How would you feel if you walked into a dentist’s office, and everyone in the office had terrible/rotting teeth?

Would you hire a contractor whose tools are rusted or broken?  Or a landscaper whose yard was filled with weeds and dead plants?

Would you eat at a restaurant that is filthy and has rat traps in the corners?

How we present ourselves is important to building credibility, confidence, and trust with our customers.  Yet I’m amazed at the number of sales people (note, I didn’t use the term “professional”) that present themselves poorly.

I’m not speaking of how one dresses, though that does have an impact.  But it’s really about everything we do in engaging a customer.

We demonstrate our professionalism to our customers when we:

  • Are knowledgeable about them, their industry, markets, and the issues they are facing.
  • Understand and care about their ability to achieve their goals.
  • Are knowledgeable about how our products and solutions can help them solve their problems.
  • Help them learn new things or think about their businesses differently.
  • Help them navigate their problem solving and buying journey.
  • Are on time and prepared.
  • Take the time to listen and probe to understand.
  • Use their time well, creating value in every interaction.
  • Meet our commitments–not just the big ones, all of them.  It’s the details that make the real difference.
  • Don’t make excuses for errors, but focus on fixing them and preventing recurrence.
  • Constantly seek to build and reinforce the trust our customers have in us.
  • …… and there’s more.

We demonstrate our professionalism within our own companies when we:

  • Help our peers and colleagues when they need help.  Understand and care about their abilities to achieve their goals.
  • Leverage the tools, processes, systems, programs that have been put in place, because they help us get better, they help us improve our effectiveness.
  • Constantly learn, develop new skills.
  • Constantly look to improve.
  • Keep our managers and people in the organization “in the loop,” making sure they understand what we have going on and leveraging them for help and support.
  • Are on time and prepared.
  • Take the time to listen, probe and understand.
  • Use the resources in our companies well, use our colleagues’ time well, creating value in every interaction.
  • Meet our commitments–not just the big ones, all of them. It’s the details that make the real difference.
  • Don’t make excuses for errors, but focus on fixing them and preventing recurrence.
  • ….. and there’s more.

(You may be starting to sense a pattern.)

As managers, we demonstrate our professionalism when we:

  • Recognize the only way we achieve our goals is through our people and are committed to the success of each one.
  • Understand and care about their abilities to achieve their goals.
  • Coach them, helping them learn and constantly improve.
  • Develop them to help them grow into higher levels of responsibility.
  • Recognize and promote them within the organization.
  • Protect them from the nonsense that organizations inflict on us.
  • Make sure our people understand our expectations of their performance and constantly work with them to help them achieve those goals.
  • Leverage the tools, processes, systems, programs that have been put in place, because they help us get better, they help us improve our effectiveness and the effectiveness of our teams.
  • Constantly learn and develop new skills.
  • Constantly looking to improve our own capabilities and performance.
  • Keep our managers and people in the organization “in the loop,” making sure they understand what we have going on and leveraging them for help and support.
  • Are on time and prepared.
  • Take the time to listen, probe and understand.
  • Use the resources in our companies well, use our colleagues’ time well, creating value in every interaction.
  • Meet our commitments–not just the big ones, all of them.  It’s the details that make the real difference.
  • Don’t make excuses for errors, but focus on fixing them and preventing recurrence.
  • Set an example in our behavior and actions, for everyone, every day.
  • Trust our people and be trustworthy.
  • ….. and there’s more.

As executives, we demonstrate our professionalism when we:

  • Recognize the only way we achieve our goals is through our people and are committed to the success of each one.
  • Demonstrate the concept of servant leadership in all our actions.
  • Understand and care about their abilities to achieve their goals.
  • Coach them, helping them learn and constantly improve.
  • Develop them to help them grow into higher levels of responsibility.
  • Recognize and promote them within the organization.
  • Protect them from the nonsense that organizations inflict on us.
  • Make sure our people understand our expectations of their performance and constantly work with them to help them achieve those goals.
  • Leverage the tools, processes, systems, programs that have been put in place, because they help us get better, they help us improve our effectiveness and the effectiveness of our teams.
  • Constantly learn and develop new skills.
  • Constantly looking to improve our own capabilities and performance.
  • Keep our managers and people in the organization “in the loop,” making sure they understand what we have going on and leveraging them for help and support.
  • Recognize the interrelationships between functions in the organization and the complexity it drives.  Constantly seek to simplify.
  • Recognize the overwhelm and distractions our organizations (and we) create, constantly seek to simplify.
  • Are on time and prepared.
  • Take the time to listen, probe and understand.
  • Use the resources in our companies well, use our colleagues’ time well, creating value in every interaction.
  • Meet our commitments–not just the big ones, all of them.  It’s the details that make the real difference.
  • Don’t make excuses for errors, but focus on fixing them and preventing recurrence.
  • Set an example in our behaviors and actions, for everyone, every day.
  • Trust our people and be trustworthy.
  • ….. and there’s more.

I’m certain you noticed, the higher in the organization, the greater our responsibility to demonstrate our professionalism.

What are you doing to demonstrate your professionalism, every day?

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
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Dave Brock
Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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