You can tell it’s quiet when the number of prospecting calls is up three fold! Since the government has all but put out a moratorium on holding meetings, what else is a government sales manager to do other than start dialing for dollars. It’s hard to fault anyone for trying – I remember the days ever so fondly of having to meet my arbitrary quota for how many customers I could get to say, “Nothing at the moment, but thanks for calling.” Now that I’m comfortably on the “other side” as it were, I can see both the upside and downside of these actions.
For one, I’m not a fan of the telephone, which I’ve probably made rather clear throughout my brief blogging history. I’m always a fan foremost of in person meetings, followed closely by emails, and trailed distantly by the phone. In fact, I might prefer both an encrypted treasure scroll or a signing telegraph to the phone. Nevertheless, I am self aware that there are certainly days better to catch me than others. But therein lies the very core of the issue – every email gets responded to. And not every phone call does. Not every phone call can! If I happen to be on foot between appointments, if I happen to be driving, or if I happen to be unusually jolly, I’m going to answer the phone when I don’t know the number (or when it ends in 00). Because then I don’t feel like I’m losing productivity. But if I’m hard at work, negotiating contracts, sifting through proposals, or compiling reports of my own – a break to answer a call is a real work stopper. And that voicemail? It will be heard, but it’s rare to be returned. No hotelier should be insulted and I feel bad if they are. The flipside is that when emails come in, regardless of what is currently occupying my time, it will land safely in the inbox. And it will be read at the time and place when it’s most convenient. And since that’s true, there’s also at least a 90% chance it will be responded to – even if that response is something a kin to, “Nothing at the moment, but thanks for calling.” And I’ll still feel just as connected, I’ll still remember that hotelier just the same, and I’ll have an even warmer opinion for that hotelier having not interrupted any business of mine.
The moral of the story is that technology and communications has evolved, thus prospecting is evolving. When times are slow, there aren’t enough moments in the day for me to adequately take all the phone calls that come in. But I continue to assert, if you send me an email, I will get back to you!