Friday, November 20, 2015

Five Questions To Ask To Get More Sales

Being ready with a few prepared questions can make the sales process easier for you and more comfortable for your customers. Review these questions and have them ready so you can move those conversations forward to closing ground. 
Question 1: Name Your Problem 
What’s your biggest project right now? 
What’s the biggest problem you face right now? 
What’s causing you the most stress right now? 

Phrasing your question in an open-ended way–one which doesn’t allow for Yes or No answers–helps your customers to share what’s really on their minds. And that’s exactly what you want. 

Honest conversations build rapport and trust. They also help you to understand what your customers really need and which obstacles keep them up at night. When you can pinpoint their projects and their problems, you can start introducing the best solutions. 

Question 2: Name Your Change 
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? 
If you could change one area of your business, what would it be? 
What’s one change that would really help you? 

This question helps your customers to break out of a limited mindset, bound by time and budget constraints, and dream a little. What would really improve their lives and businesses? As an objective listener, you can help them see that the change they want isn’t that far out of reach. Then you can help them build a realistic plan. 

Or, as you listen, you might see that the changes they name aren’t real improvements or the smartest investments. Introduce other ideas that might be doable and offer the help you can to accomplish those goals. 

Question 3: Name Your Obstacle 
What’s holding you back from making this change? 
What’s keeping you from deciding on this purchase? 
What’s the best reason you have to walk away from this opportunity? 

Every customer has a list of reasons why it’s easier to say no. Sometimes staying stuck in a rut is more appealing than working up the energy to move forward. Of course, your customers won’t say that; they’ll just list their reasons: “It’s too expensive,” or “It takes too long,” or “It’s not the right fit,” or “We’ve tried that before.” 

Instead of putting your customer on the defensive, go ahead and invite their best reasons to say no to your offer. When you remove the conflict from the conversation, your customer is more likely to be open and see that their best reasons are, maybe, not that great. And, with that clear list of obstacles, you can answer each one of them specifically. 

Question 4: Name Your Need 
How can I help you right now? 
What can I do to help you most with this problem? 
What kind of help do you need the most? 

This is the kind of question that customers try to brush off; don’t let them. If their first response is negative, rephrase the question and ask again. We all have needs, but we’re not all used to asking for, or accepting, help. 

There’s just one caveat here: be ready to provide, to the best of your ability, what your customer needs. That might be time to think, more information, further meetings, or some other resource you can provide. Do what you can to show your customer that your priority is to help them however you can. 

Question 5: Name Your Benefit 
What will you miss by not taking this opportunity? 
What do you think you’ll miss if you don’t move forward now? 
What do you risk if you choose to walk away? 

Discussing problems, obstacles, and needs will provide plenty of opportunities for you to share the benefits of your product or service. What’s left is to let your customers convince themselves. That’s what this question does: you’re helping your customers tell themselves what they could gain, and what they risk losing, by saying no to the sale. 

Don’t be afraid to repeat questions in your conversations. Sometimes the first answer (or two) is a quick response without much thought in it. When you present the same question, rephrased, a few different times, your customer gets a chance to think about it and answer honestly. You gain insight into your customer’s real needs and insight to lead your customer to the right solution for those needs. 

Bitrix24 offers Internal communication tools. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB. 

See also:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

8 Most Effective Apps For Internal Communications

PickyDomains - World’s first risk free naming service 

No one needs to be yelling from office to office, or sending unnecessary emails. It's simply a waste of time. That's why we asked 9 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what they rely on most for communication among team members. Their best answers are below.

1. Bitrix24

I have tried many different apps for internal team communication and Bitrix24 is the best by far. Bitrix24 has group chat and video, document management, its own cloud, a calendar for planning, email, a CRM system, human resource capabilities and much, much more. There isn't anything that I wish Bitrix24 could do but doesn't. The best part is that you can pick and choose which parts you use (and it's totally free). – Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
2. Slack

Our team switched from Hipchat to Slack in less than a day, and everyone loves it. It's really easy to learn, the integrations are fantastic, links and file uploads show up inline and all the conversations are searchable for later. Also, the ability to create a Google Hangout from inside a chat room is one of the coolest and most useful features I've ever seen. – Mattan Griffel, One Month

3. Campfire

We use Campfire and it's awesome. It's great to have password-protected group chats, and since it's network agnostic, our team members can use it no matter what other chat network they're on. It's also got a great suite of add-ons and extras, many of which are free, so we can really customize what we get out of it for customer service, development and design. – Dave Nevogt,
4. Basecamp

