Archive for July, 2011
We all know it can be hard when you are trying to cut down on your spending but still want to have some fun and romance in your life. Everything you dream of doing seems to cost a fortune especially going out for a nice romantic candlelit dinner. But there is an alternative and a great way to treat your partner to something special and memorable and save yourself some money is by replacing that expensive candlelit dinner with a nice romantic picnic.
Doesn’t this sound like a nice alternative? Have you ever watched those old romantic classics on TV and noticed that picnics were part of their every day life? Didn’t the ladies look so beautiful being courted and wooed by their charming gents? You too can re-live the romance of these times by taking your loved one or special person in your life on a romantic picnic.
Picnics seem to be forgotten in our busy day and age, yet they can certainly provide us with so much relaxation and allow us to spend some overdue quality time with our loved ones. That romantic candlelit dinner at your favourite establishment, could easily be replaced with a picnic at a romantic location.
Your picnic can be as simple or as lavish as you choose it to be. We have provided you with some clues to get you started on your planning for this special event:
1. Choose where you might like to go for a romantic picnic
- Botanical Gardens
- National Park
- State Forest
- Somewhere private and quiet
- Your own backyard
2. Plan what you might like to do whilst you are on your picnic
- Go for a walk arm in arm
- Lie on a picnic blanket
- Gaze at the stars
- Watch the sun setting
- Read a romantic poem to your special partner
- Watch the sun rise
- Feed each other cherries / chocolates
- Give your partner a foot / hand massage
- Stare up at the full moon
- Go for a swim in a secluded waterhole / stream
- Write some romantic messages in the sand
- Listen to the sounds of nature – running stream / bird calls
- Let your lover feed you while you close your eyes
- Blindfold your partner and lead them somewhere special
3. Consider adding some special touches
- Scatter some flowers around your blanket / picnic table
- Bake a heart shaped cake / cookies
- Place some tea light candles around your blanket / picnic table (Preferably in a sturdy glass object)
- Play some romantic music
- Take some pretty cushions / pillows
- Scatter some written romantic messages across your blanket / picnic table
- Make your setting really comfortable so you can snuggle up / cuddle / get romantic
4. Organise and pack your food
- What food can you take that will be a real treat and romantic
- Sliced Meats
- Sundried Tomatoes
- Olive Oil
- Pre made salads
- Fresh vegetables
- Ensure you protect your food from extreme heat or cold
- Ideally try and pack non perishable items
- Take along freezer blocks / ice packs to keep your cold items cold
- Don’t forget condiments such as salt / pepper / sauces / relishes
- Prepare your food before hand by putting your goodies in small containers
5. Organise and pack your drinks
- What drinks can you take that will be a real treat and romantic
- White wine
- Red wine
- Ensure you have plenty of other refreshments
- Soft drinks
- Thermos of tea / coffee
- Thermos of hot chocolate / cocoa
- Ensure you protect your drinks from extreme heat or cold
- Take along freezer blocks / ice packs to keep your cold drinks cold
- Carefully wrap and pack your glass thermos to prevent breakage
6. Organise and pack up your picnic basket
- Crockery (carefully wrapped)
- Glasses (carefully wrapped)
- Mugs / cups (carefully wrapped)
- Chopping board / Bread board
- Bottle opener
- Can opener
- Sharp knife / cheese knife / bread knife
- Servers / tongs
7. Pack other essential items for the trip
- Picnic Rug / Blanket
- Waterproof groundsheet
- Table cloth
- Insect repellent
- Citronella candles (to repel insects)
- Sunscreen lotion
- Umbrella (sun / rain)
- Paper towels / tissues / serviettes
- Wet ones / Pre-moistened towelettes
- Garbage bags
- Containers for any left overs
- Pillows / cushions
- Camera / batteries
- Picnic Basket
As a sales professional, do you enjoy observing how other salespeople sell to you? My wife and I both do. During a recent vacation we had a chance to participate (for the third time) in an extremely well-honed and effective timeshare sales process. What’s interesting is that many of the steps in this timeshare company’s process can be applied to just about any type of sales situation.
Grabbing the Attention of Your Target Prospects
The first step in selling is to identify potential prospects and find a way to capture enough of their attention to get them to agree to participate in a discovery conversation. Do you agree?
