How to Channel Your Inner Leslie Knope Leadership Skills

Source: NBC
Leslie Knope, a character on the NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation," is an enthusiastic government employee in Pawnee, IN. Her main goal in life is to be the best deputy director for the town she is so passionate about.

[Spoiler alert!] Because of her strong will and inspiring drive, she eventually becomes governor of Indiana, demonstrating that no goal is too big. Simultaneously, she motivates everyone around her to be their best selves. After rewatching this show a couple (or six) times, we've gathered some of Leslie's most empowering quotes to bring out your powerhouse leadership skills!

"Positive is always better than negative."

Knope exudes happy vibes and unlike her last name, she rarely says no, because there is nothing she can't do. Well, she can't pick a salad over waffles, but that's because waffles equal happiness! An example of her positivity? After hearing nothing but negativity at an open forum, she said, "What I hear when I'm being yelled at is people caring loudly at me."

If you can think that positively, it'll be hard for things to bring you down in the office. Remember, attitudes are contagious! As a leader, there will always be eyes watching how you react to tough situations and how you handle things. Positivity also helps productivity flourish, which leads us to our next Knope-ism.

"There is nothing we can't do if we work hard, never sleep and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives."

In one episode, Knope is feeling quite disoriented, mentioning that she slept seven hours, which is double what she normally gets. While we don't recommend cutting down on your Zzz's or shirking responsibilities, we do think her motivational quote is admirable. 

Not only is it important to keep yourself motivated, it's also crucial to understand what motivates your employees. Are they motivated by money like Tom Haverford? Treat yo'self! Or are they more like Jerry (aka Garry, Larry and Terry), preferring to spend time off with family? Whether you ask them straight up or see what works well with trial and error, identifying what pushes them forward every day will ultimately make you more successful and motivated. And remember  they won't all have the same motivations.

"We have to remember what's important in life. Friends, waffles and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third."

Leslie Knope loves her job more than anyone could possibly love a job. For example, in one episode, she receives two weeks of probation. One night while on probation, she breaks into the office to do some work because she can't stand not working. Even loving her job that much, she recognizes that she's human and can make time for waffles and friends too.

You're probably thinking, "Waffles could never be more important than a job." And you're probably right. Waffles don't pay the bills. This quote is important, though, because it reminds us to take some time to relax! A stressed leader is a bad leader. Your employees will notice if you're tense (sometimes because you're taking it out on them, unfortunately). If you take a break every now and then to recharge, your employees will thank you.

We hope this post reminds you to stay positive, work hard and relax! Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do. 

Are You Complying With the DNC Registry?

In 2016, there were a whopping 226 million active registrations with the National Do Not Call (DNC) registry. That's millions of people who are desperate to avoid telemarketing calls!

When it comes to the DNC registry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn't play around. In 2017, it successfully went after Dish Network for calling millions of people on the registry, resulting in a $168 million penalty.

If you make sales calls daily at your business, it's crucial that you avoid calling anyone on the DNC registry. What can you do to help your company avoid the costly consequences of calling people who don't want to be called?

Do Not Call or Do Not Care?

Like most businesses, you're constantly trying to grow your database of prospects, right? After all, you have to have prospects to get more customers. Unfortunately, many companies are taking a quantity over quality approach. The FTC reports that some businesses will try to get around the DNC list by purchasing "lists of customers' phone numbers from companies that falsely claim those customers had given written consent to get sales calls." It's evident that these businesses do know about the DNC list they just don't care about abiding by it.

How did you get the phone numbers for the contacts on your prospect list? Did they openly share their information with you via a phone call, tradeshow, landing page form, marketing event, etc.? If so, you have no need to worry. Calling people that have given you permission to do so is completely legal. But are you absolutely sure you don't have numbers from the DNC registry in your database?

Automatically Scan Calls Against the DNC List

Calling potential prospects without a reliable method for cross-referencing them against the DNC registry is like playing a game of Minesweeper. Sure, there might be some strategy behind it, but for the most part, you're aimlessly clicking buttons and hoping you don't hit a mine to end the game.

