If I had a dime for every time a mentor said GET BACK TO THE BASICS KID! Well, let’s be honest, I’d still be driving the same old truck because I didn’t listen then either. Seems the basics are ALWAYS the long way around. As our world becomes more automated to “increase productivity” so do we, driving us back into our offices hiding behind machines again. Sure, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it wouldn’t had been built at all if they had email. They would have just talked about it for the next 2000 years.
Now, I have nothing against millennial progressives. I have a few of my own, and they are definitely forward thinking, as we all try to be. With that being said, sometimes we need to go back to the basics if we really want to get a genuine answer to our question or concern.
Sure, party lines, emails and IM’s have their uses. You can get things in writing from non-committal Ron, clarify monster subjects, objectives, and bark orders after you cool off and edit it. You can share files, general information and so forth. Email is truly the main and performed means of business communication, and has been for the last 20 years. We all know it’s not going to change, regardless of how fantastic technology gets or helps us automate more processes.
So, what’s your point John? Let me explain.
Recently I was self-diagnosed with “ENS” or Email Numbness Syndrome. Like your feet, your brain relies on senses to pull away from hot surfaces and to navigate changing terrain. I began to experience sensation deprivation years ago, to discover my symptoms were progressive. I sought out an OLD SCHOOL mentor who prescribed an immediate business intervention. Not mine, but MY CLIENT’S. I was to contact every client of ours within 90 days via the telephone in order to be cured. He went on to give a warning “The teacher reveals himself to the student when the student is ready. I now pass this knowledge on to you, for which you are responsible to use it.” We both laughed, caught up in the irony of it all.
My point is that as much as we want to rely on technology to give us our answers on pressing matters, sometimes it’s best to not type the next email, or send the next IM. Instead, pick up the phone, and make a connection. People still run the machines, at least for now anyway.
Preparing for the call:
1. Have a plan.
If you know exactly what you are hoping to accomplish, it will be much easier to make it happen. Know exactly what you want to bring about, so it can be executed with little or no delay.
2. Be prepared to leave a voice mail
Voice mail is often the result you get when calling a fellow business professional. Have a concise and brief message prepared. Leave the rest to their imagination.
3. Inflection is important.
How you say it is often more important than what you say. You are now entering the collections arena, for all intents and purposes. Speak firmly yet professionally, not personally. Make your point, ask an important yet detailed question, and anticipate a cogent reply.
4. Don’t Ramble-
The key to a great call is simply and quickly getting to the point and then using the other’s answers to achieve your goal. Resist the temptation to discuss multiple issues all at once.
5. Have a CALL TO ACTION.
Don’t let your call recipient put you off or make a promise “down the road” Require they do something. Anything. You pick it. The better you get at calling again, the more defined your call to action.
Sure, this is simple advice, but the fact is, when you get out of your comfort zone and reach someone voice to voice, your chances at getting the answers you need have just tripled. It’s never too late to go “old school” to accomplish your objectives.
John Burch is a 20 year veteran in the credit and collections field with extensive knowledge in account investigation and motivation. Held in high regard among his peers and clients alike he counsels financial professionals from Fortune 100 Chief Financial Officers to small business owners in the reduction of DSO and corporate risk managing the recovery of lost revenue on a contingency basis. Having chaired all significant positions within the industry John brings a fresh and unique perspective to today’s credit challenges valuing above all else client communication, professional conduct and mutual respect for both the client and their delinquent customer. At rest John still stays active spending time with his two children, playing basketball, swimming, hiking and volunteer work.