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Don’t Chat with Strangers

This week I’m introducing you to Peggy Issenman, owner of the graphic design firm Peggy & Co., based here in Halifax. I have known Peggy for several years as we have friends in common and have found ourselves enjoying each other’s company at birthday and holiday parties. Last year she participated in monthly group coaching sessions I facilitated – and she became one my star pupils.

Peggy won’t hesitate to say that she wondered “What can someone teach me about talking on the phone?” After all, she has been successfully running her business for over 20 years – obviously doing most things right. But she did want to attract some new clients.  She recently told me that she’s made about 15 prospecting calls in the past 6 months and … she has two new clients as a result! She also said: “You know, it really wasn’t all that hard when I understood what to do.” Absolutely right, Peggy!

One of the things I shared with her (and continue to share with anyone who’ll listen) is, when on the phone, don’t ask someone you don’t know “How are you?”. Why? Well – enjoy Peggy’s story:

“Quite a number of years ago I received a phone call that still haunts me. And embarrasses me. But this phone call reinforces what I now know about speaking on the phone.

Ring. Ring. I answered my phone in the usual way, “Peggy speaking,” and the response was, “Hi, this is Jane with ABC company.  How are you today?” This was done in the sing-song way that a lot of telemarketers use – you know the voice. The one that says, “I really don’t care how you are.” I had recently been receiving numerous calls from all sorts of people trying to sell me services or gadgets. I assumed that this person was also trying to sell me something that I didn’t want.

I responded with, “I’m not interested” before she could tell me the purpose of her call. But … she wasn’t interested in selling ME something; she was interested in my services. The call ended badly. I had egg all over my red face.

The first lesson I learned: always be polite on the phone and let the caller have their say (well, not if they are calling about my Windows computer). The second lesson I learned is not to ask  “How are you today?” unless I know the person I’m calling.

I never did find out who that caller was as I wasn’t able catch the name of her company and didn’t have call display at the time. My phone behaviour definitely resulted in a missed opportunity.”

What about you? Have you got a “phone lesson” you are willing to share? I’d be pleased to hear from you.

Happy dialling everyone. No post from me next week as I’ll be travelling, but I’ll be back in your inbox on July 6th. If you are celebrating either Canada Day or Independence Day – enjoy!





0 thoughts on “Don’t Chat with Strangers”

  1. What I enjoy about this post so much is that it is a reminder for every interaction in life. When meeting someone face-to-face, or over the phone, giving them the benefit of the doubt is worth the few seconds it takes. A missed opportunity for friendship or business is a shame!

    • That’s true, Natasha. We often make a judgement call when we meet people face-to-face as well. Thanks for the reminder!

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