Lady Gaga had it right when it comes to the interrupting phone call:
‘Stop telephonin’, me. Stop telephonin’, me.
(I’m busy). (I’m busy)’, she sings.
(Well, OK, she’s in a club in the song not the office but everyone knows Gaga wouldn’t be hanging out in a cube!)
When you pick up the phone to call a client, it had better be about something they want to hear. And cold calls? If the reception on the other end is closer to freezing than in the past, there is a reason. Calling a stock photo agency is probably going to result in frustration on your part. Why not email? More than a couple of emails that go unanswered is your clue that any more will be deemed spam.
I don’t want to diminish the comfortable chats that we have now and again with close friends, clients and colleagues in the business but unless you know the person’s kid’s names, most contacts don’t fit into that category. One of the most welcome phrases I hear (or read) is, “When is a good time to call.” Then I know I’ll be prepared and have set aside time without interruption for the call when it is critical to speak.
Our means of communication have greatly expanded in the past decade. At the same time, most people are busier and more distracted than ever before. Nothing starts a conversation off on a worst foot than an insistent ring tone that has shattered one’s concentration.
I talk to my clients every week but I do it at a time that is mutually agreeable and established previously via email. We generally speak via SKYPE as I often have clients in other countries. We have the added advantage of being able to see each other via SKYPE video.
I like keeping up with the industry via blogs and keeping track of my colleagues via twitter and facebook. I use email mainly for important communications with businesses other than individual photographers.
I can’t say how many in the photo business feel the same as I do but for me the office telephone is obsolete and its unanticipated ring makes me want to scream.
When this post first appeared on the ASMP Strictly Business Blog, a reader accused me of being elitist. I tried to explain that I was trying to respect others time and hoped that they would do the same for me. Right?