November 24, 2015

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First Mediaworks

08/15/05 Ensure That Every Call Is Returned Every Time

Recently, I had one of those phone calls that I couldn't wait to end. The caller, an associate with whom I must do business, was slow, methodical, and detailed. As he told me stories about his family and his business, I could picture his lounge-chair body language: leaning back, arms behind his head, feet on his desk. I wanted to shout, “GET TO THE POINT!!!” Though we have done business together for years, I am ready to move on in spite of our history. His long, drawn-out conversations drag me down, burn my time, and zap my energy. I cannot bear another phone call. Doesn't he have anything to do
Another call that same day came from a retired broadcast executive who has plenty of time on his hands and could have talked for hours. Instead, he was quick and concise. He opened with: “Eric, this will only take two minutes. The reason for my call is …” In about 30 seconds, he delineated the five points he wanted to cover, then asked my response, which he got in 20 seconds. After he offered subsequent steps, the call ended. We were on the phone for two minutes, and we accomplished more than the other call, which took 40.

A third call was infectious. This woman was fast paced, organized, and succinct, and her enthusiasm was contagious. In the 10 minutes we spoke, I found myself full of her energy, and would have bought anything she had to offer. Refreshing. She could have kept me on the phone much longer.

An out-of-work executive called later for job leads. He rambled, chatted, sought advice. I told him he sounded depressed and lonely, and no one would want to hire him. I advised him to be brief and to the point, and to sound busy. People prefer to do business with busy people.

Yes, I return every call, but I would rather have a root canal than return some calls. If people are not returning your calls or are blowing you off, assess your phone manner. Are your phone calls upbeat, enthusiastic, and concise - or long, windy, depressing, and overly relationship-driven?

Adopting the enthusiasm of the woman with the concise, down-to-business attitude, or the retired executive who sounded busy and succinct, will ensure that all of your calls are returned. If you ramble, pontificate, and eat time, you are on a road to disaster. There is a time and a place for being a windbag. Do it with your college buddies. Stop doing it in business.

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