An increase in sales does not mean the acquisition of a new business or product. It could simply mean selling again to your existing customers. Entrepreneurs or organizations who understand the importance of acquiring and retaining customers will find successful ways to increase their sales amongst a steady customer base. Here is a list of some common, yet inexpensive, ways to increase sales amongst existing or new customers.
Most companies have a separate HR department or an Employee Relations Division that looks into developing sound employer-employee relationships. The core of sound employer-employee relations is based on effective methods for communication and participation, a safe and effective work environment and commitment and motivation of all staff. The aim of an Employee Relations or the HR department is to improve employer-employee relationship, empower productivity, motivation and morale, and prevent and resolve problems arising due to work situations.
The competitive world demands that organizations look for innovative ways to enhance their competitive advantages alongside reducing costs. To ensure that right people have the right skills and knowledge to meet organizational goals, an organization must incorporate regular training programs for their employees.
Acquiring a customer isn’t as easy it sounds. The process of acquiring a customer begins with understanding the market to know the potential customers, the company’s needs, whether a product or service meets their expectations, etc.
Retention of a customer refers to various strategies that help a company keep its customer base. Retaining a customer for an entire lifetime is hard work. It is about exceeding and meeting the customer’s expectations and adding value to your brand to increase and sustain their loyalty. It is also delivery of a high standard of customer service rather than focusing on maximizing profits.
Coupling customer acquisition and retention with e-learning is advantageous. Let’s learn how:
- E-learning helps the company educate its prospective customers with its products and services. Acquiring a customer can take months or more as several people at various levels need to be educated and evaluate the products and services on offer, before taking a decision. To cut short the sales cycle, a web-based tutorial about the product or service offering helps.
- As mentioned earlier, more than one person is involved in the decision-making process when considering buying new products and services. E-learning enables customization for people involved at each level. For example, the e-learning sales pitch to a CFO (Chief Finance Officer) can address a different set of concerns when compared to another top level executive. An e-learning program can have several modules or data repositories designed to meet the needs and address the concerns of various stakeholders in the decision-making process.
- The people involved in the purchase are top-level super busy managers. Web-based information enables them access information on various products and services being offered at a time convenient to them.
- Information on a company’s products or services, if available online, is a great resource for salespeople, resellers, etc. This great backup helps various stakeholders access information as and when needed.
- Having information-based online training modules ramps up new hires or trainees knowledge, based on the products and services of the Company. The new hires or trainees can do a quick knowledge transfer and get started on the sales process.
- If the product or service has been updated with the latest features or functionalities, one has to just upload the same and each sales person, new hire or trainee immediately becomes aware of the change.
- E-learning makes it easy to track the progress of new and prospective clients. The Company can track its sales progress through the e-learning module, print reports, figures and more with just a few clicks.
- The online learning modules make it easy to collect data on its competitors, upload their sales activities and figures and much more. This data can be published to various prospects to show the difference between yours and your competitor’s offerings.
All in all, a web-based e-learning module is an efficient and cost-effective resource for customer acquisition and retention.
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Self-confidence is a belief or feeling in your own abilities and talents. The way you feel or believe in yourself will impact your reactions i.e. make you either confident or not confident.
There are two ways in which you can believe in yourself:
- Underestimating yourself: In spite of your excellent abilities, you might fall short of exploiting your full potential if you underestimate your abilities or talents. This will make you lack confidence.
- Overestimating yourself: On the other hand, confidence not backed by real ability is just arrogance and can create resentment.
Self confidence can be achieved through balancing your beliefs or feelings according to your abilities or talents. Therefore, a realistic assessment of your abilities is the key to achieve self confidence.
Here are some tips that can improve your self–confidence:
- Get Prepared: Prepare yourself well in advance for future responsibilities. This could perhaps be the most powerful step you can take to gain self-confidence. This step can prevent you from being anxious and deal effectively with any inevitable surprises.
- Know your Desires and Goals: Analyze your goals by knowing where you are going and how you are going. The definition of success varies from individual to individual. So, by defining success, you can achieve just what you want. This will prevent you from being disappointed by comparing other people’s goals and brooding on those goals that you do not want to attain.
- Emphasize on your Body Posture: Never underestimate the power of body posture. Consciously or unconsciously, people read into other people’s nature just by absorbing the way they carry themselves. Good posture will not only make you feel better but can influence the way people treat you.
- Overcome your Fear: Fear of failure is the cause of a lack of confidence for many.
- Be Happy: Teach yourself to be happy. You can do this by listing your positive qualities and strengths. This will remind you of just how special and unique you are.
- Watch Out: Try to attend a seminar or listen to a public speaker to find out how he handles himself while addressing crowds. This will help you incorporate some essential tips while you address a gathering.
