Are You Keeping Accountable?

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Are You Keeping Accountable?

We promise ourselves that we will be on top of what needs to get done, but when the drudge tasks arise, excuses seem to abound.  The worst part is, particularly for those seeking either work or prospective clients, these boring tasks keep us from accomplishing our important goals. 

Accountability is a tough one to tackle and to keep on top.  For most, the best solution is to find a trusted partner.  It doesn’t even have to be someone in your industry, but someone who cares enough about you and, likewise, you about them.  

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Weekly

Each Monday morning advise one another of the status of your bigger projects and what you will commit to completing toward that end. On Friday mornings, have a brief recap of your successes, what still needs to be followed up on, and possibly where you fell short.  Given most of us wish to impress our accountability partners with success, it usually only takes once or twice in having to admit shortfalls that will get us past similar hurdles in the future.

Monthly

If at all possible, meet in person to share you personal goals, dreams and huge visions.  The in-person connection usually serves to drive the motivation further.  And it reconfirms the special connection the two of you have.

Team Captain

Agree upfront as to how the two of you will work with one another to keep the motivation going.  Modeling sports, a team captain knows when to be stern with players to get them back on track.  Similarly, through asking questions of your partner, as to why they were lacking one week, will stimulate insight without insult.  At the same time, team captains congratulate members on the better plays and outcomes.  Likewise, suggest that quarterly you get together to celebrate your victories.

 

Up Your Game

Most of us are competitive to some degree.  As the process takes hold and appears to be working well, add more “to do’s” to your list than you usually do.  This is what makes the difference for getting to the top of your game.  For example, long ago, in my first sales position, I was advised that the average sales person makes 50 cold calls a day.  Never wanting to be average, I chose to make 60 cold calls a day.  Upping my game contributed to becoming the top producer by the fourth month and throughout my career.

Having a partner makes the drudge work bearable, and the challenging work highly motivating and see it all to completion.  It is this frame of mind that empowers the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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Are You Biding Your Time?

 

Are You Biding Your Time?

Life throws us so many curve balls that we are frequently left to feel as if we are completely off track.  On our worst days, it seems as if we are floundering and begin to believe our ideas are useless.  But for some strange reason, even with others deeming us as “crazy”, we continue.

Why is it that we continue? 

I believe it stems from the secret to success.  That secret is to continue doing what you love, no matter what, and no questions asked.  If you don’t have all of the pieces or knowledge, but the joy is found in the work, you will strive to put your puzzle together, whether it’s a 12-piece or a mega puzzle.  You will strive to piece it all together by honing your skills, in multiple ways, until a new direction is found.

Years ago, I envisioned helping communities far and wide but the effort began locally with training groups of job seekers on how to sell themselves on interviews.  Involvement with social media expanded the effort somewhat, whereby I’m able to share business development and sales insights globally.  But being a driven salesperson type, I wanted to do more.

It’s fortuitous that Sam Williams II and I met that led us to chatting about Text4Help   It is designed to provide immediate help for personal or business reasons via texting from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days per week.  In conversation, I learned the idea behind the service is to launch a nationwide effort to stop bullying.  The organization is encouraging schools to take part and is seeking help from organizations to help fund the effort in order to allow all children to feel safe at school.  Serving children is the bigger picture I was seeking, and jumped in to help. 

True Story

But I can also identify with the issues at hand.  Never before shared, in my youth, I once wandered into an unsafe area.  The “wanna-be” attackers were sorry they ever approached me as I had them headed toward the hospital soon after.   So I can easily relate to the fact that so many women and children are abused and bullied.  Even worse, a small percentage of this population will give into suicide. 

Community Effort

Instead, let’s change this scenario by being of the mindset to join forces in order to stop all of the nonsense.   Join us in helping our brothers and sisters, and those generations of the age to learn better ways.  We are open to suggestions for making this a national effort with growth potential.  Please visit www.text4help.org  And be certain to check out the www.antibullysquad.org too.

Helping one another and serving communities well leads to the Smooth Sale!

Books For Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results, Sourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 
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Branding Strategies That Anyone Can Use

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Branding Strategies That Anyone Can Use

Big marketing efforts require big marketing budgets, right? Professional marketing is a service that you purchase, yes. But business owners can elevate their own branding strategies with no outside help and an investment of little more than time. It will take some effort and some research, but literally anyone can improve their brand, which can help marketing efforts while increasing your customer base. Here are a few tips anyone can use.