What if there were a way to call prospects and gain new customers without the hidden mines? Oh wait, there is! Some call tracking solutions are capable of automatically scanning numbers against the DNC registry. Just catching a flag on one call could save your business $40,654 in fines!

Interested in knowing more about the Do Not Call list? Check out the infographic "The History of the Do Not Call List" for an overview.

Combining Digital and Newspaper Ads to Broaden Your Reach With Millennials

Dog delivering newspapers
You've probably noticed that articles about millennials are taking over the news and internet. From "Millenials Are Not Motivated by Avocado Toast" to "Why Millennials Are the Worst Drivers in America," the internet is chock-full of things to say about this generation.

One headline you won't be able to find is "A Surefire Way to Increase Brand Awareness With Millennials." Being the largest demographic group in the U.S. and consisting of over 80 million people, millennials will have a colossal spending power of $1.4 trillion by 2020. That's a lot of potential revenue to gain from loyal customers.

How can your organization stand out amongst all the rest? After doing some research, we have a few tips.

Hot off the Press... and the Smartphone? How Millennials Read the News

How exactly are millennials getting their news?

You guessed it. This survey found that 75 percent of millennials are utilizing their smartphones to access news channels. Because we know Americans check their phones every 12 minutes, this isn't surprising.

What is surprising is that Vividata has found that a whopping 88 percent of millennials still read newspapers and magazines. The VP of consumer marketing for the New Yorker even said, "Millennials are choosing print overwhelmingly, or digital and print." To broaden your reach with millennials, your business should invest in ad space on both paid news sites and newspapers.

When using print, one of the best ways to call prospects to action is by placing a coupon or incentive on the ad, along with a URL to drive leads to your website and a local number to build credibility and drive calls. Specify a timeline to invoke a sense of urgency. To track online-to-offline conversions, Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) can help you identify what keyword prospects searched for before they called you.

Make sure your online ads correspond with your print ads. If one channel is not driving as much ROI as another, evaluate which ads brought in your most valuable leads and adjust your ad campaigns.

Millennials Are Willing to Pay Extra! Extra! (Read All About It)

Believe it or not, 18- to 34-year-olds are willing to pay extra for print news or an online subscription to a news source. They're also willing to pay extra for a product or service from a company that offers a high-quality experience.

What steps are you taking to guarantee the best customer experiences for those interacting with your agents on the phone? Are you certain that inbound calls are being handled in the most effective way possible? By implementing call monitoring, you can save any missed customer service opportunities with real-time recordings and documented response rates. Not only will you know which advertisements worked via call attribution, but your customer service will also be top notch when phones start ringing off the hook.

Interested in hearing more about integrated marketing approaches? Check out "Direct Mail vs. Email: Which Channel Should You Focus on in 2018?"

Don't Neglect Your Health in the New Year!

With the New Year upon us and winter in full swing, it's important to take care of your business — but that doesn't mean you should overlook taking care of yourself. We often get so caught up with work that we neglect things like fitness, a balanced diet and maintaining healthy skin. During the warm weather season, it's easy to remember to take care of your skin, but in the wintertime, we sometimes forget while we stay bundled in our sweaters, scarves and mittens.

Woman in beanie and scarfHere are some skin care tips for winter from the American Academy of Dermatology, courtesy of Baylor Scott & White Health.

Take Shorter Showers

Long, hot showers can strip skin of its natural oils and dry it out.  Limit your time to five or 10 minutes and avoid using overly hot water.

Moisturize While Wet

Moisturizers work by trapping moisture in your skin, so be sure to apply it immediately after toweling off, while skin is still damp.

Opt for Ointments and Creams

They’re more effective than lotions at keeping skin moisturized.  Pick products with ingredients such as olive, mineral or jojoba oils; shea butter; glycerin; hyaluronic acid; and petrolatum.

Avoid Harsh Ingredients 

Steer clear of anything that can irritate dry skin, such as deodorant soaps and products that contain alcohol or fragrances.  Consider switching to hypoallergenic laundry detergents, which generally don’t have chemicals that can aggravate skin.

