Call-Screening: When You Get the 'May I Ask What This Is Regarding?'
The phone rings. It is answered and the caller asks to speak to the Decision Maker. Rather than just pass the call through, a challenging question is posed: “May I ask what this is regarding?”
Call-screening is nothing new. It is done at the instruction of the Decision Maker, usually to ward off those evil salespeople. Who wants to talk to them? All they’re doing is calling with ideas to potentially help the business. Ugh. Who needs that hassle?
The problem with this scenario is, these are not our customers who are screening calls. It is us. It might be you.
It’s hypocritical of us to complain about people who won’t let us through so that we can give our sales pitch if we, ourselves, are doing the same thing.
Is this you?
One client from Baltimore told me recently that he accepts every incoming call and returns every voicemail message. It keeps him abreast of the latest technology and solutions, it encourages good vendors to share good ideas, and it’s just flat out the right thing to do. Another customer from, I want to say, Kansas City (but I cannot remember specifically) said much the same thing: He accepts or returns every call and is better for it.
Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re saying: I’m busy, Bill. I get calls all day long, blah, blah, blah.
Sure, it’s one more thing. But, like our customers, you don’t know what you don't know. There might be a better idea out there and there just might be a sales rep who calls on you and makes such an impression that you seek to find out if they might not be looking for a new opportunity (read: Print sales?).
It does not take long to take a phone call, listen, and then politely decline. Returning a phone call will likely result in — surprise, surprise — getting voicemail.
What prompted this blog-scolding was having my call screened today. Given the fact that I spend all day talking to salespeople who complain about voicemail, it just rubbed me the wrong way that some of us in this industry do the exact same thing.
Okay, I’m done.
And stepping down off his soapbox, Bill pushes back from the keyboard and walks away...
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Bill Farquharson can be reached at (781) 934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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