Outshine the Competition.

Blog - outshine your competition.jpg

What makes you different? What sets you apart from the rest? Why should we choose you?

These are questions that we’ve all been asked at one time or another. We’ve asked ourselves these questions to pump ourselves up before a big meeting, we’ve been asked these questions at the end of interviews and, if you work in sales, prospects ask you these questions on a daily basis: I’ve heard that _______ offers the same thing. What makes you different than them? Why should we choose you over them?

When you’re working for a company that you love and you’re selling a product or service that you believe in and see the value in, it’s easy to get defensive when these questions come your way. Just remember that they are doing their job just like you’re doing yours. Take this opportunity to outshine your competition; keep in mind when you’re formulating your responses that if you are being asked these questions, so are they.

So what’s the best way to answer these sorts of questions – that’s what this blog post is about. How can you take these questions and come up with responses that will make them consider and, in the end, choose you over everyone else that they speak to?

  • Focus on what you do really well.

Something that we often do at StaffStat is ask our current customers for feedback and testimonials. How else would we know if we’re on the right track? If you aren’t asking for feedback already, consider sending out an email to your customers requesting feedback on the various areas of your business (customer service, system performance, overall satisfaction etc.) so that you know what you and your team are doing well and where you could improve. From there you’ll know what made your customers choose you over the competition and you can use that information to your advantage.

  • Tell them what you do differently.

Although you might sell a product or offer a service that’s similar to something else that’s on the market, think about what you do differently than they do. Have you compared your setup or implementation costs to theirs? Do you offer additional services that the competition doesn’t? Does your product or service operate differently than theirs does? If so, in what way?

Setting yourself apart from the competition by outlining what you do differently than they do also helps leads and prospects confirm why it’s worth it for them to pay whatever price you’re proposing for the use of your service or to purchase your product.

  • Keep your promises.

This one is huge for me. This point, in my opinion, is also the most important. Keeping your promises, whether they be to your current customers, your leads or those coming down your pipeline in the near future, is a crucial part of creating trust and forming meaningful relationships. It’s important to keep in mind as well that the majority of the prospects that you speak to that come from the same sector speak to each other. Be sure that the information that you’re sharing during one conversation can be applied across the board.

Tessa-NEW

Facebook & The Job Search

facebook-under-a-magnifying-glass.jpgCareer change? Fresh out of college? Whatever your reason for searching for a new job, we all know that it can be an incredibly daunting task.

As you may or may not know, I am a Marketing graduate, but I have also completed my post-grad in Human Resources. Working in a Marketing role at a staffing & recruitment company has not only been the perfect marriage for my educational background, but it has allowed me to be exposed to the application, interviewing and hiring process as well as regularly frequenting social media to recruit new candidates. I’ve mentioned it in past blogs, but a huge chunk of my day is spent on social media… and I come across the profiles of thousands of individuals on a daily basis.

It’s becoming increasingly more popular for companies to conduct social media checks on potential employees—a practice that many disagree with. The fact of the matter is, however, that it’s a practice that is occurring. It’s incredibly easy for recruiters or those in charge of hiring to find your Facebook profile since you’ve given them pertinent information—your real name, email address and phone number. To ensure your Facebook profile is leaving potential employers with a positive impression of you, the candidate, consider the following:

  1. Check yourself out. When you’re logged into Facebook, click on your own profile, hover over your cover photo, click the ellipses (…) on the bottom right of the photo, and click “View As”.  Facebook will automatically refresh your page to show you how the public (those who are not your friends) view your profile. From here, you can change your settings to make certain sections (such as your photos, friends list, timeline, etc.) viewable by your friends only. The key to this is to change everything so that random people clicking on your profile can only see the bare minimum: your profile picture, your cover photos, your city and your name.  lld.jpg
  2. Speaking of your name… it doesn’t hurt to change it by using your middle name in place of your last name instead. This isn’t necessarily being deceitful, but it can limit the likelihood of someone finding your profile.
  3. Choose your profile picture wisely.  For obvious reasons, pass on the photos of you drinking on a night out. Sure, you had a fun time, but you’re trying to land a job. Your photo doesn’t necessarily need to be a head shot, but having one may lead others to view you in a more professional manner. Aim to be presentable. On that note, Facebook now automatically makes your profile picture viewable by the public and many are unaware of this. Go back through your pictures and change the privacy settings of each one to be viewable by friends only.
  4. Untag, untag, untag.  As I’ve mentioned, your profile represents YOU. Take some time to untag yourself from photos that your friends/family have added of you that don’t portray you in the best light.
  5. Delete, delete, delete.  This goes hand-in-hand with untagging; spend a few moments scrolling through your timeline to review the content you or others have posted to your profile. Sure, you might’ve thought something was funny in 2008, but how does it reflect on your character in 2017? Tidy up!