For more information and some myths and tips about dressing for winter, visit

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year!

Direct Mail vs. Email: Which Channel Should You Focus on in 2018?

Person viewing marketing analytics on mobile devices
With the New Year now here, it's the perfect time to plan ahead for an effective new campaign this year. Take a step back and re-evaluate which marketing channels are giving you the most bang for your buck.

Harvard Business School finds the most effective advertising strategies combine multiple advertising channels to reach a larger audience. Fifty-one percent of consumers specifically prefer companies to communicate with them using a combination of mail and email. Knowing how and when to use direct mail or email will be crucial to your success in 2018.

Direct Mail

People are already speculating about technological advances this year: advanced self-driving vehicles, augmented reality and robots that are eerily similar to humans. With our increasingly technological world, why would marketers take a step back by continuing to send direct mail pieces?

In this digital era, it may be hard to believe, but 79 percent of consumers will act on direct mail immediately. Furthermore, for every 5,000 targeted customers, direct mail receives 175 responses.

Advertisers use direct mail for a number of reasons:

  • It’s Targeted — Direct mail pieces are the only way to accurately reach the demographics of your specified market. After you’ve analyzed who you’re trying to reach, you can easily target that demographic within specific ZIP codes, but that’s not so easy with radio or TV.
  • It’s Cost Effective — You save time and money by creating a strict target market and sticking to it. The majority of your advertising dollars will be well spent with this approach because while email is significantly cheaper at first glance, the cost per sale is much cheaper with direct mail.
  • It’s MeasurableUSPS has Intelligent Mail Barcodes, so marketers can track every piece they send out to prospects. Another way to easily see which campaigns are successful is to place a unique toll-free number (TFN) on the direct mail piece and track the number of phone calls it generates.

Not everyone will respond well to receiving direct mail, but with all the benefits, it’s worth a shot!


By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll probably have an email waiting for you in your inbox. With 269 billion emails circulating daily, email is definitely not dead — that number is only increasing. How can you benefit from using this channel?
  • It’s Inexpensive — For every dollar marketers spend on it, email marketing generates $38 in ROI, which is the highest conversion rate across all channels. If you don’t use email, your bottom line could be negatively impacted.
  • It’s Easily Accessible — On average, Americans check their phone every 12 minutes, and 91 percent of them check their email every day. It’s one of the easiest ways to deliver your message to your prospect.
  • It’s Measurable — Email is easily tracked, and email marketing platforms have granular analytics to help you fine-tune your email marketing strategy. To drive and track offline response rates, you can add a Click To Talk button to your emails.

Email is clearly here to stay, but to maximize your reach, be sure to combine it with direct mail and other channels.

Integrated, Multi-Channel Marketing

After discussing only two of numerous options for marketing channels, it’s clear why these specific mediums will continue to be beneficial to your 2018 plans. Using direct mail and email together — and monitoring your results with call tracking — strengthens the effectiveness of your marketing. Plus, 72 percent of consumers want an integrated marketing approach.

How do you plan on achieving a successfully integrated marketing campaign for 2018?

Three Tips for Handling a Challenging Customer Call

Coffee spilled on desk and shirt
It's a Monday morning. Traffic is at a standstill on the interstate, and you just spilled burning hot coffee down your shirt. We're willing to bet that you probably aren't the only one who is having less than an ideal morning. Customers contacting your call center most likely aren't calling to thank you for your job well done. They have quotas to meet, and they're probably trying to contact you about an issue or concern. Their mornings might have been even worse than yours.

Answering these calls can seem like something straight out of a nightmare, but satisfying unhappy customers is an integral part of your job. In fact, 89 percent of customers will no longer give their business to an organization after experiencing a subpar call, making your job crucial to the success of your company.

So how are you supposed to remain positive when someone is screaming in your ear or being passive aggressive? Below are three ways to overcome a difficult customer phone call.

