The Gatekeeper – A Telemarketer’s Dilemma

If you’ve been in the Telemarketing industry for the longest time, then definitely you’d be familiar with that dreaded term ‘Gatekeeper’ by now. No, they don’t belong to any secret order, although oftentimes it feels like they do. These are the individuals whose job mainly is to prevent people, especially telemarketers, from getting in-touch with the Decision-Makers. In some cases, these are receptionist or switchboard operator. But in some companies, it may be a personal assistant or a secretary.What’s with the Gatekeeper that every telemarketer finds it imperative to avoid like the plague? It’s because of that psychological barrier inculcated in the minds of the telemarketers that Gatekeepers are enemies. With that in mind, they’re already half-right.Here are some helpful tips for getting past the gatekeeper:JUST LIKE YOU, THEY’VE GOT A JOB TO DORemember that the Gatekeeper is just like a uniformed guard to a posh mansion, they’ll let you know that, unless you are invited, you are not welcome and believe it or not, it’s actually part of their jobs. And understanding the Gatekeepers even more will make the telemarketer’s work a little more bearable.SOUND REALLY IMPORTANTIf someone believes that you are important, they will treat you differently. Speak slowly and articulately, don’t forget to relax, calm your voice, and don’t divulge more than is necessary. During the opening seconds of your conversation, if the Gatekeeper senses that you’re nowhere near their pay grade, you run the risk of getting nowhere near the DM. Management almost always gets preferential treatment.ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHAT THEY KNOWOne important fact about a Gatekeeper every telemarketer should know is that they do know a great deal of important information about the DM and the business. Are you certain that the person you’re looking for is the Decision-Maker? If you play your cards right and get on the Gatekeeper’s good side, they might direct you to the proper person you should be talking to. Check your facts with them. Including the Gatekeepers in the decision-making process by asking for their opinions on certain aspects of their company might do you some good.RELAXBeing nervous, stressed or tense easily translates over the phone. Your voice, your behavior and choice of words are visibly affected by it. All of these will significantly impact on how the Gatekeeper sees you and therefore how they are to treat your request of information. Breathe, Inhale and exhale, this will put you at ease and put an air of confidence. What’s the worst thing that could happen to you anyway?ESCAPE AND EVADE?Trying to sneak past the Gatekeeper is like escaping from Alcatraz, chances are you’ll get shot down immediately. Actively engage with the Gatekeeper. Use humor to establish rapport. You can gently probe but don’t get too personal and don’t pry. If you can’t get through to the DM immediately, engage the Gatekeeper so that they remember you and will retain a friendly and positive attitude towards you when you call back. In some small companies, gatekeepers are sometimes the DM’s wife, girlfriend or daughter. It’s highly unlikely you’ll become best friends, but building that friendly and positive attitude might get you through to the right person.Never be rude or sarcastic, you’ll never know if the Gatekeeper is really just a Gatekeeper or the actual DM pretending to be a Gatekeeper. Oftentimes their job isn’t so easy (try sending letters, emails, faxes while keeping the DM’s tight schedule), but If they warm up to you, they will more than likely help you. It all depends on your approach and conviction.Then again, telemarketing is personal and is very subjective; what works for one, will not necessarily work for another. These tips should get you started on having a rewarding and fruitful encounter with the Gatekeeper. Be like a sponge, absorb what is useful and reject what is useless as far as understanding and working with the Gatekeeper is concerned. When all else fails, the last best solution is to always treat Gatekeepers with respect and compassion, contrary to what you believe in the beginning, Gatekeepers are also human beings, just like you.

The Enticing Beauty of Black and White Photography

We see color in everything around us, drawing our emotions and moods from the hues of nature. Fantastic colors create displays that go far beyond grabbing our attention whether they are the pinks and purples of a sunset or the plethora of bright shades mingling in a flower garden. Still, the appeal that comes from black and white art photography manages to reach even farther into you to elicit feelings that the most intrinsic colors cannot.It all started with black and white photography, using the elaborate processes of camera obscura, daguerreotype and others that are mimicked by only a select gathering today. As the 20th century unfolded, new capabilities came about and color photography gradually became the selected method of capturing images on print. Today, digital cameras are available with a variety of features and settings that allow you to take good quality photos in nearly any setting. They are also available in a wide range of prices so that they are a good choice for photographers of all levels. Whether black and white photography is something that you wish to pursue as a hobby to create pictures you and your loved ones will enjoy or you are a professional photographer, there are options that are right for you.Today, there are those photographers who still enjoy using the old techniques of producing black and white photos either as a pastime or because they want to create a special type of photo that stands out for their business. Many others simply convert photos from color to black and white using a computer that has Photoshop installed. While these photos may not have the same old-fashioned quality as those produced with primitive processes, they are still capable of eliciting the desired effects that most photographers have in mind.While black and white photography is often used to create portraits, it is also a popular choice for those instances where a serious or somber tone is required. A soldier walking through the battleground is capable of eliciting the serious tone that is associated with war and battle. While there are still those who think color photography is the only method that is truly enjoyable and who find black and white photos to be without inspiration, many others think of it as a classic art form that is as fascinating as it is appealing.If you have a computer and a digital camera, you have everything you need to start creating black and white art photography that is simply striking.

