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  • Convenient ways to finance your overseas property investment. Nov 24, 2017 at 4:14 PM

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    Buying a
    property overseas can be a wonderful financialinvestment or a great way to set yourself up for vacations abroad. But most people tend to avoid such investments because they believe them to be too costly. The good news is if you don’t already possess the required funds to outright buy a property located abroad, there are numerous financing options at your disposal.

    While it might be true that seeking financing to buy a home abroad is less straightforward than seeking financing for a home in your locality, it is still doable as long you know what your best options are. Some of the more effective and convenient financing options we’ve come across include;

    1. Using some of the equity from your current home.

    While not all mortgage lenders are keen on financing a client’s goal of purchasing a property abroad, there are many others who will be more than happy to finance such a purchase. If you have an ongoing mortgage on your home, you can take out a second mortgage on it to finance your purchase. Depending on the value of your home and how much equity you have left, it is very possible to raise as much as you need via these means to get the property of your dreams abroad.

    If your initial bank refuses to grant you another mortgage, you can also pursue the option of remortgaging your home. The option of remortgaging might even release more funds than you would have previously received from your original mortgagor. Also, you aren’t limited to mortgaging your home with a bank back home as there are international financial institutions that actually specialise in granting loans against real estate located in specific countries around the world.

    But what if the option of a mortgage loan from the bank fails?

    2. You can talk to a private lender.

    There are various legal private money lenders available. While the terms of such loan agreements differ greatly from what you would find in a traditional bank, you can find a private lender whose loan agreement you find amicable by shopping around. There are even certain private lenders that specialise in loaning for overseas real estate purchases.

    3. Bridging loan

    Another viable option is a bridging loan which is a type of short-term loan. Depending on your needs or circumstances, you can take up a bridging loan for a time period anywhere between a few weeks and two years. If you intend on selling your current home to buy an overseas one, you can take a bridging loan from a bank to cover the interval between buying the overseas home and selling your current one.

    4. Seller financing

    As the name implies, seller financing involves the property seller loaning you the buyer the needed sum for the purchase. While not very common in many countries, there are other countries where seller financing is considered a norm. Seller financing is especially common in csountries where a credit rating system is non-existent and mortgage agreements aren’t very popular.

    By speaking to the seller of your property directly, you might find him/her amicable to a seller financing option which could involve you taking over an existing mortgage on the property with the original owner as co-signor. By settling the debt on the property, its full ownership will revert to you.

    5. Builder/Developer financing


    Most developers of new buildings in various countries offer this financing option to sellers regardless their country of origin. This financing option can be funded by the developer and you’ll probably get a better loan offer than what the local bank can offer. Developers engage in these sort of dealings so they can sell their properties faster and you can use this to your advantage to get your dream home abroad at a great price.
  • Building Customer Retention with Effective Loyalty Programs Nov 15, 2017

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    As a retail business, what drives your revenue is a strong customer base. Many retailers focus on generating and nurturing leads which they hope to convert into repeat customers someday. This is a plausible strategy, after all, every savvy entrepreneur knows it is cheaper and a lot easier to retain existing customers than convert new ones.

    According to a report by Thinkjar, it is 6 – 7 times more costly to win a new customer than keep an existing one. In another study by Marketing Metrics, businesses are 14 times more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new one.

    Given these statistics, it is therefore important for businesses to consider what strategies they are using to ensure their existing customers keep coming back. Today, up to 65% of marketers have a running loyalty program. If your business falls in the other 35%, you are probably losing some loyal customers. Here are a few things you can do about it.

    What is a loyalty program?

    This is a rewards program issued by a company to customers who buy products or use their services frequently. A loyalty program may offer customers gifts such as coupons, free tickets, merchandise or even an advance on pre-released products.

    The following are some effective ideas for loyalty programmes:

    1. The simple point system

    This is probably the most popular method. Here, customers who patronise a business regularly earn points which accumulate into some type of reward. For example, Le Accor Hotels offers customer points each time they use their hotel. When customers have up to 2000 reward points, they can get £40 off on their next booking. Of course, this is just for frequent users.

    However, some companies make this relationship between points and redeemable rewards complex. To make it effective, keep it simple and easy to understand.

    2. The loyalty card

    Many retailers use loyalty cards as a means of achieving a 2-in-1 deal. The loyalty cards capture all customers details such as purchase habits, identity and so on, which they can use in marketing programs for a more personalised service. However, the main use of a loyalty card is to give discounts to frequent buyers.

    According to Vend CEO Alex Fala, retailers can use loyalty cards to build a strong customer base. “When customers use these cards on your ePOS systems, you capture their use habits and can serve them better,” he says.

    3. Charge an upfront fee for VIP benefits

    Loyalty programs are designed to bring down barriers that exist between your business and its customers, so it seems odd that we are suggesting you charge them a fee, right? Well it has been observed that in some situations customers would rather pay a one-time fee to bypass certain barriers and access a service. This is good for both the customer and your business.

    According to a 2016 study by Listrak, cart abandonment rate was 77%, and part of it was caused by the stick shock. The final price observed after tax and shipping prices have been added. Customers can be saved this ‘shock’ by introducing an up-front fee from the start.

    4. Design non-monetary rewards around your customer’s preferences

    This is one major advantage of the loyalty card. With it, you can understand the values of your loyal customers and reward them accordingly. It doesn’t always have to be cash-based. If you notice a customer buys iTunes cards regularly, then they probably are music lovers.

    Instead of discount codes for your own products, you can give them two free tickets to an indie concert. Nothing will make them more love you more.

