”.

Now, When it comes down to it, Customers Naturally Like Yins more than Yangs

You see, it’s all very simple, Yang Salesmen have a tendency to repel other Yangs and if the other Yang happens to be a potential customer, getting a Super Yang to close will most likely turn into a contest of who can convince who. Instead of just closing the deal, a Yang usually has the tendency of OVER SELLING which is a big No, No in sales. I have had the privilege of seeing my wife (A SUPER YIN) sell a few times and she closes 99% of them (FANTASTIC if you ask me). Honestly though, and my wife will admit this to anyone. She is not comfortable doing the selling on her own, it freaks her out, but still she manages to get the customer to buy anyway because of this simple truth: Yins are perceived as ordinary “honest” folk who do not sell but who give advice and make honest recommendations.

Customers Trust Yins More

Customers Trust Yins More

In other words, if a Yin is selling, the customer usually let’s their guard down, and are more open to possibilities. And if the customer is open to what the Yin has to say, 99% of the time they will buy, because Yins will almost always tell the truth. And in the world of selling, truth and honesty is the key to sales success.

So for the Yins out there, listen to what I have to say: “There is no need to be a great talker, no need to be a great presenter, no need to be a great charmer. There are only 2 things you have to learn to become possibly the greatest salesman in the world: 1.) Have confidence in yourself and 2.) Learn how to close the deal.

If you want to learn how to build confidence and close the deal, I’m inviting all of you, whether Yin or Yang to go sign up for the Intensive 2-day Sales Training Workshop. Conducted by yours truly this June 9 and 10, 2010 ( Wednesday and Thursday) from 9AM to 5PM at Suite 1503A West Tower Philippine Stock Exchange Center Exchange Road Ortigas Center Pasig City.

Mark's Proactive Sales and Marketing Seminar

Attend Mark's 2 day Sales Training Program!

I hope to see you all there! Also feel free to leave a comment, I would honestly love to hear from all of you.

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila.  A sought after speaker for business and forex, he conducts seminars on Business Skills, Sales and many more.  To know more about these seminars, you may visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  You may email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com

Happy New Year! It is now 2010 and I hope you are looking forward to a great and wonderful year ahead. This is the time of the year when I am often asked, what’s a good business or investment to get into?

So for my very first column of the year, I wanted to share something basic but very often overlooked about succeeding in Business or Investing in general and that is, before you invest in anything, you must  invest in yourself first.

Sounds simple enough but many times, we place all our efforts and even our hard earned money in opportunities that come our way without knowing what it is we are getting into. Most of the time, we hear and see a new business or investment fad and immediately start thinking of putting money into it. And because we so badly want to progress in this world, we let impulse and greed take control over reason, raise our hopes and inevitably shake our heads later when the opportunity turns out to be another dead end, or worse, another scam. Is this the cycle that you continuously experience every year? So if you are asking what’s a good business or what’s a good investment to get into this 2010? My answer is start investing first in the one thing that you have probably overlooked for so many years…Yourself.

For those who want to start businesses, educate yourself first. The following areas are where you should start:

  • Sales and Marketing Skills

This is perhaps the most important skill to learn first. I often say that Sales is the purest form of business. Without it, you can never be in business. If you are a shy person and don’t think that selling is something you can do, think again. In my Sales and Marketing seminars you’d be happily surprised to know that the shy persons will always outsell the outspoken ones.

  • Capital Raising Skills

A lot of people think that they need capital to start a business, although that may be true for some businesses, would you know how to source capital without getting into debt?  Increasing your knowledge in this area will help you in your business ventures.  This is an important skill that every aspiring entrepreneur needs to learn.

  • Cash Flow Management Skills

A business is like a car.  Sales is money coming in or the gas that fuels the business while Business Expenses is what will deplete the money coming in. Cash Flow management is simply about knowing how to keep your business running smoothly even when the money coming in is not enough to sustain the business operations for a few months as sometimes experienced by many entrepreneurs.  If there is one skill that is critical to the survival of your business, this is it.  That’s why I make it appoint to equip my students with the proper tools and systems for cashflow management—it can make or break your business.

  • Human Resource Management Skills

As your business grows, you will need good people to help you run it. Forming your dream team is a must and improving your people handling skills will help you build this team.  For this, you will need to know basic knowledge in Human Resource Management.  From there, you will be able to develop systems to guide your employees, as well as programs to develop and motivate your team.  Applying what our HR training consultants have taught in our seminars, many companies including my own have greatly benefited from the best practices shared.  I’ve learned over the years that it pays to invest in your people too.

