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What the Car You Drive Says About You

porsche_cake.jpg It’s not what you make that really counts; it’s how much you keep. We base that on studies that show how millionaires became millionaires. Sure, they’re always trying to earn more, but they really watch what they spend. That’s one of their secrets to success in many cases.

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Only you know your terms

We were recently at a birthday party for our friend, Tim. His wife had a really cool cake for him. It’s the picture you see with this post.

We were talking with Tim about his Porsche. He’s one of our regulars here at Bigg Success and he commented about how we’re always talking about frugality. A Porsche may not be consistent with that mindset.

But bigg success is life on your own terms. If your terms include having a Porsche parked in the garage, then more power to you!

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georgeThat’s one of the things we love about our definition of bigg success – it’s not judgmental. I can’t tell you what’s best for you. Just like you don’t know what’s right for me. Heck, sometimes I don’t even know what’s right for me!

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marylynnThat’s the beauty of life on your own terms. When you’re living it, you don’t judge other people because you think, “Oh, that’s life on their own terms.”

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We try to report what works – what research shows helps you get to that next level of success in your life. But we can’t tell anyone what the right choice is for them. You decide because you’re the one who lives with it.

We hope we provide some additional insight to help you with your decisions, but ultimately you’re the entrepreneur of your life. You’re in charge.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
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Your car is an expression

Money is one of the two resources we have; the other one is time. One way you express yourself is by how you spend your money and how that affects your play.

So what does all this have to do with a car?

You may choose to have a really cool sports car like our friend Tim. You feel good when you get it out on the road. It’s a reward for all the hard work you do. It may have even been an incentive you gave yourself for achieving something important for your bigg success.

Instead, you may choose a cheaper form of transportation. You would rather express yourself in some other way. For example, you may have a passion and you spend your play time and your money on that hobby.

Or you may choose to drive a hybrid. You’re genuinely concerned about the environment. It’s one of your causes. You feel like you’re contributing to a better world with that choice.

It’s life on your own terms. You choose it. You enjoy it.

The only caution is to make sure your choices really do help you live life on your won terms. Only you will know.

To help you with your choice, think about what’s going on with the five elements of bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. How does this decision affect them?

Life on your own terms is holistic. It’s a 360 degree view. Seeing the bigg picture leads to bigg success!

What does your car say about you?

Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thank you so much for sharing some of your time with us today.

Please join us next time when we’ll discuss how your play time can make you more productive.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success.

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hilton We were at the Hilton in Las Vegas recently for the New Media Expo. When we checked in, they offered us an upgrade for $25. We thought that an “upgrade” just meant a better room. But we knew we weren’t going to be in the room much. We’d be at the conference all day and meeting up with people in the evening. So why upgrade?

 

One evening, we were at dinner with some friends. One of them had upgraded. She got access to the spa and fitness center, a private breakfast, and more! As our friend described it all, we wished we would have gone for it!

However, the employee didn’t talk about the benefits (or even the features) when he offered us the upgrade. He didn’t give us a single reason to do it.

But at least he offered it; some employees don’t even do that. Or there’s the other extreme – selling so aggressively that you begin to wonder if what you were thinking about buying is any good at all. You start to question the company and its products or services.

We don’t know if Hilton…

  • has an incentive to reward employees who are successful at selling upgrades.
  • explains why upgrades are good for customers, employees, and the company.
  • Thoroughly trains their employees to present the benefits of upgrades.


We do know that …

  • We would have bought if the upgrade was presented how our friend presented it.
  • “What’s in it for me” applies to employees too!
  • We still love Hilton!

The power of offering more

Every sale presents opportunities for more sales. One of those opportunities is upselling – selling more of the same thing. According to the great book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, customers like choices “that fall between what they need at a minimum and what they could possibly spend at a maximum.”

The authors say that if you give your customers two choices, they will likely choose the least expensive one. However, you’ll make more sales than if you don’t offer a second choice at all.

The magic of 3

When you add a third product or service to the process, magic begins to happen. When that third product costs more than the other two choices, customers tend to go for the moderately priced product instead of the least expensive.

georgeOne of my businesses was a heating and air conditioning business. We had always offered our customers service agreements – we would schedule preventive maintenance of their furnace and air conditioner. We expanded that offer to include predictive maintenance (we automatically replaced inexpensive items that regularly broke down) and an all-inclusive program (our customers didn’t pay for anything else). We found that we sold more agreements than we did before. About 8% of our customers bought the high-end service, around 12% bought the low end package, and the rest bought the middle one!

marylynn So it pays to present your customers with a good – better – best offering. Your sales will skyrocket … as long as you can get your employees to tell your customers about it! Do you have any examples to share of good or bad upselling? How about some suggestions on how your business upsells to customers? Share your stories with us by leaving a comment.

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Is the Cheapest Place for Gas Costing You Money?

empty We’ve been talking about ways to save money. Today we want to look at something that is top of mind for many of us – how to save money on gas.

