Archive for the ‘Doing Business’ Category

Do you know the secrets to rewarding phone conversations?

Monday, September 17th, 2018

“How many of your business conversations happen on the phone? For many people, it’s most of them. In fact, some of us spend more time talking to people we can’t see than we do in face-to-face interaction.  Your body language shapes what they hear and that shapes how they feel about you,” notes Catherine Johns, speaker, author and former radio personality.
https://catherinejohns.com/

“When people hear your voice, even if they can’t see you, they’re forming impressions of you. It helps to understand the secrets of compelling conversations with unseen others,” adds Johns.

Here are her suggestions.

  • Stand up. Your voice will have a lot more energy in it if you stand while you speak. Even if you do most of your work seated, you’ll project more strength when you stand up for that important phone call.
  • But if you sit, sit up straight. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor, your bottom squarely in the chair, your spine erect and your shoulders back and down. No hunching over the desk. Sitting like this, you’ll be grounded and your voice will be stronger and more resonant.
  • A headset helps. Holding the phone to your ear makes your arm tired, and a lot of us press our ear to the phone and strain our necks in the process. A speaker phone solves those problems, but the sound is thin and hollow. Use a headset instead. Even the earbuds that have a mic on the cord with give you freedom to move with decent audio quality.
  • Speak from your core. The energy should come from the power center below your navel, not from your throat or your head. With the phone or a mic close to your mouth, there’s no need for big volume. Don’t shout. While you want energy in your voice, you’ll get it from being grounded and relaxing your body.
  • Energize your voice by moving your body.  Use gestures just as you would if you were right there in the room with the person. Your conversational partner can’t see your hands moving, but the gestures animate your voice and they will hear the difference. When you gesture to emphasize a point, for instance, you’ll soundmore emphatic too.
  • And don’t forget your face. Facial expressions reflect your inner state and people can sense your mood even when they can’t see your face. So, don’t pick up the phone with a frown unless you’re about to let someone have it, for good reason. Some people find it helps to have a mirror near their desk – looking at yourself is a reminder to smile.
  • Or theirs. Talking to someone you don’t know? Let’s say you’re making a sales call. Or, it’s the phone screening that precedes an in-person job interview. When the stakes are high, it’s easy to freeze up so you sound stiff and unnatural.  As you prepare for your call, pull up the person’s picture on LinkedIn or the company website. It will give you something to focus on and help you sound as if you’re talking to an actual human.

If you do know the person, visualize them as you place the call. Just make a mental picture – there she is, sitting in her office, seeing your name on Caller I.D. and smiling as she reaches for the phone. See how that sets you up for a warmer conversation?

  • Speak a bit more slowly than you ordinarily do. Enunciate. Remember that visual cues are missing. All they have to go on is your words and the tone of your voice. To make sure they understand everything you say, you may need a slower pace than you would in a face-to-face conversation. This is especially true if one of you is not a native speaker of English, of if you’re covering complex—or controversial –content.
  • Pause to project confidence. A moment of silence enhances understanding and gives your listener a chance to absorb what you’re saying. The pause is also a powerful signal that you’re comfortable and confident. You’re not rushing, you’re not apologizing for taking up their time, and you’re not desperate for this conversation to be over.

 This is especially important when you are desperate for it to be over!

You may have had an experience where you didn’t know how to finish so you just kept talking and eventually it became awkward. It’s better to put a period on it and settle into the silence. Let the other person be the next to speak.

  • Listen more than you talk. You’re brilliant, of course. You have important information to impart and deep insights to share. They’ll be more impressed with all of it if they hear as much of themselves as they hear from you.

On the phone, we can’t see someone’s eyes glaze over. We may not be aware that they’ve tuned out and started checking their email. The way to head that off is to say what you have to say—once. Say it well. Then zip it. And listen.

If you follow Catherine’s suggestions, you’ll have more rewarding phone conversations. And you may be surprised at the opportunities they create.

Ready for Your Interview?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

All of us are familiar with interviews, whether as the interviewee or interviewer. We might be job hunting and the interview is critical. Or, in researching a subject for an article or book, we have to interview an expert in the field. Or, a media reporter wants to interview you.

Whatever our goal and perspective, we should be prepared for the interview so we know we did our best.

Here are some interesting and helpful resources that will keep us on top of the interview.

If you want even more insights about interviewing for a job, check out Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0, Chapter 12, “Hand-to-Hand Combat, Winning the Face-to-Face Interview.” The book was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Authors are Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry.

