Count REAL activity. And sellers would be totally cool with that . . . .

sales-team-moneyballHave you seen the movie, Moneyball?  Wouldn’t it be smart to approach our business that way (?)  3  Steps to Create a “Moneyball” Sales Team, Written by Bob Marsh.

Count activity (yes!).  But REAL activity — not busy work.

There was a time when we thought it was efficient to have sellers do their own admin.  Well, congratulations — they’re doing it.   Sympathies . . .  sellers struggle to have the time to get in front of customers (as crazy as that sounds).

As managers, that’s OUR responsibility to resolve.  Let’s hire people who are good at admin, to do admin.  And begin tracking true-selling-activity.

Sellers would be totally cool with that . . . . 

Untitled design (36)I am excited that a past management experience is included as a case study in today’s Harvard Business Review article, What to Say and Do When Your Employee Has Another Job Offer, by Amy Gallo.  She writes, “The reality is people leave jobs — and not always on the schedule you’d prefer. Instead of panicking, make the most of the situation.”

 

Here’s an excerpt of more:

Case study #3: Resist the counteroffer
Cheri Spets Farmer, the principal consultant at Grace Bay Group came very close to losing a valued team member when she was the general sales manager at a television station. The employee, an account manager, “contributed unique skills to the team. He was better at his job than anyone else we’d ever had in that position.” But one day he came to her office after work hours and let her know that he was expecting an offer from another station in another market soon.

She engaged him in “a heart-to-heart” about why he wanted to leave and learned that he felt undervalued. She was focusing too heavily on problematic employees and failing to adequately support him. When she asked how he wanted to see his career progress, he explained that he wanted more responsibility and recognition. Cheri knew that was something she could give him. So, instead of making a counteroffer, she promised to get him more “engaged and vested in his role.”  “I put him in an un-official manager-training program,” she explains. “I made it a point to bring him into meetings he would not normally be invited to and asked for his input in front of the other team members.” He was much happier in his role because he could see that he was “a trusted asset.”

 

Thanks, Amy

boss‘What do you think of your previous boss?’  Caroline Zaayer Kaufman addresses this sticky moment in any interview.

Bring it back to your strengths.  Your answer to this question can indicate how you like—or don’t like—to be managed, says Cheri Farmer, a sales trainer for the Grace Bay Group in South Carolina, who has interviewed countless people over the course of her career. “How does that mesh with my own management style? Would this be a relationship that works?”

The interviewer may also be testing to see what you’ll be like to work with, Farmer adds. Will you make a positive contribution to the company’s culture, or will you need to be refereed?

Click here to read the article

 

Untitled design (35)With the completion of our training program within site (!), and I find myself repeated drawn to the relationship between knowledge and skill (see previous post).   Simply, knowledge is theory and skill is being able to execute the knowledge.  What does this mean to sales managers?   It means classroom training will not be enough, we have to give our sellers controlled opportunities to practice what we’re teaching.  (and job-shadowing a senior seller while they visit accounts is not controlled).

 

Selling is getting harder, we have to get serious or expect to get by-passed by better, more professional selling organizations.  (Forgive me, the siren song of my soapbox calls me back, and back, and back . . .)

 

(this is what I really wanted to share)  Today I read this article, Why Organizations Need To Make Learning Hard, and it talks about how true learning occurs when the learner has had to ‘work’ for it.   And, in attempts to make [trade] education easy and accessible we might have contributed to “illusions of competence” (a great term, BTW), where our sellers think they can execute something we’ve taught . . . . but they can’t.

Heck — WE think they can execute something and they can’t.

All roads continue to lead to training-AEs-is-getting-harder-and-harder in a time where our managers have less and less time.

What to do ??????

