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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: VPS OF SALES, EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP & DATING TIPS

Habits_311_shadowThis week’s links cover the top habits of the best VPs of sales, better leadership, the words we use and, well, some dating tips (really).

Come back and visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career:

CAREER GROWTH :::

Sales Benchmark Index Blog
6 Habits of Highly Successful Sales VPs
This post by Matt Sharrers (@mattsharrers) Is lot more detailed than you may expect. It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time if you’re looking for a roadmap on how you can get into the VP of Sales office on a faster track. One or two of these habits may surprise you.

KEY QUOTE: “Embrace your vulnerability. Surround yourself with people who cover for your blind spots. Not sure you’ve done that? Write down your top three weaknesses. Try pairing each with a direct report who bridges the gap.”

Which of these, do you feel, is most often overlooked? #movingonup
[Reading time: 1:30]

LEADERSHIP :::

Connect2Lead Blog
How to Boost Your Effectiveness by Reducing Your Number of Followers
Deb Calvert (@PeopleFirstPS) has some excellent advice to potentially help you refocus your leadership efforts as they relate to your understanding of growing your number of followers…and we’re not talking about Twitter.

KEY QUOTE: “…the secret lies in the realization that leaders don’t aim to gather more followers. Instead, leaders build more leaders.”

Deb keeps it brief but informative. Take a few seconds to grow as a leader today. #leadershipgrowth
[Reading time: 1:30]

BE MORE EFFECTIVE :::

Score More Sales Blog
Improve Your Word Choices and Close Deals
Sometimes it’s your words that close the deal, but more often it should be their words. For the words coming out of your mouth, take these recommendations from Lori Richardson (@scoremoresales) to help you hack your own vocabulary to gain more sales.

KEY QUOTE: “Words are power – word choices close deals. Power words should replace old crutch words and filler words.”

Read through it and see if you have room to grow. #alwayslearning
[Reading time: 2:30]

RainToday (RAIN Group)
15 Dating Tips to Boost Your Sales Success
David Newman (@dnewman) offers a clear analogy of sales as dating. It’s one we’ve heard before but perhaps not as well defined as this resource is. If you glean one important reminder from this list of 15 tips, it’s worth your time in reading it.

KEY QUOTE: “If you start selling the same way you’ve been effective in dating, you’ll get more than a great partner. You’ll get rich. And then you can take your date to the bank.”

There are some more quotable lines he adds after the list, and it won’t take you long to read through it. #itsaboutthem
[Reading time: 1:30]

>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

 

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10 SUREFIRE WAYS TO #FAIL IN YOUR EMAIL ETIQUETTE

FAIL_440I need to make a confession…

I thought of that title after reading Bubba Page’s article (@BubbaPage, along with @MaxAlts) for Inc.com titled, “10 Must-Follow Rules of Email Etiquette.”

My title plays off the fact that if you don’t read and take heed of Page’s direction on this important topic we [most often subconsciously] deal with every day, then it will only be a matter of time until you FAIL hard. It will not be pretty…it never is.

If that isn’t motivation enough to keep reading, let’s take a look at my favorite moment reading Page’s piece:

Your connections and relationships are extremely important and introductions are delicate. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when they aren’t treated as such. Therefore, here is my lesson in introductions that should be used by all salespeople, or even just all human beings in general.

If those words strongly resonated with you , as they did with me, then you’re definitely ahead of the curve. By my estimation, about a third of all people would see that and deeply agree, another third more or less would agree but not be moved to action/growth, and the rest wouldn’t really care.

If you’re in the middle third, there’s hope for you yet. Read on…

Page discusses situations such as:

  • Who Responds First, And How Fast?
  • Move To Bcc (when to do it after introductions)
  • Providing Context (for the one doing the introduction)
  • Making Intros Mutually Beneficial

I really want you to take 5 minutes to read this one and then to bookmark it. You will definitely  want to refer to it again at some point in the future.

Page’s article could’ve been titled something along the lines of, “The Ultimate Guide to Getting B2B Email Right Every Time,” or, “The Only Primer For B2B Email Etiquette You’ll Ever Need” and the feature would’ve still been aptly named.

I say that because of its great attention to the details and nuances of so many of the most common situations we [attempt to] navigate on a daily basis.

Now, if you were in the middle third of people when you first began reading this story, and you have now clicked over to Page’s article and read it, where are you now?

Thank you for taking the time needed to put together this resource  for us, Bubba and Max. Keep writing, young men, keep writing…

QUESTION ::: What was the biggest email etiquette FAIL you’ve witnessed (by someone else, of course)? How have you learned from the mistakes of others?