At Ajax Union, we use Basecamp both for internal team communication and for bridging the gap between staff members and our clientele. Basecamp makes it easy for people in different positions at the company, especially those who wear many hats, to easily share files and stay in the loop on projects and client information. It's easy to use and a go-to for getting team communication up and running. – Joe Apfelbaum, Ajax Union
5. Redbooth

While technically a task tracking application, Redbooth has implemented a fantastic built-in chat software. This combines being able to assign tasks and using the same window to communicate with members about those tasks. It helps keep chat oriented to business communication, which maximizes productivity among the entire team. – Cody McLain, WireFuseMedia LLC
6. Wrike

We use Skype and chats within Google Docs to communicate. However, we find that it's very important to tie discussions to particular tasks and projects. We useWrike as our task and project management tool. With the ability to easily “@” message a team member through tasks and the activity stream, Wrike lets us message each other while bringing context to the conversation. – Miles Jennings,


We're huge fans of for internal communications. It has seamless integration with GitHub and other services that allow us to provide context and data behind the conversations we're having. We use it religiously in our office. – Brewster Stanislaw, Inside Social
8. Microsoft Lync

For our internal team, we use Microsoft Lync as it allows us to have a truly unified communications platform, blending video, phone, instant messaging and collaborative work environments into one space. It greatly increases the productivity of our firm. – Michael Spinosa, Unleashed Technologies

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program.

Adopted from

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Six Totally Free CRM For Your Business

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. It’s one of the saddest facts in my life, right up there with my insane student debt and the realization that Taylor Swift will probably never talk to me.
But there’s good news! I just saved a bunch of money by switching to… no, I’m kidding.
The real good news is that, while lunch may not be free, Customer Relationship Management software can be!
Free stuff is exciting!
Free stuff is exciting!
Free CRM comes in two categories – free, but limited (also known as freemium), and open source.
So the free, but limited versions offset caps on the amount of free users, contacts, storage, extra features, or some combination thereof.
Open source, on the other hand, offers an unlimited, fully functional CRM to users. The caveat is that your company needs a person (or team) who can install and configure the CRM. Of course, because of this, open source CRM is extremely customizable, which is nice. Most open source CRM companies also offer a preconfigured version and/or installation and support for a price.
Where can you find these magical free CRMs? Well, I put together a list for you! Check out the comparison chart below and read the details about the CRM systems that interest you.
Please note that I have not placed these in any particular order. Each system is different and each one will serve some companies better than others.

1. Bitrix24

I like Bitrix a lot because it offers really flexible price options. I like flexibility. For a completely free account you get 12 users, five GB of storage and the ability to do anything you want with that storage, which is already a pretty sweet deal.
This is how it gets better. The upgrade fee to get unlimited users and 50 gigs of storage is $99, but if you’re not feeling that cause really all you needed was a few more users, or maybe just more storage… Bitrix totally hears you! They offer an additional 12 users to the same program for $25/user/month. And/or if you want more storage they offer a tiered pricing plan on that up to one TB.
So that’s the pricing.
Overall, reviewers find Bitrix to be a very easy-to-use system. In addition, itsdocument management feature is well integrated and extremely useful.
The drawback that reviewers all point out is that Bitrix’ aesthetics are a little rough at points. One reviewer mentioned that they use a flashing clock in the corner to remind users to timestamp all activities, which I could easily imagine is quite obnoxious.

2. CapsuleCRM

Capsule is free for up to two users with 10 MB of storage, and 250 contacts. To upgrade, it’s $12/user/month. With the upgrade comes two gigabytes of storage, 50,000 contacts, and integration with such applications as Mailchimp andFreshbooks.
Capsule’s best feature, according to its many glowing reviews, is its ability to integrate with at least 33 other software programs, including Mailchimp, Freshbooks, and Gmail.
In fact, according to the reviews, the only place Capsule is really lacking as a system is its customer support. While they have a FAQs section as well as helpful articles posted on their page, if you need any help after hours, you’re sunk. In addition, they offer no direct phone service. Rather, you must submit a form, though they do claim to call you back within a single business day.

3. Insightly

Insightly claims on its homepage to be the “#1 online small business CRM.” I have no evidence to corroborate this particular claim, but I can tell you that they offer a great free program and a very friendly website.
Insightly offers their system free for three users, 2,500 records (which they define as any stored item from contact to note), 200 megabytes of storage and ten custom fields. Perhaps most importantly, Insightly offers free users full product support! The upgrade fee is $7/user/month and includes 100,000 records, unlimited storage, and Mailchimp integration.
As they say on their homepage, Insightly is great for small businesses. For many small businesses three users is really more than enough. However, many reviewershave mentioned that Insightly is not ideal for bigger businesses, particularly because its functionality is not capable of handling the demands of a larger business. One particular example cited is that the email integration lacks a lot of user functionality that other CRM platforms don’t think twice about.

