Should we still be getting appointments Mad Men style?

cold calling

You know what I don’t do? Answer my phone. Unless of course you’re my parents or a good friend…but even then, it may be a few days (sorry dad!) before I check your voicemail and return your call (and let’s face it, your voicemail notice will sit on my phone for a long time, glaring at me, until I decide I can’t handle the stress of Mr Angry Voicemail Notice anymore). You know why? Because I have email, and it’s seemingly faster, even if, in reality, it’s not. It’s not that I don’t like talking to people, I do. It’s just that if you’re calling me for a business reason, and I don’t know you or why you’re calling before I answer the phone, I have other, more pressing issues at hand.

Kind of sounds like someone who doesn’t want to grow their business, doesn’t it? Chances are if you call me while I’m at work I will answer the phone, and I will talk with you. But I will probably ask you to email me any information we discuss and I’ve found that this is more and more common in business. And in all honesty, I will probably call you back quickly if you leave me a voicemail (assuming you’ve presented a good reason for me to).

My point though, is that multiple phone calls and voicemails can start to be irritating, They start to weigh on me; the more you call and the more I don’t get a chance to return your call, the more guilty I’ll feel, then annoyed that you continue to call even though I don’t respond. It’s a lot of psychological unnecessary guilt, isn’t it?

I’ve noticed something, however. More and more people that I attempt to contact for business seem to respond to emails, but not voicemails. Fewer people answer their phones. We all have a lot of work to get done and sometimes it feels like there’s not as much time in the day as there used to be. It’s 2014, the era of the text message, so must we rely on old-fashioned techniques to get contact information or an appointment? Besides, if I email you what I’m looking for, you have more time to make an informed decision and craft a better reply than if I surprise you via a phone call.

My grandparents would surely be shaking their heads if they heard me now.

I work in a very relationship-oriented industry, people like you and they want to talk to you…they will almost always make time for you. But they won’t make time for your phone calls. At least not until you’ve emailed with them a few times and they start to feel like they know you…start to feel like you present a good reason to make time to talk to you.

Must we rely on doing business like it’s the 1960s? Maybe it’s time to let go of our old fashioned ways. Managers of the World, let me make my appointment over email and create my relationship with clients when we have a chance to meet up. Whaddya say?

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