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Leadership

7 Ways To Build Customer Confidence and Obtain Referrals

7 Ways To Build Customer Confidence and Obtain Referrals

We all have instincts that make us feel receptive to a product or turn us away from an offer. The question is WHY we feel the way we do. 

Developing healthy relationships is necessary for life, but it is not easy. Diverse backgrounds contribute to the complexity of a situation, but everyone is human. The phrase, “treat people the way you would like to be treated” sounds cliche but transcends cultural boundaries. Think about your last positive and negative interaction with someone. Why did you feel that way? 

After countless meetings as a client and with clients, I have identified seven attributes that have enriched my personal life and have helped me build effective relationships. The common factor among the seven = respecting and valuing TIME, our most precious commodity.


1. Confidence: I always do my homework before speaking with a client by researching pertinent topics and reading articles that relate to the topic of interest. The information from my research is used to ask my client informed follow-up questions. In return, I expect to receive responses that will help me tailor my implementation plan. By asking thoughtful questions, my clients trust that I can get the job done because I have taken time to understand their situation. 


2. Trust: Trust is developed through responsive interaction and intuition. I listen to my clients' needs before providing a response or interjecting my perspective. Honest and constructive feedback is provided as necessary, and I take client confidentiality very seriously. Gossiping about someone or something is bad practice, can damage your reputation, and is a waste of time. 


3. Honesty: I ask for clarification or provide my interpretation of the issue if I do not fully understand the clients' perspective. When I am not familiar with a topic, I admit it. Pretending to sound intelligent about something out of my purview tends to have a negative effect on the quality of my product and with relationships moving forward. 


4. Respect: I typically begin initial email exchanges by writing, " Dear Mr./Ms.," or "Hello Mr./Ms.," if I do not know the person. Similarly, I may call someone Mr. or Ms. depending on the context of the situation. Earning respect takes time, but addressing your client with his/her proper title will only help your situation. 


5. My client is my priority: Regardless of my schedule, I always give 100% of my attention to a client meeting whether it is in person or over the phone. They need to feel like they are #1, because they are.  

Tip: Never tell your client, “It’s been so long since we talked, and I haven’t looked at your file in a while.” I have had some people say that to me in the past, and they are automatically red flagged on my list of referrals. 


6. Punctuality: Time is valuable commodity. I cannot stress this enough. If I attend a meeting in person, I estimate the amount of time it will take to arrive, and I take unforeseen traffic delays into account. If I am late, I notify my client as soon as possible. Generally speaking, I try not to postpone meetings more than two times.   


7. Mind My Manners: I put myself on mute when I am on a call so the sound of keyboard strokes do not interrupt the flow of conversation. When I meet with people in person, my phone is placed on silent in my bag, I have a notebook out, and I make appropriate eye contact with the person who is speaking. Each situation varies, and observing social cues are critical to building client confidence and trust. 

Take these seven attributes into account the next time you are receiving services, or you are scheduling a meeting with a client regardless cultural background. Paying attention to these mannerisms have saved me a substantial amount of time and I have gained a reputation that reflects my persona.

When in doubt, ask yourself how you would like to be treated, and treat your client with equal respect. 

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Inspiring Traveler Journeys: Solo Travel to Antigua

Inspiring Traveler Journeys: Solo Travel to Antigua

Papilia loves to share inspiring traveler journeys. Robert Hock shares his first time traveling 'solo.' An exhilarating moment that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.

We All Have The Ability To Empower Mothers In The Workplace

We All Have The Ability To Empower Mothers In The Workplace

International Women’s Day, is certainly a day to celebrate the strength, beauty, and power of a woman. But what happens after that day? I am always fascinated by the ability of the general public to publicize a topic for a short period of time until the next best controversial topic arises. Personally, I am interested in ongoing, actionable conversation that takes place longer than one awesome day. On this International Women’s Day I had the pleasure of participating in the World’s Biggest Mama Meetup sponsored by Mindr, Nibble and Squeak, and United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC. The goal: to hold global discussions about how we can make the world better for all moms, and how moms can make the world better for everyone. These discussions also incorporated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as shown below. 

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Meetups like this one were taking place around the world; Nigeria alone had approximately 40 meetups to discuss women’s issues relevant for their culture. Our group of 10 - 15 women in Washington DC discussed issues highly relevant to working mothers in the United States: maternity and family leave. We talked about how a culture change needs to happen at the workplace in order to accommodate this major familial lifestyle change.