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Follow the price of oil like a speculator

Oil prices go up and down. If you knew the price of oil went up, you might want to hurry to fill up. If you knew it went down, maybe it would pay to wait a day or two. Now you can track the price of oil at Oil-Price.net. Large companies do it; why shouldn’t we?

Time your purchase

While we haven’t seen any research that proves this theory, it seems that gas prices often go up right before the weekend, especially long weekends. So test for yourself and, if you agree, try to buy your gas by the middle of the week.

Serial rewards

Some credit cards offer extra rebates (e.g. 5% instead of a normal 1% to 2%) on fuel purchases during an introductory period (e.g. six months). Consider this – if you have good credit, employ a strategy where you get a new card and use it through the ramped up reward period. Then move on to another one.

Loyalty programs

Our grocery store chain has opened convenience stores next to their main stores. To drive (pun intended) business to these new stores, they’re offering an incentive to their grocery store customers.

For every $25 you spend on groceries, you get a 5 cent per gallon discount on gas at their convenience store. We saved 60 cents a gallon on a recent purchase.

Shop before you shop

Sites like Gas Buddy, Gas Price Watch, and Fuel Me Up help you find the gas stations with the cheapest fuel in your area. Gas Buddy seems best for our area; check them all out to see which is best for you.

But before you do …

Is it worth the drive to save money on gas?

We know people who drive out of their way to go to the gas station with the cheapest fuel. It seems almost oxymoronic, doesn’t it? And aren’t you glad we got the “oxy” in there?

It struck us as an interesting question to prove out – is it worth burning fuel to save money on fuel?

gas-buddy_small

Here’s our calculation …

(click the image to enlarge)

We found the prices for our area gas stations at Gas Buddy, as shown in the picture above. Using MapQuest, we determined that it would be a 3-mile round-trip from the Bigg Studio to the closest gas station, which charged $3.85 per gallon. This was the second highest priced gas in our area on that day. That figures!

It’s an 8-mile round trip to the station with the cheapest gas – $3.66 gallon. Using our handy calculator (okay, we were able to calculate this in our head), we saw that we could save 19 cents per gallon by making the drive. That seems pretty significant.

But here’s the rub … our car only has a 17.4 gallon gas tank. So if our tank was bone dry when we arrived at the gas station (a feat we probably come close to more often than we would like to think), the most we could save is $3.31.

Suddenly it wasn’t as interesting for us. We often work from our house so we don’t really drive that much. But we have friends who drive a lot for work; they fill up their car as often as three times a week, so that would add up to over $500 for the year. Alright, it’s worth continuing.

In order to get the cheapest fuel, we would have to drive 5 more miles. How much does that cost? The best source we could think of for that is the Internal Revenue Service. They allow a deduction of 50.5 cents for every mile driven for business. Since we figured the IRS wasn’t in the business of being generous with deductions, we figured if anything this might be a little on the low side.

So we multiplied the 5 miles by the 50.5 cent cost per mile. It would cost us $2.53 to drive to the station to get the cheapest gas, where we would save $3.31 if our tank was completely empty.

The most we could save by driving was 78 cents per fill-up.

Even for our friends who fill up three times a week, this only translates into about $120 per year. It hardly seems worth it when you consider …

We’ve assumed that our time isn’t worth anything. Because it’s going to take more time to drive out of our way for the cheaper gas.

(Side note: Unless our tank was less than ¼ full, it would actually cost us money to get the cheaper fuel.)

So here’s what we concluded:

Driving to find the cheapest gas doesn’t really work for us. It might work for you, especially if you have a bigger gas tank. You can use the process we’ve mapped out to run your own numbers. But don’t forget to place some value on your time!

However, in general, it’s probably a waste of time and money to drive out of your way for gas, unless you can …

Combine that trip with other deals

It just so happens that the gas station with the cheapest price in our area is in a retail zone. It may be the same for you. So if that area offers the best deals on the staples you need, and you combine that with coupons like the woman who feeds her family of five for as little as $10 a week, and fill up with the cheapest gas in your area while you’re there, paid for by your ramped up rewards credit card that you’ll pay off every month, now you have something going for you!

Here’s one more thought on buying fuel. It’s a very simple one, but we recently got burned by NOT doing this. What does that say about us?

Pay attention

We pulled off the highway not long ago to fuel up. We turned right as we exited the off-ramp and turned right into the first gas station just off the highway. As we were filling up, we noticed the sign that showed the prices of gas.

Then we noticed the sign at the gas station across the road. We could have bought gas for 20 cents a gallon less … had we just made a left turn! 

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Are You Fishing for Customers in the Wrong Hole?

“If you want to catch a trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel.” – Ann Landers

George said he’s been fishing at times when he would have been happy to catch any fish at all. He’s even had times when his friend a few feet away was catching all kinds of fish.

So he found out what his friend was using – what bait or lure – and changed his, but he still didn’t catch any fish. He concluded he was fishing in the wrong hole.
 