For those who want to do better in financial investments, the following areas are where you should look at:

  • Money Management Skills

The most important part of investing is not about how good you pick what to invest in. It’s about what you do with your money when things go bad. In other words, what is your exit strategy and what’s your plan B? As an investor, this is the most crucial thing for you to learn first.

  • Fundamental Analysis Skills

When you decide on what to invest in, you have to understand the underlying reasons for choosing that investment in the first place. For example I chose to invest in real estate because fundamentally, this particular area is a prime area and also because 5 to 10 years from now, this area will continue to increase in value due to continues development improvements by the private and government sectors.

  • Technical Analysis Skills

An important part of investing is also knowing the past price movements of whatever it is you are buying (or selling) Investors use these past price movements to determine trends in the markets which when properly combined with fundamental analysis can greatly improve your investments and the timing of when you get in and out of them.

  • Discipline in following a plan

Lastly, one of the hardest things to master about being an investor is to develop the discipline to only invest when the probabilities of investing is optimal. Too many times newbie investors will have no discipline and will invest based on gut feel and intuition resulting in catastrophe more often than not.

So you see, when you start asking yourself what’s a good business or investment to get into in 2010, do not just look at what people tell you to get into. Instead invest first in educating yourself and developing your skills in these areas. Then determine for yourself if these business or financial investments are indeed worth it.

Invest in yourself in 2010 because you are worth it.

Author box:

Mark So is a fervent businessman, forex trader and educator.  He is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy—a business, finance and corporate training center.  He is also the Chief Forex Trainer of Forex Club Manila.  A sought after speaker for business and forex, he is scheduled to conduct his signature seminar series on Business Start Up and Entrepreneurship this January 16 to February 13, 2009.  To know more about these seminars, you may visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or call (632)6874645.  You may email your comments and questions to:   markso@zerocapitalclub.com

A long time ago, I used to think that the true way to success is to outwit and outmaneuver competition. Truth be told, I am a very competitive person by nature and I hate losing to competition. And I’m sure that a part of you feels the same way deep down inside, it’s called the “competitive spirit”.

In fact I would wager that a lot of people who want to venture into business have a very healthy dose of competitiveness and most of the time think of starting a business as similar to going to war. You start to buy and read books such as the “art of war” and numerous business strategy books to beat your opponent(s). You have in your heads that to be in business, you must focus on “Killing Competition”.

Through the years of teaching business, I’ve encountered a lot of start-up businesses and even growing businesses that do not focus on what is really important, and that is learning how to make profits regardless of competition.

A lot of businesses that I’ve encountered will typically price their products lower than competition so that they can “steal” the clients from them. They feel that the more clients they are able to take from other businesses, the more successful they become.

For Example: You just opened a water refilling station just a few blocks away from an existing one who sells their 5 gallon jug at P50 each, you decide that for the opening promo you are going to price your 5 gallon jug at P45 each so that the customers of the existing business will switch to buying from you.

If you are starting to think this way, let me say right now that this is faulty thinking. Why? Because:

1.)    Your competition will most probably match or even price their products lower than yours and a price war may start. A price war is never good for business, not for you, not for your competitor. If you go down this path I guarantee, no one will win.

2.)    Competition will ALWAYS be there, even if you manage to destroy one or two today, 10 more will spring up tomorrow. It’s a losing battle that you will never win. Plus, this is the sure fire way to attract more enemies and possibly bankrupt you.

3.)    You are not acting in your business’ best interest because your profitability suffers and you are running your business not like a merchant but like a warrior.

So instead of thinking like a warrior let me give you now a few insights that will help you think more like a merchant whether you are just starting a business or have been in business for a while.

First, let’s re-focus you, repeat after me: “Businessmen are merchants, not warriors”. Business is not about going to war with your competitors, it’s about being profitable first with your customers.

There are many methods for pricing your products and services to be profitable with customers which I discuss fully in my Business seminars, but for this article I want to focus on a very important philosophy of profitability and that is to start learning how to

“Price for Profit, never for war”.

Here’s a real life example on how I did that. A couple of years ago I was invited to speak on “How to Start and Manage a Food Cart”. At first, the organizers wanted me to price it at P500 / seat since their other speakers (talking about other topics such as catering and baking) was offering that price. I said no to P500 and ended up negotiating the price to P2,500 / seat, 5 times higher than what the other seminars were going for. Though the organizers were reluctant at first, they finally said okay. You should have seen the poster. My seminar was the only one that was priced at P2,500 and the rest of the seminars were all P500. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

When the seminar day came, there were three seminars going on at the same time, mine and 2 others. The other 2 seminars were jam packed with about 60 participants each, mine had only 30 participants. Here’s the math:

Seminar A had 60 participants x P500 = P30,000.

