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Overselling Your Software

September 26th, 2011
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Overselling Your Software

sell your software, but don't oversell itNever oversell. Stop talking once you’ve sold, or you risk losing the sale.

That’s good advice from Joe Girard, the author of “How to Close Every Sale,” and “the world’s greatest salesman” according to The Guinness book of World Records.

In face-to-face sales, you’ll lose the sale if you keep selling after your prospect has made a buying decision. I see this problem with software marketing on the Internet, too.

Most of your prospects click the “buy now” link because they want to buy your software. Don’t fill your “buy now” page with paragraph after paragraph of additional sales information. They’ve already decided. Send them to your eCommerce company’s order form, and close the sale.

Don’t confuse your prospects and customers. They don’t have to understand the underlying technology to buy your software and use it to solve their problem. Sell benefits, and don’t get bogged down in technical details (unless you’re selling programmers’ tools, of course).

David Ogilvy says that you can’t bore people into making a buying decision. I’m sure Girard would agree. Girard suggests saying something like, “Have you sold yourself yet, or should I continue to tell you more?”

Include “buy now” links throughout your sales presentation to accomplish the same goal.

Sell your software. But don’t oversell it.

– Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Glossary guy from DP Directory, Inc.

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Do your applications play along with Windows 8?

September 19th, 2011

As you probably know, Microsoft made big news last week showcasing the new Metro user interface to appear in the next major update to Windows. (We’ve discussed it in the ASP forum quite extensively.) When I heard the news, my first thought was, nice, but does it mean I’ll have to rewrite my existing applications? (I hate it when Microsoft makes changes that break my applications.) After watching the presentation, it looks like in addition to the Metro interface, Windows 8 will include the traditional desktop interface as well, and Steven Sinofsky mentioned that any application that runs well on Windows 7 should run on Windows 8 desktop just fine.

I decided to do a little test and see whether my applications would run on Windows 8. Since I’ve been using VMWare Player to test my products on many different version of Windows,  I thought I would use it to create a new virtual machine for Windows 8. So I downloaded an ISO image of Windows 8, (I chose the 64-bit version with the developer tools included), created a fresh virtual machine, and started booting it with the Windows 8 ISO. However, after a few seconds I got an error: VMWare Player internal monitor error: vcpu-0: NOT_IMPLEMENTED… After searching the Internet for a solution, it turned out that the latest stand-alone version 3.1 of VMWare Player does not support all the futures required by Windows 8 preview! The solution was to upgrade to VMWare Player 4.0. However, it was not available for download from the VMWare web site. The only way to get version 4.0 was to download and install VMWare Workstation 8.0 that included not only the Workstation trial but also VMWare Player 4.0. So I did just that: downloaded VMWare Workstation 8.0 (it’s almost a half-gigabyte), installed it, and sure enough, it created a link to run not only VMWare Workstation, but also VMWare Player 4.0.

After that, I tried creating a Windows 8 virtual machine again. The first thing  VMWare Player asked me was where to install the OS from:

 

Selecting the ISO image

It’s important NOT to provide the Windows 8 ISO image at this point, but select the 3rd option: I will install the operating system later. Why? Because VMWare player does not understand the Windows 8 ISO disc contents yet, and providing it at this stage will only confuse it.

When asked to choose a Guest Operating System on the next step, I selected Microsoft Windows, and in the Version list I selected Windows 7 x64, since it was the closest thing to the x64 version of Windows 8 that the Developer Preview ISO image had:

Selecting the guest OS

Finally, after specifying the name and location for the virtual machine, as well the size of the primary hard drive (I chose 40GB), I clicked on the Customize Hardware button on the last screen, and adjusted the memory size to 2GB (since that’s what listed as a requirement for the x64 version of Windows 8 Developer Preview on the Microsoft web site). I also changed the number of processors to 2 and removed the floppy drive (who uses it these days, anyway?)