It may seem like a lot of work to get your profile in tip-top shape, but your goal is to become employed at a company you are obviously interested in. If you’re offered the job, you’ll likely “friend” your coworkers and they’ll end up seeing your entire profile, anyways. At least you’ll be one step ahead! Good luck!

MeganSignature

Persistence, Patience, and the End Reward.

blog - May 17On December 21st I received an email from the Director of Long-Term Care for three long-term care homes in a County, located in southern Ontario. The individual stated that she had heard of StaffStat in the past at a conference that we had attended and that she was interested in learning more about how the system could help cut down the number of calls that her schedulers and RNs were making to her 450+ staff.

This was the first time that I was reached out to personally, and it was also the biggest group that I’d come into contact with who actually wanted to learn more about what it was that I had to offer. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. I connected with her right away and scheduled a call for the very next week. During that call we discussed the functionality of the system and how it could work for her homes, the implementation process, pricing and the possibility of setting up a free trial. After a few months of communicating back and forth, I finally had a signed Free Trial Agreement in my hands on March 21, 2017.

Yes. It took me three whole months to finally get confirmation that the three homes would be moving forward with a 14-day free trial of the system.

Just ten days ago, on May 7th, their free trial ended. I spoke with the Director of Long-Term Care on that same day and received verbal confirmation that they would be moving forward with an annual, pre-paid contract to continue using StaffStat in-house.

That’s right. It took me 137 days to close the sale – just under six whole months.

I feel like I’ve said this a million times before, but working in sales is really freakin’ hard. It’s hard to pick up a phone and call someone that you’ve never spoken to before. It’s hard to draft up an email that you’re hoping will not only entice the recipient to open the email and read it, but also peek their curiosity enough for them to connect back with you. It’s hard to keep motivated after being turned down over and over and over. But you want to know what the hardest thing has been for me since starting on my ‘sales journey’? It’s being persistent, while also being patient, and never giving up.

There were so many times throughout the process where I would look at Mandy or Mel and say, “What am I supposed to say to them today?” or, “I just left a voicemail on Monday… should I call again?” I’d leave countless voicemails and send emails each week to receive responses like, “I haven’t had time to review your last email. We’ll touch base soon” or, “We have a meeting in two weeks and we’ll be discussing your software then”. Although I was happy to know that I was still on their radar, it was sometimes hard to keep my head up when I’d feel like I was being brushed off or avoided. But I kept pushing! I never stopped calling and I never stopped emailing. I wanted to make sure that they knew that I was still there, waiting patiently (sort of) for the day when they would finally say, “Okay, let’s do this!”

Especially when dealing with technology, the sales cycle is long and painful and it can often be really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are days when I feel like I’m right on track and others where I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. The day that I heard the words, “We’ll be moving forward with the annual pre-pay option for all three homes”, was the day that I was reminded of why I do what I do. It was exactly what I needed to hear to regain my focus, continue moving forward, not get discouraged, and remember that although it isn’t always going to be easy, it’s the rewarding feeling in the end that makes the wait and the work totally worth it!

Tessa-NEW

Trade Shows. What’s the Trade-off?

17903949_10158593135685541_1867745327953334962_n.jpg

I have been in my sales role with StaffStat for close to one year now. Since that time I have had the opportunity to attend quite a few trade shows targeted to meeting the needs of our market. Trade shows are a lofty investment and the benefits must show in the return. The opportunity to connect with and learn from those in attendance have been and continue to be valuable experiences. Today, I thought I would share what I have learned and taken away from attending trade shows. In fact, while you read this I will be in attendance at the Ontario Centres of Excellence – Discovery ’17 Trade Show and Conference.

What have I learned?

