Sales & marketing prowess requires continual investment of your time

Posted by jasoneconomides

Alongside all of your sales and marketing training courses you might go on, it’s really important to regularly invest in books written by top authors. Here are a few recommendations that I think you should look at:


Secrets of Closing the Sales – Zig Ziglar

Book yourself Solid – Michael Port  (follow him on twitter @michaelport)

Think Big and Kick Ass in Business – Donald Trump & Bill Zanker (founder of The Learning Annex)

How To Sell anything to anybody – Joe Girard

See you at the top – Zig Ziglar

Persuasion Engineering – Richard Bandler & John LaValle

For more books visit the ECO Business Academy bookstore.

Scheduling Software: The Way to Grow Business, Decrease ‘No-Shows’

Posted by jasoneconomides

Since 2007, we have been using an appointment-booking system called Appointment-plus, to book appointments with all our clients.  It reduces no-shows, cancellations, and even follows up with clients regularly to make sure we stay on track. In fact in all the time we have been using the system, over 6 years, with over 1000 appointments, we have had less than 10 no-shows.

I was going to write an article on the system, but Eric Richard, Appointment-Plus‘s in-house PR guy, is far more eloquent!  This system is fantastic for many businesses including:

Coaches – Personal Trainers – Chiropractors – Hair Salons and spas – Accountants – Careers departments – Consultants – Mechanics  ….in fact anyone who books meetings by the hour, but have many many clients, will find this software a life-saver.

(This article, written by Eric Richard has been reproduced with kind permission from Appointment-Plus)

Salon Scheduling Software: The Way to Grow Business, Decrease ‘No-Shows’ – By Eric Richard

The ultimate goal of any salon owner or operator is to develop a successful business that provides stellar service to its customers and generates increasing revenue. But like other service-based small businesses, the ability to efficiently manage operations and streamline necessary processes can be a roadblock to reaching this goal.

This is especially true when it comes to managing appointments, which for many salons is a tedious and time-consuming task. But for those salons that have implemented online salon scheduling software, this one-time burdensome process is now a vehicle for increasing sales and running a more effective business.


Salon appointment software takes the pain out of manually scheduling customer salon appointments by taking the process into “the cloud”, instead of relying on outdated methods such as taking appointments by phone and managing them in a paper appointment book. By cloud, we mean utilizing Internet technologies instead of programs confined to an individual desktop computer or network. Online salon scheduling software is securely housed on external servers and accessed and managed in the same manner as e-mail, social media pages or Web pages.

And it’s this characteristic that creates a tremendous value to salon operations, as it gives them the ability to automatically schedule customer appointments online, 24 hours a day.

Regardless of the type of business, today’s customers are utilizing their laptops, tablets and smartphones to connect with service providers. And they’re looking for more than just basic information. They want the ability to conduct transactions with the business, whether it’s purchasing an item, chatting with a business rep, or, in the case of salons, scheduling an appointment online when it’s most convenient for them.

Salon appointment software accomplishes this by giving salon owners and operators the ability to place a “Book Now” button or link on their business Web site, social media page, newsletter, e-mail or any other Web form. Once a customer clicks on the button or link, they instantly access a scheduler page that typically allows them to choose their stylist of choice, specific service, and day/time of the appointment.

Once booked, the system will automatically confirm the appointment details and send the customer a confirmation e-mail. The information is instantly registered within the system, without any action on the part of the salon staff.

This makes salon scheduling software a true customer benefit. It can also be a revenue-generator, as it enables a salon to stay open 24 hours a day. Many customers simply do not have the ability to pick up the phone during a salon’s normal business hours. Without an online scheduling solution, their options are limited. They must either leave a message and hope that a salon staffer will return their call or try to make time during their busy workdays. Either scenario has the potential for creating lost revenue, as convenience is key when it comes to service-based businesses. These same customers could quickly view availability and book their appointment times online if offered an online way to do that.

The result: more booked appointments, less staff time devoted to managing appointments, happier customers, and more revenue!