Customizing the hardware

One last step, after creating the virtual machine but before starting it for the first time, I’ve clicked on  the Edit virtual machine settings link and changed the settings for the CD/DVD drive to use the ISO image file that contained the Windows 8 Developer Preview:

Specifying the ISO image to boot

This step was needed to ensure that the installation of Windows 8 would begin as soon as I started the virtual machine. Finally, I started the virtual machine, and sure enough, the installation of Windows 8 started. It looked a lot like the installation of Windows 7, so I’m not including the screen shots here.

In the end, I was presented with the Metro interface, that I played a bit with. The best thing about it for me was that the usual desktop was just one click away. I clicked it, of course, and saw the regular Windows desktop, that looked almost exactly like Windows 7. (I missed the regular Start button though.) That’s what I used to install my applications and give them a try. I’m happy to report that the installations went smooth and my applications seem to like Windows 8:

My software runs on Windows 8 desktop!

Of course, it’s too early to do any real testing of Windows 8, it’s still a long time before it hits the shelves and there will be a lot of changes underneath. For now, it’s enough to see that my applications could work with Windows 8 and did not require major changes (at least that’s my hope at this point). How about yours?

[Update 09/20/2011] Another way to get VMWare Player 4.0 (until VMWare makes it available for a direct download) is to upgrade from VMWare Player 3.1, using the Software Update command on the Help menu. This way would wouldn’t need to install VMWare Workstation 8.0 just to get VMWare Player 4.0. [/Update]

Andrei Belogortseff
WinAbility Software

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September 2011 ASPects Available Now

September 1st, 2011
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Our ASPects newsletter is sent to all ASP members each month. Back issues are available for searching and downloading on the ASP members’ website; there are now over 3500 pages of news, technical articles, how-to’s, marketing, and much more in the archive.
Here are this month’s articles, available to members of the Association of Software Professionals.


  

cover image

“Optimizing Your Purchase Page (Ideas to Sell More)”
by Jiri Novotny
I’ve focused on the trust, security, simplicity and ease of use in the previous part of the series. Today, I’m going to give you some ideas that can help you sell more, or cultivate word of mouth.
Upselling is the act of offering extra products or services during the product selection phase. Products that complement the primary product work best. You want to maximize the number of impulsive purchases; therefore, discounts help greatly when it comes to upselling, as do low-priced add-ons, or free stuff offered with the extra products… (page 1)

  
Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News:
Quarterly Income/Expense Report Q2 online
(page 3)

“Sell More Software by Enhancing Your Credibility”
by Al Harberg
Credibility is all about making prospects and customers believe your sales message. Enhance your credibility, and you’ll sell more software.
   Jay Conrad Levinson, in his book Guerrilla Marketing Excellence, tells us that credibility is the sum of all of our marketing efforts. Confidence, Levinson argues, is the most important reason that people buy. If you’re credible, you’ll inspire confidence and you’ll get more sales than if you’re not credible. So, building your company’s credibility is an important component of your software marketing endeavors… (page 4)

“Any Backup in a Storm”
by Jerry Stern
What a week…. First, we had the biggest East Coast earthquake in 120 years, and now, we’re waiting for Irene. She’s a hurricane…
   I’ve previously written about what to backup for programmers in some detail. But how to backup is more of an issue in a storm. I’m not as concerned with archives or theft right now as I am with readability and portability. In case of an evacuation, I would want to be able to carry data with me, and know that if those backups aren’t readable, I’ve got more elsewhere… (page 6)

“Interview with Borland’s Technical Lead Evangelist”
by Jiri Novotny
Could you please quickly introduce yourself?
 I’m Andreano Lanusse, Technical Lead Evangelist for Embarcadero’s Developer Relations organization. I spend a great deal of my time with developers, both onsite and at conferences and user groups, to ensure the company’s tools meet the expectations of customers… (page 8 )

ASP Member News:
iMacros releases WebBrowser Control Replacement
ComponentOwl upgrades BetterListView (page 10)

News & Press Corner:
ESWC announces 2011 Software Conference
McAfee Survery Confidence in Online Retailers
CompTia studies Cloud Adoption Plans
Embarcadero Unveils FireMonkey (page 11)

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