Now for the big question, what can we do to take action to bring greater awareness to this issue? Here are some suggestions: 

1. Talk to your human resources representative to better understand the maternity leave policy. Ask questions, and follow up on unanswered questions. 

2. Men and women should talk to their partners to develop their own plan of action. Each person should value and take their personal and professional roles into account when having these conversations. 

3. This is a family issue, therefore men and women are affected by the family leave policy. Men should ask questions about paternity leave and advocate for time they need to ensure their family situation is in proper order. 

4. Set expectations for yourself and your workplace. Be clear about when you will be online/offline and when you will be in the office or work remotely. 

Every work environment is different, but effective communication and responsibility is key. Once you have taken steps to ensure a plan is in order, be open to the idea that your plan is bound to change upon execution. But, be honest with yourself and your team members about what you can handle. Trust the process, and tackle challenges using a solution oriented perspective. 

This is a very human centric issue. Your voice matters, and issues can only be resolved over time if we discuss them in a productive manner. 

For more information about the founding partners visit: 

Mindr

Nibble and Squeak

United Nations Foundation - Global Moms Challenge

Let’s make each day an awesome day! 

TREAT EACH DAY AS A FRESH START + BE READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT!

TREAT EACH DAY AS A FRESH START + BE READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT!

How Do I Know Who To Trust?

How Do I Know Who To Trust?

Ticket One Denied. Ticket Two denied. This has to be a mistake, we thought as we entered the Capital One stadium SUPER excited to attend a concert in Washington, DC. We were in utter disbelief as the ticket agent told us our tickets were counterfeit and wrote VOID in big black bold letters across the QR code. 

We bought those tickets from what seemed to be a legitimate seller. We talked to him, negotiated a fair plan for a transaction, and waited to receive an email from Ticketmaster Support before transferring funds. What seemed to be an honest transaction was nothing but a huge scam.

Here’s a snippet of our emotional roller coaster: immediate anger, followed by feeling pretty duped, onward to thinking this person was a highly sophisticated Craigslist scammer by avoiding any moves that would raise red flags. 

OUR EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER

OUR EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER

Given all of the above, I think the final two parts of this emotional roller coaster are worth delving into as lessons learned for future life experiences.

1. How we can trust people again?

This question rings true as we travel abroad and within our own neighborhoods. We live in a time where we are bombarded with terror threats, social media outlets, talking heads, and other questionable voices that our first instinct is to question a person’s motive before trusting. I understand this part of  human nature, but I do not accept. I try my best to flip the thought coin; to listen to perspective, have an open mind, and make decisions on how I feel about a person’s energy and how they resonate with me AFTER an interaction. I try, but as we know, each situation is unique. However, this does lead me to the second question we asked ourselves.

2. Did we have an instinct that we didn’t pay attention to?

Looking back on our experience, there was an inkling of doubt in our minds when the Ticketmaster app didn’t instantly upload our tickets to our account. We thought it was strange, but the email from Ticketmaster Support said it could take a few hours, and we had the ability to print the tickets out. The seller also was texting us asking why it was taking us so long to transfer funds upon receipt of these tickets, and that HE was going to report us to the police. The sense of urgency seemed strange, oddly making us feel like criminals.

Our Lessons Learned:

1. Don’t buy tickets on Craigslist.

2. One occurrence will not ruin my life forever.

3. I will continue to TRUST that little voice called my intuition. Once I learn how to trust myself, placing trust in people and situations will be a little easier.

These lessons are a part of life. The real trick is how we apply what we have learned at work, at home, when we are on vacation; and with essentially everything we do in our daily lives. 

TRUST YOUR INSTINCT - IT'S EVERYTHING.

TRUST YOUR INSTINCT - IT'S EVERYTHING.

I Attempted To Do A Headstand And...

I Attempted To Do A Headstand And...

...I toppled over onto the opposite side of my mat thankful that I didn't break my neck or back. I failed to do a headstand once again. I have been trying to do this pose for over a year now, and this was the first time I felt like my core was actually going to help my legs go up in the air. Alas, this day was not the day for a headstand.

I could translate this 'failure' into a shameful negative experience, but falling over like a three year old was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It gave me the confidence to keep trying. I will admit, I was embarrassed to fall in front people who seemed to invert their bodies with complete ease. I was also scared to fall over; fearful that I would break a vital part of my body. But guess what? I didn't break anything, and no one laughed at me. In fact, I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training at Be Here Now Yoga in Washington, DC, and I just completed the training. 

