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Want To Sell More? Keep Your Mouth Shut – George Deeb

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I have written dozens of useful how-to lessons for driving sales, but perhaps none is more important than this one.  This is the day that you learn that driving sales has very little to do with what YOU have to say.  And, it is everything to do with what YOUR CLIENT has to say.  The magic sauce to closing the transaction is knowing how to ask probing questions, sit back and LISTEN.  Keeping your mouth shut is typically a really hard concept for a salesperson to grasp.  But, if they do, jewels of insights and real pain points of your customers will quickly surface to the top the more THEY talk……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgedeeb/2018/11/02/want-to-sell-more-keep-your-mouth-shut/#4c8322c01e8e

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Things To Watch Following McDonald’s Q3 Earnings – Alicia Kelso

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With global comp sales up 4.2% and U.S. comp sales up 2.4%, McDonald’s turned in a strong third quarter, and investors are happy for now. But we all know that running a restaurant chain is about more than just making investors happy, right? Beyond the financials, a number of narratives emerged during the company’s earnings call Tuesday morning that could qualify as storylines to watch through Q4. For starters, the company continues to endure its largest construction project ever with its Experience of the Future initiative…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciakelso/2018/10/24/three-storylines-to-watch-following-mcdonalds-q3-earnings-report/#3f804e0d26d5

 

 

 

 

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Apply These 10 Cool Techniques to Increase Sales and Marketing ROI for your Small Business

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There isn’t just one correct way for small businesses to make sales. You can use social media, content marketing, or even good old fashioned phone calls. No matter what tactics you use, it’s important to have a plan and a way to measure results. Here are some techniques suggested by members of the online small business community for increasing sales and marketing ROI.

Uncover Your Best LinkedIn Prospects

If you use LinkedIn for sales, then you need to know how to uncover the most relevant prospects on the platform. A recent Social Media Examiner post by Josh Turner features tips to help you use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find results and make more sales.

Take Advantage of This New Google My Business Feature

Google offers plenty of tools to help your local business get found. But if you ultimately want to get those customers on the phone so you can make sales, a new “call now” button on Google My Business could be another great solution. Learn more in a recent Search Engine Journal post by Matt Southern.

Quantify Marketing ROI with These Metrics

In order to determine which marketing and sales activities are worth your time and investment, you need a way to quantify ROI. In this Startup Professionals Musings post by Martin Zwilling, you can see some of the top demand generation methods to help you make those important decisions. Then you can see what BizSugar members have to say as well.

Automate Your Sales with Chatbots

AI offers plenty of opportunity for small businesses to automate processes. Chatbots in particular can help you make more sales by answering common questions quickly and concisely. In a recent CorpNet post, Samantha Engman outlines some of the chatbots with the best ROI for businesses.

Use These Marketing Tips to Increase Back to School Sales

Back to school season offers plenty of opportunities for some businesses to really increase their sales. But you need to have a solid marketing plan in place early. To kick off the season right, check out the tips in a recent Biz Epic post by Chad Stewart.

Don’t Waste Time Creating Content That’s Too In-Depth

Content marketing can help you reach more customers and potentially make more sales. And in-depth content has an even better chance of getting you noticed. However, there comes a point where your time spent creating content might not be worth it, as Neil Patel discusses in a recent post.

Build Your Own Customer Support with Wix Answers

Customer service is absolutely essential to any effective sales strategy. And setting up a process for answering customers quickly online doesn’t have to be difficult. In a recent Smallbiztechnology.com post, Ramon Ray details how you can use Wix Answers to provide customer support.

Value These Successful Business Traits

Whether you’re looking to increase sales, build a team or complete any other important business tasks, you need to have strong instincts and leadership traits. In a recent post, Takis Athanassiou outlines some of the most important traits successful businesses have in common. You can also check out the commentary from members of the BizSugar community here.

Rally Around ROI and Prioritize Your Marketing Efforts

At some point in running your business, you might have to make budget cuts or prioritize certain tasks over others. In those cases, it’s important to keep ROI in mind. A recent TopRank Marketing post by Alexis Hall goes into some of the ways you can make the most of your marketing budget.

