“Do Not Call Me”

In the Psychology Today March, 2004, issue  there is a report about a study that involved matching business negotiations between the study participants. The sole thing that was different  was that half of the participants began a transaction with a short telephone call, then finished off by sending an email.  The other participants merely send an email.

The transactions which started with a telephone call ended up being much more profitable. Therefore, it shows we should use telephone calls more when we do business with someone, right? Well, perhaps not.

So, does this scenarios seem familiar? You are watching your favorite television program and suddnely you get a phone call. You pick it up and it’s your kid, a business partner, a wrong number or someone trying to sell you something.  It is pretty simple to end a call from a telemarketer or a wrong number, you just hang up. But if you kid or your partner calls you then you have to pay more attention to the call. So just as the most exciting part of the TV episode you are watching starts to play, you have to pay attention to your kid saying why they need money this month or maybe your partner is having a problem with a client.

If that occurs every day only once, likely you can deal with it. But can you handle it twice? Or multiple times each and every night?

You may be able to control how many times your kid calls you, but you must take care of your partner if you want your business to survive. But still, you get to resent all these interruptions and your impulse reaction is to throw the phone across the room instead of answering it. So, you screen your calls. You feel trapped by the phone. You really prefer email as this gets to be on your nerves!

So, besides the fact email is not as intrusive, there are other reasons to prefer it instead of talking on the phone, for instance:

To being, it is much easier to deal with a large volume of email rather than a large number of phone calls. Plus most folks read much faster than they talk. So, you can read through the email quickly or even reread it as needed. And you get written proof of the discussion so there’s no mistakes. Plus you don’t have to deal with small talk. I mean, you really don’t want to hear about the new dress she bought, do you?

Did you even end a phone call and believe you knew what was going to occur, but then you discover the other person meant something else entirely? It actually happens a lot.

But it happens far less when you use emails.

Besides the hassle of getting bugged by countless phone calls, though, is if you can get your contacts to use the method you prefer. You may hope the people you need to talk to want to do business in the fashion you prefer, and really, I hope they do it even better than I can. Therefore, if they notice you are getting lots and lots of phone calls, and important things get interrupted by all these calls, or with other calls trying to get through via call waiting beeps, then maybe your contacts will realize that if they do this sort of thing to you, then likely someone else is going to bug them during their favorite TV show too.

But will that mean they are less likely to call you and will use email instead?  I doubt it.

Of course, you could let it all go to voice mail and listen to your messages later on after your TV show is over. But that does not work for everyone. For me, a voice mail message is just as annoying as a phone call or even as not answering an email, and then I have to deal with things like different time zones. Besides that, who enjoys phone tag? That client who left a message might also be screening their calls and may not answer when you call them back. You could end up sending messages to each other back and forth until you go crazy.

Remember that article in Psychology Today?  It’s still likely that if you make at least one attempt at contacting someone via a phone call when you want to create a business relationship with them, then that is likely to make the new relationship better.  You can do this and still not invite them to call you back if you only give out an email address. Merely encourage your client to get back with you via the email. As long as you check for their email a few times a day, then answer it quickly, it shouldn’t hurt the relationship. Of course you can’t forget to answer that email!

Averting contact via phone calls could mean you lose a few business contacts, however, if so it’s likely you didn’t need that person that bad anyway because they may just be lonely and like talking on the phone. Stay using email for all your routine business and that is likely to work out the best for you in the long run.

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