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Every now and then, we speak with a blood donor who really drops a bombshell of reality on us all at once through our conversations.

Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) Vicki Monsour recently had a conversation with the family of a blood donor who, as she sadly found out, was deceased. He was a young man who was actually a big advocate of donating blood and had helped out many folks with his own blood donations; this was something the family mentioned to Vicki as their conversation transpired. As Vicki continued to talk with the family and show empathy about the situation at hand, one of the family members asked how they could use their son’s death as a way to encourage others to donate blood. They even mentioned that in lieu of flowers they were kindly asking friends and family members attending the service to make a blood donation at the local blood center in honor of their son, since it was something he truly believed in and made a practice to do himself. It takes an amazing group of people to keep other folks in mind during such a tragic time.

This conversation really resonated with Vicki, even as she hung up the phone. Vicki is a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) that takes extreme pride in her job at Incept recruiting blood donors. She herself has experienced tremendous personal loss in her life and understands the need for blood and how the actions of blood donors help families with terminally ill family members. She actually brought this call to my attention after being touched by the family’s gesture.

Why Giving Blood Truly Does Matter

As human beings, we are all going to die. That sounds so morbid and simple to just say like that, but the sooner we accept our mortality the sooner we can truly live. That being said, people should be able to live a healthy life in this day and age. We shouldn’t have to worry about a losing a loved one to cancer. We shouldn’t have to wait on pins and needles in hopes that a parent’s heart surgery went well. We should all be able to have a serene and last moment with an ailing family member when their time has come and be able to say a meaningful goodbye. At the end of the day, it really is blood donors who make it all possible.

We always tell people their blood donations have the power to save up to three lives apiece, which is true. But sometimes that isn’t the case. Sometimes sickness can prevail over treatments, and our biological bodies act more like failing machines, as they break down and deteriorate. If you are a blood donor, at the very least, you can take pride in the fact that your blood donation might have kept someone alive long enough to say goodbye to their spouse or kids. Your blood donation might have helped alleviate some of their pain while they were hospitalized during their final days as well. Your blood donation has the power to improve the physical living conditions of those who are sick and dying. Isn’t that something to consider when donating blood?

You aren’t always just saving lives when you donating blood. Sometimes you are granting time and extending life to someone who might not be on this Earth for much longer. You are giving them and their families that opportunity for real closure. That is a truly inconceivable gift to most folks who haven’t been in a position of losing a loved one to a terminal illness.

It is funny, because when we talk to a blood donor who donates due to their own family members having received blood in a time of need, you can hear it in their voice. They give because they relate to the cause. They unconditionally understand the importance of being a blood donor and sometimes even get emotional talking about the act of donating blood, because they do it in a way that posthumously honors their deceased loved ones. They continue to carry their love for that person through the act of giving life to others.

Everyone has their own reasons for donating blood, but hopefully now you can better understand that donating blood isn’t just a way to get out of class or something you do on your lunch break. It is a way to remember a loved one and keep their memory living on.

Why do you donate blood?

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Do words really affect us?

The very essence of my job as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) at Incept, I am a communications specialist, and I communicate through a voluminous mental library of different words every single day.
The average woman will speak either about or over 20,000 words per day! Us males on the other hand only use an average of around 7,000 words per day. At the end of a week at Incept, I’m convinced that a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) easily uses around 100,000 words per week as we interact with hundreds of blood donors week in and week out. Our jobs are centered around conversation. Conversation is even in our job title. But at the very core of a conversation lies the spoken words themselves that we use to communicate.
I’m willing to bet that you have heard the idiom, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Such a phrase rings true in our daily social environments, as we interact with each other primarily through spoken language. We tend to remember moments in our lives where we have been touched on some type of mental level in a profound way. You remember the time when your sports coaches yelled at you. You remember times when you have received praise in front of your classroom. You remember the funny one-liners and inside jokes that you share with your friends. You feel a certain way when your significant other tells you, “I love you.” Words can truly be what build someone up or tear someone down and precede the actions that come next.
As I sit here in my cubicle and type, I am drawn to think about the way I talk to donors on the phone. What I say to them will be what results in action or inaction. As a CME at Incept, my job might have an end goal to get an appointment to donate from a blood donor, but it is ultimately my words that will build them up to do it again in many cases. The same can be said for many people who work in the telecommunications field.
Good, old Isaac Newton stated as the third law of the Laws of Motion, “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.” Keep that in mind if you are recruiter or telephone representative. The way you use your words in interactions with customers will result in some type of reaction for sure. It is up to us as humans to really understand the power of what we say. The spoken word can either be something that is as sweet as a glass of ice tea on a summer’s day or can be as hurtful as stepping on a stray nail. You have to recognize the basic philosophy behind being truly conversational and the effect that even the smallest word or phrase can have with your donors. Only then can you truly master using the power of spoken words.