Don’t Believe These Myths Keeping You from Winning on Amazon

If you’re looking to increase sales on Amazon, you could have some long-held beliefs holding you back. You can read about some of those myths and learn the truth about succeeding with the online retail giant in a recent Marketing Land post by Andrew Waber.

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Time Management Skills for Sales Professionals – Andrew Quinn

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We’ve all heard the saying “time is money.” This is especially true for salespeople. Allotting time to one prospect over another could be the difference between closing a million dollar deal and having the door closed on you. Spending a certain amount of time on one group of activities could set a rep up for record week, while concentrating on something else might launch you down the path to a slump.

Time management is one of the most challenging disciplines for salespeople to master. Reps always have several important tasks competing for their attention at once. How do they prioritize and maximize their time?

Short of adding more hours to the day, a few solid time management hacks can help reps boost their productivity. Here are 13 of my favorites.

1. Eliminate administrative tasks

To maximize your selling time, look for administrative tasks you can automate. Saving a few minutes here and there will quickly add up — and as an added benefit, you can direct more energy toward activities that are actually challenging, like giving demos or answering tough questions.

Here are a few examples:

  • PandaDoc, which integrates with HubSpot, is a good tool for reps who send sales collateral and quotes. It automatically pulls in data from your CRM so you don’t have to tediously copy and paste key details. You can send an error-free, personalized, professional-looking proposal in a few clicks.
  • Route planning software can help you figure out the most efficient way to travel to your prospects’ offices, meaning you’ll never have to manually plan your route again.
  • HubSpot Meetings lets buyer book open slots on your calendar instantly. Say goodbye to long email chains of “What about X time?” “Sorry, I’m busy …. What about Y?”
  • Todoist, a to-do list app, uses AI to learn your personal productivity habits and schedule your overdue tasks accordingly. In other words, the app will figure out the optimal time for you to get everything done.

The best tools will depend on your industry, daily tasks, and specific role, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. The gist is: Automate as much of your non-selling activities as possible.

2. Be prepared to pivot

When I was in outside sales, I would organize my leads by location and always have the date of my last contact for each lead noted. If I got stood up for an appointment, I could quickly regroup and connect with other nearby prospects to secure a new meeting rather than drive back to the office or cool my heels in a coffee shop until the next appointment.

This tactic also applies to inside sales. Prospects cancel all the time, so salespeople should always be prepared to pivot into other profitable activities. The trick is to not shift gears on those activities. Say you’re prepared to have an exploratory call scheduled to run an hour and the prospects flakes on you. Since you’re already in the mindset of the exploratory call, spend that reclaimed hour prepping for other exploratory calls you have booked that week. Your mind is already focused on the exploratory process. Keep it there.

I’m sure some of you are saying to yourselves, that’s foolish advice — you should use that time to prospect or make follow-up calls. But here’s the thing. Unless you have your leads at the ready and you’re fully prepped to prospect, the odds are you’ll waste time getting ready to make those calls.

From my point of view, prospecting is an activity that tends to be more effective when it is deliberate, planned, and scheduled. This brings us to the next point.

3. Stick with the task you’re on

Multitasking is a myth. Studies have clearly shown that people cannot actually do two things at once; they’re really just quickly switching between tasks. And that switching dilutes focus and slows people down because their brains have to adjust to each task. Here are two great books about the subject if you’re interested: “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock and “Focus” by Daniel Goleman.

From a sales perspective, different tasks engage different mental muscles. For instance, giving demos requires a much different mindset and focus than pre-call prep or pipeline management. Sales reps can gain efficiency by grouping similar activities.

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Take prospecting, for instance. Let’s say your organization advocates using voicemail and email as critical components to prospecting, and you’ve got two hours planned to make prospecting calls. One approach is to dial the phone, get the prospect’s voicemail, leave a message, write a follow-up email, send the email, document the activity in the CRM, set a new activity to try and reach the prospect again, and then move on to the next prospect on your call list and keep repeating this cycle for two hours.

