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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Apple: Friend or foe?


Industry Update

MCX hits the rocky PR road

The line-busting potential of in-app payments

Add smart TV payments to the omni-channel experience


Addressing the digital identity crisis

Mobile payments, mobile acceptance

Preparation is key for mobile prosperity


Growing in giving

Thom Aldredge
The Give Back Campaign Inc.

Dare to think like Square

Alex Nouri
EFT Direct


Street SmartsSM:
Merchant attrition - Part 1: Resisting the tide

Tom Waters and Ben Abel
Bank Associates Merchant Services

POS imitates life

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Professionalism and pocketbooks

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

Don't get gouged by pass-through, pass-through, pass-through

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Company Profile

National Merchants Association

New Products

Online fraud protection


NFC made easy

"Tap Into NFC" Developer Program
NFC Forum


Thankfulness breeds prosperity


Readers Speak

Resource Guide


A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 24, 2014  •  Issue 14:11:02

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Professionalism and pocketbooks

By Vicki M. Daughdrill

How is your professionalism affecting your pocketbook? In today's business environment, it is absolutely essential to be professional if you want to advance your career to its highest level and to achieve the financial success you desire.

The Emily Post Institute's website ( references the 2012 Professionalism in the Workplace Study published by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania. For the CPE study, the Polk-Lepson Research Group surveyed 629 human resource and management professionals.

What does the research indicate?

Respondents to the survey identified four indicators of professionalism as interpersonal skills (33.6 percent); work ethic (27.3 percent); appearance (25.3 percent); and communication skills (24.9 percent). One-third of the human resources (HR) and management professionals in the study stated they believe professionalism has declined over the past three years. The most frequent problems managers and HR professionals encounter in new employees include poor time management (32.6 percent); sense of entitlement (27.2 percent); weak work ethic (23 percent); and poor attendance (22.2 percent).

In its 2013 survey, the CPE noted a decline in professionalism driven by a too casual attitude toward work (86.6 percent); not being self-driven (71.5 percent); and a lack of ownership of one's work (69.3 percent).

What is professionalism?

But what does "being professional" actually mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines professionalism as "the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person." According to Wikipedia, the term "also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform the role of that profession."

Other words associated with professionalism include able, adept, career, competent, established, experienced, expert, learned, qualified, skilled, skillful, specialized and trained.

Professionalism is demonstrated in the following ways:

Why is professionalism important today?

Your professionalism, or lack thereof, is directly linked to your pocketbook. How? Here are the top 10 reasons:

  1. People who demonstrate professional behavior are invariably the first to be considered for promotions, raises, new project assignments or development of new clients.
  2. If you fail to demonstrate knowledge, expertise and proficiency in your products and services, you will not make sales.
  3. If you misrepresent your product, service or company, you will lose existing clients, who will tell colleagues, friends and neighbors not to do business with you because of your lack of ethics.
  4. If you are not dressed and groomed properly, you may not get past gatekeepers to reach decision-makers to pitch your product or service. You will fail to make sales.
  5. If your attitude is poor, your sales presentation is sloppily done and you are lackadaisical about your desire to be of service, you are unlikely to close sales.
  6. If you do not follow through on promises, deliverables or other commitments, you may lose clients.
  7. If you fail to keep scheduled appointments, decision makers may move on with their schedules and decline to schedule you again.
  8. If you focus on your competition's weaknesses rather than your company's strengths, you may be unable to close sales. Most business owners are not interested in your interpretation of your competitors. They are interested in what you can do for them.
  9. If you approach your prospects with arrogance, disrespect or a feeling of superiority, you are likely to lose sales.
  10. If you do not demonstrate overall professionalism, you cannot be successful.

In Selling Simplified, Michelle Moore said, "Professionals never guess – they make it their business to know their business." Don't let lack of professional standards adversely affect your pocketbook. Step up your level of professionalism to provide every opportunity to increase what's in your pocketbook.

I would like to hear from readers about what professionalism means in your area, whether you see a decline in overall professionalism in the industries you serve and what steps you are taking to demonstrate your professionalism. Email me at Put "professionalism" in your subject line so I will be sure to read your message.

Vicki M. Daughdrill is the Managing Member of Small Business Resources LLC, a management consulting company. E-mail her at or call her at 601-310-3594.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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