Archives for posts with tag: business tips

Businesswoman pulling suitcase

By definition, communication is the exchange of information. Countless books and articles have been written addressing how to better understand and communicate with your customers, but these same tips are just as helpful when it comes to internal communication with your coworkers. Here are a few tips and tricks to transform your interactions, both inside and outside the office, and separate yourself from the competition.

Make your presence meaningful:
Add value to every interaction. Make sure you are making the most of your team member’s or your customer’s time and be mindful of how you can help them work better. Do you have success stories to share? Is there an upcoming training or webinar you could attend or promote to your stakeholders? Thoughtful, detailed, and honorable service is something that cannot be bought.

Be an active listener:
When your teammate or customer is speaking — are you listening or piecing together your response? Stop, digest the information, and ask questions. Especially when it comes to working with customers, their success is your success, so expressing a sincere interest will go a long way to strengthening important sales relationships.

Think before you speak:
Once you have digested the speaker’s needs, be sure to think before you respond. It’s okay not to have all of the answers, but it’s not okay to tell people only what they want to hear. Good service is exponentially more valuable than fast service.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” Benjamin Franklin

Be mindful of email etiquette:
Email etiquette is simple. Whenever possible, address people by name (spelled correctly, of course!). Respond promptly, even when you can’t provide a detailed response – it’s okay to say so and seek out a subject matter expert who can assist.

Deliver more than expected:
Following these prompts should create a deeper connection with both your teammates and your customers – go the extra mile to make it personal. Give more than expected by tailoring the sales experience, being mindful of how you can help those you work with, and always following up after a project has closed. Customers and coworkers want to be understood – be the person that gets them!

How do you bring the ‘wow factor’ in your office?

working day in office. two businessmen at work.

Professionalism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” While many professional characteristics are unique to the industry in which they apply, some cover all professionals. Check out our short list of qualities below that outline what it means to pursue professionalism:

Build your Personal Brand

What makes you, you? Are you a go-getter who always takes the extra step, or perhaps the dependable coordinator of all things process improvement? Whatever your personal brand is, build this into a recognizable reflection of who you are – thereby establishing your reputation and identity as a business person. Become known for your positivity or forward-thinking – in the long haul, you’ll open up opportunities for yourself for different projects or even a promotion!

Dress for Success

Cliché, I know. But one thing that’s not cliché – a first impression. When meeting someone for the first time, there’s quite a bit to be taken from personal appearance. Paint yourself in a positive light! If you show up to a business meeting in tennis shoes and well-worn jeans, odds are that you might lose that big project to the business professional in a pant suit. When presenting, a common rule is to dress a level above your audience. Pack up those old painting jeans and trade them in for a new suit!

Komm. Comun. Communikation.

Grabs your attention, doesn’t it? A pet peeve of self-proclaimed grammar nerds across the globe, spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues occasionally make a dreaded appearance in professional communication. As with any communication, whether it’s a personal email or company press release, communication is marketing. Every email, every phone call, and every interaction builds an image of you. With this comes an important role: protecting and building your company’s image. When communicating, make sure to be effective, persuasive, and clear. When in doubt, use the five W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why (and How)!

Know a thing or two about what it means to be a professional? Share your tips with us below!

How to pack professionally in just a carry-on suitcase

With NeoCon right around the corner, packing is fresh on our minds here at HON. Did you know you can pack for a week long business trip in a standard carry-on suitcase? It’s easy! Here are some tips and tricks to remember for the next time you travel:

Why should I only pack a carry-on?

Traveling with carry-on luggage usually means that you’ll get in and out of the airport faster than if you are traveling with checked baggage, which is always a plus on a business trip. Even better, most airlines now let you check in for your flight on an app and skip the check in line altogether.  You won’t have to wait the extra time for the baggage handlers to unload the plane and load the bags onto the conveyer belt, or for your bag to make its way to you after riding the world’s slowest carousel.  By carrying on your bag, you guarantee that it will not get lost and that its important contents will arrive the same day and time as you do.

What do I pack?

Keep it simple.  A good rule of thumb is to pack enough outfits for the number of days you will be on the trip plus two to three casual outfits for evening activities.  Be sure to try on all of your outfits while you pack to make sure that you have everything you need.  (This may take extra time, but not as long as you will have to wait for your checked bag so it balances out!)  When it comes to toiletries, keep in mind that travel laws restrict you from packing any liquids over 3 ounces in a carry-on bag.  But, since most hotels offer complimentary toiletries, you can ask for free toothpaste, mouthwash, hairspray, deodorant, etc. when you check in to your room and avoid the stress of trying to safely pack these items with your clothes and business documents.

How should I pack?

Roll your clothes.  By doing this you are able to fit much more in your suitcase, as well as minimize the amount of wrinkles that each shirt or pants will have. Since many airlines don’t enforce a weight limit on carry-on luggage, you have the flexibility to pack a lot into a little space when it’s done efficiently!

Another perk to traveling efficiently with just a carry-on? When you get back from your next business trip, you will be able to dump your entire suitcase straight into the wash rather than hang half of it back up in your closet because you over-packed.  Just remember to take out your shoes!

What are some of your personal packing tricks?

