How do you craft a polite email to customers who haven’t responded to your previous emails?

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on How do you craft a polite email to customers who haven’t responded to your previous emails?

A busy professional asks a question regarding customer sales.

How do you craft a polite email to customers who haven’t responded to your previous emails?

I’m an international trading clerk, I have some customers who used to talk to me smoothly, but once I give them the price, they don’t reply me or even a comment on the price. So how should I contact them in a polite and comfortable way as a follow up?

Well, email isn’t the only tool in your toolbox.  Also email isn’t actually “talking to you smoothly”.  My recommendation is to use email:

  • as a “record” of your more intimate phone conversations
  • as a summary of your last phone conversation
  • to remind the client of the next step in the buyer’s journey (which may be another phone or in-person meeting)

One recommendation is don’t craft a polite email, call them. Calling them shows that you’re serious about winning their business, as you actually took time out of your day to follow up in a more personal manner. Attempting to speak with them directly shows initiative on your part, and a desire to do what is necessary to not only wins their business, but to retain it.

With an actual phone conversation, you can provide additional information, demonstrations, and charm them with your personality and sense of humor.  You can also discuss next steps and get verbal agreements throughout the conversation.  Verbal agreements lead to sales.

As far as price: price is never the biggest sticking point in the prospect decision making process.  It’s usually that

  • they have questions you have not answered (you need to know what those questions are, they are not going to tell you),
  • you have not asked the RIGHT questions (to find their pain) or
  • they don’t like/trust you

Bantering through email doesn’t really resolve any of these things.

Consider a more personal approach:

  • Visit the at their site
  • Invite them to your site
  • Make personal phone calls

Bottom line:  If one method of communication isn’t working, do not continue with that method.  Switch it up and make your next method more personal with a sense of urgency.

See what you think about those ideas.

At what staff number is it worth to provide daily “free” lunch or dinner for your employees?

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on At what staff number is it worth to provide daily “free” lunch or dinner for your employees?

A busy professional asks a question regarding Company Culture:

At what staff number is it worth to provide daily “free” lunch or dinner for your employees?

I am the Recreation and Events Golf Manager for a course in Orlando. Part of my responsibility is overseeing the Clubhouse’s food and beverage team. We have always offered our staff 50% off a meal if they are working that day, and 20% off a meal if they come in to eat on their own time. We only staff about 20 people (including both back of the house and front of the house) in the clubhouse. With the spotlight on “company culture”, should we be providing additional benefits like free meals to our employees?

 

I think it’s very generous that you offer your staff discounts on meals.  In regards to “what staff number”, I think it should be directly proportional with your revenue/income.  You are still in the business to make money.  My recommendation is to continue your current method as long as it feels good to you and is still profitable to do so.

Additional benefits

As for “additional benefits” – consider rewarding performance versus just being “present”.

Some ideas are:

  • When salaried employees work “over-time” (evenings during the week, or weekend hours over lunch) – the company provides free meals to the employees during those “over and above” hours. This was in recognition for helping out in a moment of crisis or in a critical client situation.
  • Thank you card and restaurant gift certificates (or meal gift certificates to their entire family) can also be given as a performance award to celebrate outstanding accomplishments or outstanding performances. This provides a nice thank-you to their entire family. We often need to acknowledge that there’s an entire family involved that allows the employee to work those extra hours and/or provide that excellent performance. Thanking their entire family is also a nice show of overall appreciation.
  • Providing additional vacation days to compensate for extra/long hours is another option.
  • Some companies provide continuing education reimbursement to support their employee’s career growth and development.
  • Some companies reimburse for professional organizations or professional association fees. These are professional groups associated with the company’s industry.  When employees business network in these group, it’s a Win/Win for both the employee and the company.
  • Some companies reimburse for attendance to industry conferences, seminars and tradeshows. It’s another Win/Win for both the employee and the company.

 

Whatever you decide, keep in mind your employee’s advancement and career goals.  Then continue to provide additional assistance to help your employees develop and advance in their chosen career.

