03.05
2018

5 Tips for Delivering the Perfect Sales Pitch

 

On the Netflix original show “White Gold,” we’re introduced to Vincent Swan, a chap from Essex with no real ambition in life. He works a dead-end job he doesn’t care for, until finding his true calling: manipulating unwitting people into purchasing a product — in this case, home windows — they don’t really need, all for the sake of landing a sale and making that bonus.

The show, which takes place in the 80s, is a rather brutal depiction of the stereotypical image conjured up for so many people when they hear the moniker “salesman.” He’s decked out impeccably in the latest business attire, hair slicked back with no chance of mussing, and when he shows up at your front door, briefcase in hand, he doesn’t intend to leave without a signed bill of sale, no matter what extremes he needs to go to in order to succeed.

Needless to say, this Vincent character may see immediate results, but inevitably his tactic results in a plethora of not-so-pleasant repercussions. In the real world, beyond the ethical implications that come with this approach to sales, it’s just not even a sustainable method. Especially today. People are wise to the tricks of the trade. They put in their due diligence to study a company and product. And they don’t hand over their money needlessly. And they talk. Reputation is everything and nowadays, that “dirty” approach to sales is not acceptable.

Today, salespeople need to take a fully honest, transparent approach. They need to treat potential customers not just as commodities, but as people. And they should target those that actually have a need for what it is they’re selling. Following are a few tips to keep in mind to help make your next sales pitch a winner.

Know who you’re talking to.
Do your homework. Before you even think about sitting down to sell your product to a potential buyer, make sure you know who you’re talking to. For starters, know the names and positions of everyone you’ll be meeting with; on top of that, know what it is the company does, what their values are, and what is missing from their business (i.e. what you can do to help them out). The last thing you want is to go into a meeting blind.

Ditch the standard pitch.
Think about how you would feel if someone kicked off a meeting by unleashing a fury of information at you all at once. You’d probably feel overwhelmed, and at some point your eyes may start to gloss over. Instead, turn your pitch into a two-sided conversation. Use this meeting as a means to establish a relationship. Make it personal. Instead of listing off everything your product does, identify pain points and demonstrate how your product can alleviate their problems. All those other features are bonuses, once you’ve addressed the immediate needs (and wants). The value of the product is much more important than the function.

Ask the right questions.
Sure, you’ve done your research. But not everything is Googleable. Asking questions shows that you care about learning everything you can about their needs, and it gives you additional insight into just how good a fit your product is. Just make sure to choose your questions wisely, so you’re met with informative responses you can use, and not just a simple yes or no.

Consider potential objections.
What roadblocks might you encounter during your meeting? Consider the concerns that other people have shown in the past. Plan for any additional doubts that may arise along the way. (Maybe this company worked with someone offering a similar service in the past, and their experience was poor.) Have a string of responses at the ready. These types of questions will almost undoubtedly arise; if you can reply without missing a beat, rather than meeting them with silence or a quick shuffling through papers, you have a much better chance of alleviating their concerns.

Close with a commitment. 
In an ideal world, we’d all walk away from every pitch meeting with a signed deal. But it doesn’t always work that way. What you can do if your prospect is still on the fence by the end, is secure some sort of commitment. Whether it’s a promise to reflect on your proposal, or a preemptively scheduled plan to follow-up with a meeting or phone call, make sure this isn’t the end of the discussion.

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30.04
2018

Welding: A Trade That’s Becoming More Valuable Than Ever

Welding is a profession that makes everything from wrought-iron fencing to skyscraper infrastructure possible, and in today’s ever-modernizing world, it couldn’t be more important. The process of transforming raw metals into specialized objects is a fascinating one to watch, and with torches often times reaching temperatures in excess of 5,000 degrees when heating up metals, welding requires a unique skillset of close attention to detail and prolonged stamina.

Within the realm of manufacturing, welding as a trade has grown and developed significantly. The scope of sectors that this valuable profession now has a part in is wide-ranging. Construction, modern art, aviation and aerospace technologies are just a few of the industries that rely on skilled welders for different aspects of their respective operations, making it a trade that’s certainly booming in the 21st century.