4. Really Simple Systems

Really Simple Systems
Really Simple Systems claims to be the best CRM system for small businesses. (But it does not claim to be the #1 online CRM for small business, so there’s no rivalry with Insightly.)
Really Simple Systems offers a free two user system that includes 100 accounts (business that you deal with), unlimited contacts within those accounts, tasks, and 100MB of storage. To upgrade to five users with the same functionality, it’s $15/user/month.
Customers love Really Simple Systems because it’s actually really simple and they offer excellent customer support. I honestly struggled to find the problems people had with this system, that’s how much users love it.
However, I did manage to dig up one con to keep in mind. Cloudpro’s review, while generally praising this CRM, does mention that Really Simple Systems offers more limited functionality, and so works best for small businesses compared to large or enterprise ones.

5. FreeCRM

Here’s another CRM that claims to be #1 at something. This time its #1 at online free CRM software for business (so again, technically no rivalry!).
This free version comes with five free users, 2,500 contacts, and all the basic features. The upgrade fee is $14.95/user/month for more features, storage, and support. Two major drawbacks up front: you only get one year free, and no customer support.
So what makes FreeCRM worth it? First, their upgraded system is actually one of the most affordable CRMs on the market. Second, it’s a web-based solution, so you don’t need to create an expensive and time-consuming infrastructure to host it on, meaning pretty much anyone can get it up and running with ease.

6. Bitrix24

I like Bitrix a lot because it offers really flexible price options. I like flexibility. For a completely free account you get 12 users, five GB of storage and the ability to do anything you want with that storage, which is already a pretty sweet deal.
This is how it gets better. The upgrade fee to get unlimited users and 50 gigs of storage is $99, but if you’re not feeling that cause really all you needed was a few more users, or maybe just more storage… Bitrix totally hears you! They offer an additional 12 users to the same program for $25/user/month. And/or if you want more storage they offer a tiered pricing plan on that up to one TB.
So that’s the pricing.
Overall, reviewers find Bitrix to be a very easy-to-use system. In addition, itsdocument management feature is well integrated and extremely useful.
The drawback that reviewers all point out is that Bitrix’ aesthetics are a little rough at points. One reviewer mentioned that they use a flashing clock in the corner to remind users to timestamp all activities, which I could easily imagine is quite obnoxious.

7. Raynet

Raynet markets itself as an easy-to-use, does-it-all CRM. It’s free version allows for two users, 150 accounts, 50MB of storage, and full customer support. Upgrade to 20,000 accounts and one TB of storage for just $19/user/month.
Raynet’s system is very aesthetically pleasing and features an “account card” (featured above) where you can glean most of the information you need about a customer from a single glance, including how much they’re worth to your company.
All that said, Raynet is a fairly new company, and the fact that it’s headquartered in the Czech Republic may make support difficult for U.S.-based companies (though they have an office in Florida).  Additionally, perhaps because it’s such a recent entrant to the American CRM market, there is not yet much third party information or reviews on software.

8. vTiger

vTiger is an open source CRM, that is also based on Sugar. vTiger was actually originally a part of Sugar, but both have since gone their own ways.
While you can download and install the open source version of the software for free yourself, vTiger does offer several preconfigured versions starting as just $12/user/month. In addition, vTiger also offers installation, support, hardware, and/or administration for a price. It integrates with MailChimp, Intuit and Paypal, among others.
One thing that vTiger does really well is offer a wide array of features for very cheap, even on the preconfigured level. These features include billing, inventory tracking, and project management capabilities, all of which are fairly unusual to find in any CRM system.
From reviews, it would appear as though a fairly important drawback to vTiger is the fact that it has compatibility issues with PHP 5.6 and above.

9. ZohoCRM

Zoho is one of the big dogs of business software, so it’s pretty cool that they offer a free program. This CRM version is free for three users and 5,000 records. It comes with a mobile app and social CRM among other things. Their first step upgrade (for more users, features, and 100,000 records) is only $12/user/month.
Zoho is well known for being easy to use with highly developed importing features.
Unfortunately, Zoho is not as feature-rich as other CRMs on this list and has some quirks that take getting used to. An example that one reviewer used was that, when exporting from Zoho, you have to be very careful to ensure that there are no commas in any records, or else it will split up the record when putting it into Excel.