Keep Your Cool

Inhale and exhale. Although matching the moods of people around you is an easy thing to do, you shouldn't mirror theirs. The customer probably isn't truly mad at you, but rather frustrated with the situation. By using a calm tone of voice and choosing your words wisely, the customer will soon realize you're only there to help. By the end of the call, they might even appreciate your help and develop a more positive outlook on the company as a whole.

One way management can be proactive in this is by implementing a solution that automatically scans calls for predefined keywords. With this tool, you can easily go through flagged calls and listen to each conversation, ensuring your reps handled the situation effectively.

Lend An Ear

Think about the last time you were frustrated or upset about something. Now imagine that as you're venting, the other person (who is ultimately the reason for your anger) keeps  interrupting with lackluster apologies and trying to combat everything you say. It's only making matters worse. That's how your customers feel when you cut them off in a conversation.

Pay close attention to your customers' needs and wants, regardless of their attitude toward you, and demonstrate that you understand their concerns. While it is important to respond to customers when they're upset, you should give them a chance to state all of their concerns before putting in your two cents. Listening intently will give you an abundance of time in which you can fine-tune a solution for the problem at hand. Worst case scenario: Their problem can't be fixed. Come up with a backup plan for a situation like this or simply explain the reason to them honestly and in detail.

Switch Things Up

After maintaining your composure and empathizing with callers' needs, your heated customers should be much more levelheaded. But what happens if they aren't? If the customer continues to act upset after you've followed these steps, alert someone from your team to the problem and see if they can defuse the situation. Allowing an angry customer to speak to management or even just switching agents will usually help to solve the problem because it reiterates that the company is doing everything they can to find a solution to the customer's problem.

Getting a call from an angry or upset customer is inevitably going to happen within your company. Follow these steps to help calm an upset customer and show them you are actively working to find a solution to their problem. What tips do you have for handling a challenging call? Let us know in the comments.

Don't Let Lost Leads Haunt You This Halloween

Spooky Halloween hands
The most frightening time of the year is upon us as miniature witches, ghosts, goblins and Captain Americas march up and down the streets demanding free candy. You guessed it — Halloween! Although Halloween has turned into a lighthearted holiday involving pumpkin carving, Disney movies and an excuse to wear funny costumes, it once created a frightening chill in the air, causing even adults to feel a hint of anxiousness.

These days, that anxious feeling is rampant across businesses. A startling 79 percent of marketing leads never convert into sales. Spooky, right? While that chilling realization can make even the best companies get goosebumps, below are a couple ideas that can steer your marketing efforts in the right direction.


Every year, suburban families plot out the best routes for their Halloween trips around a conveniently located cul-de-sac. One ingenious person even rolled out an app called Nextdoor, which safely allows neighbors to identify who is passing out candy. Tracking Halloween routes can save families valuable time avoiding blocked traffic routes and lost candy opportunities.

If we get that into planning Halloween, why don't we plan out our marketing that well? Inbound call tracking can help you collect demographic information about your callers, learn what regions are your biggest markets and identify which of your marketing campaigns are working. If that doesn't help you map out the best route for your marketing, we don't know what will.

Make Navigating Creepily Intuitive

With over 41 million children going through neighborhoods on Halloween, you have to make your house stand out to draw in more trick-or-treaters. What sets your house apart from your neighbors' houses? Did you buy the jumbo pack of candy that all the kids love, or does your house have a Halloween inflatable that the entire neighborhood is raving about?

Setting your house apart on Halloween is one thing — setting apart your business on a daily basis is a whole different beast. The decision simplicity index is a gauge of how easily customers can access information about a specific business, which is one of the main ways to differentiate your brand.

How can you improve ease of access? Have family members or friends look at your website to see how easily they could find information as if they were customers. Offline, consider implementing intelligent routing options so callers can get straight to the department they're looking for. You can also implement mnemonic or repetitive telephone numbers that are easier for customers to remember and connect to.

To keep your customers and your sales team from going batty with frustration, consider utilizing these tools. Do you use any other tactics to convert leads? Let us know in the comments!