218553500_b2ee528066_mI find these 2 articles insightful and disturbing (see links below).   Forgive my broad generalizations, but these are some things that stood out to me . . .  with a little editorializing:

In the marketplace:

  • Pure plays like Yelp, Google and Groupon need local business to scale, originally they planned to do this without local sales teams but realized they need feet-on-the-street
  • SMBs need the knowledge that flesh & blood sellers can provide
  • Pure plays are acquiring local sellers through partnerships with companies that have local sales teams already in place (like TV and radio sales staffs)
  • Big companies also want local sellers for their relationships

 

The SMB mindset:

  • Having time to give their digital marketing is a problem for SMBs
  • Most don’t have the knowledge or expertise to make their digital marketing successful
  • Cost is a concern, but falls behind ‘time’ and ‘knowledge’
  • Businesses don’t trust their vendors
  • Businesses are working with multiple digital services providers – and they don’t like it

 

The wake-up call:

As digital sellers we have all the digital services and digital products local businesses want and need, we could streamline this effort and alleviate the pain of this task.

Why don’t local businesses know this?  Why don’t SMBs see us as the solution to their digital marketing concerns???

 

Could we have done it to ourselves?

  • We have sellers managing accounts that are untrained and/or untrainable
  • We have been spotty, at best, in educating our accounts
  • We haven’t made analytics simple

 

Now SMBs seem to be drawn to a DYI, do-it-yourself, alternative.    Why?

  • Because they can. Technology is simplifying digital marketing self-serve type services to the point that its reasonable for a SMB to direct their own digital efforts

So —

To stay relevant to the SMBs in our markets, we need to change.  NOW.   We’ve heard this but are we taking it to heart?  Have we adapted to what the marketing is demanding?

 

Before you say yes, silently answer these questions to yourself:

  • Are ALL the sellers that have contact with ALL the accounts educated? Or, have we rationalized giving some of our sellers a pass?
  • Are our sales teams structured the same way they were 10, 20, 30 years ago? Are the sellers still responsible for finding the business, developing the strategy, building the creative, presenting the solution, managing the account, executing the admin of order entry, revisions, etc.,  collecting AR?
    • Have we rationalize that this system is efficient? Really?   Because if we suggested this structure in large selling organizations outside our industry we would be fired.
    • #justsayin . . . . .

Signed,

The Person Who Has Made All These Mistakes

(That noise you hear is me dismounting my soap box, forgive me)

Click here to read: The Marketing of SMB Marketing Solutions

Click here to read: SMBs & Self-Service, Are We There Yet?

Untitled design (34)Originally written by Derek Walker this post, Nobody gives a crap about advertising, and why should they?,  caught my eye when my friend Vanzell Haire reposted it.  It was pretty hard-hitting.

It was so disturbing that I decided to re-share it with you.

Here was my response.

OUCH(!) — this one hits home. It’s an eye-opening read. I will never forget a revealing conversation I had with a very successful agency professional, whom I respect very much, telling me that their job was to put together a good campaign — whether it sold product, or not, wasn’t their job. OMG! — as someone who works close to the ground with local AE’s that call on local businesses — that comment blew my mind. And I knew they were very serious when they said it(!) So the question is . . . . what do you do about it ???

You gotta read this — click here

Untitled design (33)Identifying The Difference Between Knowledge And Skills,  felt like a 2×4 on the head.   

As someone that is passionate about sales training, knowledge vs skill is where we (I mean, “I”) so often miss the mark.  Knowledge is theory; skill is the practical application of that theory.  The article talks about, “One can know a lot about a subject matter, but might not have the skills required to apply that knowledge to specific tasks, since knowledge does not provide skills.”   It uses the example of the pilot that has studied aviation but we don’t want him to flight without practice.   OMG — haven’t all of us experienced this as sales managers? (!)   Could this be why we train a room full of sales people, everyone leaves motivated, and just days later it’s back to the usual actions/activity?   Maybe we have given them the knowledge, but not the practice needed that leads to skills development.  (I can’t be the only one this happens to. .  . .)

 

Read the article (click here).  Do you agree that in order to ‘make it stick’ we want to include more games, case studies, exercises and activities?   It will require even more prep (ugh), but if it’s the link between training and productivity, it’s worth it.   Read the article . . . .see if it speaks to you.

Spark-Hire-How-To-Reject-Job-Candidates(excerpt)

You finally found the perfect candidate for your open position, and they accepted your offer. It’s time to celebrate! But, before you break out the balloons, there’s one last thing you have to do — tell all of the other candidates the position has been filled.

