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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Returning calls

Okay, its that time of day. We're in a sales business, after all, and we make outbound calls, and try to set up proposals, and the like, and then, sometimes -- well often, we find ourselves caught in that trap of unreturned calls.

There usually are good reasons for the silent treatment. The person we are trying to reach is busy, and the proposal we've made on the initial call could be creating some awkwardness. The 'other side' cannot say yes, cannot say no, so the best thing to do is to say (and do) nothing!

I suspect this disconnect occurs most often when our proposal in the initial conversation, while technically appropriate and relevant, is not really connecting with the organization's best interests -- at least as we have presented it. The problem is we are left hanging. A good, solid, straightforward and direct 'no' is always better than silence. Ask any sales rep. (Of course the person at the other end may be giving the silent treatment, because for some salespeople who can't take no for an answer, the 'no' is an invitation to further badgering and pressure. Just one or two bad experiences probably create the defensive and appropriate response.)

However, if you know your stuff -- and know your limits -- returning calls promptly and straightforwardly wins you many points; and much respect. I admit I am not always perfect in this regard, but I try to be fair -- only drawing the line at scams and phony offers. (Broker dealers and telemarketers representing themselves as government agencies will get the cold treatment from me, always!)

Try it if you wish. Call me (I won't publish my number here but it is easy to find) and see how long it takes for me to get back to you.

This blog posting has some relevant and useful insights on the topic, I think.

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