8 Warning Signs – Caring For an Aging Parent Who Lives Alone

Give yourself peace of mind by learning the warning signals that mean your parent can no longer care for themselves and that you may need another elder care solution:1. Sudden weight loss – Whether Dad’s pants are looser than normal, or Mom’s bones suddenly seem to tent up her skin, unexplained weight loss can be an important sign that all’s not well with your parent. Undiagnosed illness and depression are common causes of weight changes, and, if you’re caring for an aging parent, they could indicate it’s time for your loved one to change living situations.2. Disorientation – If Mom can’t remember which room is her bedroom or can’t seem to remember that your name is Maggie and not Aunt Hannah, then it’s time to consider whether living alone is the best elder care solution-especially if the behavior is consistent.3. Poor hygiene – Maybe Dad is starting acquire a not-so-nice scent? Perhaps your formerly impeccably-dressed mother no longer takes the time to button her shirt properly? Hygiene issues can be a result of physical problems, such as severe arthritis, or mental conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. When you see these signs, it’s time to consider another elder care solution, such as inviting your parent to share your home or finding in-home care.4. Medicine mistakes – The inability to take medications properly is one of the leading reasons the elderly are admitted to nursing homes. If you notice that your loved one forgets to take prescribed drugs or if they take too much medicine, it might be time to consider a different elder care solution.5. Car accidents – If mom or dad has caused a string of fender benders or other car accidents, it can indicate that their days of complete independence are coming to an end. These accidents can be caused by worsening eyesight or medications that trigger drowsiness. An elder care solution to this challenge might include living with a family member who can provide transportation or switching to public transport.6. Increased forgetfulness – While many seniors experience occasional forgetfulness, this condition can indicate impaired brain function if it happens frequently. Caring for aging parent strategies should include watching for signs, such as neglecting to turn off the stove or forgetting where frequently used objects, like a television, are located.7. Bruises, burn, or other injuries – When caring for an aging parent, watch for signs of injury that indicate mom’s physical condition is deteriorating. Bruises and scrapes can indicate falls, while burns can indicate clumsiness with cigarettes or cooking accidents.8. Paranoia – A sudden and unreasonable fear of people can indicate a brain condition like Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors with paranoia might falsely believe that others-from an adult child to a grocery store clerk-are going to cheat them or try to harm them. If you see paranoia, you’ll want to find an elder care solution that includes counseling and, possibly, medication.Share these warning signs with family and friends so everyone can be part of your caring for aging parent plan. By learning the warning signs that say independent living is no longer the right choice for your loved one, you can find the best elder care solution for you and your family.

Property Maintenance Is a Serious Business

Being the single biggest investment most of us make, an investment in property is one we should all take very seriously. However, we are all guilty of not giving our properties the due care and attention that this level of financial investment truly deserves. For example, when was the last time you had your property inspected by a professional experienced tradesman?We are all very disciplined when it comes to our cars, having them regularly serviced, taking them for their annual MOT/inspection, replacing the tires and brakes when they show signs of being worn. Yet a car costs significantly less than a property.Similarly to cars, properties should be regularly checked by a trained expert, a professional experienced tradesman, someone who can spot a problem before it gets out of hand. It’s all well and good having someone carry out a quick property inspection once a week/month, checking to make sure the place isn’t flooded, or hasn’t been broken into, this is a useful service.However, one should not rely on this type of service when it comes to checking to see if the property has developed any new patches of mold, where a far more proactive approach would be to look for the actual cause of the mold, before it appears. After all, we don’t wait for the car brakes to fail before replacing them. This type of proactive approach can be achieved with a simple annual property MOT, carried out by a professional, experienced tradesman.Such problems as mold and damp patches are very common within properties in Portugal, and can often be avoided with the right level of care and attention, particularly to the outside of the property, which may seem odd given that the damp or mold appears on the inside of the property. However, the cause is often due to poor or lack of good regular maintenance to the outside of the property.Properties here in Portugal have to put up with the baking hot summer temperatures as well as the cold, wet, humid and sometimes torrential rain during the winter months. This vast extreme from summer to winter means the materials that go into building a property in Portugal must be able to expand and contract more so than a property, say in the UK or Ireland.This movement, or expansion and contraction often goes unnoticed due to the absence of an annual spot check or property MOT by an experienced professional tradesman. When not picked up early enough, what starts out as a relatively small problem affecting only the outside of the property, will inevitably result in those ghastly unwanted mold and damp patches that will appear one to two years down the line inside the property, delivering with it a bigger problem and a much more costly repair bill.In addition to the exterior of your property, there are many things within the property to keep a check on, such as air conditioning units, which should be cleaned once or twice a year, depending on usage. If ignored or neglected, air-con units will begin to work inefficiently, causing a greater level of wear and tear, costing more money to run to heat and cool the property and ultimately developing a shorter lifetime.Properties with wood burning stoves should also ensure that the chimney is regularly swept, again depending on usage, but this is a job that really should be done annually.For peace of mind consider consulting a reputable and experienced property maintenance company who can carry out a Property M.O.T. service to ensure your property receives the right level of care and attention and protect you against any nasty, costly surprises that could otherwise be round the corner.