Interviews offer new perspectives, information and opportunities we might not have considered. You never know?!!!!

 

Market Yourself for a New Job – Starting this Summer

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Yes, you can enjoy summer while job hunting.  Many employers look for and hire new, permanent employees during the summer. If you’re interested and look forward to interviews, these resources will help.

Start Here:

Advantages to Job Searching in Summer

http://www.prepary.com/job-searching-in-summer/

4 Reasons Summer is Actually the Best Time to Job Search

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-reasons-summers-actually-the-best-time-to-job-search

Books for you all year long:

  • Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0. How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap into the Hidden Job Market Using Social Media and 999 Other Tactics Today. By Jay Conrad Levinson and David E. Perry
  • Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door – Job Search Secrets No One Else Will Tell You. By Harvey Mackay
  • Cracking The Hidden Job Market – How To Find Opportunity In Any Economy. By Donald Asher
  • The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job – What Employers Look for Whether They Know It or Not. By Debra Angel MacDougall and Elisabeth Harney Sanders-Park

Best wishes, and stay cool. There’s a new job for you!

 

Time to “Brand” a New You?!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Is it time to create a brand for yourself or to reconsider your current one?

Your brand evolves over time, reflecting a personal and professional commitment to your goals, beliefs and the expectation of others. A brand is what we (consumers, employers, colleagues, friends and family) trust you for.

Each of us has a personal brand – characteristics and experience we offer. Many, many articles and books discuss personal branding and the importance of authenticity and trust, and here are a few that offer insights and advice as you consider your approaches.

By Marla Tabaka, Inc. magazine

By Jayson DeMers, Inc. Magazine

  • Branding Yourself: 6 Tips for Professional Success, By Robert Half

https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/salaries-and-skills/branding-yourself-6-tips-for-professional-success

Ready to Create a Website Yourself?

Monday, May 14th, 2018

If you want to personally create your website but don’t know how, read on.  Luke Renn, graphic designer, will take you through the steps and resources that will introduce you to consumers interested in your services and products. “From establishing a domain name to learning how SEO attracts online interest, you will be ready for prime time,” Renn says. www.Lukerenndesign.com.

Domain Name and Web Host. Your new website needs a web address, where people can go to find you on the internet, also known as your domain name. You also need a web host, the service company that will store your website files. GoDaddy, HostGator and DreamHost are among the many possible hosts.

Luke Renn suggests that you “sign up with your host for multiple years, preferably three to five years. Or, if you want to sign up for one year, click ‘auto renew’.”  This is to avoid your website going offline in case you don’t check in on your hosting account regularly. Then consider what your email address will be (luke@lukerenndesign.com)  You can also use Gmail or other email services.

Website Design.  Now it’s time for the look or design of your website. The service company you choose will probably offer templates that you can adapt to your site. For example, WordPress has “themes.” Or, you can work with a website designer. Start the process by looking at other sites, including competitive companies. Ask colleagues for their feedback.

“You need to make sure your website has ‘responsive’ design so it can be easily seen on a desktop computer, tablet and cell phone. From a design standpoint, a website typically has a logo in the upper left corner, a header along the top with navigation links, and a ‘banner image’ or ‘slideshow’ on the homepage. The ‘banner image’ or ‘slideshow’ is generally horizontal in size and spans the width of the website. Other elements include social media icons,” Renn explains.

Renn reminds us that there are many resources for stock photos and images that are reasonably priced. One of them is the website, istockphoto.com.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. If you want people to visit your website, then you have to learn more about SEO. It helps your business grow and meet your professional objectives. Because users trust search engines (e.g., Google) you want to include the keywords they are searching for and to increase your website’s potential and value.

This means that when you are developing and writing your website’s content, you have to research how people look for your type of business. Your copy and website content should “attract” search engine interest up front and throughout your site.

You will find resources about SEO and keywords and how to choose them at First Person Public Relations: http://sallychapralis.com/blog/?p=1102

“There isn’t a magic way to get good search results. It requires time, effort and maintenance,” Renn explains. Google and other search engines will return better search results over time as your website grows and establishes an online presence.

“WordPress is a free content management system that currently powers 30% of all websites online. Its themes or templates allow users to change the look of their website without altering the site content. Basic themes are free, although you may want to purchase a custom-designed theme that offers superior layout and customization, such as those found at https://www.elegantthemes.com/,” Renn adds.

These premier themes usually sell for under $100.

“An extensive library of plugins, which offer custom features such as Search Engine Optimization, Twitter feed, etc., allow users to extend the functionality of their WordPress websites easily and inexpensively.”

