Last year when we moved to a new house I remember the woman who answered the phone for the moving company. I could hear kids and the TV in the background. It was so unprofessional.
Immediately I knew the person was working from home and taking my call in the midst of other responsibilities. As a busy mom myself I felt like I was sort of "bothering" her - even though she was perfectly cordial.
Then I wondered if the information she gave me was correct because I know how preoccupied I am when I am at home with my kids.
So within 30 seconds of my call to hire the moving company, I felt like the company was unprofessional, annoyed by my call and I didn't have confidence in what I was told.
Confession Time! I have worked from home and am guilty of running to a bedroom closet to take a phone call because my kids are yelling in the other room. I've also had my toddler answer my business phone when I wasn't watching. When that happened I picked up the phone just in time to hear my long time customer (thankfully!) say, "Is your Mommy there?" So I know how easy it can be for these breaches in professionalism to occur when working from home.
Working from home is ideal in today's world and a great way to minimize costs, be more productive and lead a more balanced life. Here are a few tips to jazz up your sales when you work from a home office:
- Answer the phone professionally like you would in a business office. Never just say, "Hello."
- Be totally professional on the phone. Easier said than done, especially when the doorbell rings or one of your children walks into your office. If you think you may be disturbed by your kids let calls go to voicemail until you can return them in a quiet, uninterrupted manner.
- Keep a separate business and home phone number. You don't want family members answering your business calls. Consider using your cell phone number if you don't want another phone line at your home. If you use your cell phone for business, be cautious of answering calls when you are in places where you can't talk professionally - like the grocery store, the gym, or carpool line just before the kids jump in the car.
- Maintain a designated work space or office. You don't want to walk through the house to locate information while talking to a client.
- Meet with clients at their office or at a public place like Starbucks. Unless your business is actually in your home - possibly a piano teacher or private tutor - then go to your clients. There is no need to bring to a client's attention that you work from home.
- If clients come to your home dress professionally. No house shoes or flannel pants!