See what you think about those ideas.

How do I define my role in my daughter’s business that I will be funding?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on How do I define my role in my daughter’s business that I will be funding?

This question came from a loving parent and business owner.

How do I define my role in my daughter’s business that I will be funding?

 My daughter wants to start her own business in a field in which she is not only certified, with 5 yrs. experience, a solid client list, but has some excellent ideas in which to grow the clientele. She has no credit, so my husband and I would be taking out the loan on her behalf. How do we ensure that we get our ROI? She has already asked me to help her with bill paying and such. I have read the posts about silent partners, but I’m unsure that is what I’ll be.

Don’t go in blind

Starting a new business is not an easy endeavor and many businesses fail within the first 3-5 years. If they do succeed, it may not be until the 5th year until they see any profits.

Add to this the complication of loaning a child or family member and you are in very, very risky territory.

A new business is a gamble

It is very difficult to “loan” a children money, because even though they may initially recognize it as a “loan”, they often it do not pay it back.  Other expenses take precedence and they are predisposed to accepting your help.  This is doubly risky if you introduce the idea of “investing” or becoming a silent partner.  You are now “investing” in a new business that may not succeed or may take several years to see any profits.  Therefore if you have to take out a loan that you need to be paying back in a timely fashion, I do not recommend “investing” as a silent partner.   Investments are not guaranteed to be paid back.  A new business is a gamble.  And if you do not have the money to lose, do not do it.

Recommendation:

Instead – treat this as a strict business loan with payback expectations (along with any interest you agree as your ROI – as well as timelines for payback).

Have a signed contract with well-defined payment schedule AND consequences for defaulting on the loan. Avoid a payment schedule that states “payment due when business starts to make money” (or anything similar). Don’t tie the payment schedule to her business success…. BUT consider her Business Plans and income forecasts when defining a tangible schedule with actual dates. (Even silent partners do their homework to verify that the Business Plan is solid and there is actually a reasonable expectation of ROI)
For instance – Require her to show you her Business Plan with income forecasts, budgets, expenses, and forecast revenues. Help her with coming up a realistic Business plan. DO NOT TAKE OUT THE LOAN IN YOUR NAME until you see and approve of her detail business plan. Demand that the loan payment become a regular expense in their business plan (just like any other business expense).

Then create a calendar of payments based on her actual revenue forecasts. Review her company expense schedule to verify that the load payment is included as a regular fee of doing business.

.
Also include consequences for not meeting those payment schedules (late fees, payment in other forms, payment extension with increased interest rates, etc).

For instance, if her business folds or she abandons the business – she still needs to meet the payment schedule BECAUSE you still need to pay back the loan (regardless). Iron out all the scenarios and exit strategies if things do not go as plan. Do you expect late-payment fees, etc. How many months of non-payment determines an abandonment – and what would the next step in that scenario. Do you want to hold any collateral for payment, etc.

Do your homework

You will want to iron all these scenarios out and make the expectations clear up front. Do your homework to make sure this even makes sense. Or hire a business coach to help you with these decisions and help her with a realistic business plan. Understand the start-up costs, the recurring costs, the target revenue goals, what steps will be taken if the revenue goals are off-target, the resources and equipment needs, and everything else a realistic business plan covers.

If you don’t want to approach this as a business loan – then just agree to “gift” her money (with ZERO expectations of ROI or repayment). And only give her money you can afford to lose (not get paid back).

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

Do I need to buy out my partner upon dissolution of a LLC?

Posted by on Dec 11, 2016 in Coaching, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on Do I need to buy out my partner upon dissolution of a LLC?

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers:  105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

 

Today’s question came from a busy entrepreneur.

Do I need to buy out my partner upon dissolution of a LLC?