“Be warned,” Renn adds, “that WordPress can be vulnerable to security issues if not properly maintained. You must be diligent in keeping all of your themes and plugins updated. Also, strong passwords are a must for your site administrators.”

Learn more about WordPress at:  https://wordpress.org/

 

Do Your Customers Love You?

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Because “you need your customers more than they need you,” Jeb Blount offers the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Service” in his book, People Love You – The Real Secret to Delivering Legendary Customer Experiences.

As Blount explains, “The fact is customers are not loyal to products, services or companies. Instead, they are loyal to people they like, trust and believe in.” So while the mechanics and process of servicing customers are important, your real goal is to build “strong emotional bonds with customers that last a lifetime.”

Thus, Blount presents “The Seven Essential Principles of Customer Engagement”:

“Principle 1: You Need Your Customers More Than They Need You. The number one reason companies fail is a lack of customers. Whether you are the boss, account manager or sales person, top customer service professionals believe their mission is to help their customers win and reach their goals. They are advocates for their customers. And they believe that by helping their customers reach their goals, they will reach their own.”

“Principle 2: Customers Are People. They are emotional, irrational and human. They feel fear and stress. They are overworked and underpaid. They are time starved. They have ambition and goals. They have an insatiable need to feel important and appreciated. They have families and priorities. Each interaction with a person crates an experience that they remember. Though you may believe that your product or service has a greater impact on your customer’s experience than you do, remember that customers don’t do business with companies, they do business with people – you.”

“Principle 3: You Are Always On Stage. Business is a grand stage and…from that stage you deliver customer experiences. Everything you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language can and will have an impact on your customer’s experience. Your words and actions have meaning. A misspoken word, display of raw emotion, or slip of the tongue will impact the relationships you have with customers. … This is where customer experience is born. Yours and theirs.”

“Principle 4: Customers Act on Emotion and Justify with Logic. “One of the core principles of the ‘People Love You’ philosophy is the universal law of human behavior: People act first (or buy) on emotion and then justify those actions with logic.’ Yes, there are ‘folks who will argue this point to the death.’ And, yes it is true that we all try to make logical purchasing decisions based on facts, numbers, observations and stats. But it is the emotion we feel that causes us to act.”

“Principle 5: Customers Do Things for Their Reasons – Not Yours. Account managers or customer service professionals should embrace the belief that though customers may not always be right, they are always first. They stand in their shoes and view situations through their customer’s perspective.”

“Principle 6: Customers Don’t Do Illogical Things on Purpose. While some managers believe ‘customers do dumb things on purpose’ … there is usually an alternative explanation for their actions. … Top customer service professionals assume positive intent. In other words, they recognize that the customer thought she was doing the right thing. They know that when a customer is doing the wrong thing, there is a reason and it is in their best interest as a service professional (because they need their customers more than their customers need them) to investigate why the person is doing something that seems illogical rather than simply judge it as such. This helps them to either gain understanding or uncover and remove the root cause.”

“Principle 7: Always Give More Than Is Required. Generally, when discussing customer service, the cliché is to ‘exceed customer expectations.’ But, Jeb Blount explains, ‘it is not always possible to exceed their expectations, since you may not know what they are or can’t exceed them. “At my company, we have a simple value statement that we live by. We always do more than we have to and we will be kind to everyone, no matter what. … Focus on what you can control – your actions. … That is, ‘give your customers more value that they paid for.’ We often forget about our expectations and instead think about how good we feel and our experience.”

Blount discusses the “Five Levers of Customer Experience that help you move people to love you by tapping into the motivations that are driven by human emotion,” and he explains how to “make breaking up hard to do.”

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SEO and Keywords – We Can Find You!

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

You will find lots of different opinions and suggestions on SEO and which keywords to use to attract your target markets and achieve your goals. If you want to be discovered by the right consumers, here are just a few resources that will help in your SEO keyword research.

Here you go:

There’s more, including KWFinder, Keyword Tool, and SEMrush (whew?!).

Professional Associations Help You Succeed

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Thousands of professional associations – local, national, international – serve their members in many rewarding ways. Whether you’re new to your profession or an experienced pro, you will see how invaluable they can be in your career – from networking with knowledgeable peers to a variety of important professional resources, ongoing programs and services, and new jobs.

