Losing Focus as a Leader

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It can be very problematic when you start losing focus as a leader. If you take your attention away from the task at hand, then there is a good chance that mistakes will occur. Leadership requires great focus and you need to learn how to get things back on track. Learn more about losing focus as a leader so that you can figure out what can be done to make things better.

Trying to Handle Too Much at Once

Trying to handle too much at once can certainly cause you to lose your focus. If you have six tasks on your plate, then it’s not going to be reasonable to try to work on them all at once. In all likelihood, the quality of your work will suffer if you don’t take things one step at a time. You should learn to identify priority tasks so that you can handle those first and then get to the next most important thing on the agenda.

Not Knowing What You Have to Do

Now knowing what you have to do can cause you to get distracted as well. You might not have a clear agenda mapped out for the day and this could cause you to wind up losing time checking emails aimlessly. Before you know it, your entire day could be gone. Remain focused on what you have to do and create a to-do list each day so that you know what you need to be focusing on.

Trying to Do Everything Alone

Trying to do everything alone is also a very bad idea. You see, even the most effective leaders have limitations and you need to be honest when you have too much on your plate. Learning to delegate tasks effectively is a huge part of being a leader. Being placed in a leadership role is about coordinating and leading a team; it isn’t about just doing all the work yourself.

Putting Things Off Until Later

Putting things off until later might seem to be a good idea at times but it can get you in trouble. You might be distracted by other work tasks or even personal matters. Regardless, it’s bad to procrastinate and you should identify when things need to be finished so that you can handle matters promptly. It’s imperative that you try to finish your work in a timely fashion each day so that you do not fall behind.

from Louis DeTitto | Business http://louisdetitto.com/losing-focus-as-a-leader/
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Sports and Storytelling

Louis DeTitto Sports Storytelling

Sports generate a large amount of money throughout the world. People connect with sports and they love seeing their favorite teams compete on the field or court for glory. Sports and storytelling seem to go hand in hand and most people create a narrative for the sports games in their heads if one isn’t being presented. Many people recognize the power of sports and they seek to use technology to make more compelling content that is sports-related for people to enjoy.

Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies have made it easier than ever to capture sports stories on camera. There are so many ways for cameras to capture the action on the field and many people are also choosing to focus on the action that is going on off the field. People want to know more about their favorite sports stars and they like consuming content that is related to their favorite sports teams. This could lead to an even deeper relationship between sports and storytelling in the future.

Athletes Creating Media Companies

It’s also interesting to note that many athletes have created media companies to produce content. Famous NBA player Lebron James is a good example of this. In fact, Lebron’s 2008 movie More Than a Game received critical praise and told a compelling story of how he and his friends at the time came together to compete for a high school basketball championship in Akron, Ohio. Other famous NBA athletes have now started investing money in production companies and you could see more movies or other types of content that tell sports stories.

Sports Movies Are Popular

Sports movies are very popular and there are many different types of movies out there. Fictional boxing movies such as Rocky have captivated audiences for years and football films such as Remember the Titans have also been met with praise. The public loves sports and the potential to tell stories within a sports setting is there. Some athletes recognize this and they seek to take part by creating the aforementioned media production companies.

The desire for new content is at an all-time high due to the streaming wars between large corporations. Various streaming services are competing for new content and it’s likely that sports-related movies will be a part of the package. Sports and storytelling will always go hand in hand. There could be many intriguing sports-related media projects on the horizon very soon because of the media production companies that are being formed today.

from Louis DeTitto’s Sports Blog http://louisdetitto.net/sports-and-storytelling-2/
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SEM vs SEO vs PPC: What’s the Right Balance for Your Business?

SEM. SEO. PPC. What’s the best mix for your business?

The question is more complicated than it might first appear. After all, who wouldn’t want to optimize their SEM, SEO, and PPC efforts? But limited budgets, limited capabilities, and limited expertise can be obstacles—particularly if you’re stronger in one area than another. Let’s discuss what these phrases mean and how you can find the right mix for your own small business:

SEM vs. SEO vs. PPC: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve had enough acronyms thrown at you in your time in business to fill a bowl of alphabet soup, you can be forgiven if you sometimes miss the distinctions in these digital marketing terms. But let’s separate SEM, SEO, and PPC from each other and get really clear about what they are—and what you should expect from them.

