Do You Hide Behind Voice Mail?

March 15, 2009

Q: Do you hunker down behind your Voice Mail?

A: A while back I was visiting the President of a company who was a client of mine. His secretary interrupted us announcing a phone call. “Put it in Voice Mail,” was his response.
“Damn Salesmen! I just hate those kinds of calls. Salesmen are always calling here wanting me to buy something.”

“Was that one of your regular salesmen, “I asked?

“Hell no! I don’t even know what he sells or what he wants. He just keeps calling here. Damn Sales men!”

Sadly ladies and gentlemen, this scenario is a daily occurrence throughout the business world. And for a guy (me) who handles at least 40 phone calls a day, I can understand the frustration.

HOWEVER, with that said, my question is, how do you know you don’t need what the sales person is selling? How do you know it’s not an opportunity to get involved in the newest gadget? How do you know this person isn’t representing a client who NEEDS your services?
I asked my client, “what if every time one of your sales staff made a call into a prospect, they received the same treatment? How much business do you think you’d have?”

“Yeah but they need the service we offer!”

“But how did they find out about you if they didn’t give one of your staff a few minutes to LISTEN?”

If you believe in the Golden Rule, then this whole message applies to you. The next time a business sales call comes in, take two minutes to listen to the spiel. Ascertain quickly if you might have a need and set a more convenient time to talk. Please don’t tell me how busy and important you are, because that’s a lame excuse. How about the person who trying to make an honest living through a legitimate business? Is his or her time not important as well? We need to respect each other and give credence where credence is due.

I had a salesman contact me last week and his opening line was, “I have services that will double your business!” I stopped him and asked, “Before we go on, tell me what you know about my business.” He stumbled and fell because he really didn’t know anything about my business and the conversation was over rather quickly.

The other rule is, answer all your calls before you go home. If someone thought you were important enough to leave you a message, respond and deal with it today. It will save you many more dollars because your staff won’t have to handle additional incoming calls over and over again from the same people you could have put to bed several calls ago. Stop hiding behind your voice mail America.

Let’s take to each other, trade fairly with each other and grow ourselves, our companies and our great country! As American business people, we are in control. Demonstrate it! please enjoy a prosperous week.


George F. Mancuso, CPC