  1. Trade shows are busy! They require time away from home and work and not to mention an abundant amount of energy. Most shows require an early “set up” start time and the networking continues after the floor closes. We, as a team, maximize every opportunity to meet and mingle with current customers, leads, prospects, and other vendors. We value our time, ensuring we bring value to every minute we are away, which often means we walk in what we refer to as a ‘conference coma’ for a day or so afterward.
  2. You have the opportunity to connect with your entire list of prospects, leads and customers over the course of a few days and all under one roof. Some of the trade shows we have attended have had anywhere from 300-1200 delegates in attendance in addition to hundreds of other vendors. Meaning 300-1200 opportunities to spread the word about what we are doing and how our shift-filling software is making a substantial difference in our customers’ day to day.
  3. Trade shows offer an efficient way of spreading the word. Current customers are a walking advertisement as they stroll the trade show floor conversing with their network of colleagues, partners and acquaintances; any of which, could be your next customer. After chatting with someone who has shown interest I will often advise them of who the current customers are that are in attendance, encouraging them to connect. Often times, they will already know one another. I suggest that they inquire with that customer and engage in a candid conversation about their experience with our team and product—nothing like having your references an arms length away and the chance to cut some time in the sales process!
  4. The opportunity to foster, and create new customer relationships. People are busy and don’t always have an opportunity to connect. You can shake hands with those that you may not have had a chance to connect with over a call or email. At trade show there are multiple opportunities to sit down and listen to your customers needs, wants, and suggestions with respect to your product.
  5. Team bonding. Our team is solid. Trade shows can be exhausting, however, we all manage to keep our emotions in check and never tire of the fun and hard work we do together as a team.

These are just some of the benefits and takeaways I have encountered. There is a definite trade-off from the time invested in these events but it won’t come easy; hard work and determination are vital to this recipe for success.

Cheers!

mandyblog

 

That Was Then… This is Now

That was Then.jpg

A quote from my personal Facebook Page one year ago:

“There’s this little known software company by the name of StaffStat, Inc. It’s changing the healthcare sector and our phone’s been ringing off the hook! Before 11am yesterday, we booked 4 demos and scheduled 2 meetings with prominent corporate prospects! We helped to cover an average of 58 shifts PER DAY last month. That’s 58 times PER DAY that because of StaffStat, more people were made aware, more people offered to come in on a day off and help out to work with a vulnerable population that would have otherwise been under-serviced! THIS, my friends is not a sales pitch; it’s a full-blown realization. We ARE making a difference. We ARE changing the status quo. We ARE from Azilda. We ARE women and we are monomaniacally focused on bringing our much needed solution to a HUGE problem. You heard it here on May 10th, 2016… StaffStat is going places and I am more than happy, proud and blessed to go along for the ride.”

I love Facebook’s “On This Day” feature because it allows me to reflect back on where we were, how enthusiastic I’ve always been for our solution and how far we’ve come!

Updates on the above include the following:

  1. I don’t think I would exactly describe us as “little known” anymore. We’ve seen consistent growth and as we continue to cruise the healthcare sector, the response “What do you do?” has been traded in for “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of you guys!”. That’s a solid trade-in if you ask this girl!
  2. Three of those four demos are now customers of StaffStat and one of those prominent meetings led to the signing of our first corporate contract.
  3. We’ve grown 380% in terms of our shift coverage! That’s right, StaffStat helps to cover 221 shifts per day. That’s an average savings of 165 hours/day that StaffStat puts back into long-term care, community supports and hospitals. Those hours are now being used to provide additional care, to ensure safety for residents and employees, and to improve processes in admissions and discharges. It’s a massive impact and we’re proud to put it out there! Imagine where we’ll be next year?
  4. We’ve since moved to Sudbury but we’re quite liberal about saying that we got our start in the A-Dot!
  5. We are still a team of women (we’ve actually added 3 fabulous ladies in a full-time capacity since this time last year) but we do have some testosterone in the office in the form of a placement student courtesy of Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology for the next 8 weeks (so glad to have you on board Amit!).

Some things, however, never change: We are making a difference across all of the sectors we serve. We are changing the status quo and I thank my lucky stars every single day that I was not only asked but was permitted to take the lead on this amazing project!

The moral of this blog post is this… if you’re into social media, take advantage of the memories, look back and be amazed at how far of you’ve come every now and again! If you’re not a social media ‘updating the world’ type of individual, keep a journal to write out where you’re at every now and again. Open last year’s journal from time to time and compare your ‘then’ and think of your ‘now’. If you’re in a better place and happy, you’re on the right track. If you’re not, it’s never too late to change the entry for today, start anew and compare again on this day… next year 😉

melblog

My 1st Blog

My name is Stephanie.  I am not the type of person to share about myself or voice my opinion (unless of course I know you and then you can’t stop me), so blogging is something new to me.  I am a pretty down to earth kind of person who doesn’t need much in life.   I enjoy consistency, knowing exactly what my day is going to be like, where I’m going and what I’m doing. I’m happy when I have a plan.  Not to say I don’t enjoy doing something spontaneous, getting out in the world, meeting new people or doing new things, but I am happy to stay home, work in my garden and play with my kids. I like living in, what I call, my “bubble”.

