“Professionalism” is a very loosely used description to an individual’s business temperament. Individuals think if they are well equipped with the English vocabulary, they carry professionalism. But then, what is it that defines the word professionalism? Defining the word is difficult as it is a perspective of an individual’s opinion. I am trying to make an attempt to examine what is it that could add to portraying professionalism.
1. Under Commit, Over Achieve
Yes, this is a tip which adds to professionalism. It is critical to commit to clients or business partners below your delivery levels but achieve above those expectations you’ve built. No, this is not a marketing gimmick! There will also be times when you would deliver only to the committed levels and hence you would still display professionalism. This is applied in cases of: delivery of products and services offered to clients, pricing of products and services, payment time lines to vendors, etc.
2. Black & White
Any business deal should have all the terms and conditions in printed, written format. There should be no place left for assumptions or wild imaginations. Humans have a tendency to take certain things for granted and details regarding a business deal is one of them, this usually happens when there is a repetition. Clients and business partners appreciate that all minute details discussed are penned down and there are no ambiguities left.
3. Cover The Loop
When you start something, drive it till the end. Perseverance and follow up systems should be powerful that once you open a loop, you know it will be closed. This always proves that you are under control and have a drive to deliver. It is critical in any lead generating mechanism as conversions happen only after dedicated perseverance.
4. Nurture Talent
The fastest way to grow in your career is when you train talent to take your place. Only when they reach that stage of their career, you would be able to take your step ahead. This also ensures that the entire organisation follows the same process and also that professionalism flows from top to bottom. The added advantage of nurturing talent is the learning process for yourself never ends.
5. Stick To Your Commitment
I am reminded of a line from a Hindi movie, ‘Once I commit, I do not even listen to myself’. Professionalism is an outcome of promises and commitments upheld. At times this is possible by suffering a financial loss, but the goodwill profit you build would make up for it. When you do suffer a financial loss, do keep the other party posted that you would still maintain your commitments despite a loss. This will be appreciated and aid building a long term business relationship.
Process is a critical part in building world class organisations. Process driven account keeping for internal and external reasons, will not only give you the peace of mind but also portray professionalism. Even while driving sales, following a process would add to higher conversions. Individuals would be more than pleased to work with an organisation where they know that the process followed would drive their requirement till the end. Processes would also ensure a Win-Win situation with employees, vendors and business partners which I shall elaborate further on.
7. Happy Quotient
Happy quotient is a measure which is best judged by the ‘quality’ of your product or service. The finest quality of a particular product or service will not only ensure continued business but would also ensure Happiness. Even while dealing with other business partners, if you do pay an extra buck and expect supreme product or service by a vendor, he would be more than happy to provide you with it. Quality benchmarks acquired must be maintained or risen every time!
8. Thank You
Many a times, once a business deal is completed, organisations forget that the other party yet exists. A relationship does not start and end with that one deal, but it only creates a foundation for the future. Small steps taken like – to connect with a client to take feedback, thank a vendor for the quality maintained, appreciate the timely delivery of the courier company, be thankful to your employee who ensured that the job was done – do go an extra mile in portraying true professionalism.
9. A Win-Win
While dealing with clients, we always expect that the price they pay should always match up to the quality you provide, creating a Win-Win. The same holds good also while dealing with vendors, business partners, employees. It is imperative that all payments to be made are done on timely basis. Business partners and employees value this deed and would look forward to working with you more often. This also facilitates improved quality standards, thus creating a Win-Win!
10. Flexible Return Policy
Nobody wants to manufacture a bad product/service. But at times, the expectation of a client could be higher than your delivery. At this time, the return policy you follow should be flexible enough to accept the return and replace the product/service in minimum turnaround time. This will go a long way in creating a comfort level for the client which will guarantee that they work with you again. Professionalism is at its best when you are willing to accept your weaknesses or mistakes and amend accordingly.
11. Attitude & Commitment
Though this is the last point here, this is the first step towards professionalism. Only if an individual is willing to learn, has the attitude to make an effort, is committed to build a world class organisation, the art of professionalism can be achieved. The attitude and commitment of an organisation which strives towards achieving all of the above stated points will eventually portray effortless and natural professionalism in everything they do.