Recently, I left 6 messages for a client over a few days.
He calls back once and says; I guess we are playing phone tag.
What? What is he talking about?
Tag means we are both playing the game. He was not playing. But, I am sure in his mind, a quick call to me and it was tag. Oh well.
The issue of phone tag often comes up with my clients. Here is a way toward an easier life and a method to stop it.
Do not leave a message with your client's secretary. Just do not do it.
Instead, ask a now question-which is any question with the word now in it. Examples: Is there a cell phone I can reach her on now? Or, is there another extension I can reach him at now? Or, Is there someone else I can speak with now?
If you must leave a message, then set up what is called a presumptive appointment. Do not leave a message saying you will try back later. Instead, leave a message saying what you will do, such as: I will call back at 2:30 today.
By the way, it is better to ask for voicemail then to leave a message with a secretary. Just point out that it is in the secretary's best interest for you to leave a voicemail. Say to them: I will make it easier on you, I will just leave a voicemail for Bob. Secretaries are busy and you do not want them making a mistake with your message.
Remember, he who controls the voicemail wins. (Not sure if this is really true, but it sounds good). You are in total control of what you say, how you say it, and for how long you say it. In other words, you are in control of the impression you want to create for your client. See this as an opportunity to make a great impression.
Voicemail is great for quick exchanges of information like answering a quick question, asking a quick question, explaining something on a report, etc.
Keep in mind (and just to state the obvious) you want to always be creating positive impressions on everybody you come into contact with. Everybody, from operators to secretaries to the CEO. I know some colleagues who did not get the job because they were snippy with the secretary, and nice to the boss. To me this is common sense, but maybe it is not so common.
Bottom Line Point: Don't even start playing phone tag.
Next Action Step: Ask a now question to evade phone tag.
Your Life Is Easy Coach,
Jeffrey A. Betman, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009 LifeIsEasyCoaching.com