For timeshare sales in Cancun, Mexico, getting the attention of prospects can be pretty easy. My wife and I first became aware of the timeshare company because they had a booth in the Cancun airport. What better place to connect with prospects if you are selling luxury vacation experiences?
Of course, getting the attention of prospects can still be a challenge. After all, most of the people walking through the Cancun airport have already made reservations somewhere. They are probably eager to get to their destinations and start having fun. So why would they stop, listen to a brief sales pitch, and agree to make the time to listen to a longer sales pitch at some point during their vacation?
This timeshare company is successful because they offer a really attractive assortment of complimentary products and services, some of which are difficult for competitors to offer. For example, how do you offer people free rounds of golf on quality golf courses if you don’t own (or have a relationship with) a golf course? The same applies to free spa services. And, when you throw in a number of less valuable “freebies” (such as free excursions, T-shirts, and free transportation to and from the property where the presentation will take place), you can build a pretty attractive package.
Questions: How do you grab the attention of your target prospects? Can your company offer any “freebies” that are desirable enough to convince prospects to give you some of their time? Or, would it be more effective to alert them to (quantified) results your company has produced for other companies?
Breaking the Ice/Qualifying the Opportunity
Let’s assume you agree to attend the timeshare presentation. When you arrive at the property where the presentation will take place, which approach do you think would be more effective?
1. You are herded into a big room for a 90-minute sales pitch. The “hard close” is on from the moment you enter the room.
2. You are greeted warmly by a concierge who introduces you to an individual salesperson. The salesperson is engaging, pleasant, and low-key. They take you on a relaxed tour of the property, then to one of the restaurants for a meal. During these activities they ask you questions such as, “How often do you like to vacation?” And “What do you like to do on vacation?”
If you are like most people, approach #2 is more appealing. It also accomplishes several important goals, including:
- Putting the prospect at ease
- Building rapport
- Collecting information that can be leveraged during the sales process
Questions: When a prospect agrees to schedule a discovery conversation with you, what do you do during the discovery conversation? How do you build rapport with the prospect? How do you determine whether they are a good fit for your company’s products and services? How do you determine the key factors that will drive their buying decision?
Presenting Your Solution
The next step in the process is to sit at a table with the salesperson and go through a presentation that includes two important components: beautiful pictures of the various properties that would be included in your membership (to help you visualize what your vacations would be like, which engages your emotions), and a financial discussion that is carefully crafted to make it easy for you to cost justify your purchase. Some of the timeshare company’s cost justification components include:
- Free, one-week, all-inclusive vacations
- Discounted vacations
- Free airline tickets
- Free spa services
- Free rounds of golf
- Free transportation to and from the airport
Questions: How do you engage your prospect’s emotions (which is a critical step in any buying decision)? How do you get them to feel the pain of their business problems and/or visualize the joy of having their “pains” go away? How do you build a compelling financial case to support the buying decision you want your prospect to make?
Closing the Sale
If the other steps in the sales process have been done well, closing the sale tends to be simple and straightforward. Of course, it makes sense to be prepared to answer common objections. In fact, you may want to proactively raise key objections if you know they are likely to arise later in the sales process. And, it never hurts to reserve a few extra enticements to help prospects who are “on the fence” tip over to making a decision in your favor.
Questions: Do you find closing sales to be difficult or easy? If you find it to be difficult, chances are excellent you are not doing a thorough enough job of sales opportunity qualification.
Pursuing Repeat Business
Each time you vacation at one of the timeshare company’s properties you are offered the opportunity to attend an “update” meeting. Yes, the update meeting includes another sales pitch, but the timeshare company offers so many attractive “goodies” that most people don’t seem to mind. Plus, the upgrades that are available can be quite attractive. Examples include additional guaranteed weeks of reservation availability, larger rooms and suites, access to more exclusive properties, etc.
Questions: What is your strategy for selling more to existing customers? How do you expose them to your company’s entire portfolio of products and services? How often do you remind them of all of your company’s capabilities? (An unfortunate fact of life is that customers DO forget the great things you can do for them!)