- Believe in your Abilities: If you want to do something important and new, believe in your abilities.
- Examine your Past Failures: Let bygones be bygones, because by brooding on past failures, your path ahead will be obstructed. So, look at the past to gain experience to overcome future problems.
In summary, improving one’s self-confidence levels seems to be hard to achieve, but in reality if you follow the above tips with some degree of determination, you can achieve it easily. The root cause of a lack of self-confidence is negative thinking which can be solved by changing the way one thinks. One should think positively so that he conquers his weakness and converts it to strength. Thus, by the power of his thoughts, one can improve his self-confidence.
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The concluding financial year is witness to huge job losses all over the world. Obviously, any management finds difficult to keep its entire team intact when there are no buyers for its products. During such a phase, one has to think deeply of the impact of cutting an employee’s salary in the long-term interests of the Company and its survival. But the best solution to beat the market slowdown, according to a study conducted by the American Management Association (AMA), seems to be the other way round- “Invest in Employee Fun.”
We have seen the market slow down in the year 2000 dot com bubble and again in the economic recession of 2007. Is your organization ready for the next market cycle?
According to a survey conducted by AMA, a people-centric organization has very minute chances of being prey to such fluctuating market cycles. So, let’s examine the four steps of a People-centric management’s fun-filled environment and its impact on its staff in adversity.
1. Link Your Customer to Employee Satisfaction: In the present market, customer service issues cannot be taken for granted. But, since it is impossible to satisfy a customer by a freaked out employee, a successful organization should first satisfy its employees before aiming for customer satisfaction.
Example: Beryl Companies, an example of a people-centric organization, gave 70 percent of its workforce a salary hike during the economic crisis.
2. Initiate Employee Forums: Sometimes, it’s easier for employees to open a book rather than open out their hearts. But it’s only an organization which facilitates an open dialog that helps make its employees feel great, motivated and safe. In such an environment, should layoffs ever occur, your employees would feel that you tried your level best to retain them.
3. Communicate Company Goals to Your Employees: A people-centric organization lays the foundations of beating an economic downturn years before by entrusting the responsibility of the Company’ goals to its employees. By virtue of those employees who were entrusted with the responsibility of the Company’s finances, excessive expenditure is cut down long before any downturn occurs.
4. Invest in Employee Training: Employee training is very crucial in a people-centric business. Though it seems a costly investment, the profits are encouraging because an employee’s daily routine work is connected with organizational strategy and enhances employee performance and client retention. Thus, employee engagement and an improved work culture helps an organization withstand an economic downturn.
Lastly, don’t forget AMA’s advice: “Don’t let the market dictate your culture.”
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You might have heard the old adage ‘one spoilt apple can spoil the whole basket’. In this case, we are talking about one demotivated, beleaguered salesperson. Just like the spoilt Apple, he can have a negative effect on the entire organization. Thus, it is important to identify the causes of employee demotivation and chalk out possible solutions.
Who likes to be criticized? By and large, people do not like to be criticized as it is damaging to their self-esteem.
Whether criticism is in the form of a comment, look, sigh or even a spell of silence, it is a means to evaluate the pros and cons of the action or work of an individual or a thing from another person’s viewpoint. One can have a negative viewpoint towards an individual’s work, or to an individual or to inanimate or animate objects. Criticism takes several forms, such as: husband condemning wife’s cooking, a teacher criticizes his student for incomplete homework, a film critic disapproving of a new film or an employer criticizing his employee for doing a shoddy job.
Negative criticism is disappointing and frustrating to the extent of an individual not putting his best effort in future. There is a dip in one’s enthusiasm and confidence levels to a great extent. If taken in good spirit, it helps the person correct his or her mistakes, learn new things and move ahead in life.
Here are some ways how you can take criticism positively:
When someone criticizes you, one’s first reaction is always to be defensive or rant. Instead, delay your immediate reaction to the action and contemplate on what was said. Count till 10 and figure out how to react.
If you receive an e-mail criticizing your work, reply after you have cooled down. If the criticism is verbose, walk away from the person saying, “We will discuss this later.” Having negative thoughts and views lead to resentment between the criticizer and criticized.
Instead of reacting harshly, view and understand the value of criticism. Take it as a recommendation or suggestion and increase your chance for improvement. Think of what was said, strengthen and improve your faults and emerge as a winner next time around. The next time adds to your knowledge and experience, lets you set a benchmark for yourself and rise high in the opinion of people. Learn to differentiate between constructive and non-constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is an effective learning tool.
Have confidence in yourself. If your work is not up to the mark, your boss could pass a comment. Instead of taking it personally, ask how you can correct your mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Successful people make more mistakes as they believe in the motto, ‘Keep trying until you succeed’, unlike unproductive people who quit after a failure or two.
