Virtual PBX and IP Based Office Phone Systems for Small, Medium and Large Enterprises

By Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications

In the growing industry of global telecommunications, small, medium and large business enterprises need a competitive edge to become successful. Traditional PSTN systems will soon be replaced by Virtual PBX phone systems as more and more companies are rapidly embracing Virtual PBX business phone systems as an economical alternative to expensive enterprise class office phone systems.

How Does Virtual PBX Work?

Most Virtual PBX systems use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to transfer calls. There are still some systems which rely on traditional T1, T3, SIP or MPLS to relay their signals within a regional dialing area. But, for the most part, as VoIP has dramatically improved over the last decade, most “hard wired” systems are transitioning to Internet protocol.

On the transmitting side, codec is used to convert analog audio into digital data packets which is then transmitted over a high speed protocol, such as the Internet. At the receiving side these digital data packets are again converted back into audio speech signals.

Since a single line is used to transmit voice and data, it makes this system more efficient than the traditional premise based PBX systems. In traditional PSTN, there is a dedicated line between two callers which cannot be used for any other calls as long as the call is connected. But in a Virtual PBX system, the same line can be used to transfer more data during pauses between speeches to optimize efficiency.

A Virtual PBX and Office system offers more benefits than the traditional hardware based telecommunication systems at competitive prices. All the data, hardware and software are maintained by the service provider, relieving businesses from the hassles of buying, installing, monitoring and upgrading the costly equipment, and hiring staff to maintain it.

There are a number of calling features that usually come as standard with the Virtual PBX systems which are generally not available with the traditional PSTN like call conferencing, call forwarding, 3 way calling, speed dial, dial by extension, dial by name, find me, follow me, Caller ID, regular fax, virtual fax, fax on demand and Internet.

Exceptional Call Handling Features

There are a lot of advanced calling features to keep an eye out for like:

  • Auto Attendant: This gives your business a professional image by routing calls to the correct destination.
  • Multiple user connectivity: You can connect any number of offices, branches and international extensions as one unit and transfer calls practically anywhere in the world.
  • Remote employee support: For business enterprises having many mobile employees it gives a collaborative platform to enable workers to connect from anywhere in real time, to greatly enhance productivity.
  • Virtual offices: You can set up a virtual business presence wherever you go and sound large to clients to get more prospects. Wherever you go, your telecommunication features and services go with you.
  • Toll free numbers: Many IP based PBX providers allow you to have toll-free numbers and/or local phone numbers with anywhere connectivity.
  • Voicemail Transcription: This feature converts your voice messages to text formats like pdfs or docs in client specific formats.
  • Automated Teleseminars: This function allows you to record your training seminars for your staff to listen to at a later time and date. If they weren’t able to attend the first time, now they can listen to it at a more convenient time.

The security of calls and data is a significant factor that greatly affects the decision while making the choice for a reliable Virtual PBX provider. Many service providers use meticulous and updated data security measures to safeguard customer data and user identities. Use of latest firewalls and anti-virus software prevents the data from being attacked by hackers and intrusions. Regular monitoring and updating of data, multiple backups in different locations ensure that all your data is safely secured.

The customized monthly packages, extendable connections, the ease of scalability and customization – all this and more is offered by the Virtual PBX providers which has the potential to meet the ever changing needs of any business enterprise. Companies save thousands of dollars on business communication by switching to Virtual PBX systems. No matter where you go, your services go with you so that you never miss out on a potential business opportunity.

Virtual PBX is a innovative tool for many savvy enterprises and is certainly the future face of business telecommunication. Every day more and more business enterprises are discovering the benefits of Virtual PBX systems and totally embracing this telecommunication tool as the ideal solution to optimize productivity remarkably by improving their business communications.

Ernest O’Dell is the Director of Unified Communications at QuestarTeleCommunications.com. Questar TeleCommunications is an authorized independent agency for iTeleCenter.

Their primary focus is educating the various industries in real estate, real estate investments, morgage, mortgage banks, finance, insurance, direct marketing, Internet Marketing, Network Marketing, Multi Level Marketing (MLM), small, medium and large business entities about implementing Unified Communications, Messaging, Mobile Collaboration, Virtual Office and PBX systems.