Let’s talk about it…

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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DEAR SALES PROFESSIONAL, DON’T BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE…

Niche_358_shadowA specialist does not have specialties in a half dozen areas…

Today’s featured resource is a blog post from Rochelle Moulton (@ConsultingChick), titled, “Why You Need To Pick One Thing To Be Brilliant At.” Although it could be helpful for people in other industries, it’s most certainly relevant for us here in the field of sales.

Moulton starts with a story which perfectly illustrates her point because we have been in similar situations when a true specialist was or was not available.

We gain confidence when we have a need and we encounter someone who has a specialty in the field of our solution. A generalist will not do when we have a highly specialized issue to untangle.

In the same way, your prospects aren’t interested in a jack-of-all-trades calling on them and attempting to sell to them with language inherently pointing to a lack of specialization.

They’re picturing you whacking their problem with a blunt object. What they want is a sherpa guiding them through the journey of the resolution of their problem…because you’ve been there before.

Moulton says it well:

They want the one who specializes in THEIR situation. Their industry. Their big fat hairy problem.

They want to know—without a doubt—that you’re the right choice.

So the “Life Coach, Entrepreneur, Photographer, Internet Marketer, Website Developer, Writer” guy will not be first choice for pretty much anything.

Ditto the “Consultant, Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author, Facilitator and Community Czar.”

Your audience values focus. Deep specialty. A niche.

Just pick one.

And then tell us about it.

You may have enough years under your belt to have worked through a wide variety of prospect problems. But when a specific client has a specific issue, you need to be able to put aside all of your experience and skill in everything that doesn’t have to do with their acute issue and you laser-focus your language around your ability to do this one thing for them. Less is more.

Read Moulton’s blog post to get the rest of what she packed into it. Thank you for this resource, Rochelle.

QUESTION ::: How do you convey your specialty to a client? How have you seen an approach of being a specialist bring about success?

Let’s talk about it…

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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: SOCIAL SELLING, FOLLOW-UPS, TOOLS & MORE

Chrome_Store_ShadowThis week’s links run through the topics of social selling, more effective follow-up tactics, Google Chrome and Gmail extensions to save you a lot of time, and an interesting way a handful of friends created something together they now leverage to get more sales.

Come back and visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career:

SOCIAL SELLING :::

HubStaff’s Blog
The Science of Social Selling: 16 Online Influencers Weigh In
Dave Nevogt (@dnevogt) recently wrote a must-read resource if you’re at all interested in the tactics of Social Selling.

Today’s marketplace (B2B or B2C) is constantly interacting with brands that are either directly or indirectly related to a user’s needs. On average, a lead has between 7 to 13 online interactions with a sales professional before they make a purchase. You can shorten that list of touches needed by efficiently and effectively participating in social selling.

Social selling paves the way, can turn a cold lead into a warm prospect and keeps the conversation going. #letdothis
[Reading time: 6:30]

INCREASE EFFECTIVENESS :::

Jeff Shore’s Blog
5 Tips For Insanely Powerful and Surprising Sales Follow-Up
This next resource is from Jeff Shore (@jeffshore). He reminds us not only of the vital role of a follow-up action, but also gives us 5 very important actions to take in order to get more sales through follow-ups.

I especially like point #3 (and #4 is a great idea to support #3), but you’ll need to click and read it to find out where I personally put a strong focus with my own follow-up efforts. #dontwait
[Reading time: 1:30]

SALES TOOLS :::

Funnelholic
8 Chrome or Gmail Extensions Every Sales Rep Should Be Using
Max Aschulter (@maxalts) from @saleshackerconf, recently guest blogged on @funnelholic, pulled together some great extensions for Google Chrome and Gmail to help you be more efficient. Being more efficient, for a sales professional, means more selling time. More selling time means more sales, and more sales keep your own coffers full.

Thank you for this useful collection of resources, Max. Note: Links aren’t included in the post, but you can locate the extensions by searching for them here#downloadnow
[Reading time: 3:00]

TRY SOMETHING NEW :::

Ian Brodie’s Blog
Using a Compilation Book to Win Clients
Ian Brodie (@ianbrodie) tells us about a big, bold strategy that paid off for him and his friends and colleagues. They joined together, each with their specific strengths, and created a book. The book then gave them greater credibility and led to more sales.

There’s a podcast available on the page to learn more about the details of this experiment. #theygotafterit
[Reading time: 0:30]
[Podcast length: 23:15]

>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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[RESEARCH] THE INTERESTING FUTURE OF INSIDE SALES & OUTSIDE SALES

Teamwork_290_shadowDoes your organization primarily think and act in terms of separating inside sales from outside sales, or is it more simply viewed as sales within your company’s culture?