I started an LLC 5 years ago in Pennsylvania. I brought a partner on board and his share is 49%. We never had a formal Partnership agreement. He never took a salary and just paid expenses. We never really made any profit after paying my salary. He now wants to dissolve the corporation. He is saying to dissolve the company I must buy out him out. My partner never made any capital contributions, he only paid expenses. He also never paid any taxes only I did. My questions are:

  1. Do I really need to buy him out?
    2. Is he entitled to back profits (which were very minimal)?
    3. If there are no assets for the company, what will he be able to get out of the business upon dissolution?

Begin with the End in Mind:

Habit 2 from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is “Begin with the End in Mind.”  This habit was specifically designed to create effective goals.  Is your goal to build the business until you can sell it?  Are you envisioning a Franchise or licensing path?  Where do you think you are going with this idea?

But this is also critical when deciding partnership term.  By this, I mean, whenever you create a contract of any type, you need to consider how the partnership (or whatever) will end.  In regards to a partnership – discuss exactly what you want to if one person wants to be released, or if the company is dissolved.  When entering into any partnership or business relationship – it’s extremely important to include documentation on EXIT Strategies (up front).   This avoids the problem that is now occurring.

When an Exit Strategy is missing

Since there is no contract or documentation in this example, verbal contracts can be misinterpreted and hard to enforce.  So if you wanted to dissolve on good terms, consider itemizing the following assets of the company (like dissolving a marriage):

  1. Document/list everything he put into the company ($$)
  2. List everything is he took from the company ($$, and value of any assets)
  3. List everything you put into the company ($$, tax payment and value of any assets)
  4. List everything you took from the company ($$, salary, expenses, value of any assets)
  5. List the profits of the company.
  6. After all the +/- are calculated, and if there’s a remaining balance…. give him 49% of what’s left.
  7. If there’s a -negative balance, decide what you want to do with that (he also owns 49% of the debt).

Show your partner the itemized balance sheet and start a dialog. Be above board and transparent in your dealings and intentions.
Consider hiring an arbiter to assure an amicable solution.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

Best way to break bad news to employees

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on Best way to break bad news to employees

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers:  105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

 

Today’s discussion is regarding how to break bad news to employees.

 

A busy professional asks:

How do I break bad news to employees?  It might be staffing changes, a lost contract or even the death of someone close to the business.  When should I:

  • Break the news?
  • To whom (or everyone at once)?
  • Appropriate ways to communicate?
  • Tips for doing it right?

 

 

Giving bad news is never comfortable, but necessary.  The way you do it can influence the way people accept the news.

Some tips:

  • For those that are directly affected with the news, you talk to them directly (one-on-one).  Those that are not directly affected, it can be a group discussion.
  • Depending upon the type of news, be prepared with answers and follow-up counseling (grief counseling, further training, next steps life coaching, etc.)
  • Focus on them versus yourself.
    1. Avoid the temptation to fill in awkward pauses with “This is the most difficult thing I have had to report.”  or “I’m really broken up about telling you this”.  “This is a shock to me as well.”
    2. You might think you are helping by showing them how badly you feel — but — in actuality – they don’t really care how it’s affecting you (especially if you are not really affected by the layoff, structure change, etc).
    3. Silence is okay.  It gives them the space needed to absorb the information.  Continued talking doesn’t help them.  Wait patiently for them to end the silence, after the initial reveal.
  • Realize that they might want to immediately leave your presence after the news. But don’t assume that your job is done when they leave the room.
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting.  Recognize that people might need time to absorb the information.  Acknowledge that they will have more questions later and need to time to process what has been said.  Actually schedule a follow-up meeting before they leave.  That next meeting will have answers to the questions they asked today, as well as an opportunity for any more questions.
  • Know your audience.  If it’s a particular tough topic and you suspect your employee will be emotional or even volatile – have security (or muscles) ready (but out of sight).  You don’t want to show that you expect trouble (because then you will get it).  But you want to be prepared for it – just in case.

