If you’re not reaching clients or prospects on the phone, don’t take it personally. It’s part of a larger societal shift that is phasing out our relationship with spontaneous phone calls. This was clarified for me recently in a conversation with Jeff Brookhouser, President & Chief Operating Officer at Premiere Suites.
What was Jeff’s comment about today’s phone communication? And what should we learn from it?
As Jeff and I were talking about the challenges of reaching people on the phone, he reminded me of how we used to watch television. Many of you will remember (and some of you won’t) that when there was a program we wanted to watch, we had to be in front of the TV at a specific time. Shows like Seinfeld, West Wing, MASH, Hill Street Blues … when the theme music played, we had to be there or wait for re-runs.
Beginning in the 1970s, VHS arrived and gave us the ability to record shows. While the technology was clunky (it was easy to record the wrong show, run out of tape, forget to program it each day, etc.), it did provide a way to not miss out on an important episode of a favourite show.
Of course, everything is different today. And that’s what Jeff said: “Everything is on my schedule.”
Yes! This is the shift and it impacts how we use the phone. So much of what we do today, we do based on our personal schedule. Television, radio and podcasts we enjoy when we choose. We can even get customer service help 24-hours a day on many websites.
A spontaneous phone call no longer fits in. We are irritated by the interruption and feel justified in ignoring the call. I’m guessing that some people even feel justified ignoring voicemail based on this same logic. After all, they didn’t ask those people to call them.
The solution: Treat your phone calls as meetings. Book them with both customers and prospects so they occur on “my schedule”. For the past two years, we’ve been using the appointment app Calendly and it has substantially increased my ability to reach and have the full attention of both prospects and clients.
There are, of course, other appointment apps available. Choose one that fits in with how you work – and how your clients’ work. It needs to be compatible with everyone’s calendars so that the scheduled call is not forgotten.
Are you already using an appointment app? Which one and what are the benefits? Share your experience in the comment section below.