Machinery’s rise has given further fuel to the trade of metal-working’s explosive growth, and as mechanical power becomes increasingly commonplace, the demand for skilled welders continues to skyrocket. At Actsoft, we understand the importance of manufacturing and welding jobs to the world’s economy of today. As a result, we’ve taken steps to design cutting-edge applications that can assist in facilitating ideal operations for businesses in these spheres.

Welding can be a dangerous job, with torches heating metal to thousands of degrees and showers of scalding hot sparks frequently peppering the work zones of employees. GPS and Asset Tracking alike let companies in this line of work know exactly where their remote employees are in near real-time, leaving no emergency situation to chance. Any expensive or potentially dangerous work equipment belonging to a company is also able to be closely monitored using Asset Tracking and geofencing within our suite of solutions. Trucks that are stocked with valuable equipment can cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace, and if they’re constantly being monitored for unapproved activities, administrative teams in welding and manufacturing can enjoy true peace of mind when it comes to managing the placement of their business assets.

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27.04
2018

The Woes of Remote Management & How to Remedy Them

Though it seems a lifetime ago, we really don’t have to look too far back to remember a time when the traditional workweek was considered Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Of course there were always exceptions to the rule, depending on the industry and demands, but that was long held to be the standard. (I mean, c’mon, there was even a song written about it.)

But over the years, that standard workweek (and subsequently the workday itself) has continued to evolve and transform into a more fluid, amorphous entity, so to speak. More flexibility was introduced to accommodate individuals’ personal situations. One of the biggest — and increasingly more popular and rapidly adopted — changes is the concept of remote employment and, by proxy, remote management.

Once upon a time, this type of arrangement was only found sporadically, in special situations; but today, thanks in part to all the advancements in digital communications, it is becoming de rigueur. It’s not unusual for businesses to be almost exclusively staffed by work-from-home employees who may not even live in the same state (or country) as the company headquarters.

There are so many benefits to this type of business model: Employers can cast a wider net when it comes to staffing the best, brightest people for the job; office-space rentals are smaller since they don’t need to be large enough to accommodate everyone; the customer base, for services requiring in-person visits, isn’t restricted to just locals; and so much more!

With those perks, however, come some challenges. How does a business owner, or even a manager, keep a staff in line when they’re never around each other or, quite possibly, they’ve never met in person? Who’s to say a remote worker is doing what they should be doing, for sure? Are they making the most of their time?

That’s where we come into play.

Actsoft’s robust suite of tools was designed for exactly this purpose. Whether all of your employees are local but spend the bulk of their days on the go, or you staff remote workers in distant regions around the country or world, we’ve got your back.

Fleet Tracking One of the bigger industries where remotely working is the norm, naturally, is in the trucking industry. Back in the day, truckers were depended upon to accurately report their hours and distances traveled in paper logs. Today, those paper logs no longer suffice; everything must be digital. We partnered with VisTracks to provide state-of-the-art ELD tracking of hours to make sure your long-haul drivers are keeping compliant with the law and therefore not costing you needless dollars in fines. Couple that with our fleet-tracking devices and, just as easily as if you were sitting in the passenger seat, you can follow your drivers’ routes, safe-driving practices, and vehicle idling, among other things.

GPS Tracking This is particularly helpful when you have employees who are not only remote, but also work in the field. With our service tracking staff members, you can always be certain they’re actually with the right client/at the proper location when they say they are, for how long they say. This keeps your team honest about their schedules, and also comes in handy when dealing with any potential customer service issues down the road.

Wireless Forms Dealing with paper forms is a hassle no matter what, never mind when the forms being filled out are hundreds of miles from the office. Relying on hard copies, especially with remote staff, is the easiest way to introduce unnecessary delays and errors into your everyday work. Going digital, you eliminate that problematic wait period and instead, all of your formerly-paper forms make their way home instantly. Plus, with our latest Form Workflows option, colleagues across the country can seamlessly collaborate on the same project, quickly passing a single document between each other as needed.