You don't need to have a big budget – basic brand maintenance can go a long way for free.

Establish Continuity Across All Channels

Every single item that represents your business – from your website to your social pages to your business cards – should project your brand. Your fonts, color scheme, images and general look and feel should be consistent across all your channels. As discussed in the article "These 8 Simple Things Will Reinforce Your Small Business' Brand Online," you should use no more than three main fonts across all your channels. When a buyer clicks one of your ads, the landing page it leads to should leave no doubt in the visitor's mind the they have ended up in the right place.

Visual Dominates Social: Pay Attention to Images

Image-based social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram are the fastest growing networks in the world. Each year, image-based content gobbles up a bigger chunk of the online marketing pie. It is critical, then, to understand how the requirements of image size and how dimensions differ from network to network.

Pinterest, for example, is dominated by vertical images. Instagram photos are square. Horizontal is the mainstay for most other sites, but with varying dimensions. Social sites littered with bad images look amateurish and don't exude credibility, which, of course, is bad for your brand. This image dimension cheat sheet is a great guide, but keep in mind, design standards evolve and change all the time!

There is no Power Greater Than Video – Use it!

Video is arguably the single most powerful and compelling medium in existence. Research shows that one-third of all online activity is spent watching videos. 80 percent of Internet users remember the ads they view online. On average, users are exposed to more than one video every day.

But this is not all casual viewing – business branding is directly tied to online video consumption. Half of all users watch business videos on YouTube once a week and an amazing 75 percent of users visit the business's website after watching their video.


Every branding strategy should incorporate video.

You should incorporate video on your website, in your content, on your landing pages and in your social posts. But the fundamentals should come first. Coordinate fonts, colors, themes, images and functionality across all your channels. Keep an eye on image selection and photo dimensions. Before you spend a single dollar on branding, make sure you've done what you can to tidy up your brand on your own for free.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance business writer. He covers digital marketing and advertising.

Following Lisa's guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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Do You Fear Asking for What You Want?

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  Do You Fear Asking for What You Want?

Most likely you have no problem asking for another cup of coffee or for a friend to go to a show with you.  But for some reason people freeze up upon even contemplating the idea of having to negotiate, and most will either walk away or take a deal that they know isn’t fair.

Yes or No

The point to remember is, that the other party always has the opportunity to either, say, “yes” or “no” and it’s anybody’s guess what the reply may actually be.  Yes or no provides you with a 50% chance of getting what you desire. But, just as with a sale, when you add a couple of added options to be selected, the odds in your favor increase.

This week several people told me that it was incomprehensible to ask a seller to discount the sale price of a condominium due to walls not being properly repaired. In fact, the real estate agent was completely against the asking of this request.  He said, “That’s just isn’t done here”.  In  conversation, my reply was that the owners did a cheap quick fix to sell the property, but anyone can see it needs to be redone. Upon sharing the dilemma, with others, everyone advised the purchase would be lost.

Weight Pros and Cons

But when real estate is purchased there are always pros and cons.  If this one fell through there would be others available.  Once again, I advised the real estate agent that the sellers can always say “no”.  The end result was they actually said “yes” to crediting the requested amount, making the buyers very happy.

Fast-forward to job offers, are you satisfied with the salary, vacation time and/or benefits?  Most likely something will be missing, and it’s your duty to ask.  By the time the process moves so far forward, the last thing the hiring company wants to do is to go through the process all over again.

Focus on Essentials

Comparing this experience to finalizing sales, as long as you pay keen attention to the details requested of you, and you explained the improvement the business will see by employing your services, the buyer will be far more likely to also say “Yes!”

The key to negotiation is to not be emotionally attached.  It can be stressful in the waiting stage, but most often when the process is done in a friendly manner and your perspective is presented clearly, most often you will succeed.

Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 
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3 Business Lessons learned from the Wright Brothers

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  3 Business Lessons learned from the Wright Brothers

Yesterday was highly inspiring to have visited the Wright Brothers museum in Kitty Hawk NC.  On display were an exact replica of the first plane ever flown, and the beautifully maintained area where the work was created.  Upon reading some of the postings about the two brothers, Orville and Wilbur, reminders came to mind of the important pieces of starting up a business and working to experience success.