Another benefit of salon appointment software impactful to operations and revenue is its ability to dramatically reduce ‘no-shows’. As any salon owner or operator can attest to, filled appointment slots mean revenue, and when customers fail to make their appointments, the result in lost revenue, as that slot could have been filled by another customer. It also impacts staff assignments and pay, as missed appointments leave stylists with an empty chair and missed revenue.

Salon scheduling software is a no-show slayer, as it automatically sends a booked individual an e-mail or text message reminder prior to his or her scheduled appointment time. Not only is this a convenience for the scheduled person, studies show that it can decrease the no-show rate by as much as 75 percent.

This feature is dually-beneficial: customers are reminded of their appointment time, and businesses help reduce the dreaded no-show rate.

When it comes to properly managing appointments, salon owners shouldn’t leave it up to chance. Implementing salon appointment software takes strain of booking appointments out of the hands of salon staff and into an efficient online process.

Eric Richard is the senior public relations specialist for Appointment-Plus, an online appointment scheduler that has booked over 100 million appointments and reservations. Launched in 2001, Appointment-Plus was the industry pioneer in online scheduling software, utilizing the software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model since its inception. Today, Appointment-Plus is the worldwide leader in mobile and online salon scheduling software with three million appointments booked every month and nearly a billion dollars in commerce conducted annually through its system. Its Scheduling Cloud API also enables larger organizations to build custom applications on the powerful Appointment-Plus engine, while its integrated Marketplace allows businesses to easily interface with Microsoft Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, Constant Contact, QuickBooks and other popular business tools to help businesses and organizations manage their operations more effectively, productively and successfully.

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Getting to the top of google is difficult, without the right help….

Posted by jasoneconomides

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Judging a book by its cover: Why customers DO judge you by your appearance and how a personal professional branding expert can make ALL the difference

Posted by jasoneconomides

Gill Hicks is a well respected NLP expert and Personal Professional Branding Expert, and it was through Gill that I first got involved with NLP.

Gill helps hundreds of people every year, maximise their chances of success in meetings by making massively important changes to the way they look, act and speak. Gill also runs her own personal branding business, called Positive Potential.

Like you, I was curious, to understand why dressing for success is so important, and how you can improve your chances of success in meetings just by wearing the right clothes. Gill agreed to take some valuable time out of her schedule, to share some of her pearls of wisdom with Eco Business Academy.

Here’s what Gill had to say:-

Eco Business Academy: Gill, Firstly thank you so much for taking the time out to share your views and your experience with Eco Business Academy’s readers. Gill, can you explain to us what an Personal Professional Branding Expert  is and why we all need one?”

Gill Hicks: I’d like to start by saying we don’t all need one, Jason! We are born with ‘perfect dress sense’ and it is this dress sense that tells us when we have made the right purchases – they are the items we love wearing, they make us feel good and more confident. Some people are really in touch with this dress sense – they love and wear everything they buy and they always look good.

For most, it is the 80/20 rule, they wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time – it is these people who would really benefit from a consultation. Not only is this type of wardrobe a huge waste of money, but the biggest waste is people going around much of the time feeling very mediocre – what a waste of life! An Image Consultant will demonstrate a wide range of colours, styles, accessories, and textures to harmonise with their client’s colouring, shape, personality and lifestyle so the client can then confidently purchase items that will appeal to their dress sense, will make them feel and project an air of greater confidence.

The image consultant should give advice on dressing appropriately for their client’s working environment and career aspirations. If you have any doubts, then a consultation would be a very sensible investment, reaping huge financial rewards by raising the chances of converting prospects to customers more quickly.

EBA: You work with a wide variety of professionals, and I’m sure there are certain expectations depending on which industry someone is working in. Perhaps it might be useful for our readers to see some contrasting stories, for instance someone in financial services, and someone in Information Technology. What are some common themes?

Gill: Yes, I have worked with thousands of individuals from a huge range of industries. Well within Financial Services there are obviously a wide range of cultures – from back office to front office, traders to H.R. etc and from private banking, hedge funds, investment banking, retail banking and so on. An appropriate style of dress is slightly different amongst all of these, so what could I helpfully say is a fairly common theme?