Delivering What you Promise
Of course, your ability to sell more to existing customers will be enhanced if your company does a great job of delivering what it promises to deliver. In the case of the timeshare company, my wife and I have used our membership for two, one-week vacations during the past year. We have been delighted to enjoy:
- Luxurious accommodations that include a two-person Jacuzzi in every room
- Ocean views
- Free golf and spa services with every visit
- Free excursions
- Multiple properties (members can travel freely between properties and enjoy each property’s amenities)
- Excellent food and beverages
- Liquor dispensers in rooms
- Room refrigerator stocked with water, soda, and beer
- Free bottles of (pretty decent) wine
- Excellent service from happy employees
You can learn important lessons from being on the receiving end of other salespeople’s sales efforts. Analyze what the salesperson is doing. What are they doing that is effective? What are they doing that is ineffective? If a salesperson is doing something that is effective, is there a way for you to integrate it into your own sales process?
If you pay close attention whenever other salespeople attempt to sell to you, it can be a great learning opportunity. Take advantage of it!
©2007 – Alan Rigg
One of attractive details that people people look forward to during wedding are the wedding favors. These little gifts doesn’t need to be lavish nor extravagant, but should be well fitted to the wedding. If you are looking for a perfect favor for your wedding, you should be creative on your choice. Creativity can make the great change in your entire big day. And if chosen carefully, wedding favors can make a lasting memory of you and your wedding.
Giving wedding keepsakes has been a tradition during weddings. It is a good gesture to show appreciation to all the guests who spent their precious time only to attend the nuptial of their beloved relative or friend. Aside from that, these little gifts also serve as remembrance of the wedding.
Although they are not mandatory, wedding favors must be taken into proper consideration. Never put off these little items until the last minute arrives. Remember, although little, but they can also break the entire look of your celebration. Look for wedding favors according to the theme of your wedding, as well as the personality you and your spouse-to-be both have in common.
Wedding favors these days come in various kinds – from traditional to contemporary. They also come at different price ranges – from cheapest to the most expensive tags. If you are looking for cheap favors, you can go directly to a local discount boutique or a wholesale outlet, where you can buy party favors in bulk at a discounted price. You can also visit a favorite online store that specializes on wedding supplies, including wedding favors. Online shopping of wedding supplies makes a practical and inexpensive shopping option, especially these days where almost everything increases.
Among the most popular wedding favors these days are edible treats. Delightful treats such as assorted cookies, chocolates, candies, mints, Jordan almonds, jams and even coffees, teas and wines are now accepted as wedding favors. These edible treats can either be purchased or made yourself. And speaking of making favors yourself, many engaged couple nowadays are into DIY’s. Making your own favors will not only save you money, but also allows your creativity shine through. Plan ahead of time and start making the items as early as possible.
If edible favors are not your type, then perhaps you will love the idea of giving practical favors. Think useful! After all, what better way to remind your guests always about your wedding than giving something they can use in their everyday living? You may consider personalized bottle openers, coasters, tape measures, measuring spoons, salt and pepper shakers, refrigerator magnets, hand fans, pens, mugs and so on.
Whatever favor you have chosen, make it personalize. Today, most wedding favors are available for personalization. With that, you can have your name, date of your wedding and your personal message be included on your favor. You can find a wide variety of personalized favors online. Online stores that specialize on wedding supplies usually carry essential wedding items such as favors, decorations, invitations, cake toppers, reception accessories, wedding ceremony accessories and etc.
To date, the reported resveratrol side effects have all been positive. Whether the compound was used to treat health problems or given to healthy volunteers, nothing negative has been reported, which is somewhat unusual.
It is called a phytochemical, which simply means a chemical compound present in plants. It occurs naturally in grapes, peanut butter, boiled and raw peanuts. Some varieties of red grape juice and wines are also sources of the compound.
Like the common vitamins A, C and E, it is an antioxidant, but all of those can cause adverse effects at high dosages. The form of vitamin A that is found in animals is actually toxic. In large amounts, it can cause death. At high doses, vitamin C causes diarrhea. Vitamin E at high dosages may increase the risk of bleeding problems, because it has an anti-coagulant effect. In other words, it prevents the formation of blood clots.
