Leave A Message At the Tone, Period

rom the Aer Lingus first class lounge, Boston:

In the limo coming up here I find that I have a phone message left for me after 5 pm on Friday. It’s from someone on the West Coast requesting I provide something for a chapter newsletter, since I’ll be speaking there in March. I’m happy to do this.

But the message is left after my business hours during a weekend. When I call back today to leave a return message, the phone rings 12 times (most callers would hang up), then the individual leaves a one-minute message of his own, then the automated system gives its messages for leaving my message. The entire challenge takes over two minutes to complete.

My point to you is this: Make life easy for people, they just may be buyers or others who can help you. Consider THEIR time zone. If you forward your phone, arrange for it to be picked up within four rings. Keep you own message brief (I could care less about where you are or your saying for the day).

I’ve found that people who succeed get there first; make it easy to be reached; respond quickly; are focused on the customer, not themselves; avoid bureaucracy; and always shop their own business (or have someone else do it for them).

I wan introduced at a keynote in Boston yesterday with the introducer reading my bio verbatim. But then she said, “Let me add something,” and I tensed. But she said, “This guy promises to call back within 90 minutes and he’s done so every single time I’ve called him over three years. Listen carefully, we all have something to learn this morning.”

Especially if you’re looking for a favor, but just as good business sense, make it easy to work with you. That means you focus on the other person’s self-interest, not your own. “Leave a message at the tone” is really sufficient, especially if I hear it right away with no quotes from Gandhi.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.


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