SEM, or search engine marketing, is an umbrella term. It’s there for marketing efforts (both paid and organic) that are directed at boosting traffic from search engines. However, keep in mind that SEM, as an umbrella term, may sometimes be used to refer to PPC marketing in some contexts, which helps explain some of the confusion.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a marketing strategy aimed at organic search. The concern here is how to improve your natural position in popular search engines without paying anything additional to said search engines. Yes, you can buy a position with PPC, but with SEO, you’re concerned about the quality of the links pointing to you, the quality of your content, and the relevance of your topics to the search queries that users are typing into Google. The goal is to create high-quality content that will continue to drive your SEO strategy in the future.

PPC, or pay per click advertising, is aimed exclusively at paid ads in search engines. In PPC advertising, you can bid on certain keywords to buy your traffic. But it’s not always as simple as that. PPC often requires that you build high-converting advertisements to ensure that the search engines aren’t just putting anyone with money at the top of the listings; they still want to serve their users.

What is SEO?

Let’s dive into greater detail on SEO. Search engine optimization is the art of designing your page and your content for targeted placement in organic search results—no paid advertising required. Although the search engine algorithms are highly sophisticated, SEO remains a top priority for many business owners; 61% of marketers list improving SEO and rankings as their top goal.

Today’s top search engines include Google, Bing, and Yahoo, with many of the content marketing and internet marketing campaigns aiming at Google and Bing. You’ll find that the majority of your SEO efforts will tend to focus on Google, thanks to its dominant place in the market.

The beauty of SEO is that any business can compete for organic listings; you just have to have the most relevant, valuable information available for any search query. Sound difficult? You don’t have to start creating the world’s greatest blog posts just yet. Search Engine Land has a guide for small businesses so you can begin optimizing your site as soon as possible. From on-page SEO to technical SEO, there are always small improvements you can make to give your site a leg up on the competition.

Here are some of the other terms you’ll want to be familiar with in SEO:

  • SERPs: Search engine results page.
  • Backlinks: The links pointing to your site, used by search engines to determine your page’s popularity and relevance.
  • Crawlers: Automated bots that search engines use to scan your site and log the latest information, which they can then use in their search results. Crawlers might dig through your meta descriptions, title tags, and on-site SEO to get a gauge of what your site is and what your business has to offer.
  • Technical SEO: search engine optimization focused on the technical aspects of your website, not necessarily popularity and relevance.
  • Link building: The practice of promoting your site to as many potential linking avenues as possible in an effort to drive up your relevance. These days, legitimate link building practices tend to be those that are mostly organic, such as guest posting on popular blogs.

What is PPC?

PPC has potential benefits for small businesses in that it offers an opportunity to buy your way to traffic if you have the budget. Small businesses that need growth now will find that PPC generates the quickest results when it comes to getting on the first page, while content and SEO tend to require focus on the long-term future.

To optimize your PPC, you’ll want to make keyword research a hallmark of the way you market. Tools like the SEM Rush PPC tool will help you identify those keywords that are most relevant to your business, all while driving a substantial amount of traffic. Google Adwords, the most popular PPC platform, also has plenty of tools for you to use as you research. But don’t forget that Bing also has keyword tools you can use to gauge interest in keywords.

With PPC, your goal is simple: combine relevance and traffic. Relevance is how well you can answer the “question behind the query.” In other words, relevance is how well your website answers what customers are really thinking. Someone typing in “vacations,” for example, may be looking to book a travel agency. But your travel agency business won’t do well by serving those who were only curious about vacation statistics.

With search ads, your goal should be to get as much relevance as possible, because you’re going to need to optimize your click-through rates.

When comparing SEO vs SEM and the strategies listed above, you’ll find PPC can produce the most immediate returns. After the proper keyword research, a PPC campaign can quickly give you access to a large amount of traffic that is highly targeted to your keyword and your business—that is, if you’ve put in the time to ensure that your business lines up with the search queries you’re looking for.