Professional NetworkingNetworking is the act of making a meaningful connection with a member of your community, another professional in your industry or related field, or a coworker within your organization, including members inside and outside of your team.  Once a connection is made, you can build these relationships by making an effort to keep in touch, asking if someone needs help on a project, inviting another member to lunch, or by finding a common interest or passion to discuss.  Networking is not just about who you know, but who knows you.

Why is networking important?

“By getting out there, you make yourself known and not just another name on a sheet of paper,” says Brad Karsh, President of JobBound, in his article, What Does ‘Networking’ Really Mean?  The more you make yourself known, the more likely it is that your name will come up when hiring managers discuss future job opportunities. It’s also a great way to help you move up or around within your current organization.  If management does not know who you are, how will they know you are a great asset to the team?

How do I network?

The best way to start networking is to find something in common! This will open the door for a great conversation.

When networking within your own organization, find mentors both on and off your team.  For example, if you are part of the Marketing Department, it might be useful to find a mentor in Marketing as well as a mentor in the Finance Department.  Because of the many ways these two departments overlap and interact, understanding another function will help you become more efficient at your job. Try volunteering to be a part of a project outside of your regular scope of work, or reaching out to your manager to let them know that you are looking for additional opportunities on cross-functional teams.

Some of the ways we promote networking here at HON include “Lunch and Learn” collaborative meetings, Leadership Roundtable discussions and weekly touch base meetings with managers.  Keep an eye out for any opportunity you have to build a relationship with another member in your organization!

Professional NetworkingBest Practices

From my own experience, here are a few networking tips to remember:

  1. Practice with family, friends, or strangers you meet outside of work. (They don’t have to know you’re practicing your networking skills!).
  2. Ask the individual questions to show your interest in getting to know him or her.
  3. Always thank the individual for his or her time, in person or with a thank you note.
  4. Smile! Show that you are having a good time creating this new connection.

Additional networking tips from Andrew Vest’s article, How to Network The Right Way: Eight Tips include networking before you need it, trying not to dismiss anyone as unimportant, generously helping others prior to needing something from them – give more than you receive, and build genuine relationships!

Most importantly, remember that networking isn’t over once you start the initial conversation; continue to stay in touch with these new connections!

The holidays are a great time of year to come up with creative new ways to engage with your customers and partners. Whether you’re hosting a training for a newly launched product, sponsoring an event or participating in a vendor fair, we all know that the more face time you get with a customer, the better.

Holiday Showroom Event:

For a Sales Representative, this time of year is about finishing the year strong (the food and gifts are just an added bonus!). Celebrate the holidays with your customers by inviting them to your showroom and organizing a holiday-themed giveaway to encourage them to attend the event. Make sure to target customers who already have an interest in your product or are in the middle of making a decision about which products to order. By showing your appreciation for their business and giving them one last chance to check out your products, you position yourself to close those final sales before the year ends.

Catalog Distribution Tips:

The HON Company ships its new catalogs to customers during the holiday season, and it’s the perfect excuse to do something extra special for customers. If you have the time, try hand delivering your catalogs or brochures for an added personal touch. Or, try wrapping your catalogs in a holiday bow or bag to make it look like a special gift. Include a handwritten note that offers tips for using your catalogs and selecting your products. Anything you can do to help your catalog stand out will get your customers thinking about you and your products in 2016!

New Year Kick-Off Dinner:

Make sure you are top of mind for your customers at the start of 2016 by organizing a New Year kick-off dinner. Be mindful of vacation time and try to schedule it 1-2 weeks after everyone returns from their holiday breaks. Inviting your most important customers to dinner at the beginning of the year will make them feel valued and inspire them to select your products.

What are some of the ways you celebrate the holidays with your customers?

We’ve all heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder”, and with advancements in technology and mobile applications over the past few years, this is now easier than ever. I think every professional should have the following are 4 useful (and free!) apps:

1. Genius Scan—This little gem is one of the most used apps on my work phone. Genius Scan allows me to take a photo of a receipt, furniture plan or contract, and convert it to a PDF file. Once you’ve created a PDF, you can email or print the document, or send it to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive or other storage tools with just a few clicks! Learn more about Genius Scan now.

2. Uber—Although this service is not just for business use, Uber makes it a breeze to get around for meetings with clients and to make it on time to appointments that span multiple metropolitan areas. TIP: save your company money by using the Uber promo codes and getting free trips! Learn more about Uber now. 

3. Seamless—Have you ever traveled to a new city or area for work and had to find a meal for yourself? Apps like Seamless and Grubhub are a couple of my favorites because they will help you discover all the local eats. You can easily order in or go out and explore new surroundings. TIP: the app saves credit cards and can use your location so you don’t have to call the front desk of the hotel to find out the address! Learn more about Seamless now.

4. LinkedIn—I meet several people a week and it can be difficult to recall specific details about a particular individual after that first interaction. Adding people to LinkedIn gives me the opportunity to revisit their credentials at a later date so I can bring up their information when we next meet. TIP: note the groups and articles the user likes to have conversation starters if there is a break during meetings. Learn more about LinkedIn now.

What must-have apps do you recommend for professional use?

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