Everyone seems quick to lament, “It’s the economy!” But when one is struggling to be successful, is the economy really to blame? I know business people who are extremely successful in this economy and some who are not. The ones who aren’t seem to blame the economy. I believe they should be blaming themselves.
Why? What are they doing wrong? They need to cultivate a greater sense of professionalism. Unprofessional practices are being seen today in epidemic proportions! So many people call themselves professionals, yet for many, their behavior betrays their self-image.
I personally have witnessed individuals in many fields—including real estate, photography, law, food service, medical, and physical fitness to name a few—refer to themselves as professionals. I wonder how well I’m able to hide the stunned look on my face. “How can that be?” I wonder. “How can these people expect to make a living—much less call themselves ‘professional’—when they provide such horrific service?”
The principles for true professionalism do not require years of study and complicated graphs. No, true professionalism is derived from a common sense approach that anyone can understand and apply. A sense of professionalism isn’t just for business owners—whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, or just looking to get ahead in life, follow these principles and be prepared to meet success.
·Know your stuff! It’s important that others perceive you as competent in what you do. To call yourself an expert, you must stay on the leading edge of your discipline. Commit yourself to life-long learning and never pass up an opportunity to educate yourself.
·Speak with confidence. Be a fluid communicator; eliminate the ums, or uhs from your vocabulary. When you have a solid understand of your field, this should be easy to do. Strong communication skills add to your credibility, and people will feel confident doing business with you.
·Develop a disciplined approach to your work. If you find it difficult to focus, you’re probably lacking in passion. That means you could be in the wrong vocation, or need to rediscover the joy in your work and why you were drawn to it in the first place. You then keep that passion alive my making sure your goals remain on the forefront of your mind. People will sense your passion and want to do business with you. Remember, discipline equals results, and passion equals energy!
·Do not be tempted by greed. This means you must place your clients’ best interests first and focus on their needs, not how much money you will make from them. If you’re in a commission-based job, do not try to sell your client on what will give you the most commission. Instead, offer what’s the best solution to meet their needs. You will end up ahead in the long run because you will build the best sales tool in the world: a strong and honest reputation. Do this and money will follow. Remember, the client is number one!
·Don’t take your customers’ money if they are unhappy with your work, product or services. Make it right before you accept payment!
·Show that you’re interested in your customers beyond just what they can do for you. When you are with a client, give your entire attention to that person. Make sure your clients feel they’re your whole world at that moment. Remember that although winning the business of first-time customers is a nice accomplishment, a true professional knows how to keep them coming back. The fake professionals may boast when they get a sale and tell themselves and others how great they are; however, they are only fooling themselves. Their success will be short-lived and is sure to be followed by struggle.
·Set realistic expectations. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you fail to deliver when you say you will, all that value is diminished. You can’t go wrong with the old saying, “Under-promise and over-deliver!”
·Always ask yourself, how can I serve my customers better? Ask for their input on how you can be of better service to them—they’ll appreciate that!
In order to thrive in any economy, you must master the skills of what it takes to be a true professional. True professionalism is not just about having expertise in a given field; it’s about believing wholeheartedly in what you do. It’s about going all out for your clients, by making their best interest a priority. It’s about never compromising your values or lowering your standards.
When you act with true professionalism, you take control of your own personal economy and write your own ticket to success!
Be sure to check out my new best seller, Discovering Your Personal Power: 27 Articles of Inspiration, based on the columns I write here for Mesquite Local News. Available in both softcover and download through Amazon at: http://amzn.to/KApKsm or Barnes & Noble at http://bit.ly/Izv6Zd
Nikk Zorbas is a performance coach, author, recording artist, and creator of "The Reveal, Dream Big, Never Quit" program. He splits his time between Las Vegas and Mesquite. His monthly column appears the first Monday of every month on www.MesquiteLocalNews.com. For more information, visit his website at www.DiscoveringThePowerOfYou.com