How to Strike a Balance Between PPC and SEO

There’s no single answer for whether search marketing, SEO or PPC is best for you right now. But if you start with competition research, you should notice opportunities for advancement—whether that comes in specific keywords, sponsored ads, brand awareness, or even simply building a better landing page. Look at your budget and understand where PPC and SEO most help businesses—and make your investments accordingly.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/Striking the Right Balance between SEM SEO and PPC/
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The Origins of the Superbowl

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The Superbowl is one of the biggest sporting events of the year and many people look forward to it. It has become a spectacle and well-known music artists even perform during halftime. The origins of the Superbowl weren’t nearly as grand, but the first Superbowl was still a huge deal. Read on to explore the origins of the Superbowl.

The First Superbowl

The first Superbowl was held in 1967 on January 15. The idea for the big game was to bring the best team from the National Football League (NFL) and have them square off against the best team from the American Football League (AFL). This first Superbowl was contested between the Green Bay Packers from the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs from the AFL. The Packers won the game handily, defeating the Chiefs 35-10.

At this point in time, the NFL and AFL were separate professional football companies. Bringing the two leagues together for this ultimate championship game was seen as a big deal. It did great ratings numbers for the time too. The game was broadcast over two different networks due to the NFL and AFL having separate TV deals.

Where Did the Name Come From?

You might be wondering where the name Superbowl came from. Initially, Superbowl I was referred to as the AFL-NFL Championship Game. It has retroactively been referred to as the Superbowl, although the term Superbowl wasn’t in use back then. You see, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs is credited with coining the phrase.

Lamar Hunt was the owner of the Chiefs and he was trying to think of a good name for this momentous football game. He saw his child playing with a bouncy ball that was referred to as a “super ball” and it got the gears turning in his head. The story goes that he came up with the name Superbowl as a riff on the “super ball” that was a popular toy with children at the time. Some historians refute this claim and say that the networks came up with the phrase but most seem to accept Lamar Hunt as the originator of the Superbowl term.

from Louis DeTitto’s Sports Blog http://louisdetitto.net/the-origins-of-the-superbowl/
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Your Go-to Leadership Books This Year

Louis DeTitto Leadership books

Being the best leader that you can be means that you should strive to keep learning. One good way to better yourself as a leader is to read leadership books that can give you new information. Some of these books will directly talk about leadership techniques and others might help you to develop in certain ways that will be beneficial to your role as a leader. Take a look at the following go-to leadership books that you should read this year.

Perfectly Confident by Don Moore

Don Moore is a Berkeley psychologist who has been researching the subject of confidence for years. This book is going to be excellent if you’re looking to strike the balance between being confident in your skills and being overly confident. There is a lot of interesting data in this book and you can use it to help develop a strong sense of confidence in yourself.

Life Is in the Transitions by Bruce Feiler

Have you ever experienced a major transition period in your life? These periods of change often help people move toward new chapters in their lives. This book explores the topic of change and showcases how it should be viewed as an opportunity. Change might sometimes be scary due to uncertainty but it can be used to your advantage.

You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

Do you sometimes have a problem listening to others? Many people have issues when it comes to listening and they might find that this can get them in trouble in certain situations. This book can help you to become a better listener and it’s also filled with humor. You’ll find this to be an enjoyable read and you’ll get a lot out of it too.

What’s Your Problem? by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

Solving problems is at the core of your role as a leader. If you can learn to develop better problem-solving skills, then you’ll have an easier time doing your job. This book explores a specific framework that you can use to solve problems and it can make you a more insightful person. It’s a great book that has a lot of interesting ideas that will be of use to you.

Upstream by Dan Heath

Finally, take a look at this book by Dan Heath that is about helping you to prevent problems before they happen. This book contains many useful ideas that will help you to approach your daily responsibilities in new ways. It’s well written and it just might help you to keep things sailing smoothly when it comes to your leadership role.

from Louis DeTitto | Business http://louisdetitto.com/your-go-to-leadership-books-this-year/
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6 Tips to Help a Struggling Small Business Stay Afloat

It’s a fact that most new small businesses struggle. It’s part of the process. And though some don’t ultimately survive, those that can power through early problems can emerge strong (and profitable). Still, reaching that point is difficult, particularly in a rough business climate. However, there are certain steps you can take to keep you from feeling as though you’re drowning and to help keep your business financially healthy.