10. Zurmo

Zurmo is open source, and is unique on this list because it is also gamified. Zurmo was written on the principal that offering users incentives along the way makes users better employees. So the system sets goals, or ‘missions’ (which are different for different types of users) and then gives badges along the way to goal completion. It also allows coworkers to challenge each other to missions with set rewards at the end (like a gift card).
Currently, the biggest drawback to Zurmo is that it’s pretty new on the scene – which, being open source, can actually be a bit of a bother. Zurmo’s open source version lacks some fairly basic features such as social CRM.  This, of course, is unlikely to remain a problem the longer it sticks around.
Zurmo does offer a preconfigured version for $32/user/month.
Source -

Best 6 Free and Open Source Project Management Software for Your Small Business

Trying to manage a project without project management software can turn into a Godzilla-like apocalypse quickly.
godzilla meme
Even with the best intentions and strategy, a wrong turn can quickly demolish months of work, and a misstep can mean the small-business equivalent of losing San Francisco. Taming this project gone bad can be a horrific task—especially when you have to pay a lot of money to do it.
Fear not.
Small businesses have a variety of possibilities for organizing their projects from the deep. And the best part? All of these options are free.

8. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is a project management system entirely free for up to 12 users, with an option to upgrade to more for $99 per month. The features rival those of PM’s current go-to software: BaseCamp.
Users can choose whether to use Bitrix24 in the cloud or self-host on the company’s own server. The PM features are outstanding: Bitrix24 offers Gantt charts, layered task options, time tracking and management, and even employee workload planning.
Bitrix24 also makes real-time communication a breeze with group chat, videoconferencing, and instant messenger. It also acts as a DropBox alternative—the free version offers 5GB of cloud storage for easy document sharing—and, for just 25¢ a month, businesses can add an additional gigabyte.
In addition, recent updates include:
  • An Employee Workload Planning tool that lets managers plan certain number of hours for a task and then compare it with the number of actual hours spent by those who the task were assigned to.
  • The ability to make task templates that contain subtasks and checklists.
Small businesses may struggle with the free version of Bitrix24 solely because of its limitation on user profiles—and the jump to $99 per month may be a non-starter if you’re cash-strapped. Right now, Bitrix24 does not allow task dependencies or an automated way to create invoices, but these features are slated to be released in Fall 2015.

7. Trello

Trello uses a method called Kanban, a project management system developed by a former Toyota vice president, Taiichi Ohno, which allows users to move cards—representative of tasks—to create a visual representation of where a project is in development.
Trello offers unlimited users and projects, but only offers 10MB of storage on their free version. Luckily, it’s easy to get Trello Gold–just share and get a new user on board, and you’ll jump up to 250MB for a year. Looking to pay for it? It’s only $5 a month, or $45 for a year.
If a more intuitive project management software option exists than Trello, I’ll dress up as a burrito and beg for free Chipotle.
A quick peek at the alignment of the cards lets users know how far along a project is—and what to work on next. While the front of the card has little more than a task label, the back can be filled with all kinds of information—like who’s working on the task, when it’s due, and what parts of the task have already been completed with a simple checklist. Trello also now offers a calendar function so everyone can collaborate on their projects transparently.
Because of Trello’s emphasis on simplicity, it’s missing a few key features. There isn’t a good way to look at a project with high detail—for example, it does not offer an option to see task lists broken down by user or due date.

6. 2-Plan Project Management Software

From the glut of open-source software, 2-Plan stands out. The system has three symbiotic programs—all free:
  • 2-Plan Desktop, a project-management system.
  • 2-Plan Team, a web-based project management tool with multiple hosting options.
  • Work 2-gether, a Scrum-based task management board for one-team projects.
All of these options are free, but you may choose to pay for additional extensions.
2 Plan
2-Plan is a behemoth when it comes to features. On the desktop version alone, project managers can create an animated graphical WBS, craft project milestones,implement top-down and bottom-up planning, and build project control systems.
2-Plan Team makes it easy to coordinate with off-campus teams and track time spent on tasks—and it integrates seamlessly with 2-Plan Desktop. Work 2-Gether is similar to Trello in that it uses the Kanban system, but it also has the ability to expand into a greater workchart.
2 Plan Work Together
2-Plan offers a lot of features that can quickly get overwhelming for teams with little time for their extensive manuals. Furthermore, the free option can be limiting. Work 2-gether, for example, only permits businesses to use two taskboards for free and team size is limited to three.
Thankfully, its pro accounts are reasonably priced—businesses only have to pay $15 a month to fully upgrade Work 2-gether.