This approach can chew up a ton of time because of all the activity switching. There are a lot of ways to streamline it. One way is to group activities:

  • Figure out how many prospects you can reasonably call in the two hours if all you did was dial the phone and leave voicemail messages. Research that many prospects before your planned and scheduled prospecting time.
  • When it’s time for your two hours of prospecting, pull up the list of researched prospects you want to call.
  • Call each prospect and leave personalized voicemails based on your pre-call research.
  • Log just the call activity in the CRM and quickly move onto the next prospect on the list. Repeat.
  • Later in the day during scheduled administrative time, revisit the set of prospects you called to send out the follow-up emails and set the times you want to reach out again in the CRM.

This simple move to grouping activities will yield a much higher volume of calls, which improves the odds of actually talking to someone on the phone about what you’re selling. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

4. Swallow the frog

Every rep has at least one task in particular that they simply can’t stand. Prospecting, logging activity, writing follow-up emails, etc. I’ve got mine. I’m sure you’ve got yours.

The funny thing is we can all find plenty of ways to appear productive and avoid those important tasks we dread the most. But by overinvesting in one area to avoid doing work in another, time gets away from you. And behavior like that always catches up to you in the end.

The bottom line: Just do the thing you’re uncomfortable with and get it over with. In fact, do it first if you can.

5. Keep going

When a rep experiences success or reaches an activity goal, they often take a break to pat themselves on the back. While I’m not against a quick coffee run, the best time to make a call or book an appointment is … right after you had a great call or booked an important appointment. So if you’ve allotted a certain amount of time to an activity — say, two hours for prospecting — don’t stop before the time is up even if you have some success right out of the gate.

Momentum is a powerful thing. Once you’ve got it, don’t squander it. You’ll have even more to pat yourself on the back for if you just keep going.

6. Structure your day around your buyer

According to experts, the best time to connect with prospects is in the afternoon, the very early morning, the evening, the late-mid early morning, or on weekends. I think that about covers it.

As you probably know, there is no perfect time to connect with your target buyers. It really depends on that particular buyer’s behavior and the way they allocate time to get their jobs done. If a salesperson is selling to contractors, calling at 10:00 a.m. isn’t going to work because they’re already busy on the job site. Calling on a restaurant with a thriving lunch and dinner business any time after noon is probably not going to yield a favorable conversation. Strive to structure your day around your target buyer’s schedule to avoid wasted time and unanswered calls.

7. Streamline repeatable tasks

I’m not a fan of sales scripts, but the fact remains that if your company targets a certain type of buyer, many of your prospects will be similar to each other. So instead of formulating a brand new list of questions each time you talk to a prospect, develop a core set you can work from and customize.

Developing a framework you use to research prospects is another smart idea. Look at previous deals you won and look for details that came in handy again and again. For instance, maybe you incorporated the knowledge you found on Crunchbase in seven of the last 10 deals you closed. Once you know which data sources are the most valuable, you can immediately go to those sources when researching new opportunities.

8. Have a concise value proposition

Another area where salespeople can waste time is during introductory conversations. At some point in every sales engagement, your prospect will ask some form of the question, “So what do you do, anyway?” If you have crisp, concise answers to the common questions you get asked every day, you’ll have more time to discuss the things that really matter to your prospects and to gain an understanding of how you can help them. Having a clear, well-articulated value proposition at the ready lessens the possibility that you stumble through the explanation. And the more articulate you are with the buyer, the faster your sale will progress.

9. Create email templates

It’s vastly inefficient to write a brand-new email every time you contact a prospect. While you should tailor each message to the individual and their situation, you’ll save a huge amount of time if you start with a template rather than a blank slate.

Look through your “Sent” folder to find the emails you send repeatedly. That doesn’t just include outreach emails — you should also make templates for following up, scheduling meetings, recapping calls, and so forth.

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10. Reduce distractions

It can be hard to stay focused when your favorite time-wasting site is just a click away. To ensure you stay focused, ruthlessly get rid of every distraction. If you don’t use a website for your job, block it using the Chrome extension Blocksite or by following these instructions for restricting sites on Safari.

Reps should also stow their cell phones out of sight. It’s all too tempting to check social media or your texts if you can see or hear notifications come up.