Fishing for business
Sometimes we experience the same thing when we’re fishing for business. We’re putting our line out but we don’t get any bites.

It may be that the customers aren’t where we’re fishing – they’re in another hole!

For example, maybe your customers are primarily shopping for your product or service online and you’re only marketing offline or vice versa.

People don’t use the internet for that

George remembers having a debate with one of his business managers. This happened to be a plumbing business. They were discussing how to allocate advertising dollars between various media. George thought they needed a bigger online presence. His manager insisted that customers wouldn’t go online if they had a plumbing emergency.

After surveying calls that came in, the manager reported back to George that an overwhelming majority of the people who had called with a plumbing emergency during that time period had found them via the internet.

Sometimes we think we know where our customers are, but our perceptions are clouded by our own biases. Fortunately, there’s a way to find out for sure.

Today’s bigg action item – survey your customers.

Find out how they learn about new things. The odds are your future customers are probably a lot like your current customers.

How one car dealer did it

One example of this is a car dealer. He had the employee who pulled the customer’s car into the service bay record what radio station was playing. He analyzed this information to determine which radio stations to use.

Is there some way in your business to naturally find out what media your customers use? If there is, develop a system to track the information so you know in which hole to cast your line.

Work with your direct mail supplier

Here’s another example from George’s service businesses. His mailing service was able to take his customer lists and ping the national databases to see where their existing customers fit in. Then they had a good profile of the people to target with future advertising – target people who are similar to your existing customers.

Survey them directly

You may just have a survey form that your customers fill out. Offer them some incentive to take the time to complete your survey. It may be a product or service you offer that’s relatively inexpensive …

… or cut a deal with another merchant – maybe even work a trade – to offer an incentive to your customers (e.g. movies, dessert, or gas)!

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Pages

5 Marketing Strategies to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck During a Recession

By Bigg Success Staff
05-30-08

Bigg Success in Business

bullseye 

When times get tough, businesses often cut their marketing budgets. This may not be the best move you can make, but it may be necessary. If you need to cut back, there are ways to do it without destroying your future prospects.

Here are five ways to get the biggest bang for your buck during a recession.

Current customers

It’s much less expensive to market to your current customers than to find new ones. So share the savings with your customers! Find a way to save them money and they’ll be more likely to buy from you, even in tough times.

Contacts

Step up your networking efforts. The more people you meet, the more likely it is that you’ll find someone who needs what you sell. You may spend less money on marketing during a recession. Make up for that by investing more time in your marketing endeavors.

Referrals

The best way to get referrals is to ask for them! Ask your current customers for people they know who would benefit from what you offer. You may even offer an incentive to them for doing it. And don’t forget to work your contacts for referrals as well.

Customers like your customers

If you can identify people who share the characteristics of your current customers, you can target them efficiently. Check with your mailing service. They should be able to compare your customer base to their databases to find these prospects. This will also help you later with all your marketing efforts.

Counter-cyclical segments
Some products or services do better in a recession. Identify the areas of your business that are likely to gain more attention during tough times. Use those areas as a way to keep people buying from you and to gain new customers. Invest in what’s going to bring in dollars now.

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Differentiate Your Offer When You List Your House for Sale

By Bigg Success Staff
04-02-08

Life Changes

incentives_sign

When you’re ready to sell your house, we recommend that you list it with a realtor. They will prove to be an invaluable resource in moving your home relatively quickly for a reasonable price.

A good realtor helps you in many ways. One of those is making recommendations, based on the market at that time, to make your house and your offer attractive to prospective buyers.

So you’ll want to discuss incentives with your realtor. A good realtor will welcome a seller willing to consider incentives because it shows that you are serious about moving your property.

Here are some common incentives for buyers that you may consider:

  • pay for the buyer’s home warranty coverage for a year
  • prepay the buyer’s homeowner’s association dues for a year
  • offer a credit toward the buyer’s closing costs

Of course, what you offer depends on the value of the home you’re selling. You still want to come out ahead, but don’t be afraid to get creative.

For example, if your situation allows, consider a travel voucher (for a weekend away or longer). Buy this house and you’ll get a vacation for free! Would that get your attention?

Another thing to consider is that your realtor’s compensation is negotiable as well. A lot of sellers try to negotiate down. Among other things, this may unintentionally signal that you’re not serious about moving your house quickly.

Consider doing the opposite – give them a higher rate. Instead of that, you may consider a bonus if the house moves within a certain time frame. Good realtors don’t base which homes they sell on what they get paid. However, they may put forth a little extra early effort, and even spend more money, getting the word out about your listing if there is a reason to do so.

In the end, your professional realtor will weigh the options you’ve discussed and make some recommendations about which incentives will be best. The odds are that they’ll direct you to toward buyer’s incentives, if your listing price allows them.

You’ll have to make the final decision. Balance what you need and want from the sale of your home with how quickly you want it to move to create a price with incentives that is likely to meet your goals.

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