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The best way for any small business to make sales is always face-to-face. Nothing beats the personal touch. A talk with a company rep is often the only way to understand a buyer’s doubts, overcome their objections, show off your products, and push home your sales points.


A live video Q&A lets you do that online to hundreds and even thousands of potential buyers at the same time. It turns a sales pitch into a communal chat. You can think of it as creating your own shopping channel… but live and with two-way communication. You talk on the screen and the audience talks back to you through comments.


To make things even easier, built-in tools like Facebook Live let you get in front of an audience you’ve already grown for your business on social media. All you have to do is tell them when to tune in, point the camera at yourself, and hit the button.


How to get Best Results with a Live Q&A


First, welcome people as they arrive. You should see notifications as people join the audience. Mention them by name. Bring them in and make them feel at home. You might be talking to several hundredpotential buyers at the same time, but each person watching should feel you’re addressing them personally and that their questions and contributions are welcome. The more people who engage with you live, the more your audience will be alerted to the live stream and having the chance to join in and ask their own questions in the comments.Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 9.53.51 AM.png


Second, use supplementary services to improve the presentation of your Q&A., for example, will let you brand the appearance of your video and show the question you’re answering in a bubble-like chyron on the screen. It looks very professional. Everyone can see what you’re discussing, and you can even ask an assistant to add explanations or links to a sales page in real time so people can explore or purchase the product you’re describing.


Third, and most important, make the broadcast entertaining. This shouldn’t just be a chance for you to sit in front of a camera and be interviewed by an audience you can’t see. It should be a chance for you to show off your product, skills or services.


A cake designer, for example, could get the ball rolling by saying, “A lot of people ask me how I make cakes shaped like footballs. Here’s how I do it.” As she demonstrates the cake, her audience can ask her their questions about baking and cake decorating. Instead of just getting a Q&A, they get a live “television show” on a subject they love and in which they can ask the expert questions. It’s better than Netflix!


But you need to make sure that you prepare your audience prior to a live Q&A. Use the audience insights from your Facebook Business page to pick a time when you know the largest number of your audience is likely to be online. Let them know you’ll be doing a live stream and when it’s going to take place. Ask them the topics you’d like the Q&A to cover so you can prepare good, detailed answers. And encourage viewers to tell their friends. A live Q&A can take a few minutes to get going as people arrive late, so as they come in, take advantage of the intro period to encourage viewers to tag their friends in the comments or share the live stream link so their networks can tune in as well.


Lastly, remember that a live Q&A has another advantage: after it’s been live, it becomes a recorded Q&A. You can edit it, put it on your YouTube channel and your website, and keep building your audience and your community.


Twice the opportunity with half the work! Happy live streaming.





About Joel Comm


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As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.


Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.


Web: or Twitter: @JoelComm

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Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

When you own a business, it can feel like doing the work of 10 people. Particularly at the start, a business owner can be responsible for managing everything from accounting Small Business online tools.jpgto travel arrangements to making sales calls. Fortunately, today’s business software can make juggling all these tasks a little bit easier.


Here are 9 online tools no small business owner should be without.


1. Appointment-Plus


Scheduling appointments is a pain for small business owners with limited staff. Turn the job over to this handy app. It allows customers to schedule their own appointments online and helps you manage them by sending confirmation and reminder messages via email or text. Appointment-Plus integrates with MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact and more.


2. Bank of America Cash Flow Monitor

Get a 360-degree view of your business finances with the cash flow management dashboard from Bank of America with no enrollment or cost for business clients who use Bank of America Online and/or Mobile banking, since its fully integrated into your digital experience.  Integrate your account activity to help categorize and track debits and credits, major expenses and key transactions all in one place. You can set cash flow thresholds, and alerts to make proactive adjustments.


3. Cloze Business

Manage your inbox, contacts, and relationships all in one app. Cloze automatically pulls from your email, social media, calendar, calls, notes and more, then gathers all the information about each contact in one place. Next time you contact that person, your entire interaction history is at your fingertips. Cloze Business is $13.33/user/month.


4. JoinMe

Make web conferencing a breeze with JoinMe. For $20/month you get unlimited audio, video, and screen-share meetings and unlimited time for up to 50 people per meeting. Dial in with VoIP or by phone (you can even give participants a toll-free number to call). Then stream up to 10 webcams and record and store up to 5GB.

There are plenty of other helpful online tools. Please share your favorites with us.


5. Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed does more than scan and organize receipts (although if you’re a frequent traveler like me, that’s enough). It also creates expense reports, helps you prepare for tax season, tracks mileage using your phone’s GPS, and scans and organizes business cards to create exportable contact lists. Plans start at $29/month.


6. Toggl

Whether you’re a solo-preneur or have a staff, every entrepreneur can benefit from this free app. Just push a button on your device or computer to start tracking your time. It helps you track billable hours, create more accurate invoices, and pinpoint time wasters. Toggl syncs across all devices so you can start on one and stop on another. It also integrates with popular apps such as Asana, Basecamp, and Trello.


7. Trello

This project management app’s boards, lists, and cards make it intuitively easy to use. Create a board to track an overarching project, then add cards and lists to break down the associated tasks. You can add comments, file attachments, labels, due dates and more to cards; checklists and due dates ensure no one misses a deadline. Trello works on devices from iPhones to smartwatches and Kindle tablets, ensuring you and your team can use it on the go. The Business Class plan ($9.99/user/month) lets you connect Trello to Salesforce, Slack, GitHub, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, Mailchimp and other popular business apps for even more functionality.


8. Tripit Pro

This app ($49/year) has everything you need to stay calm, cool and collected no matter where business takes you. Tripit Pro gathers all your travel information in one place and syncs it across all your devices. Share your itinerary with others, track reward points, get alerts for flight schedules and delays, and find new flights if your plans change.


9. Zoho Social

This collaborative social media management platform is ideal for businesses that actively market on social channels. Zoho Social allows you to manage multiple social networks, schedule unlimited posts and monitor keywords—all from one single dashboard. It’s easy to learn what customers are saying about you, making social listening a snap.  Beyond these features, Zoho provides robust analytics and offers customized, real-time reports about your results including how far your content reaches and the amount of engagement it earns. There are three plans available to small businesses, including a free plan that offers the option to try before you buy more advanced features.



About Rieva Lesonsky


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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.


Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.


Web: or Twitter: @Rieva

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Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse the services mentioned.  All logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

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