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Archive for February, 2010

The Old Man

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny  day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.  The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away..

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.  The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade.

Then he turned back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, ‘You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.’ And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay..

I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him. I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’  He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head.  I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me.  Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back…

I drove to the stationand went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’

He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal …

Iwo Jima Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial

He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye’s to his wife.

I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name……….

Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence. Remember, OLD men like him gave you and I FREEDOM for America ..

Thanks to those who served….and those who supported them.
America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!

Remember, Freedom isn’t Free, thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today.

GOD OUR FATHER, WALK THROUGH MY HOUSE AND TAKE AWAY ALL MY WORRIES; AND PLEASE WATCH OVER AND HEAL MY FAMILY AND PLEASE PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS AND WATCH OVER OUR TROOPS WHO ARE DEFENDING THOSE FREEDOMS.
AMEN!

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Posted by Steve Maziarz - February 20, 2010 at 11:45 am

Categories: Patriots Postings   Tags:

Excel-Access-DB2 Data Exchange

As you may be aware, with older versions of Excel you were limited to the number of rows which could be used.  Mid-level managers at large publicly traded company were comfortable performing various reporting and forecasting functions using Excel.  Unfortunately, the amount of data delivered during end of the month reporting frequently exceeded the capabilities of Excel.  Complicating the issue was the fact that data had to be gathered from both local Access databases and corporate mainframes.

I developed a series of customized Excel and Access macros which allowed them to break down the large data sets based on a number of criteria.  This facilitated their ability to use an interface they were comfortable with (Excel) while still allowing them to deal with and manage large volumes of information.

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Posted by Steve Maziarz - February 18, 2010 at 10:02 am

Categories: Projects   Tags: , , ,

Do Your Potential Customers Forget You?

Your web business probably gets product inquiries from potential customers around the globe.  Inquiries come via e-mail and your web site, and you try to send information to each hot prospect as quickly as you can. You know that you can drastically increase the likelihood of making a sale by satisfying each person’s need for information quickly!

What?  You DON’T have a website? Well just give me a call and we can correct that oversight. My expert team of Designers, Project Managers, SEO Specialists and Copywriters can create a complete look for your business.

But, after you’ve delivered that first bit of information to your prospect, do you send him any further information?

If you are like most Internet marketers, you don’t.  Probably because of all the effort you think it will take and the subtle doubts floating in your mind that all that work may NOT lead to a sale.

Yet, when you don’t follow that initial message with additional information later on, you let a valuable prospect slip from your grasp! This is a potential customer who may have been very interested in your products, but who lost your contact information, or was too busy to make a purchase when your first message reached him.

Often, a prospect will purposely put off making a purchase, to see if you find him important enough to follow up with later. When he doesn’t receive a follow up message from you, he will take his business elsewhere.

Are you losing profits due to inconsistent and ineffective follow up?

Following up with leads is more than just a process – it’s an art. In order to be effective, you need to design a follow up system, and stick to it, EVERY DAY! If you don’t follow up with your prospects consistently, INDIVIDUALLY, and in a timely fashion, then you might as well forget the whole follow up process.

Consistent follow up gets results!

When I first started marketing and following up with prospects, I used a follow up method that I now call the “List Technique.” I had a large database containing the names and e-mail addresses of people who had specifically requested information about my products and services. These prospects had already received my first letter by the time they requested more information, so I used the company’s latest news as a follow up piece.

I would write follow up newsletters every now and then, and send them, in one mass mailing, to everyone who had previously requested information from me. While this probably did help me win a few additional orders, it wasn’t a very good follow up method. Why isn’t the “List Technique” very effective?

  • The List Technique isn’t consistent. Proponents of the List Technique tend to only send out follow up messages when their companies have “big news”.
  • List Technique messages don’t give the potential customer any additional information about the product or service in question. He can’t make a more informed buying decision after receiving a newsletter! If someone is wondering whether your company sells the best knick-knacks, what does he care that you’ve just moved your headquarters?
  • List Technique messages convey a “big list” mentality to your potential customers. When I used to write follow up messages using the List Technique, I was writing news bulletins to everyone I knew! I should have been sending a personal message to each individual who wanted to know more about my products.

What follow up method really works?

Following up with each lead individually, multiple times, but at set intervals, and with pre-written messages, will dramatically increase sales! Others who use this same technique confirm that they have all at least doubled the sales of various products! In order to set this system up, though, you need to do some planning.

First, you’ll need to develop your follow up messages. If you’ve been marketing on the Internet for any length of time, then you should already have a first informative letter. Your second letter marks the beginning of the follow up process, and should go into more detail than the first letter. Fill this letter with details that you didn’t have the space to add to the first letter. Stress the BENEFITS of your products or services!

