Monthly Archives: February 2016

Email: your perfect secret sales weapon

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It puzzles me that the majority of businesses try to take potential customers from “nice to meet you” to “let’s get married” in the space of a couple of web pages, rather than taking the long view with email. Web pages are very weak for filling in the meat of the selling process, no matter how good you are at copywriting (and let’s face it—few of us are that good). But they are great for starting that process by capturing an email address—and for finishing it by providing an easy-to-use mechanism for payment. But even a half-competent copy monkey using email over the course of weeks can blow away the best A-level copywriter’s sales page, which has to sell then and there.

With email you can ask all kinds of questions using quick surveys, and deal with all the angles or reasons people might buy, without having to sound like you’re assuming anything about any particular person. If you’re cunning, you can even use systems like Office Autopilot or InfusionSoft to email people based on where they are in the buying process, what the most important benefit is to them, and so on.

That’s just impossible to do in a single web page.

Furthermore, email, by its very nature, lets you do this gently, gradually, without pressure—either for your prospect, or for you. And this is really important, because as I’ve said, when you feel pressured you automatically respond by trying to control the wrong outcomes (point #1). Email gives you lots of little chances to tell your prospect how to get what he wants, instead of one big chance you’re afraid of blowing.

Plus, because it is a highly personal medium, you give your prospect the reassurance he can reply and talk to you directly if he’d like.

All this combines to make a perfect environment for getting more sales. In fact, using email is perhaps the perfect way to sell. It removes the appearance of selling entirely, and replaces it with an ongoing conversation, where you simply keep telling your prospect how to get what he wants.

How well are you implementing the points above? Have you found any places you can use them in your existing processes? Are you using email to sell—or thinking about it? Share your experience in the comments below. Source: blog.kissmetrics.com by Bnonn

Your Loan in the Valley

Can you really get a loan to buy a house with ITIN number?

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An ITIN home loan is designed to allow borrowers to obtain a mortgage despite not having a social security number. While this may be good news for people who live within the United States undocumented, these loans have promoted plenty of debate as to who should be allowed to purchase a home and who should not.

ITIN Home Loan Explained

ITIN is an acronym for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Not everyone is eligible for a social security number, so the Internal Revenue Service issues an ITIN to people who live and work within the United States in an effort to track their income and allow them to pay taxes. An ITIN home loan makes it possible for these undocumented workers to purchase a home, even if they reside within the United States illegally.

People are supposed to be able to obtain an ITIN from the IRS without fear of the information being forwarded to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The IRS is only concerned with getting the proper tax income from people and is not in the business of searching out illegal immigrants within the borders of the United States. For this reason, people who may not have otherwise ever paid taxes have no reason to avoid paying, but now also have the capability to request credit.

Lack of Documentation

Mortgage loans used to be issued routinely without much documentation from the applicant. These were called No-doc loans and have become quite undesirable to lenders because of the high degree of risk associated with lending money to borrowers who cannot document employment histories, income history, or other documentation.

Nonetheless, lenders still remain who are willing to make these types of loans. It is these lenders who are most likely to offer ITIN home loans to applicants who do not have social security numbers or permanent residency within the United States.

Extra Costs and Wait Time

Applying for an ITIN home loan is a little more complicated than applying for a conventional home loan. Potential complications with an ITIN mortgage application include:

Lack of credit history. Credit histories are based on social security numbers, and therefore it may be difficult – if not impossible – to gauge the creditworthiness of an applicant who has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead of a social security number.

Problems with income verification. Employers are reluctant to document the wages they pay to workers who are not authorized to work within the United States. Many undocumented workers receive cash and have no way to prove their incomes.

Problems verifying a good payment history. Some mortgage lenders will give loans to people who don’t have credit histories as long as they can prove a payment history of some sort. Since undocumented workers may not have utilities and other bills in their own name then applicants may have difficulty with proving they can make payments in a timely manner.

ITIN home loans are issued to people, but the process takes much longer on average and the amount of fees can be astronomical compared to a conventional loan. The lender takes on much more risk when approving an ITIN loan and expects to be compensated accordingly. Since people without social security numbers don’t have many other options available to them, if they want to own a home they either need to save up the money to buy the house in cash or instead seek out a loan designed for people in their situation.