Community Relocation

Many people face much negativity when they first announce the business they plan to begin.  The reasons behind the negativity do not matter nearly as much as being able to cope with it plus all of the uncertainty, money and time devoted to the effort.

While I don’t know if the Wright Brothers faced negativity in Chicago, they received a handwritten invitation to build the world’s first plane in Kitty Hawk NC.  Upon investigation, they recognized the community wanted them there plus the terrain, weather, and ocean made for the perfect environment.

Comfort

The brothers built a one room home, on the airfield so that they would feel comfortable, and accordingly, accomplish more.  Next to their very small home, they built the first hangar to begin work on their plane.  Perhaps they were the first to initiate the “work from home” concept.

Love of Work

Frequently we hear advice to turn your hobby into a business.  By doing what you love, the endeavor has a far improved chance for succeeding.  It was learned that previous to the plane effort, the Wright Brothers owned a bicycle shop in Chicago.  In fact some of the same tools were used to create very first airplane.

The best reminder of the day was to see 4 markers on the field symbolizing the distance the first attempts made actually flew.  Most might have given up because they were only equivalent to a quick hop, skip, and a jump from the starting point. 

The Wright Brothers paid tribute to the spirit of business an all endeavors we undertake including that of seeking work, and that

 is to never give up. Keep trying until you find the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 
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One Connection Leads to Many; Qualify Well the First Time

 

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  One Connection Leads to Many; Qualify Well the First Time

Today’s message is an add-on to that of last week’s encouraging you to avoid judgment until all questions are asked and all facts are known.   One connection leads to many, and the least likely connection may prove to be your best source. 

Such is the continuing story and association with Sam Williams II, who kindly introduced me to Bob Salomon.  With a smile, I can also say that Bob and I have little in common.  His career was that of being a Corrections Officer while mine was corporate sales.  But in conversation, I learned that during the course of our very different livelihoods, we had one purpose in common:  to do and be the best for our children.  The goal motivated each of us to move past the tougher days.

The Trio

The commonality among the three of us is our desire to improve the lives of children of all backgrounds and help our communities succeed.   

Sam Williams II continues to enhance his programs to keep young people safe and inspired to succeed through sports, martial arts, and music.  Last week, www.Text4help.org was highlighted given its philosophy that “Your life matters”.  You will also see that Text4Help is available from any device.  Text or call 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.  (612) 888-2726.

Text4Help service is geared toward both business and personal help.  I actually asked for help myself, and it was immediately provided.  Spread the word that all emergencies are sent to 911.  Text4Help just added 24-hour service for personal advice or help with an eye on suicide watch.  

Bob Salomon and Rick Young joined forces to write the book, Beyond The Laces, relaying the journey of a young boy and his family as they face a major health crisis using nothing but their determination and faith. The game of football is used as a backdrop for a heart touching and extremely well written story.

Beyond the story line of their book is a deeper meaning:  The goal is to inspire through kindness by assisting the development of America’s next generation. To do this, they are harnessing the influence and star power of the professional athlete and uniting all sports to impact the lives of children and families.

The Beyond The Laces Team organizes events with various sports figures visiting hospitals, schools, and youth programs around the country to showcase the story’s message of never giving up.  Visit: http://www.beyondthelaces.com/beyond-the-laces.html for more information and to potentially provide your support.  And if you would like to join the team, contact Bob Salomon: Bsalomon@beyondthelaces.com

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Elinor Stutz community service work is to provide programs on entrepreneurial and interviewing skills for students to either boost business or their career.

Takeaway Lesson

The three of us are dedicated to improving the lives of those following in our footsteps with the hope of leaving our world in a better place than how we found it.  Our unlikely match continues to prove to be among the best. 

Your Contribution

Should you or any organization you know wish to contribute to our effort via the blog, or one or all of our endeavors, please contact Elinor@smoothsale.net

For business or personal help contact:  Text4Help.org

Together we may find the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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5 Steps For You to Take to Move Beyond Stuck to Find Success

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  5 steps for you to take to move beyond stuck to find success

On occasion we are so excited to move forward on our deeply desired project, but then we recognize a big decision needs to be made before it all materializes.  By having to decide on the one factor weighing in, you recognize all else is hanging out on the limb.  No matter which direction, all else will be affected, unknowingly, either negatively or positively.   

