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Compassion

This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Erica Heath.

Some of the most important aspects of influencing company atmosphere are how well you build trust, communication, and rapport with the employees. In an atmosphere such as Incept, it is important to take these things into consideration when building a team. Strong teams are comprised of a strong leader and employees who have excellent communication skills with one another.

A good team should run like a well-oiled machine—the members should take accountability for their actions and the actions of one another, as well as build each other up in times of need. Having a strong team can decrease company turnover while also increasing the quality of production. In order to build strong teams it may be necessary to do team-building exercises.

3 Great Team-Building Exercises

The following are some exercises that can be used to create better rapport among your team members:

  • Two Truths and a Lie – Go around the room and have each CME state two things that are true about themselves and one thing that is a lie. Then have the team members guess which one of the items isn’t true. This game helps everyone get to know each other better.
  • Common/Uncommon Interests – Break the CMEs into pairs by having them count off in numbers. Tell the CMEs that (with their partners) they should come up with a list of three things they both have in common and two things that they do not have in common. The answers should exclude work, body parts, clothing, and the like, to encourage learning more in-depth things about each other. Tell the CMEs that one person should take notes, and the other person should be prepared to present the items to the group. This helps the CMEs make connections with people they wouldn’t normally get to talk to.
  • Four Squares - Give each of the CMEs a sheet of paper and have them fold the paper into four squares. Come up with a topic for each square and have them draw pictures that describes themselves for each topic. For example, here are some sample topics: favorite sport, dream job, if you were an animal what would you be, etc. The drawings don’t have to be detailed; they can be as simple as stick figures. Give the CMEs a few minutes to draw their pictures and then have them show their drawings and explain how they pertain to their interests.

These team-building exercises normally work better with CMEs who don’t know each other that well. However, these exercises can also work with a team that needs to reconnect. Remember, there are a lot of team-building exercises that can be used to create a strong team, and strong teams produce better results—meaning more lives saved!

What are you doing to build up your team?

Photo Credit: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTMM_52.htm

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Erica Heath.

Here at Incept, our management team strives to live by the values of the company. It is also very important to instill these same values into the Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) on the floor. The best way to ensure that our CMEs live the Incept Values at work is leading by example.

Setting Expectations Through Leadership

Leading by example means doing things that you would expect a CME to do without expecting recognition for it. As a manager, every day that you come into work you have employees watching you and looking to you for advice and guidance. It is important to try your best to do what is right, because you are a role model for so many people.

The following items are ways that you can improve on leading by example:

  1. Stick to your commitments. There will be days when you have unexpected things come up that may cause your schedule to fluctuate, and that is understandable. However, showing the CMEs that you always follow through with your commitments helps to build rapport, because they’ll know they can always count on you.
  2. Keep a level head. As humans we are all prone to having tempers and occasionally getting upset, but it is important to remain stable and to keep a calm attitude when things get tough. Try your best to show that CMEs can trust you when the going gets tough. If it helps, try to find a quiet place for a few minutes to take a breather and regain control over your emotions.
  3. Be fair. Make sure you treat everyone as equally as possible, and don’t show favoritism. If one person gets punished for something, make sure that if someone else on your team does the same thing you give them the same consequence. This excludes people who earn their rewards and work hard to get them, because they should be recognized (just like anyone else who accomplishes the same).
  4. Be present. The CMEs need to know that their leader is there for them and part of showing that you are is by staying in the rows and building strong working relationships with your teams.
  5. Follow company rules. Companies put rules in place for a reason. If you expect the CMEs to follow the rules, then you should follow them as well. This means if you expect a CME to wear their lanyard at all times, then you should wear yours at all times. If you expect them to be on time after their breaks, then you should be on time after yours. The list goes on…

These aren’t the only ways that you are able to lead by example, but they are definitely a good place to start. As a growing company, it is important that we lead by example to ensure that we maintain a great work environment and ensure Incept continues to be a safe and fun place for everyone.

How are you leading by example?

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Coaching is such an important part of successful blood donor recruitment. By letting your Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) know what they are doing right and what they can improve upon, you are increasing your chances of meeting blood donation goals.

What Is The Sandwich Approach?

Consider using a “sandwich” throughout your Formal Coaching Sessions in order to balance your positives and opportunities to improve. Think of the positives as the bread of a sandwich.

Lead with positive discussion, transition into opportunities for improvement (never refer to them as problems or failures), and wrap up with more positives. This helps reinforce that you are there to help the CME, not to scold them.

Make Improvement Opportunities SMART

While discussing opportunities to improve, lead the tele-recruiter in defining SMART goals for the Follow-Up Coaching Session. SMART—an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistically high, and Time-bound—is a widely used and time-proven method for defining goals in a way that invites accountability and achievement.

  • Specific: No vague statements. For instance, I’ll get better at following the script,” is vague. Who is to say what “better at” means? I will follow the script,” on the other hand, describes exactly what the tele-recruiter is committing to do.
  • Measurable: In order to incorporate accountability, goals must be measurable. I will follow the script,” is specific, but as it is written, following it just one time is not enough. I will follow the script in 100% of my conversations with donors,” tells exactly how often the tele-recruiter will comply.
  • Attainable: Setting a goal unrealistically high only results in frustration and can be demotivating. Perhaps the tele-recruiter currently follows the script only 75% of the time. It may be that 100% of the time is too lofty of a goal for one week’s improvement. I will follow the script in 85% of my conversations with donors,” may be more attainable.
  • Realistically High: Nonetheless, goals need to stretch individuals. Improving from 75% to 85% in a week may be too easy. I will follow the script in 95% of my conversations with donors,” may be difficult but doable. It may be realistically high for the individual.
  • Time-Bound: Finally, there needs to be a date range within which the tele-recruiter will accomplish the goal. Because you will be meeting again in a week for Follow-Up Coaching, most often you will have the tele-recruiter set a goal to accomplish within a week’s time. I will follow the script in 95% of my conversations with donors in the next week,” locks in commitment and accountability.

What kinds of coaching methods do you use with your blood donor recruiters?

Photo Credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/slice-your-sandwich-this-way-to-cut-your-appetite

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We believe nearly every employee wants to provide genuine value in their work, even the most difficult or lazy employees. We also believe most employees believe they are providing the best they can, even when it doesn’t look that way to management.

What gets in the way of providing that desired value can be quite complex – an unhealthy self-image, poor management, a mismatch between the individual’s talents and job requirements, a complicated personal life, and a plethora of other factors.

Connecting this inherent desire to contribute value to an individual’s job performance requires a positive approach to developing employees in such a way that employees take ownership of the process. Giving employees ownership in their own development changes it from something that is “done to” them into something they seek. We call this Positive Coaching.

The Finer Points of Coaching

Consider the role of an athletic coach. In children’s leagues, coaches correct poor habits and teach new skills. Whether the children they coach have natural talent or not becomes clear as those skills are applied to the game. As talented children progress through middle school, high school, and college, coaches spend less and less time teaching new skills and more time refining those skills and providing strategic opportunities for the players to succeed with them.

But even the greatest professional athlete needs a coach. In fact, top professional athletes regularly pay big dollars to surround themselves with the most competent coaches they can find, and they frequently credit those coaches for their celebrity.

Three observations from the above analysis are important when it comes to employees:

  1. Coaching involves teaching, correcting, and strategically channeling skills.
  2. The best performers want to be coached and developed.
  3. Even the very best performers will never outgrow their need to be coached

Are you a positive coach?

Photo Credit: http://spinw.com/2014/04/mental-side-of-coaching/

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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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