 
See what you think about those ideas.
I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

Reasons to add an account manager to your sales force

Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Business Processes, Business Systems and Solutions, career management, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on Reasons to add an account manager to your sales force

Account Manager/Marketing Coach Responsibilities

Mission – provide a unique experience and personalized treatment plan for each and every client.

The Account Manager takes the client to the next level of success through marketing techniques and strategies.   I know most companies are concerned about the cost of non-billable hours.   This solution provides a platform to price the Account Manager/Marketing Coach as part of package.

  • Incorporate Account Management hours in your package pricing – as Client’s <your industry> Coach
  • Meet and maintain client relationship
  • Keep focus on Up-Sale opportunities (Sales folks don’t have time to keep a lookout for up-sale opportunities on current clients – and it’s not the production team to keep a lookout for up-sale opportunities).
  • Keep eye on original constract/featured Items
    • If feature creep – use opportunity to up-sale
    • Continually review Change Requests to validate in original SOW
    • If not – price the change request
  • Weekly meeting with client on account progress
    • Understand the social media, website hits, brand monitoring and various other reports per client. Be able to explain the metrics, what they mean to the clients’ business and what the data suggests the next steps should be.
    • Continually remind clients that they need to go through account manager for requests (even if they think the request is included in the original contract)
    • Continually be the liaison between Sales/Production Team/Client
    • If the Account Manager becomes valuable to the client (understands, explains, and guides toward next steps- the client will want to work through the account manager and not around them).
  • Monthly meeting with client to review up-sale opportunities
    • Determine how long a client should stay at “base/platinum” level before moving to next level
    • Help guide “qualified clients” to their next level of growth with possible discount or “free month” at next level
      • Use the data gathered in the past weeks/months to help determine the next steps
    • Revisit Referral opportunities every month in the monthly meeting
      • Who does client want to do business with in the future to get them to their next level
      • Who can client refer to your company (who do they know that could use your services)
      • What type of industry does client want to be associated with (via cross-promotions, at events, shared interview/tv/radio spots etc)
    • Meet weekly with other Account Managers for synergy
      • Which clients that are complementary and can benefit from cross-promotions
      • Which clients would benefit in being introduced to each other
      • Any common tasks that can be combined for efficiency
      • Any solutions that can be shared – based on common issues
    • Maintain and continually promoting the client working relationship
      • Regularly send Anniversary, Birthday, Sympathy, holiday and gratitude notes/calls
      • Use CRM in Ravetree to track Account Manager’s workflow and client relationships
      • Sales team probably use a CRM, but recommend Account Managers use the same project management tool as the production team does.

 

I know your unique situation is different.  If interested, please setup a complimentary one-on-one discovery call, so that I can learn more about your circumstances and supply a more customized recommendation.

 

For additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

Small Business Saturday: How can I take full advantage?

Posted by on Nov 25, 2016 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on Small Business Saturday: How can I take full advantage?

Today’s question came from a busy entrepreneur the same week of Small Business Saturday:

Small Business Saturday: How can I take full advantage?

I have a small business on the side and I want to take full advantage of small business Saturday. My business is a retail mom and pop type store, but I do have budget for advertising.

I applaud that you want to take the most advantage of the Small Business Saturday event.  The mistake that most small business owners make is to look at each event (such as the Small Business Saturday) as a “single entity” or single opportunity.  Unfortunately, by taking each event as they come (as in this question arriving the week of Small Business Saturday) – you are actually too late to actually do something meaningful for and with it.

The key to taking full advantage of Small Business Saturday – is to recognize that it’s just one of many business opportunities to take advantage and leverage.