Across the sales industry, lines are being blurred and discoveries are being made which are helping some sales teams achieve a higher and more consistent rate of quotas being met by connecting inside and outside sales in new and effective ways.

CSO Insights (@CSOinsights) recently took a look into their 2015 Inside/Telesales Performance report and revealed some of the findings in their blog post titled, Is Inside Sales Replacing Field Sales?

The research shows, in a variety of ways, that many professional sales organizations are maturing in their ability to let go of the mindset of doing what they’re doing because that’s what they’ve always done, and find ways to be more effective, even if it’s a new approach for them.

With the interconnectivity of the Internet, organizations can easily learn from the lessons of other companies. At the very least, sales teams can learn new or alternate ways of trying something to see if it can make a positive impact on their sales.

That’s not to say that sales organizations should be constantly trying so many new things that the business’ sales process is perpetually tampered with. An increase in sales process adoption is a great need for most sales teams.

What I do believe in is creating an unofficial Research & Development Laboratory within your sales department in order to structure pilot programs which can bring about some significant lessons and benefits.

Many forward-thinking sales organizations are blurring the lines that have been drawn by tradition and are finding new successes to multiply. Some of those sales teams [certainly not all] have gone as far as to designate the [right] sales team member who can create measurable experiments. The tests start small and organically expand as success after success occurs in each round of testing.

This wasn’t nearly as feasible in the early days of my career, but the information available online makes it relatively easy to discover where organizations similar to your own are chalking up wins, and then you can adapt it for your own team.

One clear conclusion from the report is that inside sales reps have become more strategic; they are less boiler room “dialing for dollars,” instead focusing on partnering with field/channel reps and/or an independent sales channel. This group is professional, skilled, well-equipped, and focused on nurturing or advancing prospective opportunities—not simply making as many dials as possible each day.

Only you know best if your sales team is prepared, at this time, to strategically take on some new approaches to gaining more sales.

Without a doubt, it would be ideal to have a team that consistently adheres to your organization’s sales process before launching out on occasional experiments with part of your team. This would ensure a more credible baseline against which to measure results.

Please check out the full blog post over at CSO Insights in order to learn more about many of the report’s findings. You’ll be glad you did.

QUESTION ::: Do your inside or outside sales teams have a process of implementing trials of strategies or tactics in order to discover better ways of working together to gain more sales, or do you more or less shoot from the hip? If you don’t currently rarely use lessons from other organizations, what’s holding back you or your organization?

Let’s talk about it…

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WATCHING ‘SHARK TANK’ & CLOSING THE SALE

Shark_Tank_290_shadowHave you ever wondered when Shark Tank will inevitably “jump the shark”? [reference]

There aren’t any signs of that happening soon. The hit TV show Shark Tank has definitely caught the attention of mainstream America, leading to scenes such as a father, a housewife, a 14-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son all yelling together at the TV set, “TAKE THE DEAL!!”

“It reflects a human’s natural tendency to want to haggle, exchange large sums of money and of course share in the success (or laugh at the failures) of others.” [source]

I was reading a blog post by Lori Richardson (@scoremoresales) last week titled, “How Shark Tank Teaches How To Close Deals.” I gave the article a chance because it was written by Lori. I’m glad I did.

In the post, Lori points out a recent example of someone who came to the tank trying to make a deal. His product was great, and the sharks seemed to love the idea, but the common issue of having too high of a valuation led each potential investor to utter the phrase, “I’m out.”

Mark Cuban decided to give the presenter a pep talk before he left the studio, and that was when the big lesson came into play. In that moment, it took a confident, persistent salesman to take advantage of the opportunity he was given.

To his credit, that opportunity would’ve been missed by nearly everyone who’s ever presented on the show in the past. He was able to get his deal done because of his ability to rewrite the unwritten rule about what “I’m out” meant.

I would tell the lesson to you now in black and white, but I really like the feeling it gave me when I read it in Lori’s narrative, so I encourage you to go and read it right now for yourself.

Then after you read it, apply it today [and tomorrow, and the day after that, and…].

It’s not revolutionary, but it’s a vital reminder of a foundational aspect of being successful in our field of sales. We need to remind ourselves of this every day before we talk with a single prospect.

QUESTION ::: As a sales professional, if you had an opportunity to present on Shark Tank, what would your strategy be?What do you believe is the biggest mistake presenters make when attempting to pitch their product, service or idea?

Let’s talk about it…

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: STORYTELLING, TALKING PRICES & MORE

Story_290_shadowThis week’s links offer a reminder about storytelling in sales, getting away from me, myself and I, a healthy dose of inspiration and some frank talk about price.