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I don’t know about you, but there is something that feels good when someone says, “Thank you.”

It must be a psychological thing, because if you notice in today’s society everyone wants to be recognized for something. Look at modern fashion and how loud and colorful clothing has become. Guide your eyes through your Facebook feed, and look at all the indulgence people seem to take in their image and personas. Everyone nowadays wants to be noticed for something they do.

At Incept, we recognize that. Since we recruit many blood donors on behalf of our clients across the United States, we truly recognize the importance of saying “Thank You” to the blood donors we speak to! When you think about it, since blood cannot be manufactured and has to be donated, that donor is giving a part of themselves in a very literal sense. “Thank you” is the least we can say. But there is so much a blood center can incorporate from thank-you calls being incorporated in their blood donor recruitment efforts!

The Benefits of Thank-you Calls on Your Blood Donor Recruitment Efforts

  • Easy way to strengthen the relationship with your donors. No matter what line of business you are in, you want to keep the “customer” happy. When we perform a thank-you call, it enables us to strengthen the relationship in an easy manner. We obviously want thank the donor for their selfless actions, because, after all, donating blood is a beautiful and generous way to save people’s lives. This helps encourage them to continue giving but also conditions them to want to talk to us on the phone.
  • Thank-you calls can be a convenient way to gather post-donation data. During a thank-you call, you also have the opportunity to ask how the donation went. Not only does this further the relationship in a positive way by conveying you care, but it also allows you to have invaluable feedback about your program. Did it go well? Was the staff nice? Were they accommodating? These answers are entirely firsthand feedback and insights that you can easily use to improve your efforts with your respective donors.
  • Convert first-time donors into maintenance donors. Remember watching the original Willy Wonka movie when Charlie returns the gobstopper at the end? Wonka goes on to say, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” When we thank our donors for donating, we aren’t asking them for anything. We simply want to thank them for their actions. Sometimes a small gesture of kindness can be enough to encourage someone to donate again, ultimately creating a potential maintenance donor.

Saying thank you in real life is easy enough. If you aren’t incorporating thank-you calls into your organization’s recruitment agenda, what is stopping you? You can build the relationship easily, gain valuable donor insights, and possibly encourage someone to donate again for your organization. All of this is made possible just by showing a little appreciation!

How does your organization thank its donors or customer base?

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Ah, yes. It is that time of year again.

The time has finally come to break out the iron and steel and hit the asphalt hard. Motorcycles on the road tend to be a more common sight when the summer solstice nears, something I personally love – being a motorcyclist myself. Blue skies and sunshine aren’t the only reasons why motorcycles are on the road more and more, however. The rise in the cost of gas during the busy summer travel season is another reason why many fellow bikers take advantage of riding their metal ramblers. There is also the simple fact that motorcycles are just plain fun to ride.

If you are a fellow rider, then you get what it means to come home with a visor plastered in bugs after a spirited blast. The sheer joy one can experience when there is nothing else in the world that seems to matter when you grab a fistful of throttle on your hog is simply exhilarating. It becomes more than riding a frame with an engine underneath you. It is almost an out-of-body experience to feel nothing but the ground roaring below you as the wind howls without mercy against your tear ducts, screaming towards an unreachable horizon in the distance. Being a motorcyclist is a beautiful pastime that I will never be able to give up in my lifetime. I will always have at least one motorcycle in my garage.

Since there are many more motorcycles sharing the pavement at this time of year, unfortunately, there are also many more accidents involved with bikes. In 2010, in the United States alone, there were 3,615 fatalities on the road involving a motorcycle. That is a sad and sobering number for any rider to hear. Even more sobering is the fact that when motorcycles become involved in an accident with an automobile 77% are struck in the front and only 7% are struck from behind. Of these accidents, 47% were fatal to the motorcyclist involved.

