There is a strange phenomenon that occurs every day in the business world. In fact it’s so ‘out there,’ that I bet people don’t even realize that they are doing it. Did you ever CAREFULLY listen to people’s voicemails. How CREDIBLE are they? Do people know that they are not following through on their WORD each and every day… 5, 10, perhaps even 20 times A DAY?

“I’m on the other line, but will be back to you at my earliest convenience.”
“I’m out of the office but will return your call as soon as I return.”
“Leave a message and I’ll return your call promptly.”
“I’m on the phone or away from my desk, but I will get back to you as soon as I can.”

How many of you have left a message and not gotten a return call? How many of you have something similar on your voicemail, and do not return ALL of your calls? So are we technically lying? Should we change our voicemails to reflect what our actions will be?

Let’s take this up a notch to the subject of Professionalism and Business Etiquette. I’m not here to say there are right or wrong answers here, just throwing out some questions.

Let’s say that you are trying to get a hold of someone, Maybe your selling something. Maybe you have personal news for them. Maybe you have some important info that they should know about for their business or industry. Whatever. Your trying to make a contact and have a conversation with someone.

Should people return your call? Should you return other people’s call?

Let’s say you kick it up even further. You have a business prospect in mind to help them. You develop a 6-8 contact system mixed with personal calls, voicemails, postal mailings, emails and even a drop by visit. Does that person owe you a return contact?
Some may say they are busy. They don’t have time. You are “imposing” on them.
Some might even say that it’s not their job to return your calls/messages.

Others might argue that it’s professional to at least make an effort to contact them.. even if it’s your secretary, sending an email, saying thank you but no thank you. Or a voicemail early or after hours when you know the other person won’t be there to answer. One might even say that they were taught that is a salesperson calls on their business it’s a privledge and honor, and they own that person a response , as fast as they can get back to them.

A long time ago, I learned a good business lesson. I remember being introduced to a business person at a Chamber function, that contacted me several times, and for some reason I just didn’t get back to him. Boy did I feel embarrassed. Twenty things ran through my head like, what if this guy’s brother owns a company that I have been calling on for business? What if his sister is the town mayor of my parent’s hometown? Worse yet, what if this guy got so frustrated with my lack of response that he decided to call my boss. “Hey, did you know I called Tim Smith 6 different times and he never called me back. What kind of training are you running at your company?” Needless to say, lesson learned. We’ve all probably been there on both sides of this matter at one time or another.

As always it comes down to CHOICES. Morals, ethics, business character. How we were taught. What our beliefs are. Personally, I always go to my gut as to what’s the right thing to do. The Golden Rule. What would my mentor, John Wooden do? How would Mahatma Gandhi handle this? I do my best to return ALL calls , even if I know they are salespeople, that I can’t help, they can’t help me, or I’m just not interested. At least they cared enough about my business to reach out to me. Please note that there is a fine line between Spam emails and 8 pm stalk callers, and what we are talking about here.
My moral compass says: be professional, be polite. Treat others as I’d like to be treated.

What say you on the above topic?

Author's Bio: 

Graduated UMASS with a BA in business. Graduated Dale Carnegie 16 week course.

Former Mortgage Originator, then Sales manager for 20 years.

Loves horses, dogs, country music, jazz music, golf, skiing, reading, pizza and Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Family: beautiful wife and well mannered step daughter, and 3 awesome Lab Retrievers.

Mission to bring Smile-Therapy to anyone who can use some positive information their life

Life creed:
Work HARD.
Have FUN.
HELP Others.
Make people SMILE.