Here are some ideas to implement in your current marketing plan:

  • If you haven’t already, take the time to create your “attracting Client marketing plan” and use the Small Business Saturday as one type of campaign in your marketing strategy.
    • Outline your entire marketing calendar of business opportunities
    • Proactively plan for each opportunity months in advance (versus just days)
  • Design a well thought out brand, vision, mission statement and tag line for your business. Then carry that consistent message throughout your different seasonal campaigns.
    • Use these consistent message in all your campaigns
    • This enables you to re-use templates and methods for the same categories of events
  • Categorize different types of marketing assets such as:
    • Logos, digital graphics, banners and letterheads
    • Flyer and brochures
    • Local radio and cable spots
    • Streaming video spots
    • Promotional offers
    • Up-sale offers, discounts, coupons
    • Charity events and sponsorships
    • Affiliated partner events and advertisements
    • Retail Block Party events – where your business neighbors collaborate to provide bundle packages of cross-promotional products and services.
  • Taking the best advantage of Small Business Saturday is leveraging all your marketing strategies forward.
    • Use Black Friday to position for a more successful Small Business Saturday. Position your SBS event to setup a successful Christmas etc.
    • Don’t see your Small Business Saturday as a single entity, but as a piece in your progressive and aggressive business and marketing strategy.
    • Investigate leveraging complementary small businesses to both your advantages – creating more with few staff.
  • Take the time to make all the pieces fit in a cohesive and consistent marketing and branding message (which starts with your vision and mission statements).
  • Then you can continually leverage toward your next up-sale or promotion.

 

Conclusion:

As you can see, to take full advantage of anything – you need up-front planning.  For example – creating a Retail Block Party Sale for Small Business Saturday will take lots of time and collaboration.  Defining cross-promotional service bundles or packages (to lure more people to your block)  takes planning.  This is not something you can turn around in few days.  But is you mapped out all your business opportunities a year in advance – you would have the time to take full advantage of these single dates.

If you need more information on this or help, just let me know.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

Top 5 ways to make a “bad” first impression

Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in General | Comments Off on Top 5 ways to make a “bad” first impression

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Although there’s only one chance to make a good first impression, there are actually multiple ways to make a “bad” first impression.  I am talking about all the ways your potential customer can meet you and your business for the first time.

Below is a list of the top 5 customer experience touch points in a small agency example.  Any one of these “first impressions” can either make or break the deal.

Customer Experience Touch points

Mission – To be client’s lighthouse and guide their clients to a solution to their problem and closer to their business goals.

 

Incoming Call

  • Answering machine message
    • Should be friendly, helpful and direct their client’s next step
    • Should be updated regularly with new promotions, calendar of events, etc
  • Receptionist phone/sale script to get contact info
    • Should be updated regularly with new promotions, calendar of events, etc
    • Should collect ‘Where did you hear about us? info
      • Collect metrics and data on where the leads are coming from
      • Without collecting this data – you cannot determine ROI
    • Recommend a Telemarketer/Receptionist for the front area
      • Telemarketer stays busy taking and making calls
      • Telemarketer also logs calls and script/questionnaire answers
    • Keep metrics and know your numbers
      • Understand how many “in-coming” calls you need to make your revenue goal
      • How many sales do you need to make your revenue goal
        • Example: Need 50 sales a month to make my revenue goal
      • How many appointments you need to make a sell
        • Example: On average, I have an 80% conversion. For every 10 people I meet with, I can close 8 of them.
      • How many incoming and outgoing calls do you need to make until you get an appointment
        • Example: For every 5 incoming call, I get 1 appointment. For every 15 outgoing calls, I get 1 appointment.  Therefore, I need (5X 10 X 6) or 300 incoming calls a month
      • Focus newsletters/email/social media and other promotions to increase incoming calls
        • Example: My in-bound promotions generate 10 in-coming calls a month.  Therefore, I need to both increase the in-coming call rate AND supplement with outgoing calls
      • Telemarketer/Receptionist salary could be part commission via appointments made
        • Allows performance based pay option

 

Outgoing Calls (Telemarketer/Receptionist can be used for lead generation activities)