5. Asana

Based on their 40,000 customers and 400,000 users, Asana is one of the most popular project management apps available—and best of all, for up to 15 users, it’s free.
Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder of Facebook, also designed Asana. True to the aesthetic and simplicity of the most popular social network, Asana is an intuitive task-management system that works best for teams seeking real-time interaction.
Asana allows its users to visualize their goals, track their time, assign priority to their tasks, and get updates on the project right in the program. It also has a calendar function to graph the team’s tasks right onto the dashboard.
In addition, over the past year, it’s added an Android app, the ability to convert a task to a project, conversations, and dashboards. It’s been beefing up–last year, its biggest con was that it didn’t have enough features.
Asana does not allow offline use. In addition, reviewers feel that “sometimes it is not intuitive enough to find something.”

4. MeisterTask

I discovered MeisterTask when looking up underground free project management tools, and it’s a great little find. It offers unlimited users and projects, has native apps for iPhone and iPad, and gives free users two integrations (like with Dropbox,GitHubZendesk and Google Drive).
MeisterTask has all the important features: it offers time tracking, issue tracking, and collaboration with both internal and external users. There is no storage limit, so exchanging files is hardly a burden on the system’s capacity.
MeisterTask’s project boards are perfectly suited for various agile methodologies. The boards are completely customizable so that teams can create anything from Kanban to Scrum and various mixed forms.
Finally, the layout is just gorgeous to look at. Communication is a breeze–it’s similar to the conversation system on Trello, except with instant updates.
MeisterTask is still a new-ish project management system, so it’s working on a lot of projects that haven’t been launched yet. This includes:
  • Gantt charts
  • CCPM
  • Integration with Toggl
  • Android app (to be released in Fall 2015)

3. GanttProject

GanttProject is another open-source free project scheduling and management tool. Reviewers have compared this heavy-hitting application to Microsoft Project—both in terms of features offered and complexity. This system can generate Gantt and PERT charts, produce reports in HTML and PDF formats, and offers versatile scheduling and time management tools.
There is no limit to what you can do with GanttProject. The management platform allows users to quickly create a structured schedule for any project. It offers task assignment and milestone implementation. The open-source software also enables project managers to identify problem areas in the workflow so that companies can set goals for improvement.
I would not recommend GanttProject to people who are unfamiliar with project management software. Many have found it overwhelming—and support is largelyleft to its forums.

2. Producteev

Producteev offers its clients unlimited users and projects for free—and unless your small business needs Outlook integration, personalized support, or visual customization, there’s no reason to upgrade to Pro.
Among its many features, it permits users to create tasks that belong in multiple task lists, offers real-time communication between users, features results measurement and progress tracking, and lets users turn emails into tasks with a few simple clicks.
Producteev is incredibly easy to maneuver—almost every function that Producteev offers is self-explanatory. It can filter tasks by people, project, status, due date, priority and more. The application also offers simple file sharing through attachments or DropBox.
Producteev has few drawbacks. Some missing features—like time tracking and integrated billing software—may be unfavorable.

1. Freedcamp

Unlimited users.
Unlimited projects.
Gorgeous design.
Innumerable functions.
Optimized for communication.
Kanban or tasks–you choose.
200 MB of storage–upgrade to 1 GB for $2.49 a month.
Freedcamp has truly earned its #1 spot on this list.
Freedcamp is great for businesses who want to be able to scale with their project management software; the free version will last your company for a long while, and upgrading is cheap, cheap, cheap. For example, add-on components range from $2.99 for GoogleDrive integration to $12.99 for CRM. Storage upgrades are available from $2.49 for 1GB.
The free version can certainly hold its own though.
Administrators can limit different users’ permissions right down to the client level. Freedcamp also offers time tracking, templates, and invoicing.
Its collaboration features are awesome. Users will never be behind because Freedcamp makes sure to add notifications everywhere when there’s an update (and they’re innocuous, like a Facebook notification, so they don’t get in the way). There is no mobile app, but Freedcamp has optimized its website for mobile use.
Reviewers have claimed that there is a small learning curve on site navigation. Others have noted that they are unable to save multiple milestones at once. In addition, there is no mobile app as of now, but the company is planning to launch an app for iOS soon. There are some missing features as well, including Gantt charts, task dependencies, recurrence, and subtasks.


For all of the free options available, many small businesses may want to consider upgrading to paid versions for more users, expanded functionality, and better customer support. Thankfully, most of the leading products are pretty cheap.Smartsheet, for example, offers their Team membership at $39 a month, andMavenlink offers its basic services for just $4 a month per user.
What free or open-source project management tools have worked well for you? Were there any programs that I didn’t include? Share them in the comments below! Please let me know your recommendations (I’d love to hear from you!) in the comments below!
Source -