11. Create your to-do list the night before

Instead of wasting your productive mornings organizing your day, do it right before you leave for the night. That way, you can get right to work when you come into the office the next day. Save tasks like these for when your burned out in the evenings, and make the most of the time you have.

12. Chunk your time

The Pomodoro Technique encourages people to work in 25-minute chunks to maximize productivity. There are similar techniques that share the benefits of working in 90-minute increments. Chunking your time allows you to find a flow and squeeze the most productivity out of every day.

13. Take breaks

The Pomodoro Technique I mentioned above also recommends taking a five-minute break between each time chunk. Get up, move around, go for a quick walk, or grab some water — but give your brain a chance to rest, recoup, and stay fresh.

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7 Forms of Content Marketing That Can Help You Generate More Sales Leads – Chirag Kulkarni

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According to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc., customers are shown more than 5,000 ads and brand messages per day, so it’s no surprise that content marketing is becoming one of the most successful strategies for reaching the consumer. People are tired of having traditional outbound ads forced on them, so when a brand steps in with authentic, useful content, consumers can’t get enough. That’s probably why content marketing generates six times the conversion rates of traditional marketing methods.

It’s easy to segment your content marketing to maximize your own conversion rates. Start by creating content based on your product or service, and then use content to target each of your strongest-performing buyer personas. To get even more specific, focus on the various pain points that these buyers are looking to address. According to Curata, 41 percent of marketers have increased the number and quality of their sales leads by utilizing content curation.

While there’s no denying the effectiveness of content marketing, it’s a broad term. Content comes in many different shapes and sizes and can require varying degrees of upfront investment. To improve your reach and generate more sales leads in 2018, focus on these seven forms of content.

1. Create a company blog. You should already have one, but if you don’t, then join the club and make 2018 the year you finally start that company blog. HubSpot notes that 53 percent of marketers cite blog content as their top priority for inbound marketing.

Putting blog content to work is a great strategy. Content Marketing Institute reports that more than three-quarters of all internet users read some form of blog, and they aren’t just passive observers. When given a recommendation by a favored blog, 61 percent of U.S. consumers made a purchase, which is probably why small businesses with a blog enjoy 126 percent more lead growth than their peers that don’t.

2. Use brand journalism. Part of what gives your brand a sense of authenticity is a strong focus on storytelling. Brand journalism is simply about keeping your audience up to date on the story of your company.

Companies such as PowerPost are making brand journalism easier by providing software that coordinates content publishing across a wide range of channels. They also help with content creation so it doesn’t take up your or your employees’ valuable time. After all, content marketing isn’t helping your bottom line if it gets in the way of running your business.

3. Add video content. According to Cisco, 82 percent of all internet traffic by 2021 will be video. It’s taking over the internet, but it’s especially significant in the social media sphere. When it comes to content, an Animoto survey found that customers prefer viewing a video 4 times more than reading text. This hasn’t escaped the attention of marketers — almost 70 percent say they’re ramping up spending on video production.

4. Curate content from influencers. Word of mouth is one of the most effective types of marketing, and online influencers can amplify that approach with powerful megaphones. YouTube is an especially effective means for influencers to reach their audiences — 70 percent of teenagers on YouTube relate to their favorite influencers better than conventional celebrities. According to a 2017 poll by PMYB, 28 percent of marketing managers reported that influencer marketing was their fast-growing method of acquiring customers online.

5. Spice up statistics with infographics. Customers prefer video over text, but an infographic allows information to be digested even faster. Infographics draw customers in quickly while communicating several paragraphs’ worth of messaging in a single visual, and the appeal is undeniable. On social media, infographics are shared and liked three times more often than other content varieties, according to research compiled by Lucidpress.

6. Employ Google AdSense. This advertising tool from Google puts display ads on websites that pay a commission each time they’re clicked. Google automatically scans your website content so it can display the most relevant advertising, meaning some ads are worth more than $1 per click for the website owner. AdSense is a great way to monetize a blog, yielding dollars that you can then reinvest in content generation.

7. Create an online course. If your business has expertise in a particular area, sharing it with your audience will help you gain a loyal following. If you’re not sure where to start, there are a number of marketplaces for online courses worth checking out, and certain software solutions can make the process of putting together a course simpler for you and your students.