  • Above example illustrates that incoming call rate cannot sustain revenue goal. You need a combination
  • Use exchangeleads.io or other lead generating tools to get batch qualified leads
  • Design scripts for following up on leads
  • Contact people when they have downloaded your offers/white papers/videos
  • Send Thank you notes/calls for calling/visiting/requesting information
  • Promotional calls for upcoming offers/campaigns
  • MIA calls for clients that have disconnected (and you want them to engage back)
  • Keep metrics and know your numbers
    • Goal of how many outgoing calls to make an appointment
    • Goal of how many appointments you need to make a sell
    • How many sales you need to be successful, etc.
    • Track actual against goals

Newsletters/Emails

  • Distribute on a regular schedule
  • Update with current promotions, campaigns
  • Provide interesting, usable content and relevant context for your “ideal” client
  • Collect metrics on leads generated, inbound links, content performance by author, content performance by topic, content performance by format
  • Collect metrics on social proof/share-ability

 

Introduced through Website and Social Media

  • Make sure website is up to date on News, Staff/Team info as well as blogs
  • Provide valuable opt-ins and Qualifying Questionnaires
  • Collect metrics on customer generating performance

First In-House Visit:

  • Make sure your office is inviting and understandable. Confirm the client knows where to go and who to meet.  If you have multiple entries, make sure they know which door to go through and who to ask for.
  • If you give the client a tour of your offices, have suggested script for both client and staff introductions, roles/titles, and how instruct staff on how they are to respond, etc.

 

Conclusion

In general, a confused or unsure mind says “no”.  Therefore, from the start, make every client touch point very clear, comfortable and inviting.

 

I know your unique situation is different.  If interested, please setup a complimentary one-on-one discovery call, so that I can learn more about your circumstances and supply a more customized recommendation.

 

For additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

How to best deliver bad news

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in General | Comments Off on How to best deliver bad news

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

I just attended a team meeting in which the CEO gave (what could be interpreted as) a reprimand to his entire production team.  Because of what I witnessed, I wanted to share with you some tips on how to best deliver bad news.

Tips

  • Decide if the news is good or bad news.
  • If it’s bad news, see if there’s a way to make it uplifting.
  • Include your management team in the crafting of the message. They know their team better than you.
  • Decide how you will handle any fallout from the announcement. For example, many people will discuss the announcement with co-workers and/or managers.
  • Coach your management team on how to handle any fall-out from the announcement. For example, how do you want them to handle hallway discussions, etc.
  • Execute your fallout plan.
  • Meet with you management team a few days afterwards to check on how the teams are doing with the news.

Real World Scenario 1

Sales cycle and end of the month was coming to an end at a small agency.  The CEO was trying to push the sales team to close their sales.  One of the sales team members expressed the concern that the design team would not be able to keep up with the demand, if all the sales did go through.  So the CEO went to the design team and said:

 

“Team, the sales team is working hard to close several of these outstanding deals in the last five days of the month.  They really admire and depend upon you.  They have got your back – so much that they worry that they will overload you.  I need you to support your sales team.  We know you are not at full capacity.  We see your hours and we know you are not working your full 40 hours.  So if you are feeling overloaded, keep it to yourself.  Don’t talk to the sales team about it.  Go to your car and scream if you have to.  But don’t talk to the sales team.”

 

As you can image, after that uplifting meeting several designers huddled behind closed doors.  They could have been discussing the weather…. But that is unlikely.

 

Several things can now happened, because of the way the CEO expressed himself.

  • Designers could start padding their billable hours to make sure they hit 40 hours a week. And those hours would cost the client and affect future sales.  Everyone understands that a 40 hour work week, isn’t truly 40 hours of design work.  And only the billable hours are being tracked.  BUT … there are lots of non-billable meetings, administration time, lunch hour, vacation/personal time, and investigation/learning in a regular work week.  Now that the CEO has sent the message that they are determining how hard everyone is working via the billable hours – there could be some negative accounting fallout.
  • Designers do not stop working when they clock out. Their minds are constantly working, designing, creating better ways to do things – at night; over the weekends and even while they sleep.  The CEO isn’t paying for 40 hours.  The CEO is paying for the years of experience and quality talent.  The CEO is paying for what actually happens in the teams’ imagination: their creativity.  To bring it down to “how long it takes the designer to manifest what’s in his head” is a disservice.   The better talent may decide to look elsewhere for work.
  • The managers heard the news exactly when their staff heard it. Therefore, the CEO treated the management just like everyone else.  So, when the team disbanded after the announcement, they went directly into their manager’s office to complain.  Since the manager was unaware of the message ahead of time, he was not prepared and may have empathized with his team.