Tip 1: Set Yourself Apart

In a recent look at common struggles of small businesses, we talked about the problem of having too many competitors. There, we suggested that business owners use competition to inspire innovation. More simply, use this problem as motivation to figure out how to set yourself apart. In the early stages, that might come down more to messaging than actual business products or services. But the sooner you make your company appear distinct among its competitors, the faster you’ll gain customers.

Tip 2: Address Your Debts

The idea of tackling debts before seeking more gains is actually an investment principle many adhere to — whether or not they’re running businesses. The idea is that debt is usually a compounding burden, with interest mounting over time, and should thus be addressed as efficiently as possible. This is particularly important for a small business in which time is of the essence. While it’s not always as simple as deciding to pay off debts, small business owners should start prioritizing debts. The sooner they’re addressed, the sooner the business can be free to grow.

Tip 3: Take Reinvestment Seriously

When you’re running a small business, it’s important to consider the idea of reinvestment. This is basically the idea that it can be beneficial to take some of the company’s profits and invest them directly back into company needs.

Whether that means marketing efforts, a new employee, better technology, etc., it’s sometimes recommended that you reinvest half of what the company makes. It’s seen as a way of fostering fast growth, and it can also build the business up such that you have to do less on your own. In that sense, reinvestment can double as an investment in your own time as well.

Tip 4: Consider Personal Investment as Well

While there’s always some risk involved, you might also be able to expand your own funding by doing some light personal investing. However, you’ll want to do so carefully. If you’re looking to invest in the most traditional sense — in the stock market, for instance — it may be best to do so through alternative methods. Full-on trading is essentially a job, and it’s a lot for any small business owner to take on, particularly without the requisite expertise. However, there are other ways to grow funds in the market.

If you still want some say over your portfolio, CFD trading is an option to explore. This is a method that allows the trading of shares purely with regard to whether they’ll increase or decrease in value. So, rather than buying a share of stock and timing your sale correctly to maximize profits, you merely make a decision of whether you want to buy it (anticipating gains) or sell it. CFD trading also enables stop-loss orders, which can allow careful investors to automatically limit their losses. If this is still a little too hands-on, there are also more automated or hands-off trading options such as mutual funds or apps that will trade on your behalf.

Tip 5: Cut Costs Where You Can

Usually, a struggling small business will already have cut costs wherever possible. However, it never hurts to do another thorough, numbers-based assessment of where you stand. Is there something you paid for in helping to launch the business that you no longer need? Are you using a supplier you might be able to move away from in favor of a cheaper alternative? Is there anything you have the time and ability to take on your own that you’re currently paying someone else to do? These are all questions worth asking when you’re struggling to make the business work.

Tip 6: Employ Freelancers Where Possible

This is not a suggestion that your small business should be staffed entirely by freelancers. You’ll need some employees to build a sustainable operation. However, where possible, you might want to look into freelance contributions. In-depth analyses have shown that freelancers cost less money, and these days — with so many people unemployed and/or looking to work remotely — they’re theoretically more available than ever. So, for the odd job here or there or for regular contributions that don’t necessarily demand full-time employment, you might want to explore the freelance market.

There are ultimately no guarantees for a struggling small business. Each company’s strategy should be distinct, and a little bit of luck comes into the picture as well. With these tips though, you might hope to keep the business afloat — in a challenging climate or when future struggles arise.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/6 Tips to Help a Struggling Small Business Stay Afloat/
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Entrepreneurship and Our Youth

Louis Detitto Young Entrepreneur

Young adults in America want to be able to make a steady income and lead happy lives. The problem is that there are more young professionals than there are jobs. This creates a problem, and it’s one that might be somewhat solved by young adults pursuing entrepreneurship. Going into business for yourself might be an excellent route to take if you don’t want to roll the dice and hope that you will be able to find a corporate job after you’ve finished college.

