A Beginners Guide to the Job World

Happy professional journey everyone!  Have you made it out there in the world, or are you just starting out?

What’s your shtick, speciality or   job role?

Job roles   are used in business as a way to identify your purpose within a company   and  level of authority, but what do they actually mean and are they communication barriers when trying to build professional relationships or generate business?

To me, a job title/role should be a way of defining what you do in the organisation and provide you with clear tasks to follow, which will hopefully aid your professional success and add value to the company that employs you.  Simple, but true.

Questions that I’ve asked myself in the past when I was just starting out in my career:

1) Why do I feel    nervous when  contacting a company director or owner? After all, they are people just like us.. right?

2) How do I encourage senior   level people to return my call or email? Should I entice them with “an offer that they can’t refuse?”

3) What IS the right approach?  Am I saying something wrong or not using proper etiquette?

My wish back then and sometimes even now is for an answer… a logical one…. one that would cure my curiosity so that I no longer need to ask why.

I’m a relationship building type of person and to me that means that everyone  is a potential customer.

The top 3 things you should   do:

  1. Seek knowledge in your role to build confidence (always ask questions)
  2. Prepare your own script to use when making phone calls (in your own words)
  3. Research the company you’re calling (It shows that   you care and are not a “drone”)

In general, businesses that grow organically are much more likely to succeed in the long run. This means they have received recommendations based on  service, professionalism, integrity,trust, quality etc.  (Many,many test runs) by people.. just people.

Of course we all understand that those in senior positions have a lot on their plate and delegate representatives from within their company to deal with certain calls, emails and queries however; communicating is always the best way forward. I would like to keep you motivated by providing   a nice little list of young successful people who made it to the top-level of their game before they reached 20.

Personally, I have a lot of respect for MD’s, Directors and Owners of companies who answer their own phone on occasion and “get their hands dirty” so to speak.   It simply means that they have not lost touch with their customers and their staff for that matter because without them , a title   is simply   Mr or Mrs.

Present yourself and your company in the best light and you’re likely to succeed.

With respect

Hands-on

“Who’s the optimist?”

optimist

I must admit, I was tempted to use the title “Who’s the Daddy”, but I held back.

It didn’t quite fit and I wanted to communicate a unisex attitude.  Let me make a list of optimistic traits and please feel free to feedback and add a few of your own.

Hands-on’s 10 traits of an optimist

  1. Cup half full (I’m sure you already know this one)
  2. Focuses on what they have, rather than what they don’t have
  3. Positive thinking, even during the most challenging of times
  4. “Good ideas” person and sticks to their beliefs in a constructive way
  5. Trustworthy,honest and genuine
  6. Tell’s it how it is, in a gentle and supportive manner
  7. Take’s on a challenge with a smile and determination
  8. Listens first, responds second
  9. Lends a hand  without being asked
  10. Builds someone else’s self-esteem when they are down

I’m sure the list is much longer but I’m conscious of the amount of time my reader’s have to review blogs that they subscribe to.

How about a tune you say?  Sure!

Here’s a classic that will set the mood!

Stay happy!

Hands-on 🙂

People who need people

happy employees

Curious title… yes!

I’ve always been drawn to people, both in life and as part of my career.  They interest me, intrigue me and yes, sometimes disappoint me. As  an optimist, I am not here to focus on the negative, but I do want to raise the awareness of the “good stuff” for those who would benefit from a little self-awareness and improvement. I’m the observer and the people watcher, which  has served me well over the years.

Let’s talk about the “good stuff”, respect and admiration for just a moment. Over the course of my career, I have encountered many types of people:

  • genuine
  • curious
  • helpers
  • Loyal
  • competitive
  • Driven

For me, I prefer working  with the first 4 types. Don’t get me wrong…being competitive and driven can be great but there is a time and a place for it and you need not forget about the people you work with.  Cut-throat is not my style and it drains my “good energy”.

I recently saw a post on LinkedIn, quoting the type of work practice and ethos I’m into, so I shared it.

