Article: Betty Ann Wilkins


The Small Business Library

October 21, 2000

Do You Act Like a Professional?

What does it take to be considered a Professional?
Webster's dictionary defines a professional as engaging in an occupation for money. Does this mean that by just engaging in a profession you are a professional? Of course not. To be considered a professional you not only need to have a great deal of knowledge and experience in your chosen field, but you must also conduct business in a professional manner.

To develop a professional image requires time and effort. Let's take a look at the areas of your business where you should show professionalism.

Communications

    Your attitude can make or break you. The way you deal with clients, associates, suppliers, other business people, questions, requests, complaints, and all other types of business communications will highly reflect on your own professional image. In all communications you should consider this before responding.

    Always be courteous. Be well mannered, respectful and warm. Say, "thank you", "please", "You're welcome" whenever appropriate. Make sure you let people know that you appreciate their time and effort ---- don't forget to include letting your clients know that you appreciate their business.

    Never misrepresent yourself or your products/services. Your honesty with clients and associates will go along way. Remember that you must earn their trust -- you cannot do that if you are not honest to a fault. Being honest will gain you life-long relationships with your clients and associates.

Products & Customer Relations

    Always deliver more than was expected. Make sure your clients receive even more value than they anticipated. If you don't they will most probably be disappointed with you and will not become a repeat customer. Repeat customers are more important than the sale. A repeat customer will buy more of your products and will praise your products to others that may buy from you as well.

    Always listen to your customers. They will tell you where you need to improve things. Be sure to let them know that you understand and that you value their opinions. Try to look at a customer complaint as a way to learn how to increase the value of your products and services.

    Make yourself totally available to your clients and customers. Supply them the type of support that you want when you have a problem with something you have purchased. Waste no time responding to your clients. Be certain to find an agreeable solution as quickly as possible and let your clients know that their satisfaction is your highest priority.

    When a client or customer is totally dissatisfied with your product or service refund their money with a smile. Tell them you are sorry and that you would like to know exactly why they weren't satisfied. Keep in mind that... "the customer is always right" even if you don't agree.

Online Aspects

    Your Website should look professionally designed, include complete product & service descriptions and an easy yet secure way to order online. You should include complete contact information (including your phone number) on every page of your website --- or at least a link to it.

    Be polite and courteous to other website owners. Always acknowledge others legitimate business (not spam) requests, even if you are not interested.

    In doing business, on the Internet or in the real world you should always remember that you want to build bridges, not destroy them. Do your best in all aspects and your business should grow and prosper.

Article by Betty Ann Wilkins, Publisher/Webmaster New Business Start-ups - Working from Home Resources, Information & Tons Of Freebies at: the-work-at-home.com.