April 25, 2011
Professionalism Still Matters
I have a home office. Since my business partner lives on the other side of the country, there is no need for shared office space and the inconvenience and expense that comes with it. In fact, home offices are downright wonderful when the price of gas is flirting with $4-$5/gallon. However, I have some rules to keep my home office as professional as possible, considering I share this house with a wife, three kids, and a dog.
Rule #1 - unless the house is burning down, nobody is to disturb me while I am on a phone call.
Rule #2 - no horseplay, rough-housing, or yelling inside during normal work hours.
Rule #3 - no teasing the dog, who tends to bark when agitated or excited, and whose vociferations are incompatible with a professional workplace, especially when I'm on the phone.
Pretty simple rules, but ones some people (namely Realtors) could benefit from jotting down. Just last week, I was speaking with a Realtor whose grandson was SCREAMING at her, just inches from the mouthpiece on her phone. Of course, my ear was on the other side of this unfortunate tantrum, and to say I couldn't get off the phone quickly enough is an understatement. The Realtor could have gotten a listing had she placed herself in a more professional atmosphere. Instead, one of her competitors got it.
Another major distraction - iPhones. Yeah, they're nifty and neat and offer features out the wazoo, but their call quality SUCKS. This is a universal statement. I literally cannot count the number of dropped calls I've had with business colleagues, clients, etc., all blamed on the iPhone's horribly bad call quality. If I have to call you back four or five times because your cute little gadget can't handle the simplest phone call...well, let's just say you aren't going to get that many opportunities.
Finally - if you have no intention of calling anyone back, do not say you will on your voice-mail. Realtors - I'm talking to you. Less than half of you ever call me back, even though every one of you has a cheery little message that informs me my call is EXTREMELY important to you and that you'll call me back as fast as humanly possible. I guess this means half of you are aliens, as I never hear a peep back from you.
Yes, professionalism still matters. A lot of times it's the difference between getting the deal and wondering where your next meal is going to come from. To me, the tie between professionalism and success is obvious - the ones who don't see the correlation are the same ones crying about how bad it is out there...that, or their grandson is the one doing the crying...
Make it a great week,
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