Come back and visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources to help you grow in your sales career:

INCREASING SALES :::

ExceedSales.com
Storytelling in Sales: Improve Your Sales Success
Exceed Sales (@elisaciarametar) has an excellent guest post by Christopher Kogler (@cakogler) focused on a single example of the power of storytelling for sales professionals. If you aren’t consistently using the power of storytelling…congratulations! I say that because this is low-hanging fruit within your grasp.

Promise me you’ll at least click to read the last paragraph, if you do, I promise you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the piece. #storytime
[Reading time: 1:30]

Sales Wars Blog
“You” Messaging for Better Sales Communications
This guest blog post on “You” Messaging, by Andrew Moravick (@amoravick) for @AberdeenGroup is both a reminder for all of us and a deeper dive into examples of what this kind of communication is and is not.

In my experience, this communication technique consistently works [much better than not using it] in all industries, in all markets, for all types of people and for all types of products and services. Thank you for posting this one @quotafactory. #itsaboutthem
[Reading time: 3:30]

OVERCOMING EXCUSES :::

The Sales Hunter Blog
Why Your Sales Team is So Afraid of Price (and What You Can Do About It!)
I really like Mark Hunter‘s (@thesaleshunter) boldness and accuracy on calling out an issue too many sales professionals use as an excuse for not having more sales. Are you willing to read it to see if you’re guilty…even a little bit? His four tips at the end of the post are excellent. #getoverit
[Reading time: 3:00]

INSPIRATION :::

CloserIQ
21 Inspiring Dale Carnegie Quotes to Rescue Any Bad Day
Vi-An Nguyen, for CloserIQ (@CloserIQ), accomplished two important things with this post. First, no doubt is left that Dale Carnegie is still relevant today. And second, this isn’t just a list of quotes from a single source. She created a resource for those days when you can use some encouragement from someone who knew a thing or two about sales since he knew more than a thing or two about people. #wisewords
[Reading time: 3:30]

>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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A SALES GURU IS NOT A GURU JUST BECAUSE THEY SAY SO

Expert_Stamp_290I don’t know about you, but I often [mentally] knock someone down a notch or two in perceived credibility when someone calls themself a “guru” or an “expert.”

The inverse is true when someone else calls them a guru or an expert.

At this point, it should definitely be mentioned that, yes, there are many true experts out there in sales. I’m not attempting to take away from your credibility if you’re one of them. I simply need “experts” to prove their expertise to me. We should all require that. There are a lot of experts out there by name only, and if you’re a true expert, then this bothers you as well.

There needs to be a better qualifier of expertise than the relative nature of one person claiming to be an expert simply because they know more about something that someone else. Luckily there is, and that’s today’s highlighted resource.

I was thinking about this guru/expert thing while reading Tamara Schenk’s (@tamaraschenk) recent post titled, “Why Being An Expert Requires Expertise To Make A Difference.”

First off, there are some great quotations in the post. My favorite one is by Schenk herself:

Being an expert in products and solutions is important, but not enough. To create real value for customers, sales professionals have to be an expert in the customers’ specific business challenges.

Don’t rely on knowledge alone. That message is repeated throughout the post which goes in and out of describing what an expert is and is not. She unpacked this topic nicely.

I’m a big proponent of letting someone else praise you instead of you praising yourself. It’s a powerful thing when someone over you in the hierarchy organically hears good things about you and/or your work. Unsolicited accolades are powerful.

How does it start? By developing a healthy balance of confidence and humility along with a consistent helping of patience. Sometimes you need to do very good work for a very long time before seeing this play out.

Also, being the kind of person who intentionally gives unsolicited praise of specific people to specific people is a great way to get things started. Appreciation for your thoughtful act could eventually come back to you at some point; not in some universal force kind of way, but just because that’s how I’ve seen it play out over and over through the years. Perhaps you have too.

Lastly, I really like that Schenk took the time to explain this often misunderstood aspect of being an expert:

Expertise means also to recognize when their own level of expertise won’t be enough to make a difference for the customer. Including another expert is not a weakness, it is a strength in a customer-core approach and a true sign of conscious collaboration in sales.

The post will take a few minutes to read since she packed so many great thoughts into the resource. It’s worth your time to work through it and then very honestly assess where you can grow as a sales professional, and overall as a person, in light of what you’ve just read.

QUESTION ::: If you might be an expert in something, what is it for you? Has anyone ever called you an expert in this area?

Let’s talk about it…

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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WHY TRADE SHOWS ARE [STILL] ONE OF YOUR BEST SALES PROSPECTING TOOLS

Creepy_305Don’t be that guy at the trade shows.

