Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Success of Timely Follow-Up Calls

Lately we’ve been hired to do a lot of follow-up calling. These are calls that we make to people after they’ve attended an event, seminar, appointment or have received a direct mailer, lead card or other information via mail or email. The key to good solid appointments when making these calls is doing it in a timely fashion!

You will find much greater success when you follow up with people within a few days to a week from the event and/or mailer. Waiting too long unfortunately can result in wasted opportunities, time and money. Our world is ever changing and the quicker we can follow up with any person and/or sales opportunity the better.

I admit that we don’t want to stalk people just to make a sale but when people are interested in something a lot of times they wait for someone to call them. For instance, Jan and Robert go to a financial planning seminar and listen to John Smith talk about retirement, life insurance and annuities. They are very interested in what Joe has to say and intend on doing business with him. They go home after the seminar and life happens, they get distracted and several weeks pass. John hasn’t called them and they’ve forgotten about getting their financial affairs in order.

When John finally does follow up with Jan and Robert they’ve either started working with another financial planner, have moved away or are just no longer interested. The moral of the story? Don’t let warm leads grow cold! This resulted in a wasted opportunity.

Unfortunately I see this happen a lot. I know people get busy but if your goal is to be a successful salesperson then you must make follow up calls in a timely fashion. That’s it … a follow up call. If you are just too busy then hire someone to do it for you! And at Elite Scheduling Services, LLC we’d be happy to help!

If you don’t feel the need to hire someone then get organized! Make a list of all the people that need a follow up call and set aside time in your calendar to make those calls. Keep an ongoing list and spend time each week just following up with people. Plug the names into your calendar, keep a spreadsheet on your computer or write the names down on a nice white pad of paper. Whatever it takes – just make the calls and you will see results!

 

Effectively Hire Great Employees!

Many of us reach that point in our small business when we can no longer go it alone. We have a lot we want to accomplish and we can only do so much. Thinking about hiring an employee, whether it be an independent contractor or not, can be scary. How do we find someone who is as passionate about our business as we are? How do we find someone that has the talents and knowledge to help us succeed?

It’s actually much simpler than you may think. There is a whole world of wildly talented people out there who would love to help you out in any capacity, whether you are looking for a full-time employee, a part-time employee or a freelance contractor. Here are the steps to finding the best person for the job.

  1.  Clearly define the position, salary and expectations. Having the expectations and responsibilities detailed as much as possible allows for greater success for your employee. It also saves you money because you know what you are paying for!
  2. Advertise – start telling everyone you know (I’ve always gotten far with word-of-mouth referrals). If you aren’t able to find the right candidate through word-of-mouth, place an ad in your local paper and/or place an ad online. Or, if you have the budget and you don’t have the time to filter through a bunch of resumes, hire a recruiter to find the right candidate for the job. There are a ton of recruiting agencies out there that will work for you even if you are only looking to hire one person.
  3. Develop interview questions – you want to make sure your candidate is qualified and clearly understands the position.
  4. Review resumes and identify the best candidates.
  5. Conduct phone interviews.
  6. Select your candidates and schedule in-person interviews (unless of course you’re hiring a virtual employee, then you might do a second phone interview).
  7. Select the best candidate.
  8. Do a background check if needed.
  9. Make them an offer!

Now you know how to find someone but what are you looking for? You want to hire someone who has the passion, loyalty, honesty and talents you are looking for but remember, you may NOT be hiring someone just like you. Depending on your needs you may want to hire someone whose talents will help you achieve the goals with your business. If you are great at networking but not great at social media then hire someone who can help you with your social media marketing. If you are great at sales but you aren’t great at finding the right people to get in front of than hire someone to schedule your appointments and get you in front of the right people.

