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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

9 Fast Fixes for Your Credit Scores

So you’ve had a few problems getting  the bills paid lately, and you’re wondering what you can do to repair the damage to your credit.

You’ve got plenty of company. Millions of people in Canada have credit blemishes severe enough (and BEACON credit scores under 620) to make obtaining loans and credit cards with reasonable terms difficult.

Or maybe your credit is OK, but you’d like to make it better. After all, the better your credit, the less you pay in interest.

To improve your credit scores, it’s important to know where you stand now. You can get free credit reports once a year, but you typically have to pay to see your BEACON scores.

If your scores are above 760, you’re probably already getting the best rates. If they’re anywhere below that mark, though, they could stand some improvement.

We’d be happy to assess your credit bureau at “NO COST TO YOU” and help you get on the road to
financial recovery.

Here are nine simple steps you can take to a speedy credit recovery.



1. Get a credit card if you don’t have one
Don’t fall for the myth that you have to carry a balance to have good scores. You don’t, and you shouldn’t. But having and using a credit card or two can really build your scores.

If you can’t qualify for a regular credit card, consider a secured credit card, where the issuing bank

2. Add an installment loan to the mix

You’ll get the fastest improvement in your scores if you show you’re responsible with both major kinds of credit: revolving (credit cards) and installment (personal loans, auto and student loans).

If you don’t already have an installment loan on your credit reports, consider adding a small personal loan that you can pay back over time. This is were our Crediplan program can help you build credit and save money at the same time.

3. Pay down your credit cards

Paying off your installment loans can help your scores but typically not as dramatically as paying down — or paying off — revolving accounts such as credit cards.

Lenders like to see a big gap between the amount of credit you’re using and your available credit limits. Keep your balances between 30%-80% utilization,  the lower the Utilization the higher your credit score.

4. Use your cards lightly
Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. What’s typically reported to the credit bureaus, and thus calculated into your scores, are the balances reported on your last statements.

If you regularly use more than half your limit on a card, consider making a payment before the statement closing date to reduce the balance that’s reported to the bureaus. Just be sure to make a second payment between the closing date and the due date, so you don’t get reported as late.

5. Check your limits
Your scores might be artificially depressed if your lender is showing a lower limit than you actually have. Most credit card issuers will quickly update this information if you ask.

6. Dust off an old card
The older your credit history, the better. But if you stop using your oldest cards, the issuers may decide to close the accounts or stop updating them to the credit bureaus. The accounts may still appear, but they won’t be given as much weight in the credit-scoring formula as your active accounts.

7. Get some goodwill
If you’ve been a good customer, a lender might agree to simply erase that one late payment from your credit history. You usually have to make the request in writing, and your chances for a “goodwill adjustment” improve the better your record with the company (and the better your credit in general). But it can’t hurt to ask.

A longer-term solution for more-troubled accounts is to ask that they be “re-aged.” If the account is still open, the lender might erase previous delinquencies if you make a series of 12 or so on-time payments.

8. Dispute old negatives
Say that fight with your phone company over an unfair bill a few years ago resulted in a collections account. You can continue protesting that the charge was unjust, or you can try disputing the account with the credit bureaus as “not mine.” The older and smaller a collection account, the more likely the collection agency won’t bother to verify it when the credit bureau investigates your dispute.

9. Blitz significant errors
Your credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit reports, so certain errors there can really cost you. But not everything that’s reported in your files matters to your scores.

Here’s the stuff that’s usually worth the effort of correcting with the bureaus:

  • Late payments, charge-offs, collections or other negative items that aren’t yours.
  • Credit limits reported as lower than they actually are.
  • Accounts listed as “settled,” “paid derogatory,” “paid charge-off” or anything other than “current” or “paid as agreed” if you paid on time and in full.
  • Accounts that are still listed as unpaid that were included in a bankruptcy.
  • Negative items older than seven years that should have automatically fallen off your reports.
Get your “FREE” Credit Score Analysis today, call us TODAY 1-888-693-1439 and let’s get you back on the road to financial recovery.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How To Profit From Networking

How To Profit From Networking

Sales are frequently developed through the relationships we have created with other people. Networking functions provide the opportunity to expand our contact list,particularly when we create and nurture quality relationships. It is not enough to visit a networking group, talk to dozens of people and gather as many business cards possible. However, every networking function has tremendous potential for new business leads. Here are five strategies to make networking profitable:
 
1. Choose the right networking group or event. The best results come from attending the appropriate networking events for your particular industry. This should include trade shows, conferences, and associations dedicated to your type of business. For example, if your target market is a Fortune 500 company, it does not make sense to join a group whose primary membership consists of individual business owners. You can also participate in groups where your potential clients meet. A friend of mine helps people
negotiate leases with their landlords. He joined the local franchise association because most franchisors lease their properties.

2. Focus on quality contacts versus quantity. Most people have experienced the person who, while talking to you, keeps his eyes roving around the room, seeking his next victim. This individual is more interested in passing out and collecting business cards than establishing a relationship. My approach is to make between two and five new contacts at each networking meeting I attend. Focus on the quality of the connection and people will become much more trusting of you.
     
3. Make a positive first impression. You have EXACTLY one opportunity to make a great first impression. Factors that influence this initial impact are your handshake, facial expressions, eye contact, interest in the other person and your overall attentiveness. Develop a great handshake, approach people with a natural, genuine smile and make good eye contact. Notice the color of the other person's eyes as you introduce yourself. Listen carefully to their name. If you don't hear them or understand exactly what they say, ask them to repeat it. Many people do not speak clearly or loudly enough and others are very nervous at networking events. Make a powerful impression by asking them what they do before talking about yourself or your business. As I've always stated, "Seek first to understand and then to be understood." Comment on their

business, ask them to elaborate, or have them explain something in more detail. As they continue, make sure you listen intently to what they tell you. Once you have demonstrated interest in someone else, they will - in most cases - become more interested in you. When that occurs, follow the step outline in the next point.
     
4. Be able to clearly state what you do. Develop a ten second introduction as well as a thirty second presentation. The introduction explains what you do and for whom. For example; "I work with boutique retailers to help them increase their sales and profits."
This introduction should encourage the other person to ask for more information. When they do, you recite your thirty second presentation. "Bob Smith of High Profile Clothing wanted a program that would help his sales managers increase their sales. After
working with them for six months we achieved a 21.5 percent increase in sales. Plus, sales of their premium line of ties have doubled in this time frame." As you can see, this gives an example of your work and the typical results you have help your clients
achieve. Each of these introductions needs to be well-rehearsed so you can recite them at any time and under any circumstance. You must be genuine, authentic, and as I recently heard a speaker say, "bone-dry honest."
     
5. Follow up after the event. In my experience, most people drop the ball here. Yet the follow-up is the most important aspect of networking. There are two specific strategies to follow:

First, immediately after the event - typically the next day - you should send a handwritten card to the people you met. Mention something from your conversation and express your interest to keep in contact. Always include a business card in your correspondence.
     
Next, within two weeks, contact that person and arrange to meet for coffee or lunch.  This will give you the opportunity to learn more about their business, the challenges they face, and how you could potentially help them. This is NOT a sales call - it is a relationship building meeting.


Networking does product results. The more people know about you and your business, and the more they trust you, the greater the likelihood they will either work with you or refer someone else to you.