    It is important to differentiate the benefits for existing customers from new ones, otherwise the loyal customers will feel ‘slighted’. If you are preparing a program to lure new customers, ensure it is different and comparatively of “less value” to programs designed for long-time customers. This way, you keep everybody happy.
  • Preparing your online brand for a reputation crisis before it happens Nov 2, 2017

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    It is inevitable. Even when you have a great online reputation, great reviews and everybody loves you. Then one crisis hits you and you find yourself struggling to keep up. Every business worth its salt understands the value of reputation management when something happens, but only exceptional businesses take proactive steps towards preparing for a crisis. A negative impression of your business online, whether accurate or not, can easily result in loss of current and potential customers or partners and affect your company’s growth at the same time. Here’s how you can position your company online to protect your business from a crisis that is yet to happen.

    Own your story, tell your story.

    Before there is a need for it, you need to create your business story and tell it. For now, you have the widest audience, so when you tell your business story, you control the narrative. You need to stay ahead and control your search results so that a negative story or review stay as hidden in the background as possible. Create enough positive online content by submitting relevant and captivating articles about your business’s positive work to different blogs and websites so that can be the first thing people see when they search for your company.

    Make use of content optimisation

    Content is of no use unless it is optimised. Work hard to establish your business credibility long before it comes under fire. “There are several ways you can use optimized content marketing, such as providing insights on issues surrounding your business sector or offering relevant information about your business sector in a way that the general public will understand. Doing this will make the general public (and potential customers) look up to you as a business to be trusted.”
    - Alana - Online Reputation Management expert from Digital OX

    Keep it business, but go beyond business

    Keep your business more relatable with a cause that is not purely business. Many businesses are involved in charities and other activities that are not for profit. Talking about these extra business activities in a non-promotional manner keeps your business real and engages your customers positively. They also help bring your business to mind when customers are involved in these things as well. Remember that it is bad practice to involve your business in issues that can be polarising such as politics.

    Privacy is a double-edged sword

    In certain industries, it is okay, or even expected for their management and executives to be under the radar. Keeping a low profile has the advantage of helping your business remain in the spotlight. However, this can have the disadvantage of allowing the competition, and the press to control your narrative for you. The truth is, you can’t completely control your privacy and people are increasingly looking for what’s behind a business before they choose whether or not to engage. Rather than try to be private, you can choose to control your publicity. Choose what gets put out and what stays private. You need to manage the reputations of the executives of your company as much as you manage your company’s online reputation.

    Pre-emptive digital reputation management is the best insurance for when a negative story or review or a challenge to your business reputation finally happens. The positive content that you put out there will continue to speak for you till the controversy blows over.
  • How Do I Use Emotion To Build My Sales? Oct 26, 2017

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    Selling is the basis for success in any business. In a truly successful business, everybody wins. Your customers must be satisfied after making a decision to buy your product services. You must win by having successfully converted a potential lead into an actual sale.

    To a large extent, customers do not make buying decisions because they have considered a set of good information. Customers most times, make buying decisions out of a change of emotional of emotional state. While good information can help influence buying choice, emotions play a vital role in tipping the buying scales.

    Understanding customer attitude & emotions is the key to improving sales. The customer does not look necessarily for a product or service that together meets both the needs and rational processes, a lot of times, their buying decisions is informed by the need for an object or item that becomes a center of symbolic meanings, a source of feelings, connection to relationships and emotions. The customer’s buying decisions are driven by two kinds of needs:

    • The functional needs that buying the product or service.

    • Emotional needs associated with the psychological aspects of the product ownership.
    The product or service must be able to satisfy the necessary emotions but also present good functionality.

    All buying decisions are influenced by the interplay of any or all of the following emotions, and understanding how to project your products or services to reflect and satisfy these emotions will go a long way in improving your sales.

    • Greed: “If I buy now, I will get a bonus.” This works well with product or services that carry a form of reward, like a discount or offer loyalty. Customers are always interested in how they can get more for less and crafting your sales around this factor can help you close more sales.

    • Fear: “If I don’t buy now, I will lose out.” This works when you have a time based offer. Customers tend to make up their minds faster of they know that the item will go off the market after a particular time. A lot of ‘expires by midnight’ offers see a huge boost in their sales before the time expires.

    • Altruism: “If I buy now, I will be helping somebody.” This works best with the empathy/charity inclined customer. A lot if people want to feel they are doing something for the less successful, which is why most businesses use the “50% of sales from our products goes to building schools in the slums” concept. It works every time.

    • Pride: “If I buy this now, I will appear better.” Intentional scarcity or niche marketing can help boost your sales. When your product or service appears to be only for a few select, then everyone will want to be on that boat. “I have one of the only hundred items XYZ produced this year” is as good an introduction as any.
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    There are many other emotions that run gamut in the subconscious of a potential customer. Understanding and taking advantage of emotion will helpachieve success for both inside saleand outside sales teams.

    Every successful sale either creates or plays on one or more of these emotions. A buyer need to know, that apart from the functionality the purchase will provide, one or more aspects of his or her psychological makeup will be satisfied. When your product or services incite any or all of these emotions in an individual, a buying decision becomes inevitable.

    Customers are always emotional. They have emotional cravings that need to be satisfied by the ownership or purchase of an item, sometimes, these feelings are Intense, sometimes they are barely perceptive; but they always come in play whenever a commercial transaction is in view.

    What clinches a deal for any customer, what finally influences their buying decision is how the customer believes he or she will feel after he or she has bought the product or service.

    “They may not remember what you say, but they'll definitely remember how you made them feel.” -- Tim Sanders, Yahoo