Entrepreneurship Skills

I speak with entrepreneurs every day. One topic that comes up frequently is building relationships, and a great way to do that is to get on the phone and have a conversation with them.

When I ask how the calls went I’ll often get this response, “I left a message but they never called back, they must not be interested.”

Wait a second… if that is true, does that mean that I don’t care about my best friend? Not only didn’t I call her back, but I actually forgot she called.

Once I saw the similarity between something I did that felt so unemotional, to what my clients and I experience when we leave a message for someone, I asked my friend if she’s ever worried that I don’t like her or don’t want to talk to her if I don’t call back. She laughed and said, “Of course not, I know you’re busy and you must have gotten caught up with things. I know we’ll catch up a different time.” I told her that I feel the same way when I leave a message for her and don’t get a return call. Phew!

What’s your reaction when your friend doesn’t call you back? Do you assume they don’t like you? Do you assume that they want nothing to do with you? Do you assume that they must not be interested?

Of course you don’t.

Now look inside yourself for a moment, how do you feel when you don’t return your friend’s call, or your colleague’s, or even someone you just met?

Are you thinking that you have absolutely no interest in ever speaking with them? Usually not.

So then why do you assume the worst when you don’t get a return call from someone you’re reaching out to for networking, or even making a sales call?

It’s a new perspective isn’t it?

Here’s a suggestion for you. Next time you leave a message for someone don’t panic if you don’t get a call back. Instead, assume that they got involved in something and simply didn’t have a moment to get back to you. Put a smile on your face, reach out again and call again. Feel free to leave another message if they don’t pick up. If they still don’t get back to you, try again. (Remember, it used to take seven touches to get to know someone, that number has increased.) Acknowledge that you’ve called a few times and that you know they must be very busy.

Let them know why you’re calling. Let them know that you would like to spend a few minutes on the phone with them to get to know them better. If you have their email address send them an email with a similar message.

If they still don’t get back to you, it’s okay. Continuing to call and email is not hounding someone as long as you do it in a genuine, open and helpful way. Keep reaching out to them by phone and email. Don’t write them off. Be of service and when the time is right they will call you.