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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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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.

What Does Mindfulness Mean to You?

What Does Mindfulness Mean to You?

These days, the word 'mindfulness' comes up so much that it seems like more of a buzzword, a word that we should use to feel better somehow. I want to take this moment to share my perspective on what mindfulness means to me, and how I have integrated this concept into my life. Perhaps it will spark some thought about what mindfulness means for you.

There was a time in my life where I coasted through days not fully aware or grateful for all that I had. I never gave too much thought to getting out of bed on my own, or being able to walk down the stairs of my house to make a fresh cup of coffee. I guess I just took it for granted. But those simple things I took for granted are true miracles every day. Walking out of my house to feel the fresh air of a new day, or looking up at the sky to see big fluffy clouds were all things that I never paid attention to because I was too busy going to work or stressed out about life circumstances. My body was more reactive than proactive back then. 

It took a major car accident to help me understand the concept of mindfulness. In 2013, my car hydroplaned on I-40 in North Carolina, and was hit by three cars and an 18-wheeler head on. I will never forget seeing the truck driving towards me at 50+ miles per hour while I was sitting in my car, virtually helpless. I scrolled through the rolodex of my life in my mind and thought, "If I have to go today, I'll be okay. I've done everything I could have possibly done for my life up to this moment." My car was an absolute accordion, but I walked out of my car that night in complete and utter shock that I didn't have a scratch on me. 


How many moments do we go through life without awareness of our surroundings? 


Everyday (since that day) I wake up with enthusiasm for all that I am lucky enough to have in this world. I have a food, clothing, shelter, family and friends. I have the ability to take walks, to look up at the sky with awe and wonder like a little kid, and to taste food that I choose to eat (among many other things). My senses are alive, and I am happy without a doubt. 

It's this level of awareness that has sparked passion for what I do. It's this type of mindfulness that has elevated my passion for life, and how I interact with people at home and abroad. I try my best to let go of petty misunderstandings as humanly possible, because it's just not worth it in the end. 

Mindfulness has been the first step to making more thoughtful decisions in my life. For me, practicing mindfulness has translated into a healthier way to live, love, and forgive. 

The art of mindfulness starts by asking yourself this one question: what is one thing you are grateful for each day? Don't wait for a big circumstance in your life to take place to shift priorities. Make time to appreciate all that you have right now, in this moment. 

TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO LOOK UP AT THE SKY.

TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO LOOK UP AT THE SKY.

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.