Rejecting candidates isn’t fun and can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. When those candidates are close runner-ups, letting them down and letting them go hurts. Although you don’t want to reject anyone, you have to — there’s no way around it.

Fortunately, there are ways to make rejection easier for you and job candidates. Let candidates down the right way with these rejection tips:

 

2. Be helpful.

When following up with a candidate who doesn’t make the cut, the most generous thing a manager can do is offer solid feedback. Gently coaching the candidate on how they might approach the situation differently in the next interview is a thoughtful gesture on the part of the manager and has practical value for the candidate.

If the candidate is talented, but just not the right fit for the organization, it’s not uncommon for a good-hearted manager to offer to connect the candidate with other managers or organizations that might be a better fit.

Cheri-Farmer

Cheri Farmer, Principal Consultant, Grace Bay Group

 

 

Click here to see the article

baby driverI remember this feeling . . . .“Do you know how hard it is to be the boss when you are so out of control?”  In fact, that’s about all I remember about Year-1-In-Management.  This HBR article is a great study in a manager’s early days in the new role.

If you are a veteran manager . . . . well, let’s just say the article explains a lot.   If you are a future manager, strap on the gear, it’s going to be a wild ride (and some days you’ll wonder if anyone is at the wheel).

Click here to read the article

Monster.com
Caroline Zaayer Kaufman

pencil wallstreetYou’re sitting in a job interview ready to answer any question the hiring manager has about your qualifications and why you’re a great fit for the job. Then he holds up his writing instrument and says, “Sell me this pencil.”

This request is nearly as old as the job interview itself. It’s a simple question—typically geared toward candidates for sales positions— but it can be difficult to answer. And you might be surprised to learn what the interviewer is hoping to hear.

“Most interviewers are screening for confidence and cogency,” says Brett Cenkus, a Texas-based business consultant and lawyer who has trained sales professionals. In general, interviewers use ts question to get a feel for your sales style and experience, he adds.

There are a few guidelines pros like Cenkus suggest you follow when crafting your response:

Ask questions, lots and lots of questions

The answer made famous in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street—in which stockbroker Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) asks a friend to sell him a pen. The friend takes the pen and asks Belfort to write his name down on a napkin. Belfort says he can’t, he doesn’t have a pen, and the friend says, “exactly”—is actually not the best approach in this real-life situation.

In fact, Belfort told Piers Morgan on CNN in 2014 that the best salespeople will ask questions before they try to sell anything.

Other experts agree the best response is one that starts with plenty of questions.

“An ideal response to a question like this would be for the sales rep to start asking penetrating questions about me and my business that would help them identify whether or not I really need a pencil in the first place,” says Christopher Searles, president of New York-based Searles Media, who interviews sales candidates on a weekly basis. “Being able to successfully identify a prospect’s needs is the single most important—and often most overlooked—aspect of being a good salesperson.”

By asking questions, you can sell the pencil, not as a commodity, but as a solution to the buyer’s problem.

You say: “I’d like to understand your needs surrounding pencils. What are you currently using to write with? Where do you most often use this writing instrument and what types of things do you normally write? Are you happy with your current writing tools? If you were to consider another vendor for your writing implements, what would be important to you?”

Understand their needs—pivot if necessary

You’re selling the pencil, and you ask the interviewer, “What are you currently using to write with?” His response is, “Nothing, I never write.” What do you do next?

“Don’t be afraid to say, ‘Oh, sounds like you’re not in the market for the pencil I’m selling. Do you know anyone who is?’” Cenkus says. “Don’t waste time pitching to people who don’t have any use for what you’re selling.”

Unless you’re hoping to irritate someone into buying your pencil, don’t keep pushing when the buyer says he doesn’t need one.

You say: Since you have no use for this pencil I’m selling, is there someone else in your company who might need one?

Keep the conversation going

Plan your conversation to avoid dead ends. One common trap: Starting your sales pitch by rattling off all wonderful qualities of the pencil. “The worst thing you could do in response to this question is to start selling me first without determining if you have something of value to offer me,” Searles says.

