Saturday, November 19, 2016

"Some Of Us Focus More On Remaining Hidden Than Visible"

As aging-in-place professionals, we need to be found by those we intend to serve if we are going to be effective at helping them. Allowing people to locate us and then be able to contact us is part of how we connect with them. This is not the time to be retreating but rather bold and assertive.

There are several areas where we need to be assertive that are so easy to be passive and fade into the background and become lost. This does not help us to grow our businesses, and it does not help those that we wish to serve - other professionals or consumers - find and engage us. 

One area deals with our telephone. Many people like to speak with us to ask about the services we provide, get a more detailed explanation about a particular program or service than what is listed on our website or brochure, and get their questions answered. They want to assure themselves that we are someone that they can trust to work with them, and they find that having a conversation with us on the phone - rather than an email dialog - will help them accomplish this.

For the phone to work to our benefit, however, we must answer it and not let it go to voicemail unless we are out of range to receive calls, we are meeting with someone else, we are having a phone conversation with someone else and can't interrupt it, or our phone is on silent because it's not appropriate for us to take calls where we are at that moment.

Next, the message greeting the caller must be clear as to who we are and that they have reached us. Too many people have a generic voice mail message that simply tells the caller they have reached a certain telephone number and to leave a message. What if the caller is not sure that they have dialed correctly? They want to be assured that they have reached the right business or the person they intended to call before leaving a message. The generic greeting is not helpful.

Speaking of the voice mail, so often the caller is greeted with the declaration that the mailbox is full and can't receive any more messages. Again, not helpful. This also suggests to the caller that the person being called does not manage their phone calls effectively and that they may not be someone to work with anyway.

Another area involves social media. Regardless of how we feel about social media and the way we might think some people overuse it or use it inappropriately, it is something we must embrace to promote our business.

If we want to be on social media - and we should want that - we need to present a more positive image to the public by having an appropriate closeup photo. The generic "witness protection photo" that comes with the site does not help us connect with people looking for a service provider or suggest that we are someone they can engage.

Get a photo taken - put aside the excuses such as being camera shy or thinking that we don't look good in a photo. The primary reason for the photo is to show potential clients and contacts what we look like so they will recognize us if we ever meet. It also shows that we are friendly and approachable.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, C.E.A.C., MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.