To download the complete article in PDF format, click on the link below.

Virtual PBX and IP Based Office Phone Systems for Small, Medium and Large Enterprises.pdf

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The One Skill That Generates Billions of Dollars in Revenue

by Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications, Questar PC and The Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“The most valuable skill in ANY business is the ability to sell.” PERIOD! If you don’t learn how to close a sale, you’ll starve. If you learn the skill, then you will earn more money than anybody else. Just ask people like Donald Trump or Joe Vitale… or the late, great “infomercial king” Billy Mays.

I’m talking about a simple skill that, if you learn and apply it, will ensure that you NEVER go hungry. This skill has enabled me to successfully negotiate multi-million-dollar deals. Plus, it has given me a quiet assurance, a pit bull type of confidence in myself. The skill I’m talking about is knowing how to close a sale. Basically, all it takes is asking your prospect one simple question…

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or whether you’re doing it in person, on radio/TV, in an e-mail newsletter, or via direct mail. You can do it through a toll free phone presentation. But, when it’s time to close the sale, you ask your prospect…

“What can I do to make this work for you? How can I make this easy for you to pull the trigger on this deal?”

I know that sounds like a used-car pitch, but let me explain the logic behind it…

The best salespeople in the world know that in order to make a sale, you have to first understand what your prospect wants or needs. When you really understand what inside your prospect’s mind, and what it’s going to take to “make it work” for your prospect, you’ll be able to craft an irresistible offer.

How do you find out what it will take to make a deal work for your prospects?

Ask them!

Most of the time… they’ll tell you. And, most of the time, it will be something that you can deliver. If not, then be honest with them and tell them. They’ll appreciate your honesty and will respect you.

What happens if they ask you for something outlandish?

Well, okay: in some cases, you’ll get an occasional prospect who isn’t a serious buyer. Or they’re not the “qualified” buyer to begin with. That’s how you “weed them out” —by asking that one question.

Don’t waste any time with them. Be gracious and polite, but say something like, “Sorry. The best I can do is…” and let ’em walk away. It’s better to let them walk away so they don’t become “Time Vampires” and drain you. There are plenty of other prospects out there.

Once you understand how to apply the “What can I do to make this work for you?” technique, new opportunities will begin to open up for you—whether you use it to sell your own products or someone else’s.

But selling someone else’s products is the opportunity I want to tell you about today.

Getting Started as a Freelance Sales Professional

No matter what happens in this economy, independent sales reps, and especially closers, will always be needed. Getting started as a freelance sales rep is a lot easier than you might think. Real estate, information and network technology, building contractors, direct-mail services, medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceuticals, vacation rentals—you name it—these are just a few of the industries that desperately need independent salespeople.

Identify the markets that interest you, and start digging for independent sales opportunities.

Very few companies will turn you down if you tell them you can bring them business.

What’s in It for You?

To survive, just about every business needs people who can make sales. And most business owners are receptive to freelancers, because it means less “out of pocket” expenses for them. They don’t have to provide freelancers with such things as health insurance, a pension plan, and paid vacation and sick time. It’s sort of like being an affiliate for a company, whether it’s Internet based or not.

Similar concept…

The downside to working as a freelancer is that you have to forgo the benefits that usually go along with a salaried position. The upside is that your commissions usually far exceed what you could make with a “regular” sales job. On top of that, you have the freedom to work on your own terms.

One of the main benefits you will enjoy working as an independent contractor is being able to work at your own pace, without management breathing down your neck or poking their heads into your office whenever they feel like it.
To this day, I still sell for over 50 different suppliers as a VAR (Value Added Reseller). A “Value Added Reseller” is just another term for in Independent Contractor, Freelance Sales Engineer, or an Affiliate. I began selling telecommunications products and services for a variety of companies over 30 years ago, and have earned more in commissions than they could have paid me in a salary. And, frankly, I would much prefer it that way.

When I started, I had several other business ventures going at the same time, so I did it only part-time, one or two days a week. But my first commission check was all the proof I needed to know that freelance selling was for me.

Did I sell all of the vendor’s products and services at the same time? No. But I had them at my “fingertips” if I ever needed them as a solution to my prospect’s needs. And that’s one of the things you will like about all this freelance stuff: the independence to “pick and choose” what you want, and what your customers need at the time.