Plus, after you list all the good things about the pencil, ask the interviewer if he wants to buy it, and he says no, you’ve run out of things to say, Cenkus says. Most applicants fizzle after this happens.

It’s OK to fake your confidence a bit to keep the conversation flowing. That beats sitting in silence.  “The worst thing an interviewee can do is not try,” Cenkus says.

Farmer agrees. “The interviewer would see that as someone who is easily rattled and has the potential to fall apart in an unexpected situation.”

You say: “Well, I’m sure we can find the right product to meet your needs. Would you like to review this pen? It’s actually an upgrade from the pencil.”

 

Click here to read the article

The 10-Point.

A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal, from Editor in Chief Gerard Baker.

gerry_Baker_A

Don’t Do the Raccoon!

Many people fantasize about making a dramatic exit from a job they dislike, but in reality it is better to leave the drama to the movies. Our Work & Family columnist Sue Shellenbarger suggests you preserve your reputation and future references by smiling, shaking hands and offering thoughtful feedback when you leave a job or are let go. Some people, however, don’t follow this advice. One account executive quit his job by donning a raccoon costume, walking into a staff meeting and dropping his company cellphone in front of his boss with the words “I quit” on the screen. Read Sue’s column for examples of colorful quitters and advice on how to exit gracefully.

 

Click here to read the article

Wendy Webb   September 18, 2015

4454874907_0e2833176a_mWho would have thought that something as innocent-sounding as Hot Dog Friday could go so wrong?

Small business owners want to show employees appreciation for their hard work, especially when goals are met or milestones reached. But employee appreciation efforts can be tricky—and can even end up backfiring.

Cheri Spets Farmer, a business consultant with Grace Bay Group, found this out a few years ago when her then-company, which owned several television stations, instituted Hot Dog Friday.

The manager of the station where Farmer worked had a soft heart and a very small budget, but he wanted to do something for his employees when the station hit a major goal. So he announced he was going to congratulate the staff with free hot dogs and chips the following Friday.

“Needless to say, it was a big hit,” Farmer says. “The staff loved it, and there was even some cross-department bonding.”

The manager felt so gratified that he soon held another Hot Dog Friday.

It wasn’t long before the manager invested in one of those hot dog cookers with the rollers like you see in gas stations, she says.

“Again, big hit as the hot dog smell wafted through the building starting about 11 a.m.”

And that’s where the trouble started. Every Friday, employees showed up expecting and feeling they deserved the free hot dogs. But over time, it just wasn’t possible to sustain it, Farmer says, and they had to skip some Friday feeds. On those days, she’d hear muttering and complaining up and down the halls: “What a rip-off! No Hot Dog Friday?”

Something that started out as a way to show employee appreciation ended up a major morale-buster.

“Here’s what I learned: People can adopt a feeling of entitlement—even for things that are meant to be a reward,” Farmer says.

From that Hot Dog Friday backfire, she switched to doling out verbal acknowledgements, thank yous and other gestures of appreciation rather than perks.

“Done correctly, appreciation gestures really do work,” Farmer says. “They can create an environment for other members of the team to show genuine affection to their peers—something even more valuable than a free hot dog.” 

Follow these tips for employee appreciation efforts that work:

• Don’t show favoritism.

If you’re going to acknowledge employee birthdays or other special occasions, take care acknowledge them for all staff members. Ditto for acknowledging milestones and goals.

• Keep expectations in check.

Had Farmer’s company made Hot Dog Friday into “the summer of Hot Dog Fridays,” employees would know from the outset that the hot dog train was rolling all summer long, but there was an end date.

• Be consistent.

Don’t abruptly change rewards or perks, especially not without notifying employees beforehand. If, for example, employees regularly get bonuses when the company meets its sales goals, don’t change the perk to half-day Fridays instead—at least not without holding a meeting to tell employees the reason why.

Click here to read article

By Anna HelhoskiNerdWallet / September 16, 2015

 

Christian Science Monitor logo 133pxA college grad — let’s call him Paul — was eager to make a great impression in his first job. But when he inevitably made his first mistake, he couldn’t take the letdown in stride and it cost him his job.