Mobile Timekeeping We’d all like to think that every person on our team, remote or otherwise, is completely trustworthy. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. (Plus, sometimes honest mistakes happen.) Merging GPS tracking with mobile timekeeping capabilities lets you know exactly where your employees are when they punch in; so you know your staff is at a job site, rather than en route, and you’re only paying people for time they actually spend working.

With those four features alone, managing a remote staff of any size or proximity becomes that much easier. And that’s just scratching the surface of what Actsoft and its array of services can do to help your business reach a new, more efficient state.

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23.04
2018

Managing the Effects of Severe Weather Using Modern Solutions

In Tampa, Florida, Actsoft’s home city, intense weather can at times be commonplace. During the spring and summertime especially, pulses of violet-colored lightning frequently slice across the waterfront’s horizon, illuminating the bay’s rippling water at the edges of Tampa’s Riverwalk district. The city is commonly referred to as the “lightning capital of the USA” due to its high frequency of thunderstorms, but it’s more of a marketing phrase, as another Floridian city, Fort Myers, currently holds the science-backed title of America’s most lightning-struck city.

Regardless, the Tampa Bay region still receives more than its fair share of inclement weather on a yearly basis. Tampa’s National Hockey League team is even named after the bolts of electricity that accompany the torrential downpours and growling, charcoal-colored thunderclouds that characterize an average Gulf of Mexico–fueled storm.

These run-of-the-mill thunderstorms typically don’t last very long and only have minimal wind gusts accompanying them, which is something that Tampa Bay residents have grown accustomed to dealing with regularly in everyday life. Any widespread devastation that larger, more powerful weather phenomena like hurricanes and tornadoes can cause obviously isn’t typical for these types of routine showers. However, if and when a brutal natural disaster does make landfall on a major metropolis, Actsoft is there to help its businesses restore, repair, and assist those who are in need.

In disaster-stricken areas where maintaining clear communication is a constant challenge, our solutions can especially help companies in utilities, construction, and field service foster strong systems of workforce cohesiveness. With elements such as downed power lines and catastrophic flooding causing glaring safety concerns for both workers and civilians alike, tools within our software such as GPS Tracking allow for the positions of mobile employees to be reported back to a company’s home office in near real-time. This keeps administrators constantly in-the-know about their employees’ whereabouts during working hours, and makes pinpointing their locations easier in the context of emergency situations. A powerful tandem of GPS Tracking and Mobile Dispatching also makes sending out assistance as streamlined and efficient as possible, particularly for businesses that are tasked with cleanup efforts after a catastrophic weather event.

During critical situations where restoring power grids and infrastructure are the highest priority, companies in construction, utilities, and field service can all lean on Actsoft solutions to optimize the productivity and efficiency of their mobile employees. While certain factors such as severe storms will never be completely unpreventable, the developments that we’ve made in management technology can help workforces with mitigating aftermath and restoring cities faster than ever to regular sustainability.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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19.04
2018

Coachella: Festival Production and Behind-the-Scenes Prep

Every year, thousands of music fans don their elaborate bespoke flower crowns and haute hippie dresses, fire up their selfie sticks, and flock to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, for one of the biggest festivals of its kind: Coachella.

The see-and-be-seen carnival of melodic performances began taking over this once-sleepy town in the Colorado Desert nearly 20 years ago. For two weekends every April, concertgoers are treated to back-to-back concerts spread across a half dozen stages, showcasing everything from pop to hip hop to EDM and beyond.

In 2017, roughly 250,000 people joined in on the spectacle. By the end of the weekend, at least that many will have attended this year’s, thanks to the draw from big names like Beyonce, Eminem, Jamiroquai, and Post Malone, among others.

Pulling off such a lavish festival takes an extraordinary amount of planning leading up to the event, plus a ton of work behind the scenes. And as long as everything goes according to plan, no one in attendance is even aware of, or deigns to think about, any of this production work. And that’s because, with proper procedures carefully laid out and an established flow of tasks lined up to be completed in proper sequence, you stand a much larger chance of executing the job without a hitch. (Or, with as few as possible.)