According to the American Red Cross, a single automobile accident victim might need up to 100 units of blood in extreme cases; so imagine what a motorcycle accident victim could need! At Incept, you might know a big part of what we do is helping to recruit blood donors for blood centers across America. During the summer months, due to colleges and schools being on summer break, many blood donations are missed in part to not having drives hosted at this time of the year.

I’ve been riding  for almost three years now, and I haven’t laid my bike down or been in an accident with another car (knock on wood) ever in my time on my Suzuki. That is thanks to being alert while riding and constantly paying attention to my surroundings and other vehicles. Even with good riding skills and riding defensively, however, many good motorcyclist do end up going down.

Earlier this year in February, a rider from Sarasota, Florida was involved in a turbulent and near-fatal accident when a minivan ran a red light colliding with his Harley and causing him to need more than 20 units of blood due to multiple surgeries. This was a rider that had been riding for decades and was always careful, but it goes to show you how risky it is to even be out on the road on a motorcycle.

If anything, please watch and listen for motorcycles. Loud pipes really do save lives! Give each motorcycle enough space on the road between you and your car and always pay attention to their turn-signals or hand signals. While you are at it and if you are eligible, why not stop by your own local blood bank to donate blood? At a time of year when it is crucial to receive support from donors, if you haven’t donated yet, now is the time!

If you are a motorcyclist, be safe and donate blood for our brothers of the road that will need our help this summer.

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If you work for Incept then you already know that compassion is one of our core values. There are many situations in which compassion is key to having a productive conversation, and I would like to share with you a few ways you can show compassion in your blood donor recruitment calls.

The first thing you must do to have a compassionate call is listen actively. Listening actively means that the blood donor you are talking to has your undivided attention and that you are not thinking about something else – even if it’s what you plan to say next. Not only do you have to listen to the words coming out of their mouth, but you have to pay attention to the tone they are using.

Listening actively will allow you to use empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Think of everything your blood donor just told you, and ask yourself, “What would I want someone to say to me if I were in this same situation?”

Next acknowledge the blood donor or customer by saying, “I’m sorry to hear that!” or “I understand.” This will let them know that you were listening actively, and you would like to help them. Then proceed by giving a statement that will make them feel better. For example, “I’m so to hear that you are ill. I hope feel better soon.” This will leave the donor with a positive impression and encourage them to donate with us in the future.

There are so many ways to show compassion in your calls, and keep in mind that recruiting blood donors is a compassionate act in itself, so thank you for what you do every day!

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Our very own Mike Jackson.

If there is one Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) at Incept that puts his performance where his mouth is – and quite literally, as he is part of a rap group – Michael Jackson (MJ) is the guy that comes to mind. When you meet Mike you can already tell by his mannerisms that he is as animated as a Looney Tunes’ charater and full of positivity. A great asset amongst our employees, Mike is the type of employee that really brings our company culture full circle. He is someone you can talk to about anything, and you instantly feel this type of friendliness in each conversation.

I remember recently I was having a pretty rough start to my morning. My heat wasn’t turned on yet in my apartment, so I woke up to find myself in an extremely cold daze. To make matters worse, I had overslept my alarm, and my brain had kicked itself into that “fight or flight” mode in an effort to make it to work on time. To top it off, my Z28 was thirsty for some 93 octane, but I just couldn’t afford to waste time stopping for gas. After slamming gears down I-77, crossing my fingers and coasting on fumes, I pulled into Incept’s parking lot and flew up the flight of stairs to the time clock to punch in. I found a slight glimmer of victory as I had managed to make it on time and could feel a relieved smirk grow across my face.

I found a seat right near the big screen so that I could watch the Cleveland Browns get destroyed that Sunday, and, sure enough, across the rows I caught a glimpse of my man, Mike Jackson. The thing is, he didn’t seem like himself. He seemed quieter than usual, but without a doubt was still on top of his call performance. I had to ask, “Mike, whats going on, man?” He then proceeded to tell me about how the night before he learned that one of his close cousins who he had grown up with had tragically died in an automobile accident. And I thought my day was going bad!

That put things into perspective for me really quickly. At Incept we have a bereavement policy that states you are allowed to take up to thirty days off work to grieve the death of a loved one, yet Mike was still sitting in the office making calls. I even tried to tell him he could go home, but he gently smiled and told me, “that would be the easy way out.”

