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By Giles Kavanagh

Are you trying to make your small or home-based business go, but not getting as many customers as you want? It can be frustrating. You know you've got a winner, but the email isn't coming, the phone isn't ringing, and nobody is walking through the door.

Before starting my own home-based business, I was a real estate agent. In many ways, Realtors are the original "free agents." You write your own ads and find your own customers. Here are five things that I found work for just about any business.

1. Advertise! Whether you buy classified ads in e-zines, have kids distribute fliers around your neighborhood, or call 10 people each day, your business won't go without a little publicity. Make sure your ads talk directly to your prospects' most pressing problems. That's a surefire way to get their attention and interest.

2. Include your price in the ad. Ever see an ad with no price and figure, "I can't afford that. I'm not even going to ask?" You'd be surprised how many people feel just like that. Include your price and you'll see an immediate increase in the number of people who show interest.

3. Make yourself available to interested prospects. I know you can't be in all places at all time, but let prospects know how you can be reached, then answer their questions as fast as you can. In real estate, the biggest business day of the week is Sunday. I can guarantee you there were many sunny Sunday afternoons when I would rather have been on the golf course or at home with family. But he or she who hustles gets the sale.

4. Build a reputation for good, honest value. No matter how much advertising you do in the media, most of your clients will still come from word-of-mouth. On average, when someone feels like they
got a good deal from you, they'll tell 10 friends. And a recommendation from a friend is worth more than 50 high-priced TV commercials. We believe friends.

5. Above all, don't give up! Advertising experts tell me that the first ad never works. You've got to advertise, make those calls, follow-up on that interested prospect over and over again. Persistence is the key to sales. Not getting sales? Your best bet might be to try one more time.

About the author: Giles Kavanagh recently opened The Guardian's Safety Game web site at
http://www.Safety4Kids.com/. Acclaimed by police officers and educators,this popular education game teaches kids math, manners, and how to avoid dangerous situations. Perfect for gifts and organizations. Contact Giles at: spectrum2@earthlink.net

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