When it comes to complicated situations that involve the input and support of multiple individuals, a dedicated system for managing your workforce is essential. As a company owner or team leader, it’s impossible to keep your eyes on each member of your staff every step of the way. (And, frankly, it’s beyond inefficient.) But having access to specialized tools, like the ones that Actsoft provides, gives management instant at-a-glance insight into exactly where their staff is physically, what they have done/are doing, and even (with the latest Form Workflows feature) a series of checks and balances to assure that things are done properly before projects are advanced to the next stage.

Fleet Tracking keeps tabs on all your costly vehicles, so you can always see their whereabouts, as well as keep up with regular maintenance needs. And Asset Tracking provides the same tracking capabilities for any equipment that may prove to be an easy target for thieves. As far as functionality, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for what Actsoft can do for your company.

You don’t have to be in charge of coordinating a Coachella-sized event to reap the benefits from Actsoft’s tools. Big or small, particularly when the work is remote, our tools can streamline most of your processes, saving time and money, and relieving an immeasurable amount of stress.

And hey, who knows? Maybe your next project will be the catalyst that brings about the next generation of Coachella-like events. Start small, plan big, right? Using our software could help take you there.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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16.04
2018

Actsoft in the Healthcare Industry

New technology is continually transforming the ways in which companies are conducting daily operations in the healthcare industry. Emergency situations are becoming much more manageable due to breakthroughs in mobile resource management (MRM) software, and Actsoft stands as a leader in pioneering some of these practical innovations for companies to use.

Our solutions allow businesses in patient transport, pharmacy, and hospice care know where their employees and assets are in near real-time by equipping them with tools that let them receive data back from the field nearly instantly. Gaining vision on field operations allows administrators to have an extra measure of insight into their mobile workforces, and helps them ensure that employees are getting to job sites on time and in the most efficient ways possible.

Multiple companies in healthcare already benefit on a daily basis from using Actsoft to streamline their information flows and enhance the productivity of their workforces. Two primary features of our solutions that these businesses rely on daily to provide quality care are Wireless Forms and GPS Tracking.

With Wireless Forms, companies can eliminate their organization’s use of paper documents altogether. Using this feature, a healthcare business’s mobile workers can fill out and pass off digital forms from mobile devices while they’re at remote locations. Lessening data errors, clearing illegible handwriting, and reducing high annual paper costs are all easily possible with a fluid system of digital documentation in place.

GPS Tracking is another powerful tool from Actsoft that businesses can use in everyday operations. In healthcare, safety is paramount, and by allowing management teams to see the near real-time locations of ambulance drivers, GPS Tracking helps them ensure that patients, EMTs, and drivers are all secure during critical situations. Further benefits of better routing and increased fuel efficiency are also available with the help of this feature, and any potential for vehicle theft can be mitigated if the locations of valuable assets are being constantly monitored.

Managing crises using 21st century tools is something that many of today’s healthcare companies strive to do, as they seek out more efficient ways to provide excellent care to their patients and clients. Actsoft takes pride in being able to help businesses in the healthcare vertical and many other industries take their daily operations to a next-level gear of efficiency.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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12.04
2018

Workflow Checks and Construction-Site Safety

Last week in St. Petersburg, a bustling city just south of Actsoft’s home base in Tampa, a giant crane — roughly ten stories tall — tasked with hauling heavy loads of construction material, toppled to the ground. It narrowly missed at least one worker on the ground by just a few feet, while many others scrambled for safety. Thankfully there were no serious injuries reported. The mishap took place at the site of the future St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters and was apparently the result of the crane operator attempting to move too much weight at once.

A different crane crashed to its side earlier this year in Austin, Texas, while attempting to lift a large concrete slab. In this case, one of the chains attached to the wall appeared to snap, setting forth a series of events that left the large piece of equipment laying horizontal on the ground. (Again, there were fortunately no serious injuries.)