Entrepreneurship Provides a Great Opportunity

Entrepreneurship provides young adults with an excellent opportunity for success. You can work hard as an entrepreneur, and the potential is there for you to make great money. Depending on how successful your business idea is, it’s possible that you could become much wealthier than you would have if you just took a job at some other company. However, it’s worth noting that entrepreneurial success generally doesn’t happen overnight.

Regardless, you can appreciate that entrepreneurship is attractive to young people because it allows them to pursue something that they are passionate about. You can start a business that resonates with you, and this can help you to feel dedicated to the work that you’re doing. For some entrepreneurs, running a business doesn’t even feel as if it is work because they really love it. All of this can be combined with the potential for high profits to make entrepreneurship very appealing to young adults.

The Risks of Entrepreneurship

The risks of entrepreneurship are what keep some young adults from wanting to go this route. When you’re starting a business, there is always going to be a chance that the company will fail. You might wind up starting a business at a wrong time, or you could experience a shift in the market that will make your business idea less profitable. Also, entrepreneurship requires a lot of work, even when things are going perfectly.

That being said, the risks of entrepreneurship might be worth it because of the potential benefits. It takes a certain kind of person to succeed in the business world. Many young adults are well suited to entrepreneurship due to their desire for independence and their ability to adapt to emerging technologies. Many young adults will likely look to start their own businesses rather than having to compete for the available jobs.

from Louis DeTitto | Business http://louisdetitto.com/entrepreneurship-and-our-youth/
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Sports and Storytelling

Louis Detitto Sports & Storytelling

Sports generate a large amount of money throughout the world. People connect with sports, and they love seeing their favorite teams compete on the field or court for glory. Sports and storytelling seem to go hand in hand, and most people create a narrative for the sports games in their heads if one isn’t being presented. Many people recognize the power of sports, and they seek to use technology to make more compelling content that is sports-related for people to enjoy.

Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies have made it easier than ever to capture sports stories on camera. There are so many ways for cameras to capture the action on the field, and many people are also choosing to focus on the action that is going on off the field. People want to know more about their favorite sports stars, and they like consuming content that is related to their favorite sports teams. This could lead to an even deeper relationship between sports and storytelling in the future.

Athletes Creating Media Companies

It’s also interesting to note that many athletes have created media companies to produce content. Famous NBA player Lebron James is an excellent example of this. In fact, Lebron’s 2008 movie More Than a Game received critical praise and told a compelling story of how he and his friends at the time came together to compete for a high school basketball championship in Akron, Ohio. Other famous NBA athletes have now started investing money in production companies, and you could see more movies or different types of content that tell sports stories.

Sports Movies Are Popular

Sports movies are very popular, and there are many different types out there. Fictional boxing movies such as Rocky have captivated audiences for years, and football films such as Remember the Titans have also been met with praise. The public loves sports, and the potential to tell stories within a sports setting is there. Some athletes recognize this, and they seek to take part by creating the aforementioned media production companies.

The desire for new content is at an all-time high due to the streaming wars between large corporations. Various streaming services are competing for new content, and sports-related movies will likely be a part of the package. Sports and storytelling will always go hand in hand. There could be many interesting sports-related media projects on the horizon very soon because of the media production companies that are being formed today.

from Louis DeTitto’s Sports Blog http://louisdetitto.net/sports-and-storytelling/
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How to Write an Effective Email the First Time Around

What does the perfect business email look like? For some go-getters, it might be the 21st century of War and Peace: it’s long, it leaves no stone unturned, and it contains enough detail that anyone who reads it will be impressed by your work ethic and flowery language.

This is wrong.

A good email is less art than it is science. It’s a means to an end, with a clear objective: get someone else to understand something that you already understand. Whether that means a project just finished or you have a new proposal, a well-crafted email should be clear, efficient, and engaging—without demanding too much from the reader.

We spend some 1/3rd of our office time checking and managing our email. It only makes sense to get it right.

Here’s how to construct one without constantly editing yourself:

The Basic Rules of Email

Before you optimize the efficiency of every email you send, let’s get rid of some of the simple mistakes that are only making your written communication worse.