During the interview process, Paul had been well-spoken and had seemed motivated to start his career in sales, says Cheri Spets Farmer, a longtime manager and current digital and sales training consultant. One day something didn’t go as expected and Paul took it hard. The next day he didn’t come to work and he didn’t call. Farmer reached out to Paul, who explained how crushed he was in a singular line — “I just had to stay home and soak in the jets.”

Your first job isn’t likely to be smooth sailing, especially right away. You’re bound to make missteps and slip-ups while you get your bearings. But the one thing you definitely don’t want to do is be seen as a “Paul.”

“The fact that he would even say that spoke more than just the words themselves. It said that he really didn’t have a feel for what his role was,” Farmer says. “I think he just didn’t understand how important he was or that the other team members were relying on him.”

Paul is an extreme example of how not to act when you make an error. Farmer says Paul’s most avoidable mistake was that he dealt inappropriately with rejection. In your first job, here are five common rookie mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake No. 1: Being too shy to speak up because you’re ‘the new guy’

Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion. That lesson was learned the hard way by Tara Clapper, technical editor at SEMrush and senior editor at The Geek Initiative. Clapper says at her first job as a sales rep at a self-publishing company, she was afraid to speak up because it was an entry-level position.

“Later in life I’ve learned that no matter what your position is, in most companies if you speak up that’s how you become a leader, get ahead and get promoted,” Clapper says. “I was holding myself back.”

Speaking up doesn’t mean talking just to hear your own voice. It’s about making your questions and ideas known to co-workers and managers. Any time you can add real value to a conversation, you’re showcasing who you are in the workplace.

Mistake No. 2: Forgetting names (and missing out on new connections)

If you’re the type who goes to a party, meets someone and then five seconds later can’t remember his or her name, you have a big task ahead of you in the workplace.

“The biggest challenge is not so much that they’ve forgotten the name, but when they find themselves avoiding situations because they’ve forgotten a person’s name,” says Keith Rollag, associate professor and chair of the management division at Babson College as well as author of “What to Do When You’re New: How to Be Confident, Comfortable, and Successful in New Situations.” “It can limit your ability to create effective relationships in the workplace.”

Some simple tricks for remembering names include:

  • Pay close attention when you’re introduced to someone.
  • Meet and repeat his or her name when you’re introduced.
  • Write the name down as soon as possible.
  • Make name associations or connections.
  • Follow up an introduction with a professional social media request to increase name repetition.

Mistake No. 3: Misunderstanding business goals and how you contribute to them

Many young hires don’t know what their managers are looking for or aren’t aware of their environment, says Bram Daly, client services manager for talent acquisition company Alexander Mann Solutions.

“A lot of times, new employees are in essence focused on themselves and the experience they’re having. They do not really understand that they’re part of a bigger organization and they’re not aligning with their boss’s priorities,” Daly says.

You’re not going to have your finger on the pulse of the company all at once, but you can get on the right track early through observation. Daly suggests taking the first few weeks to determine the answers to these questions:

  • What is my job for?
  • What do my superiors want to see from me?
  • What are my goals?
  • What does success look like?

Listening and being able to answer these questions can help you understand the part you  play within the scope of the entire company.

Mistake No. 4: Acting too young and giving off the wrong impression

The last thing you want to do when you’re young in the workplace is to betray your age. It has more to do with your conduct than how old you actually are, experts say. Here are a few immature moves you want to refrain from making at work:

Being overeager. You might want to stand out from the crowd, but being too eager for work is the easiest way to spark animosity in co-workers. You have to walk the line between working hard and trying too hard, says Jason Carney, senior professional in human resources at professional employer organization WorkSmart Systems Inc. in Indianapolis. Starting a new job, Carney adds, is “the perfect opportunity to blend in, learn how to work with different generations and understand how people view you.”

Getting distracted. It’s tempting to check your phone or even stream a TV show when you’re between tasks or finished with an assignment. But when you’re early in your career it’s especially important to show you’re a hard worker.

“If you’re seen on Facebook or Twitter or on your phone all the time it’s a big problem,” says Jacqueline Berman, a senior account manager at recruitment firm WinterWyman in Boston. “You’re not being paid to have fun; you’re being paid to work. People don’t realize how big of a deal it is.”