Your next 2-3 follow up messages should be rather short. Include lists of the benefits and potential uses of your products and services. Write each letter so that your prospects can skim the contents, and still see the full force of your message.

The next couple of follow up messages should create a sense of urgency in your prospect’s mind. Make a special offer, giving him a reason to order NOW instead of waiting any longer. After reading these follow up messages, your prospect should want to order immediately!

Phrase each of your final 1 or 2 follow up messages in the form of a question. Ask your prospect why he hasn’t yet placed an order? Try to get him to actually respond. Ask if the price is to high, the product isn’t the right color or doesn’t have the right features, or if he is looking for something else entirely. (By this time, it’s unlikely that this person will order from you. However, his feedback can help you modify your follow up letters or products, so that other prospects will order from you.)

The timing of your follow up letters is just as important as their content. You don’t want one prospect to receive a follow up the day after he gets your initial informative letter, while another prospect waits weeks for a follow up!

Always send an initial, informative letter as soon as it is requested, and send the first follow up 24 hours afterwards. You want your hot prospects to have information quickly, so that they can make informed buying decisions!

Send the next 2-3 follow up messages between 1 and 3 days apart. Your prospect is still hot, and is probably still shopping around! Tell him about the benefits of your products and services, as opposed to your competitors’. You will make the sale!

Send the final follow up messages later on. You certainly don’t want to annoy your prospect! Make sure that these last letters are at least 4 days apart.

Following up effectively seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! So many potential customers are lost because of poor follow up – don’t you want to be one of the few to get it right?

Our team can create a series of follow up e-mail messages that can be delivered via an Autoresponder. We’ll do the design, copy, graphics – everything you need.  We’ll even help you secure your own automated Genie and system to help you consistently keep track of your prospects;  send out promotional mailings; deliver newsletters to clients; track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and so much more.  All with minimal initial effort on your part.

Or, if you prefer to get started right away, you can sign up for your own affordable Autoresponder marketing system by clicking here.  Then, give us a call at 877-MAZIARZ and we’ll get started on creating your own personalized “Follow Up Genie.”

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Posted by Steve Maziarz - February 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Categories: Marketing   Tags:

Dangers Lurk In Social Networking via Mobile

A new report just released by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) describes some of the things to consider if you access social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace from your mobile devices.
Quoting from the report synopsis posted online:

While many of the privacy issues originating from the web-based access to SNSs also apply to mobile social networks, there are also a number of unique risks and threats against mobile social networks. The report aims to provide a set of recommendations for raising the awareness of social networks users and in particular of social mobile users of the risks and the possible consequences related to their improper use.

I recommend all my clients and friends download and skim through this report. Get it by clicking the link below:

http://stevemaziarz.com/blog/snreport

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Posted by Steve Maziarz - February 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Categories: ALERTS, Other   Tags:

Nasty Virus Trojan Horse Cure

Within the last couple weeks, I have taken no less than eight calls from friends and clients who have been infected with a nasty computer “bug” that severs their online connection and causes Windows to shut down.

Check Your Anti-Virus Software Now

All of them have had varying degrees of anti-virus protection, but it didn’t catch this nasty germ.  In a couple cases, it could have been because their subscription to the update service expired.  In one case, it was because their Anti-Virus protection was turned off.

Virtually every anti-virus software that I know of places a small icon in the lower right corner of your screen (in a typical Windows environment) next to the place where the time and date are displayed.  FIND YOURS.

  1. Open up the Control Panel for your particular Anti-Virus solution.
    You can generally open up the control panel for your anti-virus solution by double-clicking that icon.
  2. Make sure that it is Active and that your Anti-Virus definition files are up to date.
    Here’s what it looks like for my favorite tool, AVG:

AVG Anti-Virus Control Panel

AVG Anti-Virus Control Panel

If your Anti_Virus solution has expired, is horribly out of date,  or is turned off, go ahead and take the steps to fix it! If it’s off – turn it back on.  If it is out of date, perform a manual update (most have a button on the Control Panel to do so. Find yours).  If it has expired, you can renew it.  Or, if finances are tight,  see my other posts on FREE Anti-Virus solutions (do a search or just browse the Tech Tips Category).

In most cases, the most efficient cure for this particular infection was to:

  1. Save the important files off to an external drive
    I use a proprietary method I have which eliminates the chance that an especially nasty bug will transfer over to the external hard drive.  This technique is available to members of my Priority Club.
  2. Wipe the system clean
  3. Re-install Windows

A Better Cure

After a LOT of searching and trial and error, one of my more persistent friends found a cure for this very nasty malady which worked for her and I wanted to pass it along to you.  It is at another online forum. Follow the link below and begin looking at Post #2.

What The Tech Forum Solution

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Posted by Steve Maziarz - February 2, 2010 at 6:47 am

Categories: ALERTS, Tech Tips   Tags: , ,