Current Meeting Topic

The importance of Trademarks

Here is a recap of the last education topic:

The importance of Trademarks

All of us – business owners and self-employed alike – work tirelessly to grow and maintain our professional reputation. It’s probably fair to say that we live and die by it. So, how do you safeguard yours?

One important method is through the appropriate application of trademarks and copyright. To quote the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand:

Intellectual property (IP) rights include:

  • trademarks to distinguish your goods and services
  • patents for new inventions
  • designs for the distinctive aesthetic of your products
  • copyright for your creative works like books, paintings and software.

IP is fundamental for most businesses, and is a tool for creativity, innovation, and even education.

Some IP rights may be registered, which gives you certain exclusive rights over your brand, innovation or the expression of your idea. By protecting your IP, you may gain a competitive advantage in the market place, enabling you to profit and grow your business.

Trademarks can add genuine value to your business because customers associate a certain type and quality of product or service with a particular brand – which is fundamentally where brand loyalty begins. It’s important therefore to ensure that your business’ distinctiveness is protected so that your exclusivity and identity cannot be undermined or exploited by a competitor.

The Law Society of NZ observes that the timely and correct implementation of trademarks and other IP protection can really level the legal playing field between sole-traders, small businesses and multi-nationals. “Competition becomes less about ‘David v Goliath’ and more about even competition among brand identities.”

Things to think about:

What trademarks do you hold currently? What has been your experience – positive or negative – of registering your trademarks? Have you ever been called to defend your IP?

Are you exporting your products or services overseas, or thinking of doing so? Have you ensured the protection of your IP in those foreign territories?

Considering how your business may have evolved over time, are there any other aspects of your intellectual property that you should be legally protecting, but aren’t? Are you offering additional services now, meaning that you should expand your trademark classifications?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts at the next meeting.

Carolyn Banks, CEO Venus Network


Education Topic

Sales

A sale is the exchange of a commodity or money as the price of a good or a service.
Sales are an essential component of any business, simply put you need to sell yourself and your business to your clients to earn income. A lot of women don’t see themselves as ‘salespeople’, yet some of the best sales come as the result of a conversation (which we are all good at!) and become a natural conclusion.
Fear of selling varies from person to person. Usually, there’s a specific aspect of sales that trigger unpleasant feelings. The first step to overcoming this fear is pinpointing it. Here are some of the common components of the sales process and some ideas:

Setting Appointments

Even experienced salespeople occasionally get sweaty palms before a round of cold calling. Picking up the phone and talking to complete strangers isn’t easy because it triggers a major anxiety – fear of rejection. Remember though they can’t see you, and if you get a ‘no’ you’re that little bit closer to the next ‘yes’!

Qualifying Prospects

You want to do business with people that need you and what you have to offer, you’re not intruding by getting in touch and asking questions. You are in fact giving prospects an opportunity to find out about a fantastic opportunity. If you didn’t believe your product or service was terrific, you wouldn’t have started a business offering it! When you qualify prospects, think of yourself as an expert – like a doctor or lawyer – who is assessing the prospect’s needs and finding a solution for her problem.

Making Presentations

It’s not easy to stand up in front of an audience (unless you’ve done the Venus Presentation Training Basics!). The easiest way to get a handle on this fear is to do your homework. If you’re fully prepared and have an excellent presentation ready, and you’ve rehearsed it you’ll feel much safer.

Handling Objections

Often it’s not the answering objections itself that unnerve us; it’s the fear before the meeting. What if they come up with something I’ve never thought of? What if she’s right? What if my mind goes blank and she thinks I’m an idiot? Take a deep breath and trust yourself. If you don’t know the answer be honest, buy time, tell them you need to think about it, and you’ll get back to them. If you start making excuses, thinking things up on the spot or fobbing them off your credibility will go down hugely. Always remember you are the expert in your field, that’s why they’re meeting with you!

Closing the Sale

The moment of truth! There are at least as many ways to close a sale as there are salespeople. However, you don’t have to get tricky. Have one or two key questions that you can use to close your sale. Listen to your intuition it will often be telling you to either ask for the sale or walk away and let them come round to doing the asking, sometimes people need enough time to think it over and work out for themselves that they need you!

Asking for Referrals

So basic that many people skip this step entirely! If you have a happy customer, you have huge potential sitting right in front of you, what better time to ask for a referral? Try something along the lines of “do you know anyone else like yourself that could benefit from my business and what I have to offer?” The moment they express gratitude they are in the ideal mindset to hear this, and you are very likely to get a yes!

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