On my way home after this yoga class, I thought about how much my practice has developed over time. What's awesome is that I gained the capacity to attempt challenging poses over time. What's not awesome is that I never made time to acknowledge my progress. 

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I remind myself about that poignant moment on the mat when my mind takes over with reluctance, fear, or impatience. What is the point of being paralyzed with thought when my confidence is strengthened through trial and error? 

The day I do a headstand will be a glorious day; I will acknowledge this personal accomplishment, let you know how long it took me to get there, and keep practicing another challenge. Until then, I anticipate having many more failed attempts but I need to give myself credit for practicing. More often than ever we condition ourselves to focus on things we can't do rather than celebrating how far we have come. 

My Takeaways For You: 

1.  Think about all the times you didn't acknowledge the progress you have made but you put yourself down instead.  The next time you put yourself down, think about the flip side. What can you give yourself credit for?

2. Failure is key to immense learning and progress. 

3. Significant rewards are a result of perseverance, patience, and hard work. 

Discovering My Fearlessness at Pink Pangea's Costa Rica Retreat

Discovering My Fearlessness at Pink Pangea's Costa Rica Retreat

This article was originally posted on Pink Pangea's site here. 

I cannot pinpoint the moment I began to look for writing retreats the summer of 2016, I just knew my soul needed to find a deeper sense of purpose through prose. Tremendous loss factored into my decision to look for personal inspiration. My mother passed away unexpectedly on February 2, 2016 from a heart attack. I am a huge proponent of experiencing life to the fullest, but her sudden death sent a jolt of sadness and reality to my system; I was reminded once again about the value and fragility of life. I needed to awaken my inner fears.

MY BEAUTIFUL MOM

MY BEAUTIFUL MOM

 

I love to express myself through words, but I never attended a retreat, never had taken a writing class, and never had traveled with women I did not know. Yet, the sense of community reflected through stories from previous Pink Pangea participants aligned with what I was intuitively searching for. I made the commitment to attend the Costa Rica retreat six months prior to the trip, also something out of character for me. I am a big last minute adventure traveler.

On a cold Saturday morning in Washington DC, I woke up at 3:50 in preparation to go to National Airport; my carryon full of yoga pants, swim suits, journals, and passport in hand. Pure nostalgia ran through my veins in anticipation for this new experience. I had a quick layover in Miami, and could not stop smiling a big cheesy smile walking past the LOVE & PEACE sign at the airport. I was almost in Costa Rica! As the plane landed in San Jose, I was overwhelmed with nervous emotion. How was the week going to unfold? Would our expectations be met? Would we all get along? Why did we decide to make this commitment to come to this retreat? 

This experience exceeded my expectations in every plausible way.

Every morning I woke up to a vibrant sunrise ready to start my day with a yoga class that overlooked glorious mountains, and every night I soaked in a hot tub watching the sunset in a tropical oasis. Each day was filled with copious amounts of fresh food, a plentiful selection of herbal teas, luscious fruit, and thoughtful conversation. On Friday, the last day of this magical retreat I sat on a hammock to absorb all the experiences I had embraced. I felt like I became a better version of myself; I came to Costa Rica with an open heart and an open mind. I was ready to find greater meaning in my life, to invest in myself, to breathe for serenity, to take my writing to the next level. I flipped through my journal to see how the week transformed my inner and outer being. At our first orientation session, we were asked to complete this prompt: “When I see myself writing I see…” I wrote: “I see potential to impact others but there’s a barrier of fear in my mind.” After less than a week some of those barriers dissipated into the clear blue Costa Rican sky. I asked myself, “Why?”

THE VIEW FROM THE YOGA STUDIO AT THE PURA VIDA SPA

THE VIEW FROM THE YOGA STUDIO AT THE PURA VIDA SPA

 

I had the opportunity to write about thought provoking topics personal to my heart in a paradise that embraced self-reflection and encouraged vulnerability. I read my writing in a space where critique was constructive and where I trusted peers for whom I had the utmost respect. I distinctly remember the day we wrote about “A Woman’s Worth.” I described my Mother’s journey from Bangladesh to the United States in the 1970s. Towards the end of sharing my story about her, I burst out in tears of joy and sadness. I could not believe that I had written words that possessed such raw emotion. It was incredible.

When I was not writing, the warmth of the air along with the sound of palm trees swaying in the wind guided my intention to stay in the present moment. I was free from daily responsibility, free from external noise, free from fear.