Even today, I only promote 3 or 4 “verticals” at any one given time. A “vertical” is just a product or service offering that has an established market for it.

For example, I promote the Virtual PBX and Mobile Collaboration solution to companies that have a mobile workforce, or who have people working remote through telecommuting. Even if the company has people spread out all over the country, they can have one central, toll free number, and assign their staff—around the country—with an extension. That way, the company doesn’t have to print up a bunch of stationery with different phone numbers: just one toll free number with the extension of the employee.

And, the same system can be used by the small, home based entrepreneur to give them the appearance of a Fortune 500 company, thereby leveling the playing field. In these times, “presence” is image, and image can be established and perceived with a Virtual Office.

If you’ve been hit by this recession and have landed on some hard turf because of the economy, you might want to look into supplementing your present job with some part time work. That “part time” work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work a tradition job, working for someone else on a W-2, but perhaps as a freelance.

You might do that as an affiliate for an Internet based company, or for a local supplier in your town.

Let me give you an example:

I had an old friend of mine in Houston, Texas years ago who sold restaurant equipment for one of the stores in town. But, he wasn’t an employee. He made a commission off of everything he sold from their inventory, whether it was a new gas oven, or a half dozen food storage bins.

Sometimes Sam would sell a case or two of automatic dishwashing solution to a restaurant, and then he would put them on his “route” and call list, and follow up with them about once a week or so.

Sam had been a Viet Nam vet in the Army, and had gotten shot up pretty bad in the war, but he managed to come home with a determination to “make it” —even when nobody was giving him a “break” by hiring him. He faced a lot of discrimination from employers and interviews because of his war injuries, but he had a personality that out-shined any physical challenges he had.

You see, Sam was in a wheelchair, and had no legs. (Yes, they used land mines and punji sticks in Viet Nam.) Landing in a punji trap was worse than getting your legs blown off with an explosive device, believe it or not. A punji trap was like a “dead-fall” bear trap. It had stakes in the ground with the sharpened ends pointing up, so that if you fell through the hidden mat on top, you would basically impale yourself and die a slow death. Even if you were saved by your buddies, and you were lucky enough to get to a MEDIVAC, you could still contract an deadly infection from the stuff the enemy put on the tips of those stakes.
Land mines, like IED’s, would just explode and it would be “all over” but the music. However, falling into a dead fall trap could be a slow and painful death. Not too many soldiers survived a dead fall into a punji pit.

Sam always looked at it on the bright side: he said, “I was one of the lucky ones. I got blown up instead of ‘stuck up.’”

I guess that’s one positive way to look at it.

You see, Sam was a “Combat Engineer.” Not a transferable skill into civilian life. Nobody in Corporate America was looking for soldiers. And, certainly, nobody was looking for “soldiers of fortune” who didn’t have any legs.

However, he still had to overcome a lot of odds and a lot of prejudice. A lot of Viet Nam veterans weren’t shown the respect they deserved. They weren’t treated as well as many of our veterans are nowadays. Many Viet Nam veterans came home to slurs and epithets, curses and slanders. They were insulted and called all sorts of names.

For some people like Sam, who had no way of “fighting back” they had to either make the “best of it” or learn how to fight back against the prejudice. Sam did both.

Eventually Sam made enough money selling other people’s “stuff” that he bought himself a new van with a wheelchair lift built into the side of it. He still, to this day delivers his own goods and is looking to retire someday.

Why do I tell you all that? Why did I bother to tell you about Sam, a physically challenged Viet Nam veteran who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds? Not to get your sympathy, because Sam would never want it.

No, I told you about Sam to let you know that if you have enough “gumption” to get out there and “make your case” and close the sale, you don’t need to be a flashy, handsome dude, or gorgeous lady in a suit, to make a living as an independent contractor, or freelance salesman.
You don’t even need the full use of your legs: Sam certainly didn’t have it. But he didn’t let that stop him. And he didn’t let rejection and the “No Factor” stop him either.

I guess, the one other factor that goes along with being able to close a sale is…

…determination.

That “stick-to-it-iveness” if I can call it that.