Whether you rolled out a content marketing strategy for the first time in 2017 or you’ve been utilizing this marketing gold mine for years, there are many ways to optimize your content marketing performance in the coming year. Using some of these tools and techniques can help you generate more leads and acquire more customers, but remember that consistency is crucial when it comes to content marketing. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll reap the rewards.

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8 Keys to Coming Off As The Expert In Whatever You Sell – Marc Wayshak

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The most successful salespeople in the world don’t come across as salespeople at all. Instead, they carry themselves as experts in their industry who can solve key challenges for their ideal prospects. Simply put, if you’re in the business of selling, then you’re an expert in whatever you sell. It’s up to you to make sure your prospects know it.

While your prospects only see what’s going on at their own companies, you can offer them a valuable bird’s eye view of trends across the entire industry. But do your customers see it that way? If not, it’s because you’re coming off as salesy instead of as an expert.

The following eight simple keys will help you build a reputation as an expert in whatever you sell, so you can earn prospects’ trust and start to crush your sales goals:

1. Don’t think like a salesperson.

If you want to come across as an expert to your prospects, you must first stop being salesy. That means you have to stop thinking like a salesperson. When you think like a salesperson, you jump at any chance to pitch your product or service. Instead, slow down and listen. Strive to identify if your prospects are a fit in the first place. Thoughtful intentionality is the first step towards being viewed as an expert in the eyes of your customers.

2. Adopt a doctor’s mindset.

Instead of thinking like a salesperson, try adopting the mindset of a doctor. I’ve never met a doctor who used a pitch like, “We have this incredible new procedure that I just can’t wait to tell you about! It’s going to change everything!” Rather, good doctors ask questions to make sure they truly understand your pain before making a diagnosis. Mimic this approach by making it your goal to fully understand your prospects’ deepest frustrations before you ever propose a solution.

3. Lose the P.E.P.

Most salespeople are full of P.E.P. — Persuasion, Enthusiasm and Pitching. They’ve been told that this is the key to closing more sales, but it simply isn’t true. If you have to persuade a prospect, then that prospect probably isn’t a good fit for what you sell. Enthusiasm comes off as salesy and insincere. And pitching is the opposite of trying to understand a prospect’s problem. Instead of turning your sales meeting into a P.E.P. rally, adopt a genuine approach that seeks to understand and diagnose key challenges. When you do, prospects will view you as an expert they can trust.

4. Share challenges you’ve observed.

As an expert, you have valuable industry information that your prospects would love to know. Capture their attention and increase your perceived value by sharing some of that information at the start of your conversations with prospects. Try listing a few examples of challenges you’ve seen in their industry. This will provide value, give the prospect something to relate to and serve as a launching-pad for some great discussion.

5. Ask about their challenges.

Once you’ve shared a few common challenges you’ve observed, simply ask, “Do any of these challenges ring true to you?” Simple questions like this create more value when you sell, in addition to engaging prospects and encouraging them to open up to you. If you can get someone to articulate a challenge that they’ve yet to share with anyone else, you’ll immediately gain respect as an authority in your field who can tap into, and ultimately resolve, big problems.

6. Know when to walk away.

What do you do if you ask, “Do any of these challenges ring true to you?” and your prospect answers “no?” Well, if a prospect doesn’t have the challenges you can solve, then it’s probably not a good fit. When this happens, you must be willing to disqualify. Walk away without looking back so that you can spend your time with qualified prospects instead. Customers will respect and trust you more when they notice you aren’t trying to push a product they don’t need.

7. Remember the 15 percent rule.

Salespeople should never talk for more than 15 percent of a meeting. Talking doesn’t put you in control of a conversation; great questions do. Engaged body language, thoughtful questions and small prompts such as, “really?” are all great tools to keep the customer talking. Follow this rule, and prospects will view you as a thoughtful listener and an expert.

8. Never need a sale.

In all fairness, there may be times when you really do need a sale to pay your bills, but prospects should never be able to tell. When you come across as successful and confident, prospects will believe you don’t need their business. Instead, you’re simply meeting with them because you think your offering will truly help them. Relaxed confidence is attractive to prospects, and an air of success will suggest that you’re an established expert in your field.