Above all else, what made this experience in Costa Rica memorable were the people. When I booked this trip, I did not realize that I would be at this retreat on February 2nd, the one year anniversary of my Mom’s passing. Yet, the ability to be my true self and to be comforted by newfound friends gave me the courage I needed to move forward in my life and through my writing.

I have transferred so much of what I learned in Costa Rica into my daily life; enough to conquer the world with all I can offer. I just needed the right opportunity to discover my fearlessness.

THE FEARLESS HAPPY MANGO

THE FEARLESS HAPPY MANGO

How A Trip To Africa Taught Me To Be Bold

How A Trip To Africa Taught Me To Be Bold

In early 2006 I took my first trip to Africa and landed in Ghana. When I signed up for the trip I actually had no idea where Ghana was but decided it was this or stay home, and so I choose to go. I made a bold decision. I had largely traveled in protective groups, taking postcard ready photos, jamming my daypack with trinkets to take home to show off my latest adventure. This, I quickly realized, would not be that kind of trip.

Ghana is the land of shea nut, a natural resource dubbed liquid gold that thousands of women turn into a body and cooking oil to sell, and where fufu, a sticky ball of pounded cassava, is served with peanut stew. It is the home of the Ashanti Empire. It is holds the history of the former Trans-Atlantic slave trade. It is a place that takes a hold of you and doesn’t let you go.

GHANIAN CUISINE

GHANIAN CUISINE

THE WOMEN OF TAMALE

THE WOMEN OF TAMALE

It is the country where I stopped being a kid and became a traveler. I allowed the experience to open my eyes, to absorb all that was new and different around me. Maybe it was people, maybe it was the mix of dirt and the sand from the Sahara in the air, or maybe it was that I surrendered myself – but I fell in love. I fell in love not only with the country but with what being bold afforded me. I allowed the experience to propel me forward – from changing my major, my first job out of grad school focused on Africa, and even now, living abroad.

WORKING WITH SHEA YELEEN COOPERATIVE MEMBERS

WORKING WITH SHEA YELEEN COOPERATIVE MEMBERS

(Click here to learn more about the Shea Yaleen Cooperative)


Now, ten years later, I find myself practicing the art of boldness more intensely and more intentionally. It is an active part of my daily life as well as my long-term plans.

Here is what being bold has taught me:

1.     Travel for the experience, but live for the unexpected. Live within those moments.  

2.     Take the risks that scary, the ones that prompt other people to question you and go confidently into the world. The rewards are to grand to not take the risks.

3.     Be patient. Being bold doesn’t mean being irrational. It means setting an intention and seeing it through, no matter how long it may take.

4.     Find a tribe that supports your decisions and inspired you to be better each day.

5.     Settle into your decisions and be proud of them.

I have found the beauty and the contentment of living a bold life – despite the hard days and despite the sacrifices. This is the space where I can be curious, intentional, and productive. It is the foundation for living a life with purpose.

BOLD GHANIAN PRINTS 

BOLD GHANIAN PRINTS 

This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone.  Find her @theartofintentions on Instagram.

Sophia's 2016 Travel Goals

Sophia's 2016 Travel Goals

veryone in the world is in the midst of starting their new years resolutions for 2016.

For the Love of Travel

For the Love of Travel

Have you ever asked yourself what is stopping you from doing what you love? 

Do you even know what you love? 

Do you know what you are afraid of? 

I never asked myself these questions until 2010, and now I ask myself these three questions at least once a day. 

I’ll answer them right now for you.

Have you ever asked yourself what is stopping you from doing what you love? 

Initially, my fear of taking risks and feeling like I had to follow a societal norm stopped me from thinking outside the box. After years of asking myself this question, saving money, and quitting my job to do what I believe in, I’m starting to figure it out.   I started to pay attention to what made me happy and what made me a negative person. What made me love life was exploring a variety of cultures; using all my five senses to maximize each experience. I’ve never looked back and I am the happiest I have ever been, even if it requires a roller-coaster of ups and downs.

Do you even know what you love? 

I absolutely love to travel. I love to be creative, and I love having a flexible schedule that allows me to work hard and play hard. Papilla incorporates all these elements, and I’m willing to work hard to inspire other people to travel more and worry less. 

Do you know what you are afraid of? 

I’m afraid of failure. Intellectually I know it’s the best way to grow, but emotionally I don’t want to fail. I have a mini motivational moment every day. I remind myself that I am doing what I love and the decisions I make are my own. The world is truly my/your oyster.

I encourage you to ask yourself these questions; and I would be thrilled to hear your responses.

Do what you love. Life is too short.