Sometimes that puts you into charting your own course and sailing off into “uncharted” waters. For some people, re-inventing themselves is scary: especially if you have a mortgage, 3 or 4 kids, and bills up to your neck.

When I worked in Corporate America, I still held down one or two “extra” jobs. Sometimes they were part time jobs in a convenience store or a hardware store. Sometimes I did some landscaping and gardening on the weekends. I did whatever it took to “pay the bills.”

Did bills always get paid on time?

No, not all the time. But I never went hungry.

Well… once. But that was a long, long time ago, and a whole subject for another article.

Suffice it to say, it was a learning experience for me. And what I learned from it was that if I found out what people needed and delivered the solution to them, I would never go hungry again.

And I haven’t… gone hungry, that is…

So, if you’re facing the prospect of downsizing, or a foreclosure, or have already gone through that, don’t give up: don’t despair. There’s plenty to do and all you have to do is find the needs and then supply the solution.

Look into being your own person and selling for someone. It may just be the perfect fit for you.

To download and read this article in PDF format, click on the link below.

The One Skill That Generates Billions of Dollars in Revenue – GREEN BAR.pdf

There’s a Big Problem With the Advertising Industry

by Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications, Questar PC and The Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

Yes, there’s a big problem in the advertising world these days. It used to be that whenever companies wanted to advertise something, they would just throw a bunch of money at it and see how much of it would “stick.” They would take out a TV commercial or a “prime time” spot on the radio, or an ad in magazines. Or, they would spend millions on a Super Bowl commercial…

To read the rest of the article in PDF format, click on the link below…

There’s a Big Problem With the Advertising Industry – GREEN BAR.pdf

The need for IT professionals is expected to double worldwide by 2012. Will you be ready?

by Ernest O’Dell – Questar TeleCommunications, Questar PC and The Guerrilla Internet Marketing Institute

If there is one marketing truth you must know and understand, it is this: People will buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. So, just because your lead is not ready to buy today, doesn’t mean they aren’t important. After all, today’s leads are tomorrow’s customers, or next month’s or next year’s.

Start building your lead base now. Treat your leads like friends: not customers. Treating them like customers will alienate them from you: Treating them like friends will ensure that they will come directly to you once they are ready to buy.

Send them a Christmas or Hannukkah card, and drop your business card in the envelope with it as a gentle reminder. Put a smiley face on your card with a handwritten note on it like, “Let’s stay in touch!” or “Let’s get together for lunch (or coffee) sometime.” You would be surprised at how this little tactic works wonders.

Remember: communications with your customers and prospects is a contact sport. All you have to do is make sure YOU stay in contact with them… whether they do or not.

I have thousands of customers, and hundreds of thousands of prospects. They might not be buying from me right now, but, whenever I’m talking to a small business owner, or a Direct Marketer, I am thinking, “This is one of my friends.” If I treat them like a customer, I won’t even have a chance to tell them about my products or services.

I won’t even have a chance to tell them what I can do for them if I have categorized them as “Customer” in my head. Many times it is my perceived value of this person—as a friend—that causes them to want to learn more about me and my company. Being considerate of their sensitivites and concerns will often earn me another customer!

Treating your customers like an old friend—without becoming overtly patronizing or condescending—is going to dramatically increase your customer loyalty.

Now, what does this all have to do with the need for more I/T professionals in the next 2 years? Well, for one, companies are getting ready to spend some money on new computer equipment and communications infrastructure. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you can write your own paycheck. If not, then someone else is going to snap up your market share.

If you would rather write your own paycheck and not be limited to working for someone else, then—perhaps—you need to take a look at becoming a VAR and “branding” yourself as the expert in a variety of fields and protocols.

You don’t have much time, you know: it starts in January 2011. And the “window” of opportunity never stays open very long.

Ernest O’Dell is the President and CEO of Questar TeleCommunications, Questar PC, and Guerrilla Internet Marketing. His company, founded in 1982, is a leading provider in research and implementation of Unified Communications and Messaging for the real estate and insurance industries. Many of his web sites and blogs continue to get millions of visitors each month. He has recruited over 500,000 affiliates into two businesses alone and can show you how to run with The Big Dogs!

The need for IT professionals is expected to double worldwide by 2012. Will you be ready – GREEN BAR.pdf

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