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Community Futures Beaver River

Box 2678, 106 - 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK - Phone: (306) 236-4422

Image Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Paul Austringr

February 2020 Newsletter

  • February 5, 2020
  • Written by Beaver River Admin

The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business

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Does Your Integrity Bear Scrutiny?

That's an in-your-face question. It almost slaps you across the face with its audacity. How dare anyone cast aspersions on you or your company's integrity. Your knee-jerk reaction is to undoubtedly to say, 100%. But, is anyone 100% honest and ethical all the time? Is any company that honest and above board? What about shades of grey? Would every one of your employees score 100% on an integrity meter? What about you or your management team? Now for a scary thought: what about your advertising and promotional literature or your hiring practices?

The problem with integrity is that there is no sliding scale, you either have integrity or you don't. Of course how you personally define integrity can alter the perspective. For the sake of this article, let's assume that your company can't claim to be 100% squeaky clean. Perhaps you employ a few questionable characters who are less than honest when they interact with your customers, your advertising exaggerates a little, and you're making a little more profit than might seem reasonable should your customers be aware of your margins. Did anyone say gouging?

It happens; as a start-up the thin edge of the wedge is hardly noticeable. Later, slightly questionable practices become the norm and fade into the background. Your employee over charges a customer, or sells them something they didn't need, and they get away with it. And you don't catch it, or worse you turn a blind eye. You let a few clients pay cash and "forget" to claim it at tax time.

With the best will in the world there is probably no business that is totally ethical, moral, or not walking on legal thin ice in some part of its operation. It's often not intentional, it's just the way it is, or has become. But every time someone does something in your company that is not 100% ethically above board, it's your personal integrity that takes a hit.

Every now and then, it's a good idea to take a step back and look at some of the key areas where honest companies and honest people stray a little to the dark side. Here is a checklist to get you started on reviewing how far away your company is from that 100% integrity score.

  • Are you exploiting any of your staff? Are men and women paid equally? Is everyone treated the same?
  • Are your hiring practices honest and ethical? Or, are they biased in anyway based on gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nepotism, or anything else?
  • Is your corporate tax return 100% accurate or is your accountant constantly looking for loopholes to avoid paying tax?
  • Would you break into a sweat if an independent auditor was to come in an review your books? Or would you be positive they would be completely above board?
  • Do you put health and safety of your customers and staff above profits? Always? Or do you sometimes cut corners?
  • Are your products and services the best they can be, or does profit dictate quality (even a little)?
  • Read your advertising and promotional literature carefully. Now, hand on heart can you honestly say it is not misleading in any way? How truthful are your claims – 80%, 90%? Can you honestly say 100%?
  • Is your pricing fair, or are you charging what you think the market will bear? Or like some pharmaceutical companies charging whatever you like because your customers desperately need what you provide?
  • Are you honest when talking about your competitors? Are you completely accurate in any comparisons you make or imply?
  • Are you as green as you should be? Or do you take the easy (or cheap) way out when it comes to environmental sustainability?

We can all do more to increase our integrity score. We can all act in a more ethical and honest way. All we have to do is start noticing where we personally, and/or our business are straying from the straight and narrow and make some corrections. It's easier to turn a blind eye of course, but someone else may not be and that someone might be your customer.

tele sales

3 Tele Sales Tips

First, should you use a script or not? Rhetorical question: there's no right answer. On the one hand, if you are supremely confident and know exactly what you want to say, then not using one maybe the best way to go. But if you have even an iota of doubt, a script can sometimes help ensure you cover all the points you need to make, especially when selling a new product or service. The key is, if you do use one, it should never come across as a script and you should allow enormous flexibility so that if the prospect interrupts you, it doesn't throw you off kilter, or make you panic about 'getting back on script.'

Second, should you leave a message when you reach voicemail? Today, people have caller ID so not leaving a message does not prevent the person you called from Googling your number, or worse adding it to an online spammer's list. So it's usually best to leave a message. But what should you say? Plan in advance the message you want to leave and what you'd like the person to do. One novel idea is to leave a unique URL for the person to go to that will provide them with something valuable. Ask your tech team whether they can set up a system whereby you can leave a URL that is unique to that particular prospect, so that when they go to the page it says something like, "Thanks for following up on my message Jenny ..." Whatever message you leave makes sure it intrigues the prospect enough to do something.

Third, remember, just because the person answering the phone can't see you doesn't mean they can't see you! If that sounds crazy, think about it for a second – if when you call you come across bored or distracted, if you're lounging at your desk with your feet up, if you're flipping through your Facebook page, or doing anything else other than being 100% focused on the call the prospect will see this as clearly as if you were standing in front of them. Be in the moment during each call; try standing when talking it will help regulate your breathing, make your voice more confident, and it will allow a more normal pattern of conversation. Poor posture leads to negativity that can be transmitted through the telephone line. Oh, and don't look down all the time when making a call, that too creates negative vibes.

Selling over the phone is an art, if you simply go through the motions, your closing rate will be low. If you focus on each call and imagine you are face-to-face with each buyer you will make more sales, have more energy, and enjoy selling more.


Coach's Corner - Five Thoughts on Being an Effective Mentor

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

— Isaac Newton

Although this column generally speaks to coaching, it is important to also recognize that mentoring in organizations is a valuable resource. In coaching we assume that the person being coached is the expert and knows their role. In mentoring, however, the person being mentored, the mentee, is an individual who may be "learning the ropes." They may be more junior in the organization and gaining experience. Mentors provide support because they have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to share with their mentee.

"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction."
— John C. Crosby, American politician

While both coaching and mentoring have a valuable place in the development of individuals in organizations, it is the intention of this article to share five attributes of mentoring which may assist you in working with specific members of your staff.

  1. Carl Rogers, a prominent psychologist of the 20th Century, talks about "unconditional positive regard" as one of the primary conditions for growth of individuals. Mentors need to exhibit this quality of non-judgemental acceptance by being warm, caring and supportive.
  2. Affirmation and acknowledgement is another important part to mentoring. Mentors share observations by acknowledging their mentee's achievements and successes. Mentors need to also push for excellence and not perfectionism.
  3. Whether positive or negative, a mentor needs to give honest and constructive feedback to the mentee in order for growth to occur. By stating observations about behaviours, the mentor can help guide the mentee to higher levels of achievement.
  4. Being a role model is also a great part of a mentor's place in the relationship. Sharing experiences, both good and bad, will build a confidence and trust between mentor and mentee. Relevant self-disclosure at certain times is valuable.
  5. Conversations between mentor and mentee include active listening and asking open questions. These are key to achieving success in this important relationship.

"The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves."
— Steven Spielberg

The role of mentorship is an important part of staff development. It is often not given the necessary time and support from upper management. By taking on this crucial role, both mentors and mentees benefit as does the overall organization.

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching

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Beaver River Community Futures Development Corporation
PO Box 2678, 106 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK, S9X1Z6
Phone: 306-236-4422 | Fax: 306-236-5818