The worst case will be sleepless nights and a possible feeling of heartburn.  But by considering the following steps, you just might find the easier path.  Of course, this applies to all decvisions including that of career and business.

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Gut instinct

Most often, we have an instant internal reaction for how to proceed when a decision is needed.  But then we tend to second-guess ourselves, and sometimes go back and forth with the final answer.   My own experience is that the gut reaction is, 95% of the time, the right decision.  However, with a couple of “whoops” in the past, it’s good to explore a bit more.

Trusted peers

Some may tell you that by asking six different people the same question, you will most likely hear six different answers.  Or, at best case, the response will be equally divided.  There is no denying that this is probably true.  However, if you dig deeper with further questions, you will uncover ideas not previously considered.  In turn, these may push your final answer over the divided line.

Questions most likely to be included are:

  • Why do you believe this is the best route?
  • What has been your experience or have your observed?
  • How would you contain cost?
  • What do you see as the end result?

Sleep on it

One proverbial expression is, “sleep on it”.  You will find some truth in allowing this to develop.  Just prior to drifting off to sleep, consider your dilemma and question which direction to take.  Upon awakening, you may very well have the answer.  My own take on this is that during the day, we listen to “conventional wisdom”, have fear of taking added risk, or diagnose new ideas until we are dead in our tracks.  But by sleeping on the idea, our subconscious works on our behalf to help us make the decision.

Cutting edge

Some people enjoy being on the cutting edge for new ways to conduct business, and as entrepreneurs, any advantage we can have should be given attention.  However, it is clear that most of the public waits to be certain that “new idea” takes off so they don’t spin their own wheels. 

Unless your business model dictates otherwise, it is best to balance cutting edge with traditional approaches to business in order to satisfy a larger clientele.  Keeping this in mind, you may be able to take the best of both worlds to create a combined solution that provides a vastly improved decision.

Considering and using these options will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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How To Profit Professionally From The Cloud

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  How To Profit Professionally From The Cloud

"The cloud" is a term that gets tossed around a lot by businesses and individuals alike. But what is it, and how can your business use it to boost profits and minimize expenses in the real world? The cloud is a generic term used to describe remote data-hosting, which enables subscribers to access their data without storing it on a hard drive, server or databank in their physical office, building or home.  

Note:  Those interviewing for new jobs will do well to be conversant on this very topic as the need arises.


The cloud takes pressure off of businesses by warehousing their data remotely.

Storage: The Workhouse of the Cloud

Apple users love the iCloud because they can store their photos, their documents and their entire music library safely and securely, which provides security and takes a huge data burden off of their phone, tablet or Mac – all for one nominal monthly fee.

Businesses can do the same thing.

From accounting or bookkeeping data to employee records, every gigabyte of data that businesses park in the cloud is one that they don't have to store and secure on their own. Simply farming out the task of warehousing data can take a huge practical and financial burden off of most businesses.

This becomes especially valuable and important when it comes to preparing for data loss and data breaches, as well as for on-site calamities like fires, floods or burglaries. If a catastrophe strikes your offices when your data wasn't backed up remotely, there may be no coming back. But if your data is stored in the cloud, a few insurance checks later and you're back in buiness.

Let Your Email Services Call the Cloud Home

As discussed in the article "What do People Use the Cloud for?," one of the cloud's most basic functions is to take pressure off of in-house email servers – or to eliminate them altogether. Email servers are expensive to purchase or lease in the first place. Then they must be secured, maintained and upgraded, and an IT department has to be hired and dedicated to maintaining them. When email services are moved to the cloud, on the other hand, you pay for a basic storage subscription fee – and nothing else.

Big Data for Big (or Any Size) Business

Big data analytics was once limited only to the biggest enterprises with the most resources. The cloud, however, has made big data a reality even for the little guy. Whether your big data initiative is to gain customer insight for marketing or to improve internal operations, the enormous data sets associated with big data analytics are simply too, well, big for the average business to handle. But the cloud can house terabytes – even petabytes – of data for any sized business. That business then only has to make the much more modest investment in analytics software, which can access the data off site.


Servers are expensive to install, maintain and secure. Farm out the job to a cloud provider.