First, double-check that you’re sending it to the right people. In one famous mistake, Aviva Investors sent an email meant to fire one person…to a list of 1,300 people.

Before you hit “Reply All,” take a few seconds to consider what “All” includes. Here’s an example of a faux pas you can avoid if you were to double-check the email recipients every time:

“OK, so I was online dating a lot,” Shirley Goldberg remembered. After each date, she liked to send a summary to her girlfriend. “On the day I hit ‘Reply to All,’ I had four emails open, one of them directed to the entire staff of my school. Somehow I got the emails mixed up.”

This can be even more damaging in the professional environment. That’s why you should aim to keep each email as professional as possible. After all, email still counts as written communication. If you don’t want yourself on record as having said something, don’t email it. In company-wide email threads, it’s possible that even if you don’t send the email to the wrong person, what you wrote can still end up in someone else’s text.

Unsure if your writing is grammatically correct? Consider adding an app like Grammarly to your browser if you’re using web-based email.

Focus on Clarity

The ancient Roman rhetorician Quintilian once said:

We should not speak so that it is possible for the audience to understand us, but so that it is impossible for them to misunderstand us.

Before you do anything else, make sure that your email is clear. That usually means the shorter it is, the better—there will be fewer opportunities for misinterpretation in a 100-word email than a 1,000-word email.

  • Write short sentences. Turn to HemingwayApp for help here. It will point out where you’re over-stuffing your sentences and making too many demands on the reader.
  • Use active voice rather than passive. “I finished the project” is clearer than “the project was finished by me.” It’s also more efficient. 
  • Organize your email paragraphs by topic. Similar to the way you’d structure a high school essay, keep your organization simple: one topic per paragraph.
  • Don’t “bury the lead.” Burying the lead happens when you hide an important nugget of information somewhere within the content. This leads to less emphasis on the important point. If you’ve ever wondered how you can write someone an email and they forgot about its most important message, it sometimes comes from buying the lead.
  • Read before sending. If you keep the email simple, you won’t have a problem reviewing it quickly before sending off. Don’t make more work for the recipient by asking them to read your mind. Make sure the email, as Quintilian recommends, is “impossible to misunderstand” from the outset.

Don’t Waste Time

You’ll enhance clarity when you stick to this rule: don’t waste time.

If you’re sending an email proposal to someone you don’t know, there’s a temptation to spend two paragraphs apologizing or explaining yourself. Don’t! Just include a brief sentence that mentions how you found their email and move on. If their time is valuable, thank them for sparing some. Then proceed to stop wasting it.

One brief sentence at the top of an email is usually enough to let someone know that you’re aware when an email might be out of the blue, or coming in some sort of strange context. If you’re networking, include a sentence that describes a mutual contact, for example. While you should focus on clarity, you’ll still want to display some social acuity when you’re emailing someone new for the first time.

When Scripts are Available (and Make Sense), Use Scripts

If you’re sick of staring at a blinking cursor and want to make some progress, you can always lean on email scripts to get you started.

The key here isn’t to copy and paste everything you write, but to remember the human touch. But once you’ve determined that you’ll do that, you can use some email scripts as reference points:

Practice Makes Perfect

You might not write perfectly effective emails every time. But as you get used to the work environment and routinely send out similar emails, you’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention to the questions people tend to ask in their replies and you’ll soon learn that you can answer them ahead of time. Over time, you’ll settle on a natural rhythm to your emails to help you avoid long email chains, back-and-forth question sessions, and even the occasional faux pas.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/How to Write an Effective Email the First Time Around/
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Five Mistakes That Make Customers Hang Up

When a customer hangs up on you mid-conversation, it’s easy to tell what you did wrong. In fact, they probably spent the previous five minutes telling you exactly what their issue was.

But when customers hang up on your phone system before you even get to speak with them, that’s another problem.

According to some statistics, about 80% of callers will hang up on a phone system if they don’t feel like their call is going straight to voicemail. That means that you’re already missing out on most important customer calls by not having a robust, organic phone system in place.