Blood clots within the vascular system can cause heart attack, stroke and other health problems, but the formation of clots is necessary to heal a cut. If you suffer from any health problems, it is always important to report the supplements that you are taking to your doctor. Even though there are no known resveratrol side effects, it is still important to tell your doctor that you are taking a supplement.
In the scientific community, there has been much excitement surrounding the affects that resveratrol has on developing cancer cells and tumors. It has been shown to have an affect at all stages of cancer development. Researchers are also excited at the possible benefits for the prevention of heart disease, although other supplements, including green tea extracts and coenzyme Q10 have more supportive research in that area.
The major concern about resveratrol side effects has to do with the possibility that people will think that diet is unimportant, as long as they drink enough red wine or take enough supplements. That’s the problem with over-dramatized claims that you sometimes see.
In addition, it has been shown that other nutrients work with the antioxidant to increase its activity. Most manufacturers do not include all of the “co-factors” that are needed for the body to make use of the antioxidant. This is true of other single-ingredient supplements, as well.
For example, SAM-e can only be absorbed, utilized and act as it should if vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid are present. It will only make it to the lower intestine, where it can pass through into the bloodstream, if a tablet has an enteric coating.
There are several possible positive resveratrol side effects. Some people notice improved joint mobility and a reduction in aches and pains, which is due to the anti-inflammatory activity of the compound. To see the best results, a supplement that also contains turmeric, carnosine, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid and other antioxidants are recommended.
At 20-50mg per day, it is highly unlikely that you would see any negative resveratrol side effects, because healthy volunteers given 5 grams noted nothing unpleasant. Just choose your manufacture, carefully. Some are better than others.
Many folks are looking for healthy alternatives to flavor their cooking prepared at home. With a health conscious diet, the labels of prepared foods and seasonings are getting scrutinized closely. We already know the importance of staying away from trans fats, high-carb and high calorie ingredients. The FDA is even getting into the mix of things with recent directives on what food manufacturers can specify as “low-cal” and “low-carb” on product labels. They promise a definition of sorts for these health related food ingredient terms.
Sometimes a healthy alternative is as simple as looking into the Old Country Cookbook.
If you are willing to put aside your Shopping Club size of “Original Ranch” creamy dressing, consider a healthy recommendation. For fresh garden salads you do not need to sacrifice gourmet taste and flavor. The same goes for preparing meats such as chicken and beef. A novel solution is preparing your own balsamic flavoring for both culinary uses. A home made balsamic vinaigrette for green salads can also double as a fine balsamic marinade for meats.
The ingredients are few, the prep time is very short, and the method is relatively simple. But what a difference in flavor and seasoning! The health benefits are also most welcome to any diet. Aged Balsamic vinegar is becoming popular among many cooking celebrities and experts, and it is agreed it is not just for an occasional drizzle over salads. Try it as a marinade as well.
Lastly, once you taste the joys of Balsamico, you will want to share it with your family and friends. A quality bottle of Balsamic Vinegar has now become in vogue as a gift substitute for that obligatory bottle of wine you used to feel compelled to give.
Balsamic Dijon Marinade or Vinaigrette
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin Spanish olive oil
2 Tablespoons. finely chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon. Dijon-style mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon brown cane sugar
Mix all ingredients in small bowl.
Place meat in sealable plastic bag.
Pour marinade mixture over meat and turn to coat.
Marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes to 2 hours for tender cuts, or up to 24 hours for less tender. Turn at least once while marinating.
Dispose of marinade after use.
Prep time: about 5 minutes
Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette or Marinade
This vinaigrette has a tangy flavor and works well over mixed greens, fresh sliced tomato, onion and cucumber salads. It can also be drizzled sparingly over steamed vegetables. You can use traditional aged balsamic vinegar, but with this white balsamic recipe, the appearance of the vinaigrette will not be dark and should be a slightly sweeter balsamic vinaigrette.
Makes 1 cup.
1/2 cup Spanish extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (aged traditional balsamic if desired)
1 garlic clove, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1 pinch sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine together olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, garlic, and mustard powder, whisk evenly. Season to your own personal taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. You can add fresh minced herbs if desired.
Prep time: about 5 minutes
You can see more free balsamic recipes at http://www.cruets.com