Sending emails with errors. If your grammar is less than stellar or your writing is too informal in emails, you may not be taken seriously at work. “Every move you make in an office reflects on you,” Berman says. “If you don’t have proper punctuation if you’re addressing someone professionally, it makes you look too casual.”

Posting inappropriately on social media. You don’t want your social media posts to become the topic of the day at the watercooler, especially among your more seasoned colleagues, Berman says.

“When you’re young and you haven’t proved yourself yet, but your public profile has a picture of you smoking a joint, it doesn’t look good,” she says. “You need to maintain your professionalism inside and outside of the office.”

Mistake No. 5: Disregarding the office food chain

Everyone you work with is accountable to somebody else. So when you’re doing work that you don’t enjoy, don’t understand or think is just plain stupid, remember this:

“The manager isn’t trying to hogtie you with busy work. It’s usually been asked of them up the line,” Farmer says. “Even someone who owns the company reports to somebody.”

In your first job, you have the choice to let work crush your spirit or provide reassurance that this is what paying your dues is all about. Farmer says, “If you can’t understand why something is happening or why you’re being asked to do something, even if you don’t like it, you can still have peace with it.”

Click here to read article

INCOMG! Honestly, to tell you the truth, I wrote an article for Inc.com about things people say that undermine their credibility, and it had like thousands of people sharing it and stuff. To be honest, a ton of people emailed me, too…

Okay, there’s no way I can keep that up. Recently we explored some of the words and phrases that make people sound unprofessional. As I suspected, it turns out we’d only scratched the surface. Thanks to everyone who contacted me to suggest other examples of things that undermine people’s efforts to be taken seriously. (Got another one we missed? Let me know.)

We’re talking about words, phrases, and mannerisms — things that can be innocuous in the correct context — but that undermine your credibility when you misuse them. (Previous examples include: “No problem,” when you really mean “You’re welcome;” “Sorry,” when you really mean “Excuse me”; along with nervous laughter, wandering eyes, and quite a few others you can find here.)

I heard from CEOs, college professors, business people, students, and other interested readers who suggested several more words, phrases and mannerisms –probably enough for two more columns, come to think of it. Here are a handful of the most commonly cited examples:

#15. “I’ve got your back.”

“If you have to say it, then you probably don’t.”
–Cheri Farmer, Grace Bay Group

Click here to read the article

 

Brittney Helmrich, Business News Daily Staff Writer

hiring
The hiring process can be long and stressful, and finding the perfect new recruit is not an easy task. The more applications you receive, the harder it is to go through them all and find candidates who stand out. But if you’re struggling to find employees who meet your requirements and fit your company’s culture, there are ways to help you find the right recruit and make the hiring process go more smoothly.

Ready to revamp your recruitment process? Business News Daily asked business owners and CEOs for their best tips for hiring the right employees. Here are five simple ways to fix your hiring strategy.

You won’t find the right employees if your job advertisements don’t detail what you’re really looking for. Vladimir Gendelman, CEO of presentation folder printing business Company Folders, said the best way to attract good candidates to a position is to provide a thorough ad.

“Describe what the candidate will do, what they will not do and what they might be expected to do,” Gendelman said. “List all skills that are mandatory for the position, as well as any skills you would prefer for them to have.”

And if you’re worried that being too thorough will deter potentially perfect candidates, be sure to rank the skills and qualities you’re looking for so that interested job seekers can better determine whether they’re a good fit.

“Good candidates typically won’t apply for a job that doesn’t match their skill set, so it’s important for you to spell out which skills are a must-have and those for which you plan to offer training,” Gendelman said.

Gendelman noted that being thorough in your job posting will show applicants that your company is strategic and well-prepared, which are exactly the kind of traits good candidates are looking for in an employer.

Another good way to weed out applicants is to give them a specific task to complete in the application process.