Seminar B had 60 participants x P500 = P30,000

Sub Total                                              = P60,000
My seminar had 30 participants x P2,500 = P75,000.

Even if you add up the sales of my 2 “competitors” I still produced P15,000 more. Another way to look at it is that even if I only had 12 participants, I would have made the same amount compared to seminar a or b’s 60 participants, in my example above I only had half of what they got but I won over them in profits by an astounding 150%.

So you see, as businessmen, if you focus too much on increasing your customers by lowering your price, it is not at all as profitable as getting a smaller number of customers at a much better price. I never try to steal the customers away from my competition by lowering my price, instead I focus on giving more value to my customers with the price that they pay, regardless of what competition does.

Knowing this is the most important first step to becoming a merchant and a true Businessman.

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy and Forex Club Manila.  He regularly holds seminars on Business, Finance and Investments.  To read about past articles from the BIZMAKER column, you may visit www.markso.wordpress.com.  For more information about his seminars, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com.

The week before I let go of my Makati office, I wanted to say goodbye to it by taking my wife (girlfriend at that time) there for a surprise candlelit dinner. I had my one remaining staff put up about 20 candles and a soft romantic melody playing in the background before she left for the evening. I had everything planned out and when we walked in, the candles took her breath away. I sat her down in the corner of the office where it overlooked the light-filled city below us. Needless to say the evening was picture perfect and utterly romantic, until the part when I showed her what was for dinner.

Because I was still in debt at that time, we dined on 1 order of Mc Donald’s French Fries, 1 box of Chicken Nuggets and a glass of Orange Juice.

That was literally all I could afford at that time, so rather than starve, I decided to go with it and give my best smile while I gave it. And before I could even show how deeply embarrassed I was, my wife without hesitation and with the most sincere smile looked at me and told me that this was the best dinner in her life. And that was all it took to make me want to give her better food and a better life for all her life. That night, she gave me the ultimate reason to want to be a “better man”.

Within 6 months from that night, my troubled business had turned around and we had recovered 90% of my losses thanks to the virtual office that my wife had recommended and the sales coming in. However I was still not making any money because I did not have the right attitude towards money

My problem was that I never really managed the money coming in versus the money going out. Up until that point, I just concentrated on the money coming in, and never really minded where it was going. And worse still, like many men, I was never comfortable talking to women about finances. Like many men, I preferred to keep it a secret.

But my wife would have none of this “male money secret” nonsense, she told me point blank “If you really want to marry me, you’ve got to shape up your finances. I’m willing to help you, but you have to get with it.” Now, when your wife speaks like that, you never argue, you just do. Besides, I really did want to marry her.

So together we explored what I was doing wrong and found solutions that guide me till this day:

1.)    I should have given myself a salary – I used to think that the business is mine anyway so why should I salary myself? My wife’s practicality made sense, she said: “Well even if the business is yours, you still have to eat right? How can you eat if no money from the business is going to you?” So I gave myself back then a small token salary of P5,000 per month. Today, I always make it a point to give myself a salary for all the businesses that I build. Even if it is my business, I’ve learned practically what it means to “pay yourself first”.

2.)    My credit card bills were through the roof – Every time my bill came, I only paid the minimum amount due and worse I would say yes to every single “insurance” offer from my credit card. So I was paying a HUGE amount in unnecessary expenses plus interest every single month. My wife almost freaked out when I finally revealed this to her. But calmly she explained to me that insurance is good, but the terms they gave me were 10 times more expensive than others. And when it comes to paying only the minimum—that was the worst sin of all for her –“Never ever do that” she scolded, “Did you know that when you pay just the minimum amount, you are just paying in essence the interest payment and only a very small amount is removed from your overall balance?” So I had the credit card company first remove all my “card loaded insurances” which immediately lightened my monthly bills. Since I couldn’t pay the entire credit card bill all at once, I did my very best to pay 4 times more than the minimum amount every month. This drastically reduced how much I still had to pay. When I finally had enough money, I paid off the entire balance. Today, all my credit cards are debt-free.  I always pay in full and ON Time. There are no “useless” expenses on any of those cards and my credit line is extremely healthy.

3.)    I never recorded my expenses – Who has the time, right? Wrong. It’s the most important activity in managing money. My wife once again pointed out, “How will you know if you are making enough money if you don’t even record what you are spending on?” So with lots of help from my wife, I started a simple recording system where I record money coming in, money going out, and how much money I have left. It helps tremendously because it makes you more aware of how much money you have at any given time.  Today, I am very hands-on in managing my personal funds, investments and business cash flow.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not know exactly my finances. All of my businesses are debt-free and profitable.