You know the one…he’s that guy in his booth at the trade show who’s just a little too loud, a little too aggressive, a little too quick to shoot out an unoriginal one-liner and a fake laugh after you decline his offer to stop and talk with him.

He’s the guy who consistently comes home without a list of hot prospects and he can’t figure out why that is. He knows every excuse in the book.

You likely are not that guy, but you may still be able to fine tune your approach and execution of either running a booth or going to a trade show as an attendee.

Richardson’s blog, The Richardson Sales Excellence Review™, recently posted a solid post titled, “Six Tips to Leverage Trade Shows as a Sales Prospecting Tool.” In it, there are many good reminders and some additional direction on how to travel to a trade show and apply best practices to come home with a quality list of prospects worth your time in pursuing.

The bullets alone made in the first point about how to best align marketing and sales are worth your time in reading. The next point of keeping messaging simple is still messed-up by far too many companies who should know better. Whether you’re an exhibitor or simply an attendee, being able to communicate a clear and effective message is vital.

If you cannot do that, don’t even make the trip. Better yet, fix your messaging and still catch your flight.

But it’s the fourth point: Develop an Integrated Prospecting Plan that is, in my opinion, the x-factor of the list.

It’s incredibly easy for a sales professional to believe their plan is all that it should be, but it often is not. Ensuring that the most effective plan is being put into play is key. How can you improve on what you’re already doing in this area? How can you make more out of the time you have at the next trade show?

TIP: Asking this question in a  group on LinkedIn is one way to see how others are creating success at trade shows. Why try and recreate the wheel if others are more than happy to share how they increased their own effectiveness? #multiplysuccesses

I encourage you to take 2 minutes to read the entire post.

The last paragraph nails it when it puts the emphasis on being focused, especially since exhibiting at or attending a trade show can easily pull you in multiple directions if you let it do so:

The key to effectiveness is focus: on your messaging, on your prospects, on engaging and not scaring away people who visit your booth. Sales and marketing must work together effectively and leverage the myriad communication tools available to drive awareness and build show booth traffic … and interest in your company.

QUESTION ::: What are the qualities or traits of the kind of person you’d like to meet when walking up to a trade show booth? Have you taken the steps of intentionally adding or improving those qualities or traits within yourself?

Let’s talk about it…

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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FRIDAY SALES GROWTH LINKS ::: SALES EXPERTS, REJECTION & MORE

Vector_4367_300_shadowThis week’s links start with a trio of resources full of the wisdom of sales industry experts, overcoming rejection and some ways to gain back wasted time in your working day.

Come back and visit this blog every Friday for my Friday Sales Growth Links feature where I filter online resources, through my years of experience, to help you continue growing in your sales career:

EXPERTS :::

Entrepreneur Magazine
10 Secrets From Leading Sales Execs
Learn to multiply the successes of others by listening to what successful people in your field have to say. They’ve walked in your shoes, so they understand your current challenges. They’re just a little ahead of some of you at the moment.

These experts, gathered by Sean Jacobsohn (@sjacobsohn), are willing to help others catch up to them by sharing what they’ve learned through their experiences. Take advantage of advantages when they’re presented to you. Bookmark this one.

Docurated’s Blog
50 Sales Strategy Secrets and Tips from Top Sales Pros
Angela Stringfellow offers even more tips from experts in this article. Read them today, or over time, and be sure to bookmark this one as well.

Inc. Magazine
37 Sales Experts You Need to Follow on Twitter Right Now
I really like how much great information can be fit into 140 characters at times. We sure didn’t have this luxury early in my career.

These experts, brought together by Bubba Page (@bubbapage), are experts at what they do and enjoy sharing what they’ve learned.

Go ahead and become a follower in order to become a better sales leader.

SUCCESS :::

Dell Power More
How to Make Your Team Rejection Proof
If you haven’t yet learned about Jia Jiang (@JiaJiang), author of Rejection Proof, you need to. There is no better story out there about someone choosing to face their fear [head-on], learn to overcome it and then help others do the same.

This article is a great introduction to Jia’s take on the topic of rejection (then check out FearBuster.com and his “100 Days of Rejection”). #incredible

PRODUCTIVITY :::

LinkedIn Pulse
Stop the Silent Business Killer: Wasted Time
J.P. Werlin (@jpwerlin) offers some great reminders on how to get more out of your time. Wasted time for a sales professional is missed selling timeGet it back.

This is also one of the main elements of the story about what you can gain by putting the SalesFitRx web and mobile app to work for you. Check into it.

>>  View past posts for Friday Sales Growth Links  <<

 

Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales

Read more »

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