“The trick is to create a very specific task — not complex, but specific — that the applicant must complete prior to being called for an interview, such as something in the résumé submission process,” said Andrew Reich, founder and managing director of manufacturing company InTouch Manufacturing Services

For example, Reich said his company asks candidates to limit their résumé to one page, use specific file names and a certain subject line (e.g., “Position Name – Candidate Name), and answer a set of five questions in the email text. Any applications that don’t follow the instructions can be deleted automatically.

“Everyone should recognize when there are rules to be followed, and follow them, especially when they are applying for a position in a company,” Reich said. However, you should still promote and foster creativity and open thought in the workplace, he added.

One of the best ways to get a good feel for a candidate’s personality and work ethic is to get a second opinion. Cheri Spets Farmer, principal consultant at management consultancy Grace Bay Group, suggested asking your top employees to interview applicants.

“One of my best recruitment hacks is to have a promising candidate interviewed by one or two of my best employees,” Spets Farmer said. “Managing is like herding cats, and team culture and chemistry [are] important.”

This will give you not only another perspective on a candidate you’re considering but also a better way to integrate new employees into your team when you hire them.

“If the candidate is hired and joins the team, inevitably, the team members that did the interviewing [will] feel some ownership of the hire,” Farmer said. “As a result, they envelop the new person into the group, making onboarding the new hire easier and more successful.”

Click here to read the article

Angela Stringfellow September 21, 2015

NGData logoEvery company wants to create amazing customer experiences. Implementing a world-class customer experience management program is one thing — but how do you know whether your efforts are producing results?

There are lots of metrics you could rely on to provide an indication of how effective your company is at managing the customer experience. From tracking referral business to surveys, online reviews and ratings, activities in your customer service or technical support departments, and many others. But which measure is a true indicator of the customer experience, and is there a one-size-fits-all metric?

To find out, we asked a panel of customer experience, customer success, and customer intelligence experts to answer the following question:

“When it comes to managing customer experience, what’s the single best indicator or metric of success?”

Find out what our experts had to say below.

Cheri Spets FarmerCheri Spets Farmer

@cheri_spets

Cheri Spets Farmer is a veteran sales manager with 20 years’ experience. She was a VP & Director of Sales for a company that owned 26 television stations. During this time, a major focus of the company was account retention. Most recently, Farmer consults companies, where one of her roles is coaching other managers.

“There’s one guaranteed way to know that your customer is happy…”

A referral. If your customer is willing to put their own credibility on the line and recommend your organization to another business, you know they’ve had a positive experience with your company.

Meet Our Panel of Customer Experience Experts:

Click here to read the rest of the article

by | posted in Career Advice, NerdWallet Grad
Published on September 15, 2015

salary_negotiation_infographic_1450px_050515A college grad — let’s call him Paul — was eager to make a great impression in his first job. But when he inevitably made his first mistake, he couldn’t take the letdown in stride and it cost him his job.

During the interview process, Paul had been well-spoken and had seemed motivated to start his career in sales, says Cheri Spets Farmer, a longtime manager and current digital and sales training consultant. One day something didn’t go as expected and Paul took it hard. The next day he didn’t come to work and he didn’t call. Farmer reached out to Paul, who explained how crushed he was in a singular line — “I just had to stay home and soak in the jets.”

Your first job isn’t likely to be smooth sailing, especially right away. You’re bound to make missteps and slip-ups while you get your bearings. But the one thing you definitely don’t want to do is be seen as a “Paul.”

“The fact that he would even say that spoke more than just the words themselves. It said that he really didn’t have a feel for what his role was,” Farmer says. “I think he just didn’t understand how important he was or that the other team members were relying on him.”

Paul is an extreme example of how not to act when you make an error. Farmer says Paul’s most avoidable mistake was that he dealt inappropriately with rejection. In your first job, here are five common rookie mistakes and how to avoid them.

Mistake No. 1: Being too shy to speak up because you’re ‘the new guy’

Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion. That lesson was learned the hard way by Tara Clapper, technical editor at SEMrush and senior editor at The Geek Initiative. Clapper says at her first job as a sales rep at a self-publishing company, she was afraid to speak up because it was an entry-level position.

“Later in life I’ve learned that no matter what your position is, in most companies if you speak up that’s how you become a leader, get ahead and get promoted,” Clapper says. “I was holding myself back.”