Mike told me he’d rather try to come in and work than grieve for his cousin (who went by the name Sully) initially, because it was a more constructive way to deal with the situation rather than sit around. He knew he could have called off, as he had a very legitimate excuse to do so, but just the way he explained things to me really struck me hard. I was dealing with just another run-of-the-mill bad day while Mike was going through a life-changing ordeal in losing Sully. On top of it all, his call quality was excellent (as usual), and he was seemingly well above goal.

It isn’t until you put yourself in someone’s shoes that you get a real idea of how dismal and minuscule your problems are when compared to something like that. Mike received Incept’s R.A.V.E. award (Recognizing and Acknowledging Values in Employees) for being tenacious in the way he dealt with such a negative event and used it to fuel his drive. That is something I wanted to recognize and still can’t get over.

It really makes me question if Mike, a really happy-go-lucky kind of guy, can have life throw him a curve ball like that and still hit a home run, then what makes your bad day so bad that you can’t give it your all at work?

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A few years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Joe Gibbs (three Super Bowl titles, NASCAR Championship team owner, and two-time NHRA Pro Stock team owner) speak for an American Teleservices Association (ATA) conference where he talked about leadership. Coach Gibbs explained that three things were expected of leaders: communicate expectations, provide training, and hold people accountable. He took exception to the Peter Principle, saying that people don’t typically fail because they rise to a level that’s above them; it’s usually because leaders fail to provide adequate training.

Coincidentally, Incept undertook a branding initiative about a year ago with the objective of becoming a world-class organization. In setting that compass, Incept committed to a “listen before we lead” approach with both our clients and our employees. So, as part of this initiative, we asked our employees a series of questions aimed and defining our roadmap to become world-class in our service. Can you guess what they told us? Their feedback indicated a thirst for training, knowledge, and growth. No big surprise there, right?

In turning that feedback into something actionable, Incept’s Live The Brand oversight committee developed a service standard: “With education, constant improvement and growth are expected.” With every service standard, there should be a definition, so the committee went on to create the definition: “As we pursue our goal of becoming a world-class organization, we recognize that the continuous training and development of all employees is key.” And in order for us to truly live our brand, the committee created these actions:

  • Employee – Every day I will seek opportunities to better myself and my career.
  • Organization – We will provide tools and resources that help our employees accomplish their personal and professional goals.

Providing the tools and resources is a significant undertaking. Consequently, we formed a subcommittee entitled: Learning Never Stops. Current Learning Never Stops subcommittee members include Incept’s CEO Sam Falletta, Conversational Marketing Expert Zev Rosenburg, Program Results Supervisor Allison Legg, Shift Supervisor Amber Nelson, and VP of New Client Results Jim Beuoy.

Again, we deployed our “listen before we lead” approach and asked the employees to provide specific subject matter for the courses. The interest was beyond our expectations. Employees quickly realized that by Incept investing in them, they would become better employees, become more engaged with the brand, and provide better service to our clients.

The Learning Never Stops subcommittee outlined a plan for ongoing education, determining which trainings are mandatory, which are optional and at what intervals they should be held. Topics vary, ranging from leadership to communication to personal well-being. Plans include training curriculum, performance management (formal and informal) and an advancement path for success both personally and professionally. The outcome is Incept University. It’s run like many universities in that there are requirements for acceptance, credits for successfully passing course assessments, and majors – which are career paths through various disciplines within the organization.

The concept of a corporate learning and development center, regardless of the title, isn’t something new. Even the concept of a corporate university has been around for awhile. So far, Incept’s appears to be a rousing success as employees frequently ask about timing of courses, how they can take corrective action on attendance and performance to become eligible, and other expressions of interest. Still, there could be challenges along the way. We’re interested in hearing from others about keys to success and potential pitfalls of corporate development.

What’s your experience been in launching and sustaining a “Learning Never Stops” initiative?

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I wanted to take a couple minutes to talk about my start and growth here at Incept.

I started on the phones mainly making calls to current and potential blood donors for various blood centers across the nation. I was inspired by the work I did, and I took it very seriously. I am competitive by nature, so I was always looking for ways I could do better and produce at the rate that many of the veterans were at that time. Everyone from fellow Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) up to the CEO was very helpful in encouraging my development.

