They Call to Buy, Sell or Collaborate. Who wants what and how do you know?

Do you ever feel guilty about letting work calls go to voicemail? I wonder if this ever happens to you? You are focused on something you really need to finish in time to meet a tight deadline. Ideas are flowing. You feel productive. The phone rings. You don’t recognize the number. Your business instinct gets you wondering if they called to buy, sell or collaborate on a great project. Your concentration is momentarily compromised. You decide to ignore it. You regain your thought process.

Phones ring Executive Apparel BlogIt rings again. You ignore it and turn volume down, aware that others can hear it. You try to continue your original thought process but catch yourself wondering instead how many rings before it goes to voicemail.

It rings again but now you are resolved to ignore this call and get back to work.

Finally, It goes to voicemail and almost immediately an email pop-up appears with a purposely vague subject line. Now you start thinking about the email and your thought process has changed. You try to decipher the company name. They may want to buy something from you but they may also want to sell you something you don’t need.

You know from experience that some cold-pitches can be exceedingly long. You are a nice person and you always are polite to cold-callers but today you just don’t have the time. So instead, you ignore it and feel a little guilty.

What have you gained? You’ve lost your train of thought and precious time toward your deadline. You’ve got a voicemail and an unread email to deal with and you’re kind of annoyed at the interruption.

This scenario could play out repeatedly all day long

I can offer a solution from my own experience to justify letting work calls go to voicemail. Cut out a few chunks of time throughout the day to work. Just work. Then listen to ALL your messages in a reasonable time frame. Immediately delete the ones that are of no importance to you. Here’s a tip that will make you feel less guilty about that: cold-callers are used to rejection. They will survive and if the product or service is something you will never use, they are wasting your precious time. Be mad instead of feeling guilty. If you aren’t sure about their product, do a little research for yourself and then decide whether or not to respond or answer next time they call. Make your projects the top priority and control your schedule. Chunk out time for research on the calls you’ve saved and mentally let go of the ones you deleted. You are still a nice person.

If you are in the unfortunate position of being the cold-caller, be smart. Do a little research on your target person and try to determine if they are even phone people. You can even ask the receptionist if you are screened. Most of the time their job is to keep you from interrupting productivity. They are likely to tell you the most effective way to reach them. Your target may prefer social media. Or a drop-in visit to the office. (Just kidding. Probably not.)

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