►Why Join a Professional Association?

http://www.ilcounseling.org/?page=whyjoin

►Top 10 Reasons to Join a Professional Organization

https://blog.cccctech.com/top-10-reasons-to-join-a-professional-organization/

►Millennials Have Rediscovered the Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246691

►13 Basic Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization

https://www.educba.com/joining-a-professional-organization/

►Professional Associations and Why They Matter

http://www.slaw.ca/2012/01/20/professional-associations-and-why-they-matter/

►American Society of Association Executives

https://www.asaecenter.org/

►The Encyclopedia of Associations covers thousands of professional associations categorized by subject. You can find it at your local public library or online.

Here’s to your success and the professional associations that help you achieve it !!

Meet the Man Teaching Baby Boomers How to Turn Their Age into an Asset

Monday, January 29th, 2018

“While it’s not a pretty picture for most older workers in the corporate job market, we’ve shown hundreds of boomers how to turn their age from a disadvantage to an asset when running their own businesses,” notes Jeff Williams, CEO of Chicago-based Bizstarters.com, a coaching company that helps boomers start their own businesses. jeff@bizstarters.com

2018 marks Bizstarters’ 30th year guiding boomers find rewarding entrepreneurial opportunities that reflect their experience and preferred lifestyles. “We show our clients that even though corporations may not hire you after 50, they’ll sure buy from you. And so will a wide variety of consumers.”

Jeff Williams’ long-held love of teaching and training, primarily as an unpaid volunteer, led him to conceptualize his first business – a walk-in entrepreneurial training center, located in suburban Chicago. He launched the business right in the middle of the 1990 recession, when a large local population of downsized corporate managers presented an attractive group of entrepreneurial prospects.

In 1999, using the power of the newly established World Wide Web, Williams enlarged his business footprint internationally by launching a new online company, using the company’s current name of Bizstarters.com.

Following an eighteen-year career as an MBA-trained corporate marketing executive, Williams worked at entrepreneurial training centers, taught college courses in writing business plans, and worked with the Private Industry Council, a nonprofit organization that operated employment, education and training programs. The entrepreneurial training program Williams led for the job training agency won a national award for program excellence in 1992 and funding from the U.S. Department of Labor was renewed for seven straight years.

By the time Williams was in his late thirties, he realized from speaking to his friends, college buddies and corporate colleagues that boomers were developing a  perspective on retirement that was very different from that of their parents; Today, many boomers don’t see retiring anywhere near the traditional retirement age. They find that with their skills, experience and talent, they can often replace corporate work with entrepreneurial work. “While it can take more time and effort to grow your income from running your own business compared to a job, I will always trust a group of satisfied customers to stay more loyal to me than any corporate boss I ever had,” Williams emphasizes.

“Our clients have launched a wide variety of businesses, from designing and selling custom jewelry to consulting on health and safety issues with Fortune 500 manufacturers to selling vintage drum sets to serious collectors around the world. There is a demand for almost any type of work skill, life interest or long-enjoyed hobby in the entrepreneurial marketplace today.”

Bizstarters helps boomers launch their entrepreneurial ventures through the company’s Virtual Incubator™ business startup coaching program whose mantra is ‘Do What You Do Best. We’ll Do the Rest.” It reflects a dual-track process, where a coach guides the boomer client through his or her essential marketing and selling decisions, while at the same time a support team executes all essential organizational tasks, ranging from website design to installing and using accounting software.

Williams notes “that the same corporations that don’t seem to want you on their payroll will gladly pay you top dollar for your talent and experience as a freelancer or consultant. Boomers certainly can turn their age into an asset.”

 

 

Public Relations Trends in 2018

Monday, January 1st, 2018

It’s January, the first month of the year when we often explore new professional opportunities. If you work in public relations you might be developing a PR plan for a client or yourself and would welcome more information.

Check these links for PR possibilities that you might not have considered.

► 20 Insightful PR and Marketing Predictions for 2018

https://www.swordandthescript.com/2017/12/pr-marketing-predictions-2018/

► 10 Bold PR and Marketing Predictions for the Year 2020

https://www.inc.com/steve-cody/10-pr-marketing-tips-for-the-year-2020.html

► 4 Key PR Trends to Watch in 2018

http://www.prnewsonline.com/prnewsblog/4-key-pr-trends-to-watch-in-2018/

► The most important media and PR trends for 2018

https://business.twitter.com/en/blog/most-important-media-PR-trends-2018.html

►Public Relations Today

https://www.publicrelationstoday.com/2018/trends/

► Ask the Experts: Predictions on the Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2018

https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/marketing-trends-for-2018/

Happy New Year.