When criticized, it is best to remain cool and calm, instead of reacting with anger and ranting. Rise above the situation without responding in a child-like manner with barbs and accusations. A poised demeanor will portray you in a different light. You will see a vast change in people’s attitude towards you and your self-confidence will increase as you are not seen to stoop to another person’s level.
Criticism is a good way to improve. Strive for the best possible changes to banish negative criticism in your personal and professional lives. Avoid repeating mistakes that provoke people to criticize you. Recognize your mistakes, correct them and try not to repeat them next time.
Many people have the habit of criticizing. If they do not matter to you, it is best to ignore them and continue doing the work.
At the end of it, thank the critic, despite the critic being rude, harsh or abusive, irrespective of whether the person accepts it or not. Most unexpected at the time of criticism, thanking is the way of winning over the person.
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When was the last time you opened one file to work on, closed it and moved on to the next task? You don’t remember, right? At this moment, alongside reading this post, you are perhaps listening to music, browsing various open tabs, finishing a report, monitoring tweets and reading e-mail notifications.
Notice the difference between the two instances. One instance had you concentrating on just one task without any distractions, while another showed your attention being shared among several tasks simultaneously. An individual’s ability to initiate one or more tasks while doing another task is multi-tasking.
David Crenshaw, author of “The Myth of Multitasking” and Walter Kim who authored “The Autumn of the Multitaskers”, say that multi-tasking or switch tasking is not a very efficient way of working. It slows down our thinking process as the brain attempts to perform more than one task at a time, with others lag behind during information processing. In short, multi-tasking makes an individual less productive, costs the Company precious time and gives us the individual the feeling that he will not be able to finish work.
To lessen multi-tasking, here are some suggestions from experts:
- Create a list of things to do and prioritize them according to their importance.
- Schedule time to meet people. Let others know that you don’t like to be disturbed at all times.
- Use a planner or calendar to schedule important tasks or meetings.
- Set aside specific time to check mail, tweets and other social networking sites. List time to do activities to avoid distraction.
- If you are speaking to someone, give him your full attention. Avoid working on another task or engaging in another conversation at that time.
- Turn off your mobile, e-mail or chat programs, if your work demands your complete attention.
To be frank, I find it difficult to multi-task, especially at work with jobs that require my full attention. At home, multi-tasking isn’t easy, but it’s doable. Multi-tasking has its share of negatives, such as:
- The quality of work is compromised as one’s attention is divided amongst various tasks.
- The brain’s ability to filter relevant information is slowed down due to interspersing of irrelevant information.
- Distraction is the highest risk to multi-taskers.
- Switching back and forth to doing various tasks takes time, so one takes longer to accomplish things.
- It is damaging to one’s work performance, productivity and interpersonal relationships, both professionally and personally.
Instead, create an environment of focus. Distractions and clutter divert your attention from the task at hand. A little persistence and commitment can get you of the multi-tasking rut. Slow down, do one thing at a time and feel effective and satisfied.
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The Oxford English Dictionary defines knowledge as (i) expertise and skills acquired by a person through experience or education or (ii) the awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
Simply speaking, knowledge is the assured insight of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose. Do you learn something new every day?
A human being’s quest to gain knowledge or information is insatiable. The pursuit can go beyond one’s professional training or education. A child can teach an adult something profound and easily adaptable. One good exercise to keep your brain cells active all through life is to learn something new every day. After all, if our responsibilities in life continue, so should our learning.
So, how do you learn something new every day? Here are some tips:
Read: It’s a good way to learn something new. With the advent of the Internet, you have access to infinite information on the A-Zs of practically everything under the sun. If reading online isn’t your cup of tea, choose an interesting book, encyclopedia, etc, from your local library or just devour your local newspaper. You can even learn how your favorite chips are packed.
As a child, you asked your parents infinite number of questions each day. Over the years, you lost this habit somewhere. Now, start asking questions once again. There is nothing demeaning about asking questions because it’s the starting place of learning something new, just as children do.
Learn to listen: Being a good listener will help you learn new things. Listen to what your spouse, child, colleague or boss say. Contemplate and process the information mentally for the future.
Learn to slow down: Notice your surroundings and discover new things. If you take a relaxing walk, you will learn to absorb the beauty of Nature, and perhaps learn a thing or two about new friends you make while taking walks, etc.
Watch something meaningful on a regular basis: Informative channels like Nat Geo, Discovery, Animal Planet, etc are informative in their content. Get into the habit of watching educative information to increase your and your child’s knowledge. Surely, TV will never be called the ‘idiot box’ in your home.
The appetite for learning is ravenous. To gain knowledge, one does not need formal education or training.
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