Naturally, it’s always in everyone’s best interest to avoid any type of mishap. That goes without saying. But construction sites are prime spots for them to happen. There’s a lot of large equipment, generally many people engaged in a lot of different projects, and plenty of interference from the elements, among other factors. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to not only be prepared to shift gears in the event that something does happen, but to take all the proper precautions ahead of time, and putting procedures into place that can help prevent disasters before they happen.

That’s where Actsoft’s tools can come into play. For example, crews can use Wireless Forms to help guarantee all necessary steps are complete before advancing to the next stage of any project. And with the new Form Workflows feature, a single form can be digitally passed from one worker to the next, just as projects tend to pass through many hands; if a step is inadvertently missed, or something isn’t up to snuff, the form can be bounced back to make sure each action is properly completed.

Take the recent incident in St. Pete. While local news reports cited user error for the crane tipping, what if a daily reminder (via checklist) could have helped prevent too much cargo from being lifted inappropriately? There were no injuries, but there very easily could have been. Plus, think of the time lost, and the expense, that came from what turned out to be an easily avoidable mistake. (Not to mention, the trauma from those involved in the experience itself.)

Proper checks and balances are what keep a business running smoothly. With systems in place to maintain standard operating procedures, things run a lot more efficiently and safely. And because of that, at the end of the day, all parties involved benefit.

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09.04
2018

The Importance of Teamwork in the Workplace

When it comes to business teamwork, the different aspects of a company are like gears in a mechanism. Each cog must be finely tuned to its own specifications, but also mesh perfectly with the other parts of the machine to help it accomplish a defined purpose.

A successful business is predicated on hardworking individuals that work together to identify and achieve their organization’s collective goals, and without a team-oriented core of employees, projects become disorganized, people are unsure of what their tasks are, and productivity ultimately suffers. When fostering solid teamwork between individuals and different departments within a business, it’s vital to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page before moving forward.

Foundationally, every individual should be made aware of their value to the company, and they should also each be given a clear understanding of what their respective role on the team is and how it integrates with the tasks of others. At Actsoft, we strongly believe in the power of teamwork, and are aware of its significant impact in our everyday operations. Kevin Thigpen, Actsoft’s chief operating officer says that employing a set of team-oriented individuals has been instrumental to our company’s framework.

“You have different skill sets, and bringing them together in a team environment is critical to our success,” Thigpen said. “Without strong teamwork and collaboration, we would not be as profitable and successful as we are.”

Some of the solutions that we at Actsoft offer can greatly aid businesses who are looking to enhance their team’s collaborative efforts. Features of some of our products like Messaging can enable employees to securely communicate with one another, providing a method for easier teamwork and increased transparency between staff. Dispatching is another useful tool that can allow a company’s in-office employees and field employees alike to feel more synergized when working together on completing tasks. This feature in particular allows for mobile workers to receive job updates in near real-time, preventing them from taking unnecessary trips back to the office and facilitating better collaboration.

Let Actsoft help enhance your business with one of our unique management solutions today. Our products are geared to streamline information, improve connectivity between the employees of an organization, and help companies build the best teams possible.

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06.04
2018

HBO’s “Westworld” and Behind-the-Scenes Management

In late 2016, HBO fans were introduced to a fantasy world that reinvented the classic western, adding an element of science-fiction to the concept we’re all familiar with. “Westworld,” based on the 1973 film of the same name, is about an expansive, immersive theme park that caters to the elite. Those who are willing (and able) to shell out the hefty price of admission are treated to a cornucopia of possibility, where the only limit is their imagination.

On April 22, fans will once again be whisked away into this western reverie-cum-reality. The theme park, which spreads across enough land to encompass multiple towns, stretches of desert, and shows absolutely no sign of modern civilization, is sought after by people looking to lose themselves in an experience that allows them to leave their lives behind, if only for a little while.

