A duck and a dream

I had the pleasure of watching arguably the world’s best magician David Copperfield live in Melbourne recently. The magic itself was awesome...

17 reasons you should always carry a book with you

1. As someone who used to spend a lot of time waiting for real estate clients to show up – I know that clients / appointments / people in general are often late...

Reality Television your way to Success

I think I’m one of the only “motivational speakers” (not that I call myself that) who will openly admit that I watch television. I watch bad television too… even… dare I say it… reality television.

Where is the love?!

One of my businesses, Elephant Property, works in the notoriously under appreciated category of residential property management. The old adage in property management...

The power of the word

I’m quite distraught. I was eating my personal trainer approved afternoon snack of 12 almonds (my suggestion of 12 Tim Tams: not approved)...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Add this to your reading list and don’t be scared by the heart!

I’ll often say that a The 5 Love Languages is the best book I’ve read in years. Now it has a huge love heart on the front cover and has fundamentally been written to help people improve their romantic relationships – however, I’m happy to go on record as saying that it can even be one of the best business books you’ll ever read too.

The principle behind the book is that people primarily show love in one of 5 ways and that’s the way they most like to receive it. Too bad if the person you’re showing love to prefers to receive it in a different way – we’re mostly hardwired to show it in our own way as a default.

After reading the book we figured out that my husband and I have pretty much completely opposite love languages. I like presents and gifts, even if it’s just a rock from the garden or a card. My husband likes acts of service, ie: when he’s painting the deck or vacuuming, that’s how he’s showing me he loves me. (Vacuuming?! How was I meant to figure that one out!!)

The reason I say this book is one of the best business books I’ve ever read is that the same principle applies to rewarding clients and staff. You’ve got to find out what language they speak and reward or recognise them in the same way. Giving a monetary bonus to a staff member that just wants you to take 5 minutes to tell them in a heartfelt way that you appreciate them is almost pointless.

I highly recommend you don’t get scared off the big heart and put The 5 Love Languages on your personal and business reading list for better relationships (with everyone!)

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What’s in a name?

You don’t enjoy lunch by having a “Big Kroc”, even though Ray Kroc is the one really responsible for the McDonalds burger you’re chomping into, not the McDonalds brothers.

And you don’t slip on a gorgeous pair of “Tamara Mellons” to accentuate your calves, it’s Jimmy Choos the ladies desire, even though Tamara Mellon is the founder and driving force behind the Jimmy Choo company.

Even Betty Crocker wasn’t Betty Crocker! She was Marjorie Husted, and in this case Betty doesn’t even exist the name just sounded “cheery”.

So just because you work under an organisation that sports another’s name or identity be it a Harcourts, a Ford, an Ernst and Young or Jones Local Family Store – it doesn’t mean you can’t capture that branding and make it your own.

You can be Jill Jackson the amazing agent who is the first thing people think of when they think “real estate” or “LJ Hooker” in your area.

You can be Tom Bakerson who buys the company “Smith Records” and takes it to the world by making it your own.

In short, anything’s possible under any name. Now I’m off to answer a call on my iJobs phone…

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Sunday, January 24, 2010

12 Too Easy Ways To Improve Your Customer Service.

1. Find out your customer’s birthday and incorporate a way to surprise them that also benefits your business
2. Have a trusted friend or advisor you trust walk through your business and comment on anything they don’t love
3. Have a friend call your business with an enquiry while you listen on speaker phone
4. Learn to love complaints. Keep a log of any complaints and actually do something to ensure they don’t happen again.
5. Systematically ask your customers what they like and don’t like about your business
6. Work out a way to give your clients a gift that costs you nothing, but gives them value. The easiest way is through a strategic alliance with another business who wants access to your clients, ie: a photographer, coffee shop, restaurant, video rental store, homewares store etc.
7. Acknowledge every customer as soon as they walk in your door (even if you can’t see to them immediately – a smile costs nothing)
8. And on that note… Smile. When you see customers. When you’re on the phone. When you’re in the street.
9. Make sure customers can identify who your staff are (uniform, name tag, groovy apron, funny hat – doesn’t matter how!)
10. Clearly display your opening hours on your front window and website. There’s nothing more frustrating than standing outside a place of business clueless as to when it opens.
11. Get back to emails promptly (set a minimum standard in your workplace and make sure everyone knows it).
12. Send awesome Christmas cards that are personalised and let people know you actually took the time to think about THEM not just about getting the cards done.

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Monday, January 18, 2010

Change Much?

I used to think I was open to change.

I used to even go as far as to say that I embraced, loved and welcomed change.

I was mistaken.

You know how I know?

3 hours after getting my new Apple Mac laptop I was reduced to Neanderthal like beating of clenched fists on my desk because I could no longer “alt tab”, because “alt s” no longer saved anything and because “alt f a” certainly no longer saved anything as anything else. In fact, my well-worn “alt” key was pretty much redundant and my “alt” loving brain couldn’t seem to handle it.

3 days later I was still claiming that I hated this new shiny silver laptop that had oozed it’s way onto my desk.

3 weeks into the experience I’ve realized I’ve had to re-look at my whole opinions about change. I can’t just say I like change when it’s easy and smooth and intuitive. Sometimes change is going to force you out of your existing habits, sometimes it’s not going to flow seamlessly and sometimes it’s going to be a pain in the butt.

But if what you’re working towards leads to greater utility – might it not be worth it to find an “alt”-ernative to brutally abusing your desk?

And now as my phone rings with a new ringtone I made myself using Apple’s Garage Band and I edited a new movie for my real estate agency made in half the time using iMovie while setting up a new document for www.baby-teresa.com using an Apple template I can just now start to see the rewards for me being worth a bit of short term change pain.

Are you willing to go through some short term change pain – to get better results - or will you just keep short changing yourself because you can’t hack the first 3 weeks?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

Monday, January 11, 2010

Delegate Good Times, C’mon!

This weekend we gave two rectangle pieces of material to my mother in law and asked her to sew them together into a table cover for us. Moments later with a whirl on her sewing machine she handed them back to us, sewed end to end into a really long rectangle, when what we actually wanted was them sewn side to side into a square.

It reminded me of one of the most important lessons in any workplace – communication is key. With a few more words, or a simple demonstration we could have more than adequately shown what we wanted, but we were rushed, and on the phone and didn’t take the time (miniscule as it was).

I’ve seen this time and time again in so many workplaces. Staff are thrown in over their heads and not adequately communicated with and it leaves managers or business owners spouting words like “If you want something done well…” and “Nobody listens to me!”

What can you be taking more time to explain today? So what if it takes you twice as long to explain it if you never need to explain it again and can delegate that task with confidence thereafter?

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By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

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