I’ve had so many secretary (and no, I don’t find that word derogatory) jobs in my life but they were all temporary. I had no consistency in my work life, no job that I could call my “career”.  Then I started, what I called, my favorite job of all time.  I was a Ward Clerk (secretary) on the surgical floor in our local hospital for 9 years and truly loved my job!  I could do my job with my eyes closed even though the floor I worked on is one of the busiest and most challenging floors in our hospital.  It was nice to have just one job that I did exceptionally well (or so I was told).

Then one day life decided that I needed a change.

I started working as a secretary for Plan A Health Care Staffing.  I knew a lot (or so I thought) about the business because it was my best friend’s “baby” and I had been around the Plan A Vision since it was born.  The difference between being around a company and working for it is very different. For me, after being in the same job for 9 years, going to work and knowing exactly what to do, was comforting; having to learn the ins and outs of a new job, however, was frustrating. Ever-evolving policies and procedures, client care, interviewing, hiring and dealing with staff, making sure our files were up to date, organizing orientation, taking care of bills and making sure the office ran smoothly…there was so much to learn!

After 2 years, I am happy to say I can again do my job with my eyes closed and I can talk about Plan A with confidence!  Working at the hospital gave me first-hand knowledge of what happens when not enough staff is there to take care of a patient and the same goes for Long Term Care residents. I love the Vision we bring to our community;  helping our elderly receive the care they deserve in their homes makes the change and challenges of learning a new job worth it. There is nothing more satisfying than watching our shifts disappear because the staff that we hired understand our vision and want to make a difference in the lives of our elderly too.  This is a “career” that makes me feel that I am making a difference in the world even if it’s just a small one.

Well guess what…. the girl who loves consistency is changing it up again!!

I was asked to take on the role as the Franchise Coordinator for Plan A Long Term Staffing and Recruitment Inc.  Again, I am going to have to learn a new job and a different type of position, too. I’m now going to be in charge of, technically, a new business.  I have to be more than the secretary, I have to be in charge of every aspect of starting a new business.  Learning how to run a Franchise from the ground up without policies to rely on (I’m big on policies) is difficult but I am pushing myself “outside of my box” and learning as I go. I am so lucky that I get to work with my best friend who is now also my mentor.  With her guidance, knowledge and business background and my administrative skills and an affinity to following the rules, I am confident that this new venture will be challenging and rewarding.  I have finally found my new favourite “career”!

Steph Candid

How We Put the PRO in Productivity

We all know the feeling: Monday morning, halfway through your first coffee… thinking you have a manageable day ahead, and them BAM, things get crazy. Deadlines, problems to be solved, errands to be ran. Your to-do list is growing by the second. 

Here is how we manage our time to make sure that everything gets done, and done well:

The Trusty Notepad: We would be lost without our notepads. The messy scribble that lives on their pages helps us to get all the little ‘to-do’s’ out of our heads while we are focusing on other tasks.

Our best practice? Each night we create a to-do list for the next day; things that were not completed that day, appointments, projects – the big things. That way, when we come in the next morning we don’t waste anytime refocusing. We know what we need to do and what the day should be dedicated to.

Have you heard of Bullet Journalling? This method is entirely focused on helping you do more in less time. This is something Sarah and I have just learned about and are looking to implement into our daily lives. If you find yourself trying to squeeze more and more into your jammed packed days I encourage you to read up on the method here: http://bulletjournal.com/ Let us know how it works for you!

Mini Meetings: In our small office, it is easy for me to turn to Sarah whenever I have a question or would like her input on something, but these little interruptions seriously inhibit our productivity. We realized this pretty early on and decided to swap in our constant chatter (read ‘cooonstant’) for a few ‘Mini Meetings’ each day, where we check in with each other, discuss any problems, and share feedback and ideas.

Not only does this allow us to concentrate more fully on our individual tasks for the rest of the day, but it helps us to only ask the important questions and to collect our thoughts more fully before bringing them to the soundboard.

Furry Friends: We love having our office pooch, Simcoe. While it may seem that having a dog in the office would inhibit productivity and be a bit of a time suck, we find it is just the opposite! 

Apart from Simcoe being a major stress reliever, having him in the office with us forces us to to get outside and take a breather. Giving yourself proper breaks is so fundamental to productivity, but it is often the first thing we deprive ourselves of, especially as business owners.

By taking time to get out of the office and re-collect our thoughts, even if it is just for 5 minutes, we come back feeling refreshed and more motivated to tackle the rest of the day.

And… did I mention he is adorable?

That’s it for me. What helps to keep your day running smoothly? I would love to hear your tips and tricks! 

Rachael