Scenario 2

If the CEO had included the management team in his decision, they may have come up with a better message such as:

 

We are working hard as a team to close some important client deals before the end of the month.  The sales team really needs your support to keep this momentum up.  Please help them in any way that you can.  This is an amazing team.  And the sales force really admires and depend upon you.  Let’s show them we have their backs.  As we close more deals, we’ll have more funds to hire additional help.  So – don’t worry about the workload.  I have your back on that.  You have my promise.  Don’t give that another thought.

 

The same message could have been given in a different way.  And now the management team has a better idea on how to handle any fallout.

 

For additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

Should you hire someone with a bad reference?

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in General | Comments Off on Should you hire someone with a bad reference?

Today’s question came from a busy professional.

Should you hire someone with a bad reference?

I interviewed two candidates recently. One of the candidates really out shined the other. This person was quick to answer all my questions intelligently, seemed really passionate about the role and had the right amount of experience. However, when I followed up with their references, one of the former employees described the candidate as undependable. Capability and dependability are very important for this role. Would you still hire this person despite the bad reference?

First, I want to congratulate you for following through on checking the references.  Many do not take the time, because they assume that the candidate would not include someone that would provide a negative review.  But, as you see, that is not always the case.  Depending upon the current job position and circumstance, you can find out some interesting things.

How much weight do you place on a bad reference?

If you talked to five people and only one reference was negative, then I would not necessarily shut the door on this person.  Everyone’s tolerance level is different.

 

Capability and dependability is very important in most roles.  No one goes out of their way to hire an unskilled and unreliable employee.   But there are also different interpretations of these traits.

 

For instance, that reference may have expected your candidate to decide X and your candidate did Y instead.  Y may have even been the right solution.  But because it didn’t match the reference’s expectations – the candidate is considered undependable or not capable.  That reference may also be the type of person that “never gives anyone an A” (we’ve all had professors like that).

 

If this was just one reference out of 5, then consider that it’s more about that reference (that person) versus your candidate.  The reference could also be having a terrible day and just doesn’t like anything or anyone that day.  It’s difficult to say.

 

If you don’t personally know the reference – then their opinion should not carry more weight than anyone else’s.   And there is nothing wrong with calling back the other references to explicitly ask about your concerns.

 

What if I only have two references:  one is positive and one is negative?

 

Get additional input from people not on the reference sheet.  Ask other people from that company; take a look at the candidate’s Linkedin profile, Facebook, their websites and online reputation.  Check into the professional groups the candidate participate in, etc.  With today’s technology, there are many ways to find out about the candidate’s working relationships.

 

Trial Period:

Remember – you initially enjoyed the person in the interview.  But it’s very difficult to foresee how this person will fit into your work culture after just a few hours.  So, there’s nothing wrong with setting the expectations of a 3 month trial or probation period.  This strategy is very useful if there is a discrepancy in salary requests.
For instance, if the candidate is requesting 20% increase in salary, you can discuss a 3 or 6 month trial period at your initial salary (with the understanding that you will re-evaluate salary at the end of the trial period).  This gives you the opportunity to see if the performance is worthy of the increase.  And it appeases their anxiety because they are assured that you are listening to their request.

Keep your eyes open

At the end of the day, keep your eyes open.  Now that you have been made aware of a possible issue, avoid giving them substantial responsibilities at the start. Continue to ramp them up until you fully trust they capabilities, especially if they will be dealing directly with clients.
For additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

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