Westworld is populated mostly by highly advanced animatronic “hosts,” who are so incredibly lifelike, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish them from flesh-and-blood human beings. The guests are treated to whatever western-themed outing they are looking for, be it an old-fashioned showdown with a bad guy or an afternoon of companionship at a saloon.

While the guests are allowed to lose themselves in the fantasy that Westworld is, behind the scenes is an entirely different matter. The scientists and technical experts responsible for creating the hosts also came up with a way to keep constant surveillance over the hosts. The puppet masters, so to speak, monitor the park at all times, assuring that robots are functioning properly, to the standard of patrons, and that any abnormalities are able to be addressed expediently and with as little interruption as possible, so as not to break the illusion.

In many ways, this front-end/back-end relationship we see here reflects the experience of using our software in your business’s day-to-day. When you have a staff that largely works in the field — the hosts, so to speak — you need a way to make sure they remain on task, regardless of who is or isn’t there to monitor in person. GPS Tracking gives managers back at the office the inside scoop on where their employees are at any given time. In other words, if they’re supposed to be with a customer at a certain time, you can make sure they’re on track for that appointment and, if there are any delays, customers can be notified.

Knowing where employees are also lets you choose wisely when tasking new job assignments. Reviewing the GPS coordinates, along with the open work orders for the day, managers can easily assign new projects to the person that makes the most sense, in order to maximize efficiency.

And making the switch to wireless forms over the wasteful use of piles of papers isn’t just a great choice for environment-minded folks. The clarity of forms filled out digitally, versus sheets filled out with illegible and/or smudgeable (not to mention, easy to misplace) script, guarantees a smoother processing once submitted to managers; this, in turn, reduces the chances of inputting misinformation on file, therefore minimizing the threat of customer disputes.

Much like in the fantasy world portrayed by “Westworld,” our solutions help to simplify an otherwise complicated undertaking, so the experience you are delivering to your customers runs as smoothly as possible. The processes remain on top of any potential hiccups, and the end result is a satisfied customer that is none the wiser about anything that happened behind the scenes.

Season 2 of Westworld returns April 22, 2018, on HBO.

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03.04
2018

Modern Architecture and Networking in the 21st Century

Modern architecture is something that has grown increasingly complex in recent decades. Today, seemingly impossible feats of both engineering and construction alike are becoming possible, after recent developments stemming from years of ambitious design. Some of the most cutting-edge creative minds across the globe are continually finding ways to expand the boundaries of what simple building materials like concrete, glass, and iron can do, paving the way to newer, more advanced horizons.

In order to pull off some of the ridiculous engineering associated with such modern marvels as the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, multiple groups of teams on an international scale had to collaborate seamlessly with one another. Suppliers of construction materials, the architects themselves, and scores of dedicated builders all had to come together, applying their specialized skills to achieve a common end goal.

These intrapersonal communications, where ideas are shared and vital information is exchanged typically formulate the beginning of a massive construction project. Logistics such as funding, location, and designs all must be proposed and approved by each respective party that has signed on to do the project. This is what effective networking looks like, albeit in one of its most complex forms.

Networking is a central theme in many different architectural projects. Skyscraper construction in particular is usually conducted with the intent of creating glitzy high-rise hotels or office spaces, both of which are building types that are frequently used as hubs to facilitate professional networking between individuals. During the groundbreaking phase of a project, and even years later when the complex is being used by multiple groups of people in daily operations, the constant process of creating and maintaining any property is often continually churned through the ideas exchanged via networking.

Actsoft solutions can help individuals in both construction and professional networking increase their overall efficiency. By equipping professionals and businesses with all the requisite tools needed to communicate, we’re there to help you attain and sustain efficient levels of productivity. Mobile timekeeping and wireless forms are just two of the many powerful features that our products offer to networkers and construction companies, as they’re able to significantly reduce any barriers that could impede on smooth connectivity between individuals.

Streamlined workflow is one of the best ways to enhance coordination and idea-sharing between members of your business team, and with Actsoft, it’s possible to do. Let’s see what we can do for your organization’s networking bandwidth today.

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