How can you turn it around? Make sure that when you set up your business’s phone system, you avoid these other key mistakes that make customers want to hang up:

Mistake #1: Putting Them in the Driver’s Seat

It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t any self-respecting customer want to be in the driver’s seat in an interaction with a company?

Yes and no. If you give your customer too much power—or give them too many choices—you run into the problem known as Paradox of Choice, first popularized by an author named Barry Schwartz.

In one study, shoppers were exposed to an astonishing variety of gourmet jam: 24 whole choices, with samples to boot. On another day, the available jams were limited to six.

Researchers found that while more choices attracted more initial attention, fewer choices meant that customers were ten times as likely to make a choice from the jams and bring it to purchase.

What does this have to do with your phone system? Simple: don’t give them too many choices. Give them options, sure—they need to navigate your business as well as possible. But keep the choices limited. Don’t let customers grow frustrated with your never-ending web of call forwarding.

We’ve all been in the situation of being the customer who loses all patience with a phone system and shouts into the phone, “just get me a human!” Don’t make your customers do that.

Mistake #2: Creating a Fancy, Elaborate Script

If a customer calls you on the phone, it’s important to give them a sense that you’re a real person—or at least a real company.

The problem is that some companies believe that to come across “real,” they need to simulate the feeling of authenticity by creating a script. Then they lose sight of why they created a script in the first place and simply want to create the most flowery, over-the-top script possible.

Avoid this instinct. When SoftwareAdvice.com ran a study, they found that customers had a strong negative impression of calls when they thought agents were reading from scripts. If a customer perceived a call as unscripted, their perception of the call improved 78% of the time.

If you’re building a voicemail system for directing phone calls, you will have to use automated messages to guide your customer. The way to avoid the negative-script effect is to keep things simple and professional. Get the essential information to the customer and let them move on.

Mistake #3: Weaving a Tangled Web of Call Forwarding

If you’ve ever been on a long phone call with a company, you know that it can feel like a temporary boost when you’re forwarded to the appropriate expert. That’s all well and good, but when your phone call gets passed on and on again, you start to feel like the entire effort is futile.

The same effect occurs when you create an overly complicated phone structure for answering customer phone calls. Yes, it’s important that you get the customer to the person who can solve their problem or answer their question. But if it takes too many steps to get there, customers won’t care about your good intentions. They’ll just care that they couldn’t get through.

Mistake #4: An Unprofessional Voicemail Greeting

If you have clients or customers call your personal number, it can be a bit disorienting to hear a casual and obviously personal voicemail greeting on the other end.

Even if you work out of a home office, it’s important that your phone system—or even something as simple as your voicemail greeting—displays that you have a professional business presence. Heed a few of the tips that we’ve provided in our post on voicemail greetings and make sure to:

  • Limit background noise. Hearing family members in the background is an obvious no-no. But even hearing general office sounds can have a negative effect on the quality of your voicemail greeting.
  • Smile as you record. You’d be surprised at the effect a smile can have on the tone of your voice. You want to be positive, upbeat, and professional—and sometimes, there’s no way to fake that except to smile.

Mistake #5: Too Little Information

If you’re convinced about the paradox of choice and you want to avoid an overly-elaborate script, it’s tempting to go too far in the other direction and record a Laconic voice greeting like “Hi. Leave a message at the tone.”

There’s nothing wrong with simple. But if you want your customers to stay engaged with your phone system, there’s no harm in infusing a little personality into their interactions with your automated responses. Just as long as these hints of your personality don’t get in the way of a customer perceiving you as a competent professional, they’ll likely stay on the line.

Give Your Customer a Reason to Stick Around

Just as you work hard to earn sales through marketing, analytics, and good, old-fashioned quality business practices, you don’t want the hard work to go to waste once a customer gets a hold of your phone number. Avoid these mistakes and create a simple, intuitive voicemail system that customers will understand and even enjoy. The better it is, the more likely it is you’ll retain those customers who would have otherwise given up. When it comes to your phone system and your customers, every second counts.

from The Grasshopper Blog – Insights for Entrepreneurs https://grasshopper.com/blog/Five Mistakes That Make Customers Hang Up/
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