The interest rates with these loans are usually much higher than with traditional mortgage loans.

No SSN

Not everyone who has a ITIN illegally resides within the United States. There are some immigrants who reside within the country legally and with full documentation, but do not have social security numbers. ITIN mortgages are for this population as well.

The more documentation available regarding an applicant’s income and credit history, the easier the application process will be. Source: lovetoknow.com

Your Loan in the Valley

How to Work Less and Get More Accomplished

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Working less and accomplishing more isn’t easy. It requires thinking creatively to find more effective ways of doing things. But first you have to be open to the possibility that your methods aren’t as efficient as they could be. Once you do that you can look for ways to get more accomplished without just increasing your to-do list. Here are a few guidelines to start looking:

1) The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule basically suggests that a small amount of inputs contributes to a much larger amount of outputs. Using this rule means to minimize time spent in the unproductive 80%.

In application, you can’t simply cut everything that doesn’t directly contribute to your bottom line. Some things, however trivial, still need to get done. The purpose of 80/20 is to force you to be more ruthless in cutting time in areas that contribute little. Here are a few suggestions:

Cut e-mail time to invest more in larger projects.

Say no to people who want commitments that don’t contribute enough value.

Spend more studying core concepts and key terms than less important details.

2) Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states that “work will fill the time available for its completion.” This is a side effect of focusing on doing work instead of getting projects completed. Give yourself strict deadlines and cultivate a desire to finish projects, not just check tasks off on a to-do list.

Here are some applications:

Set a timer for 90 minutes to finish a small project. When the timer sounds, you can’t continue working on it, so think fast and don’t waste time.

Chunk mammoth projects into smaller pieces. Strive to complete those pieces, rather than just working on the project aimlessly.

3) Energy Management

Energy management, as opposed to time management, forces you to think of results as a function of energy, not time invested. Working intensely for a short period of time can accomplish more than working for days, tired and distracted.

Working yourself into low energy can actually make you accomplish less than if you rested. Here are some ideas:

Work in bursts. Divide yourself between complete rest and complete focus. Don’t constantly switch in-between which leaves you neither rested or productive.

Kill projects. Don’t spread tasks that only take a few hours over several days. Sit down and finish them in one sitting. This method of killing projects keeps your energies focused and time saved.

Rest, health and fun matter. Enslaving yourself to your work can actually accomplish less. Master the ability to recharge yourself when you need it.

4) Only Use Sharp Tools

There’s an old story of two lumberjacks in a tree-cutting contest. The first picked up a rusty axe and ran into the woods immediately to start chopping trees. The second spent almost until the end of the contest sharpening his axe. After which he walked up and quickly felled the biggest tree.

The moral? Don’t use rusty tools.

Don’t waste your time doing things you don’t intend to be excellent at. Delegate them to someone who does have a sharp tool. And for the things you do want to master, make it a priority to sharpen your tool beyond what is necessary to cut. Skill saves time.

5) Rule With Numbers

Assumptions are the biggest waste of your time. When your intuitions about the world don’t match the way it works, you can never be efficient. The only way to combat false assumptions is to test them and follow them up with numbers. The results of a test can save you hundreds of hours if it shows a current process has no impact or suggests a faster alternative.

Here are a few examples:

A/B Tests – Test out two different methods simultaneously. This can allow you to know with greater accuracy which method works best.

Track Numbers – Don’t just weigh yourself or count calories, track them. See how they go up, down or change over time.

6) The Marginal Rule of Quality

Is it better to be a perfectionist or sloppy? One can never get a project finished the other requires constant repair because they waste too much time. I think the answer is simpler: when the extra input you invest exceeds the output gained, stop working on it.

An even better extension of this rule would be to say you should stop working on a project when the extra input invested gives less output than doing a comparable task. Here are some applications to try:

Measure the difference between different amounts of time spent. Try doing your e-mail for 30, 60 and 90 minutes per day. Compare the effectiveness changes when you change the amount of time. Can you really justify spending two hours doing e-mail?

Compare the amount of time spent polishing with time needed for repairs. If it takes more time to polish than repair, you’re better of quitting early. If repairs are draining your time and polishing is fast, slow down and be careful. Source: lifehack.org

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