It took me 9 years to get to where I am today. But I wouldn’t have made it if I have not learned early on that: “All of your success in making money will mean nothing if you do not know how to manage your money properly. If you do not know how to manage your money get help from someone who does, better if it is your spouse.”

 

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy and Forex Club Manila.  He regularly holds seminars on Business, Finance and Investments.  To read about past articles from the BIZMAKER column, you may visit www.markso.wordpress.com.  For more information about his seminars, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com.

(Continued from last week’s article… if you have not yet read Part 1, please click here)

One month before I met my wife, I started to work and turn my troubled business around. So I did what I should’ve done a long time ago, I fired my non-producing General Manager and her cohort but kept one staff who was loyal to me.  That reduced my costs tremendously. I could now afford to pay that one staff to continue to chase after the deals that we were supposed to close and I could start to pay off the debt that had piled up.

But cutting costs wasn’t enough.  I needed to get more sales in so that I could get out of debt faster.  So I made a few phone calls and I was referred to a person who could probably help.  I called and arranged a meeting with the person and she mentioned that she would introduce me to her business partner so that we can discuss the matter thoroughly.  I did not know it at that time, but the business partner was destined to be my wife.

When I first met my wife Jhoanna, I was immediately attracted to her. She was radiant, elegant, beautiful, and little did I know then, a genius. After a minute or two of introductions, I explained what I thought would be the best deal ever and handed her a 2 page proposal.  After looking through it, she simply said: “Your deal doesn’t make any sense for us to get into it.” Bam! I thought I had the deal in the bag, where did that left hook come from?

Although the deal did not push through as planned, my wife made me realize one of the most important traits a successful entrepreneur should have. And that was to think about action and results, not fluff. You see the deal that I was proposing was to outsource 100% of the work of my company to them and I would take 70% while they got 30%. And how I went about pitching the deal to them was with nothing more than charm and fluffy words. My wife saw right through that and showed me with her matter of fact statement that handsome and charming I may be, that would get me nowhere. A lesser man would have just walked away, but not me.  I got even more attracted to her. She gave me another reason to turn the business around.

Well, back to the drawing board I told myself. The one staff I had kept was making little progress, there was still NO income, and the debt was still piling up. I had to do something more drastic.

Now at that time, Jhoanna and I were already dating and she became my sounding board, business advisor and more importantly, my source of strength.

One of the most crucial ideas that she gave me during those times was to get a “virtual office” to lessen my operating costs yet make my company still professional looking.  A virtual office is a business center service where you pay a minimal fee to rent the office address including the phone line and a receptionist without actually staying in that office.  With my wife’s help (she called up all the virtual offices in town and got me the best deal), I got one that charged only Php900 per month.

Armed with this solution, I decided to let go of my Makati office and phone lines to save more on costs. I made a deal with my staff to let her bring home the computer and printer and to use her home phone temporarily. I would pay for half of the phone bill and whatever excess electricity she would consume because she’d be working from home.  She agreed.

Interestingly, the Virtual Office was the key to getting our first client in. This was the next crucial lesson my wife had taught me about business:  You need to package yourself well. Perception is key. The Virtual Office allowed me to look extremely professional, yet lessen my overhead.

On our calling card was printed:

Office Address: …West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Center, Exchange Road Ortigas, Center Pasig City, 1605 Philippines.

Phone: (632) 6873416; Fax: (632)6874645

I instructed my staff to call all our prospects and inform them that we were moving to a better office. When my staff started calling our prospects telling them that exact line and of course our office address and phone numbers, guess what?  Most of the prospects’ reactions were very positive and that immediately increased their perception of us.  In fact, one of the comments that my staff relayed to me was “Wow you guys must be doing really well, because that address is expensive”.  Little did they know that it only cost me P900 / month!

And sure enough, after a couple of weeks, we closed our first major deal. It was for a Million Pesos Gross and that was the first sigh of relief I had in 10 months. Finally, the business was turning around.

The projects were now coming in, and in the next 6 months, we had recovered 90% of the losses which was truly remarkable. However, I was still not making any money at that time from the business, I was still in debt and for some reason, I could not pay it off. Now this is where my wife truly helped me out. The turn-around of the business was just a small victory for the real problem that had to be fixed was my unhealthy attitude about money which my wife, through tough love, patience and practicality taught me to turn around as well.  (To be concluded next Sunday, Nov 15, 2009)

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy.  A sought-after Business Trainer & Consultant, he has taught thousands of people practical insights and strategies to win in business.  On November 14, he is scheduled to conduct his signature seminar on Capital Raising and Cashflow Management.  For more information, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com.