Speaking up doesn’t mean talking just to hear your own voice. It’s about making your questions and ideas known to co-workers and managers. Any time you can add real value to a conversation, you’re showcasing who you are in the workplace.

Mistake No. 2: Forgetting names (and missing out on new connections)

If you’re the type who goes to a party, meets someone and then five seconds later can’t remember his or her name, you have a big task ahead of you in the workplace.

“The biggest challenge is not so much that they’ve forgotten the name, but when they find themselves avoiding situations because they’ve forgotten a person’s name,” says Keith Rollag, associate professor and chair of the management division at Babson College as well as author of “What to Do When You’re New: How to Be Confident, Comfortable, and Successful in New Situations.” “It can limit your ability to create effective relationships in the workplace.”

Some simple tricks for remembering names include:

  • Pay close attention when you’re introduced to someone.
  • Meet and repeat his or her name when you’re introduced.
  • Write the name down as soon as possible.
  • Make name associations or connections.
  • Follow up an introduction with a professional social media request to increase name repetition.

Mistake No. 3: Misunderstanding business goals and how you contribute to them

Many young hires don’t know what their managers are looking for or aren’t aware of their environment, says Bram Daly, client services manager for talent acquisition company Alexander Mann Solutions.

“A lot of times, new employees are in essence focused on themselves and the experience they’re having. They do not really understand that they’re part of a bigger organization and they’re not aligning with their boss’s priorities,” Daly says.

You’re not going to have your finger on the pulse of the company all at once, but you can get on the right track early through observation. Daly suggests taking the first few weeks to determine the answers to these questions:

  • What is my job for?
  • What do my superiors want to see from me?
  • What are my goals?
  • What does success look like?

Listening and being able to answer these questions can help you understand the part you  play within the scope of the entire company.

Mistake No. 4: Acting too young and giving off the wrong impression

The last thing you want to do when you’re young in the workplace is to betray your age. It has more to do with your conduct than how old you actually are, experts say. Here are a few immature moves you want to refrain from making at work:

Being overeager. You might want to stand out from the crowd, but being too eager for work is the easiest way to spark animosity in co-workers. You have to walk the line between working hard and trying too hard, says Jason Carney, senior professional in human resources at professional employer organization WorkSmart Systems Inc. in Indianapolis. Starting a new job, Carney adds, is “the perfect opportunity to blend in, learn how to work with different generations and understand how people view you.”

Getting distracted. It’s tempting to check your phone or even stream a TV show when you’re between tasks or finished with an assignment. But when you’re early in your career it’s especially important to show you’re a hard worker.

“If you’re seen on Facebook or Twitter or on your phone all the time it’s a big problem,” says Jacqueline Berman, a senior account manager at recruitment firm WinterWyman in Boston. “You’re not being paid to have fun; you’re being paid to work. People don’t realize how big of a deal it is.”

Sending emails with errors. If your grammar is less than stellar or your writing is too informal in emails, you may not be taken seriously at work. “Every move you make in an office reflects on you,” Berman says. “If you don’t have proper punctuation if you’re addressing someone professionally, it makes you look too casual.”

Posting inappropriately on social media. You don’t want your social media posts to become the topic of the day at the watercooler, especially among your more seasoned colleagues, Berman says.

“When you’re young and you haven’t proved yourself yet, but your public profile has a picture of you smoking a joint, it doesn’t look good,” she says. “You need to maintain your professionalism inside and outside of the office.”

Mistake No. 5: Disregarding the office food chain

Everyone you work with is accountable to somebody else. So when you’re doing work that you don’t enjoy, don’t understand or think is just plain stupid, remember this:

“The manager isn’t trying to hogtie you with busy work. It’s usually been asked of them up the line,” Farmer says. “Even someone who owns the company reports to somebody.”

In your first job, you have the choice to let work crush your spirit or provide reassurance that this is what paying your dues is all about. Farmer says, “If you can’t understand why something is happening or why you’re being asked to do something, even if you don’t like it, you can still have peace with it.”

Anna Helhoski is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: anna@nerdwallet.com Twitter @AnnaHelhoski.

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