You’re already an expert in your industry. Now it’s time to act like one. Which of these keys will you use to establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your prospect? Take this free 1-Minute Sales Strengths-Finder Quiz for even more insight into improving your sales strategy.

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When Buying Nothing Gives You More of Everything

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You are likely among the throngs of Americans who go gift-shopping in November and December. Maybe it’s for supplies to make homemade candles, or maybe ingredients to bake several dozen cookies. A new television, a new robe, a used book. Face it: You’ll want to buy something.

This year, Americans are predicted to spend up to $682 billion during the holidays, 4 percent more than last year. In fact, winter holidays are the second most profitable “spending event” of the year, according to the National Retail Association, just behind back-to-school shopping. This is good news for retailers, of course, but what does it say about consumers?

Most of us believe climate change is human-caused—68 percent—and fewer of us see “being wealthy” as essential to the American Dream—40 percent. To me, that translates into “we see a connection between consumerism and environmental destruction” and “we don’t need things to be happy.” Yet many of us still charge toward retail stores at the hint of a discount.

Fortunately, better options are thriving on social media. Hyper-localized gift-economy groups are popping up all over Facebook, in closed communities where neighbors graciously give their stuff for free. Items range from furniture to food, from automobiles to appliances, and everything in between. I’ve seen people try to find new homes for their pets, and there was once, because of tragic circumstances, a woman offering enough pumped breast milk to fill a full-size freezer.

Many of us still charge toward retail stores at the hint of a discount.

In my community, there are two main gift-economy groups you can join, both with more than 1,000 members and both managed by volunteers. One is the Buy Nothing Project, basically the mother of all local gifting networks. The movement started a few years ago on Bainbridge Island, just outside of Seattle, and has since grown to over 2,000 discrete Facebook groups worldwide with about 450,000 members, according to its website.

I joined the local Buy Nothing group about three years ago, at first a spectator more than a participant, but my relationship with these networks has deepened over the past year. I’ve procured a 12-inch lid for a hardworking sauté pan then gifted three crates of vintage vinyl to a mother recovering from surgery. I’ve picked up baby clothes and toddler playsets, clean and wonderfully absent of stains or fingerprints then given away Tory Burch heels worn only once for a wedding. I’ve seen people offer computers, car seats, and concert tickets. No item has sparked more joy for me, however, than a set of shiny, vintage Sesame Street ornaments I picked up a couple years ago.

There is a downside. One of the criticisms you’ll hear about joining these sorts of groups is that, well, people are flakes, and your neighbors are people—you do the math. A colleague, a member of the Bainbridge group, once told me: “I like the idea of it, but then you realize you put so many hours into getting somebody to finally pick that thing up. And for what? A spatula.”

It’s taken me a while to notice, but I feel more connected to the people around me.

That’s a common complaint, and it’s my biggest one. However, one of the reasons for tolerating the occasional hassle is this, stated by Buy Nothing itself: “The Buy Nothing Project is about setting the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.” That’s why, even after fuming in frustration from last-minute cancellations and items that turned out to be slightly warped or faded, I’ve become more involved than ever before. It’s taken me a while to notice, but I feel more connected to the people around me, to my community, and that’s a special thing. I grew up in the suburbs and recently returned there to live with my mother and raise a family. I have often felt stifled by the place—too judgmental, too isolated.

But these days what I see among my suburban neighbors is generosity and kindness. Sometimes these Buy Nothingers communicate poorly and sometimes they act self-entitled, but they’re generally good people with big hearts.

In addition to the obvious economic savings, the occasional hassle of giving and getting free stuff actually has a more profound advantage: You feel the physical and mental burden of having to gift every item you no longer want in your home, and it’s an embodied lesson in the cost of consumerism that’s quite effective (much more than reading a book about consumer waste or, well, those statistics on holiday spending I tossed at you at the beginning of this piece). The posting, selecting, messaging, coordinating, all those things entail some kind of commitment.

Sure, it’s an inconvenience and demands my time. The good news is that it slows me down and connects me to my neighbors. For that, I’m grateful.

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