T.E.A.M

  • together
  • everyone
  • achieves
  • more

It’s that simple and so true. Let’s use Sir Richard Branson ( inspirational  leader) as the example… he’s an extremely successful and powerful entrepreneur who develops ideas into businesses that for the most part, have excelled. Did he do this alone? No. He sought advice, created his support team and ensured that everyone worked together for one common goal>SUCCESS.  He motivates and rewards his teams too, which is why and how he has done so well.  So the next time you hear a story or read a story about dear Richard, know that he picked and lead his teams well to get where he is today.

When you consider how much time we spend at work each day and week… our rituals and experiences need to be positive don’t they?  Yes there are targets and yes there are objectives but for me, a business cannot and will not succeed if their people do not support one another. Would you like another  benefit of working together? Okay… what about learning from one another? Each person that you encounter in  your  workplace  has a different style, level of knowledge and expertise in a company or if they’ve been doing it a while, their sector. It’s not a competition, it’s a learning experience. I myself have learned from people 10 years my junior and 20 years my senior.  Make someone feel good and ask how they would go about doing a task you’re about to do.  You will probably learn something great, but you will also make your co-worker feel needed and trusted.  Everyone started somewhere, everyone needs help and guidance no matter the level and people do genuinely need people.

Streisand
Thanks for reading! Hands on 🙂

5 tips about how not to sell

We have all experienced the act of selling and being sold to in our lives.  The question is when do we like being sold to?

As consumers, we receive countless phone calls and marketing leaflets encouraging us to buy or rather “act now” because you don’t want to miss this deal.  What some salespeople and companies don’t realise is that regardless of their targets or quotas, the customer has to need or want the product or service.  Competition is tough, but not that tough where companies should feel the need to pressure their staff into selling something that a potential customer does not need or want. Even companies that we do business with sometimes miss the point of valuing their existing customers.

My husband and I recently received a letter from our bank, stating that they have tried to contact us on several occasions to no avail.  The account manager did not even provide his full name, only his initials and as for trying to contact us.. they only had our mobile numbers, email addresses, home phone number and an on-line banking messaging facility to do this…. hmmmm this was obviously a ploy to get us to arrange an appointment to “review” our services hoping that we will buy more.  This is sadly the standard way that a lot of companies are managing customers these days, but is it the right way and what are their competitors doing? Maybe we would have contacted them if their approach was more personal.

When I was a kid, the biggest running jokes were the encyclopedia salesman and of course the stereotypical used car salesman.  In most cases, these salesmen were “groomed” to persuade the customer that they wanted what they were selling, without finding out what they actually needed or wanted. Countless families ended up with a set of bulky, dusty books that quickly became outdated. (my family were one of them)  What do I remember from these antique paperweights?  The pictures of course and being one of the lucky ones that didn’t have to carry the box of bulkiness when we moved to another home.  As for the used car salesmen, well.. you only have watch the movie “Used Cars” to know what I’m talking about.

So without further ado, here are my 5 tips on how NOT to sell:

  1. Do not treat selling as an art-  (You may be a sales genius, but leave the art factor to Michelangelo please)
  2. Do  not hustle your customers- (I know this is quite a harsh statement, but customers will only remain loyal to you if you provide an honest service, quality products and good value for money)
  3. Do not treat sales as a transaction- (Yes, it is a transaction however; if you are purely treating it as a transaction you are  missing out on providing a good customer experience)
  4. Do not treat selling as a science- (Okay, for some it may be considered to be a formula or experiment relating to the perfect way to seal the deal, but try thinking more about how you will continue to keep the customer coming back)
  5. Do not guilt your customers into buying- (Informing your customers that you will win a holiday in the Caribbean for two if they buy your product or service is well…. wrong and I’m sure you’ll agree)

Now for those of you who know me, it’ll be quite clear that I’ll be finishing this blog off on a positive note…

Here is what selling means to me:

  • Selling is finding out the customers need and then filling it
  • Selling is all about relationship building
  • Selling is about trust
  • Selling is coming to a mutual agreement

By the way, I like being sold to if the salesperson has done their research and really cares about what I want or need.  That’s not an Art..that’s a Skill.