The cloud's biggest strength in business operations lies in its ability to take the pressure off of a company's physical infrastructure and staff. By hosting data remotely on the cloud, it eliminates or greatly reduces the need to house email data, employee data, front-office data and customer data on servers on site. From there, the cloud opens opportunities for big data analytics that would have been unheard of just a few years ago for all but the biggest businesses.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance tech writer who covers business technology.

The right systems in place will more readily lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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5 Questions to Ask Before You Accept Opportunity

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  5 Questions to Ask Before You Accept Opportunity

This past month has produced numerous invitations to join communities, partake in business ventures, and to be a guest at a workshop hosted in another country.  All of these sounded like very exciting opportunities, however, due diligence is always required to find those that best match our priorities for conducting business and future goals.  In the case of pursuing a career, you might be offered a type of partnership making these questions appropriate for the proposed arrangement.

The following 5 questions, generally speaking, apply to most opportunities presented to us.  Interestingly, the questions primarily apply to fees plus the intention of how they are to be received and distributed. 

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What is the cost to join?

Frequently, the person offering admittance to their community, which provides a service, will hide the cost to join.  After hearing the broad picture of the potential for their program, it is best to begin with this question. This signals you are about to delve into the financial arrangements.

How will the fees be split?

Make no mistake, it costs the host of a website time and money to create an attractive and well functioning website.  It also costs money to market, collect payment and distribute funds.  As you can imagine, bookkeeping and accounting are involved in addition to all of the marketing effort required.  You need to have an idea in mind as to what a fair split would be, beginning with 50/50 or 60/40 etc. in your favor.  Negotiation is always a possibility to find a favorable solution for all.

How will payment be collected?

Will it be up to you to collect payment, or will it be collected via the hosting website?  Will it be collected in full or will just an upfront deposit be required?  What will be the terms for full payment if anything other than 100% upfront?

What is your late payment policy?

Unfortunately, not everyone is timely or able to pay as agreed upon.  Ask the hosting party how they will work out these terms.  Be certain the methods are in alignment with how you work.

What do you need to get started?

When all questions are answered to your satisfaction, ask for the entire list of what is needed for you to participate.  Lastly, ask for an anticipated timeline for this to unfold beginning with your submitted information, completion of the website and the beginning of the marketing program.  Then ask how you may assist with getting word out to help everyone involved with the program.

By asking these financial questions, you should be able to eliminate most unwanted surprises.  Best of all the right answers should lead to the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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5 Commonalities Between Baseball and Sales

 

Attract the Right Job or Clientele:  5 Commonalities Between Baseball and Sales

There are so many observations to be made between sports and business along with excellent lessons to be learned.  This past week proved the point again, as we witnessed a no-hitter between the Nationals and the Pirates.

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Perspective

Comically, one person pronounced that it was an exciting experience to witness a no-hitter game, while the other (me) said, while that’s true, it could also be viewed as highly boring!  Our family was split down the middle on that one.

Prior to all appointments, whether for an interview or that of a client or prospect, it’s best to remember there are multiple perspectives to be understood before claims are to be made.

Practice

Only practice presents the opportunity for outstanding athletic performance.  We refer to a no-hitter in baseball, whereas in business it is called a sale.  These only occur by persevering through tough days, a daily grind, trial and error, and overcoming all of it to get to where you envision success.

The Pitch

The pitcher is the start of the team, and accordingly is place in the middle of the ball field.  All eyes are on the pitcher, even those of the opposing team. 

When it comes to making the sale, all eyes are similarly riveted on the salesperson.  Most people refer to the emotional telling of why the product or service is the best to solve the prospective client’s problem as “the pitch”.  I actually don’t like the term, because to me, it sounds ingenuine.  However, in this case, the term fits in with this blog. 

After all issues and perspective have been explored n a business meeting, or a job interview, it is time to connect all ideas together in order to find unilateral agreement. 

Celebrate

Athletic teams celebrate their victories as should anyone who is victorious in making a sizeable sale or someone landing their dream job.  The preparation and dedication to seek success takes a lot of hard work.  You owe it to yourself to celebrate.

Repeat

Once the game is over or the sale is made, it’s important to review everything that led up to the win.  Look for specific steps taken that may be repeated time and again.  At the same time, admit what might have been done even better to ensure future similar efforts.

The 5 commonalities between baseball and sales will lead you to the Smooth Sale!

Read Additional Sales Strategies:

Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets ResultsSourcebooks

HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On InterviewsCareer Press

 

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