Within two months of my first day of employment, I was asked to become a Coach and assist on the floor with developing and improving other CMEs. This brought on more of a challenge, as I now had to continue making calls myself in addition to coaching people on how to make their phone calls better. This was an interesting transition – mainly because I was low on the totem pole – being that I was to work with CMEs who had been doing this job for much longer than me. Again, I was shown how great of a place Incept is to work for as these veterans accepted and welcomed my help graciously.

Shorty after this, I was given smaller blood center campaigns to run operationally. After learning the complexities of operations and reaching and exceeding goals for our blood centers, I was eventually moved to the position I am in today: Program Results Manager. Through the hard work of everyone on my team, and my constant dedication, I am managing our largest client at Incept. I set up operational strategies for reaching our units goal along with our Client Results Team and our Technology Results Team. These strategies include but are not limited to scripting, time-of-day calling, specific CMEs used for specific campaigns, testing new ideas, managing Supervisors and Coaches that work directly with CMEs, and developing new strategies with the actual client through meetings and various other forms of contact. Every day brings a new challenge, but the success of my responsibilities is worth all the hard work.

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It seems like every day I work I see a new face, so I wanted to take the time to explain how it pays to be a lifesaver.

You learn in training about blood types and how many lives you can save by scheduling just a single blood donation. We feel that what you do each and every day to saves lives deserves to be rewarded.

We have a program called the Lifesaver Program, in which you earn points for every donation you schedule. Your points determine which level you are and what reward you will receive. You get rewarded at levels, 3, 5, 7, 9 , 12, 15 and 20.

Prizes include pens, coffee mugs, t-shirts, dress shirts, binders, carry-on bags and even a mini vacation! Once you reach a new level, you also get a sticker indicating which level you are, so everyone can see just how dedicated you are to saving lives.

Be proud of what you do, and always challenge yourself to get to that next level.

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My adrenaline was still rushing from the Steelers’ Super Bowl XL victory when I showed up to our blood drive on that Monday afternoon.

Ever since high school, I had volunteered to help serve snacks, but I’d never actually donated blood before. However, as a relatively new college student and a thrilled football fan, I decided that it was time for me to make my first donation. Little did I know that by donating that January day, I would get to meet Big Ben, the Steelers’ championship quarterback…

The donation process got off to a great start. My phlebotomist was a Seahawks fan, so we exchanged a few friendly. Everything was going smoothly, but just as I finished filling the donation bag, my feet started to get cold and my vision became just a little fuzzy. I could slowly feel myself passing out.

Sure enough, about seven seconds later, I was out cold in the donation bed.

According to a friend, I was only out for a few seconds, but during that time, I had a full-length dream that Big Ben and I were at a coffee shop talking about the season, the big game, and other random topics that best friends normally talk about. It felt like our conversation lasted for hours, and, needless to say, when I woke up, I was a little heartbroken that it wasn’t real.

Maybe I didn’t technically meet Ben, but it sure felt like it at the time. The good news is that although my first blood donation experience wasn’t perfect, it didn’t deter me from coming back and trying again. Nowadays I make sure to eat a good, iron-rich meal and drink plenty of fluids prior to my appointments. During the donation process, I recline my chair and keep a drink nearby.

Today, several years later, I still have a great first-donation story to share. I’m happy to report that I’ve made several more successful donations since that day, and I’ve yet to rendezvous with Big Ben again!

Share It NET!

We’re finally Sharing It! A few weeks ago, the “Share it. Know it. Own it. Repeat.” subcommittee rolled out Incept’s very first internal electronic message board, appropriately named “Share It NET.” If you haven’t already begun incorporating Share It NET into your daily routine, now is the time to start! The intranet displays all sorts of new and relevant information, from program-related changes and “tips of the day” to internal news and updates about Incept-specific events.

Now, if you miss a day or two of work, you no longer have to worry about relying on paper memos to catch up on what you missed. You no longer have to worry about accidentally throwing a memo away. Share It NET stores all important company information, and it is accessible with just a click of your mouse! A link to the Share It NET can be found at the top of your livestats page, and there are separate pages for Incept Saves, Incept Results and Incept Internal updates.

If there is anything specific that you would like to see posted on the intranet, please let us know! If you have any special tips, tricks or FYIs related to a particular program, Share It with a supervisor or coach so that they can submit it to be posted. And, of course, if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement, Share It with anyone on the “Share It. Know It. Own It. Repeat.” subcommittee.

We listened when you told us that communication needed improved, and we’re still listening for ways to get even better!

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