Sunday, August 29, 2010

Send Out Vibrant Energy Over The Phone

Some first-time conversations over the phone leave you feeling happy and upbeat, whilst others make you cringe. Which experience would you like your customers to have?

A few weeks ago, I had tried out for a voiceover (my first time ever!)

Whilst I put the huge headphones on, the technician moved a stand aside so that they could see my face clearly. That particular script needed a lot of emotion in it.

Whatever I felt as I read the short script would be reflected on my face. Which in turn, could be heard in my voice. The truth that we sometimes forget is that our voices can easily convey happiness, irritation, joy, hope, nervousness and more.

Half the time we are not even aware of how much our voices are telling the world about our emotions.

What does this mean for you as a businessperson?

It means that no matter how you feel deep down inside, you’ve got to pretend to be happy, energetic and excited when you speak over the phone (unless it’s a negative situation).

On a bad day, say when you are overwhelmed with bills, you need to hide the frowns and chase away the feelings of depression that hangs over you. Instead when the phone rings, be prepared to:

· Sit up straight & think of energy flowing through every one of your cells
· Put a big cheerful smile on your face
· Be ready to help the other person on the line

This is the first step towards communicating your enthusiasm and interest in doing business.

Try it now. It is such a simple method that allows you to be seen as a businessperson who is energetic, vibrant and upbeat. Put your acting hat on each time your phone rings.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Turning Small Profits Into Large Ones

Is it worthwhile spending your time with a customer who isn’t going to buy much from you? Is how you communicate with this small customer important?


We all know it but small business owners still break this golden rule, resulting in a loss of repeat customers who may bring in big business.

Here’s an example. Caught in an unexpected situation, I had to buy a new handphone. Since I only needed something very basic it automatically meant a lower end model that did not cost much.

At the first outlet, the owner looked disgusted when I told him what I was looking for. I fled from his sneering arrogant attitude.

The young “punk” seated at the next outlet made my heart sink. I should have remembered not to judge a book by its cover. He turned out to be a load of surprises.

Politely, the young lad me relevant models. Patiently, he explained the features of the different handphones. I was impressed.

Along the way, he did politely inquire why I didn’t go for a higher end model. But he never pushed it or mocked my choice. The young “punk” was always respectful and helpful.

The more welldressed gentleman in the first outlet could have taken lessons from him. He had clearly demonstrated how you communicate and deal with your customers.

By taking the time to listen to my needs and see that they were all met, he had won over a new customer. I will go back there and, another point to note is that I will recommend his outlet to others.

A cheap product with a low profit margin can be turned into a high profit margin – in the long run. Just remember that:

· Every customer matters.
· A small deal can turn into a big one tomorrow.
· So, spend time communicating politely to ALL customers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

European Welfare Systems and Changing Work Technologies

I attended eHomemakers’ Work-Life Balance Conference last week and listened to speakers from around the world discuss the tenets of work-life balance. 

In general, participants looked to European countries as models for the work-life balance they would hope to implement in Malaysia. 

They argued this is the future. 

This choice of an idol, however, made an easy target for critics, who claimed the European system was unproductive and inefficient.  As evidence, they pointed to the crises facing the European economies and threatening these half-century old social democracies.  

Both proponents and opponents were making a fundamental mistake, however, in equating the European-style social system with the fundamental changes that are occurring in the way people work.   Both of these subjects certainly affect work-life balance and alter people’s work environments. 

The European social system subject pertains to politics and decisions on how to distribute resources already created. 

These societies have already accrued a large amount of wealth or are producing more per individual than each needs. This excess stock of wealth is then used to support their welfare system, allowing people to work fewer hours.  

This system does not substantially affect productivity in these countries.  In fact, the causality runs in the opposite direction from what is supposed by critics of the European system.  It is really the productivity of the workers in Europe that has allowed them to maintain their welfare state.

The fundamental changes in work environment, however, are far more economic in nature and go beyond any specific governing policy. 

New technology is fundamentally changing the way people work.  Throughout the majority of human history, man (and woman) lived and worked close to home. It wasn’t until the late 18th century with the onset of the industrial revolution that humans began to travel substantial distances to work. Large factories necessitated the movement of labor for proper coordination to increase productivity.  

The advent of new computer systems and communications networks are changing the situation once again, allowing for work coordination across larger geographic distances. 

In a way, this is a very Marxian argument, much in line with the dialectical materialism, which claims the technology and capital we use to work defines our society. 

If the plow gives us the Feudalism, and the steam engine Capitalism, then the computer gives us the Home Based Capitalism (I could probably think of a better name).  This shift does not really directly affect the amount of time people work, but changes the location of work.  Considering that more business are adopting these employment structures, it also making workers more productive.

In recent years, the European social systems have come under increasing stress from both the changing demographic situation in Europe and globalization.  

Populations are growing older, and jobs are moving to cheaper geographies.  

These challenges and the resulting problems to the system are what people actually note, when they cite European productivity problems.  

The other issue focuses on how people work. If there is a connection it is that the very technological forces, which are driving globalization and hence destabilizing European welfare systems, are also driving the changes in the work environment. 

In both cases, geography is becoming of less and less importance, as jobs move to new locations.