I see a number of people dressing at a level they have come from rather than investing in the level they are aspiring to. Think of the Tesco Value range packaging versus their Finest range – we believe the quality of the packaging reflects the quality of the product inside – we respond to people in much the same way, it is quite simple really.

So up the quality and aim to dress to the ‘highest common denominator’ for the audience’s culture and prepare to try on dozens of suits until you find one that really makes you feel great – or ideally go for made to measure.

I.T. is another story altogether! I think it is fair to say that appearance will be less influential in meetings for technical, non managerial meetings than in almost any other sector I can think of. However, a good ‘technician’ is somebody who has a certain amount of creativity, is results focused and detail conscious – so think of trying to reflect these qualities in your appearance with particular attention to a high level of maintenance (i.e. everything clean, polished and contemporary).

The common theme I have noticed amongst the IT profession is poor attention to detail in their appearance.

EBA: (Adjusting my tie and checking my hair) Great thanks Gill, that’s really interesting stuff. What sort of motivating feedback from clients can you share with us, after they have come to see you for a consultation? How does it help inner confidence and results in meetings?

Gill: I have a stackful of letters from clients – I keep them all! I hear that not only have clients received far more rapid success than they could have imagined, but the thing I love is hearing how confidence levels have soared – it always gives me a little shiver, and of course it impacts on every part of their lives.

It is difficult to attribute meeting success directly with a client’s consultation, but since first impressions happen within a couple of seconds, and having talked to possibly hundreds of ‘interviewers/prospective purchasers’, I can confirm that in many instances a decision as to ‘this one looks very promising’ or ‘this is going to be a waste of time’ is frequently taken instantly they see the candidate — before the meeting has ‘officially begun’ and that first impression really impacts on what the prospect then ‘hears’.

Appearance and body language is all they have to go on at that first impression stage, so appearance is crucial.

EBA: Wow, well we had better make sure we get it right then. As I’m sure many people reading this won’t have the opportunity to meet with you in time for their next presentation meeting, can you give us two crucial dos and don’ts, that will have an immediate impact?”

Gill: Do have a good clear out of the wardrobe, discarding or putting to one side anything that you wouldn’t want to wear on a ‘good day’. Check you have enough really ‘feel good’ items to be able to ring the changes for up to 3 presentations with the same firm, and diarise what you have worn where as it is easy to forget if you are meeting with several prospective clients.

Don’t wait until you are called for a meeting to race out to the shops and buy something new – it will almost certainly be a mistake if bought in haste. You WILL get meetings, so do some research shopping first and don’t get tempted by buying too early with an ‘it will do’ attitude wait to you find something that makes you feel great.

EBA: We’ll all take your advice Gill! Finally, if someone wanted to find out more about your services, do you have a website they can visit, or a way they can contact you to ask a question or three?

Gill: I’d be delighted to answer any questions and can be emailed on [email protected] and they can go

Thank you Jason, and good luck to all your followers!

EBA: Thanks Gill, I’m sure they all appreciate the advice! I’m off to clear out my wardrobe! Now where are those leather trousers…….?



Competition: One Month’s Free Coaching for one luck subscriber plus free linkbacks for all entrants

Posted by jasoneconomides

We have had a busy week at Eco Business Academy.  New businesses that we are coaching just this week included jewellery design, catering and stringed instrument makers.  We showed a luthier how to run a direct mail marketing campaign to all of his last 30 years’ customers at ZERO COST.  In fact done right, it may even turn him a small profit before without him even needing to sell anything.

We want everyone to experience the powerful benefits of this type of coaching and training, but not everyone can afford it.

So, we are offering the opportunity to ONE small business owner the opportunity to win one month of sales & marketing coaching (worth in excess of $300), to one lucky Eco Business Academy follower.

All you need to do is go to, and sign up to the 10 free video series (enter your details in the box on the homepage, or watch the Lead Generation Mistakes video at, and tomorrow I will announce here who the winner is.  All entrants will get free advertising as we will post your web address on the blog if you put in brackets after your name your URL e.g.

Name:  John (

email: john @

So, if you’re feeling lucky, click on one of the links above, and you will be entered into the draw.