Thanks for reading!

Nancy

8 Golden rules

Now, we all agree that great customer service is imperative to your business and believe it or not, we have been providing this service for many years without even realising it.

Take the photo as an example… as children when we are taught to use the telephone we are instructed to say hello, ask who the caller is and most importantly, be polite.  Simple concept really… but as we morph into our teen years the communication may change slightly to: “Ma, phone”… Ma asks, “who is it”?  and our teenager responds, “I didn’t ask, but it’s not for me”.  Interesting….

So, the teenager grows a bit older and eventually gets their first job… by which the first order of business during their job induction is, how to answer the phone and deal or speak with customers.  Sound familiar?

Now, with all of this training from our wee years, you would think that we would all be experts wouldn’t you?  Well… there comes a time when a memory lapse occurs and the worst thing that can occur is for us to treat our callers or visitors like an interruption or inconvenience.

Here are 8 golden rules to help you stay focused:

  1. Answer the phone (make sure that someone picks up the phone in your business by the 3rd ring)
  2. Keep your promises (Reliability is the key to good relationships)
  3. Listen to your customers (It’s not about what you can offer, it’s about what your customer need’s)
  4. Be helpful (even if it means you’re not getting an immediate benefit, your customer will remember this)
  5. Train your employees (product and service knowledge=confidence AND it shows that you care about how your staff are representing your company)
  6. Go the extra mile (If you don’t offer a particular product or service, recommend someone who you know and trust that can)
  7. Handle complaints correctly (A complaint may feel bad, but it also gives you and the company an opportunity to learn and improve)
  8. Offer something extra (A discount, a smile or advice… any of these will help you to retain your loyal customers and win new ones)

Thanks for reading and thanks to my big sister for the perfect pose!

Nancy

These keys will open doors

It’s 2:30 pm on a Saturday and once again, I find the need to express my feelings about a topic that runs through my very being.

Customer Service…. now before you think this is another “business” blog about how to deliver great  customer service, let me re-assure you that I’ll be taking you on a different journey all together.

Great customer service  can not always be taught in the traditional way… it is a characteristic of who you ARE.  What I mean by that statement is, although you may intend to be courteous, polite and kind to others in the business world and within your personal lives, an individual has to be raised with a strong foundation of kindness, the  desire to be a good listener and a people pleaser in a genuine way. These building blocks allow a person to grow and develop to an exceptional level.

Here are a couple of positive examples:

1) Personal life: You visit the grocery store and as you begin walking down the cereal aisle, you notice a person who is shorter than you struggling to reach the item they want. They begin looking around for a store assistant to help them… but there is no one in sight.  YOU come to the rescue (because you’re taller and can easily reach the item) and say to the shopper, “Let me get that for you”.  The other shopper is grateful and delighted that someone took notice of their struggle and went out of their way to help.  Kindness is the “key”.

2) Professional life: A customer contacts your office asking for a particular service that your company does not offer. They mention briefly that an associate of their’s recommended you and were told that you definitely carry out this function. After you have “listened”, you begin  explaining some of the services you DO provide and tell them that you’re sorry for the mistake their associate has made. You  ask them a few more questions to help determine the company they are looking for. (Google comes in handy for that)  Area, service and perhaps other clues that could help…. Eureka! You find the company and contact details and happily present them to the caller. The caller was not expecting you to go out of your way, but you did it because you exude excellent service qualities.  This wrong number caller now becomes an “open door” and you were the “key”.

These two examples are quite different, but both of them clearly show you the type of people recommended  for customer-facing or customer service roles.

  • Helper’s
  • Listener’s
  • Carer’s
  • Problem solver’s
  • Do- gooders

The qualities above were instilled in me as a child; which is slowly diminishing in today’s society.  These qualities my friends are the “keys” that will most definitely open doors both in life and business.

As a child and young adult, I was raised to  say please, thank you and you’re welcome or excuse me in every social situation.  It is who I am and who I will always be.  I do have to admit that when I was little, the word “please” if said a certain way became a persuasion tool! (but that’s another story)

Thanks for reading,

Nancy