In some cases you may want to hire someone who can do what you do. For instance, when I started Elite Scheduling Services I was the only scheduling assistant. But as demand for scheduling services grew, I needed to hire people who could do exactly what I did and, in a perfect world, do it better. I was fortunate to have already known people in the industry with the skills I was looking for. As my company grew even more I continued to find great talent through networking and word-of-mouth. Once I find a few candidates I follow the steps above. I conduct phone interviews and make sure they have the qualifications, personality and ambition I’m looking for. Then I make sure they have a clear understanding of what expected of them. If you are as clear and concise in the beginning you avoid many headaches in the future. If your position isn’t so defined then you need to make sure your candidate is aware of that too. You’ll be looking for someone who can roll with the punches, who is okay with doing something different day-to-day and someone who can really grow with the company and take on more responsibilities as they come up.

I’ve seen it happen far too often where either a candidate or an employer are not completely honest and up front in the beginning, whether it be regarding the hours, pay, responsibilities or expectations and it typically ends with the candidate searching for a new job and the employer back to square one.

The best way to hire the best employees? Trust your gut. You’ll know them when you see them, so snatch them up now before someone else does!

 

 

 

Is Failure Ever An Option?

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Yes, and overcoming the fear of failure may even be a first step for success.

I’ve often heard successful people say “Failure was not an option.” I understand the thinking and I, too, have said it. In fact, when I started my scheduling company I told myself that failure was not an option. I needed the business to work out for me and my family. I worked my butt off and poured everything I had into my company. I worked long hours almost every day and it worked. My company thrived, even during the down times in the financial industry, it just kept growing and growing and we’re still growing. I’m having so much fun running my business and I want to do more. I want to help even more people! But was failure an option? I felt that it was not for me for this business venture but had I tried other things in the past and failed? Of course I did!

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This morning I looked back on the things that I DID fail at and realized that had I not failed at those things I wouldn’t have the company I have today. I wouldn’t have made all the past mistakes and learned all the past lessons. I also wouldn’t have had the passion and determination to make this company as successful as it’s become. So in essence failure should at times be an option and it should almost be necessary. Of course we don’t know when those times may be but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much when we do fail. It’s like falling off a horse. You get up, brush yourself off and jump back on.

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A few years before I started my company I worked for a very successful financial advisor. He taught me more than he’ll ever know about business and I will be eternally grateful to him. Not only did he teach me a lot about passion, goal-setting and running a business he filled the walls of all of the office spaces in his buildings (yes, he had multiple buildings) with motivational and inspirational art work. He had this huge portrait of Abraham Lincoln in his conference room that I often think about when I think of failure. (The bold below denotes failure or tragedy.)

Abraham Lincoln(s)

lost his job in 1832.

was defeated for legislature in 1832.

failed in business in 1833.

was elected to legislature in 1834.

sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died in 1835.

had nervous breakdown in 1836.

was defeated for Speaker in 1838.

was defeated for nomination for Congress in 1843.

lost renomination in US-Congress in 1848.

was rejected for Land Officer in 1849.

was defeated for Senate in 1854.

was defeated for nomination for Vice-President in1856.

was defeated again for Senate in 1858.

was elected President of USA in 1860.

There is a lot of bold above! That man just kept jumping back on that horse. He was kicked time and time again while he was down but he just kept getting back up. He was not going to give up. His failures were what made him succeed.

Need more failure-to-success stories. Here they are!

Bill Gates was a Harvard drop-out and failed business co-owner of Traf-O-Data before launching Microsoft.

Dick Cheney flunked out of Yale twice and later become Vice-President of the United States.

At age 22, Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for “not being creative enough” and one of his early ventures Laugh-o-gram studios went bankrupt.

In 1923, Babe Ruth set the record for the most home runs in a season … while also striking out more than any other player in the MLB.

It took Thomas Edison 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb.

So failure is an option and it’s not so scary, right? We are human, we all make mistakes and at one time or another, we’ve all failed. So when you are down, get up, brush yourself off and go at it again because …

“You’ll never know what you can’t achieve, until you don’t achieve it.”

Mr. Gordon, 21 Jump Street