Tips for Leaving Phone Messages

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What are  the “rules” for leaving telephone messages as part of a business communication?

What do you say?

How many times can you call back without running the risk of being pushy?

Sherra and I are often asked these questions. To be honest, there isn’t one answer, but here are some tried and true guidelines for leaving messages:

Message #1

  • Say who are calling for.
  • Identify yourself.
  • Remind the person you are calling where you met, or how you are connected.
  • Let them know you’ll call back the next day.
  • Give them a time frame for your return call.
  • Leave your number in case they would like to call you.
  • No need to go into detail.  Just make it short and simple.

Your first message might sound something like this:

Hi Mary! This is Laura Harbolt. We met last week at the women’s networking group. I’m calling to follow up on our conversation regarding _____. I’ll give you a call back tomorrow around noon. Or if you’d like, you can reach me at (phone number.) I’ll look forward to talking soon!

Message #2

  • Identify yourself.
  • Let them know you’ll call back in a day or so.

Here’s an example of your second message:

Hi Mary, this is Laura. I’m sorry I missed you again — I’ll try you back next week, or if you have a moment, give me a call back at (phone number.)

Message #3

  • Call back at a different time of day.
  • If you don’t reach them, then know that this is your last phone message.

You’ll say something like this:

Hi, this is Laura. So sorry to have missed you again, Mary. I’m guessing this is a really busy time for you, and I totally understand. Please feel free to contact me anytime if I can help you with _____. And in the meantime, I’ll keep you on my list and be back in touch later on down the road.

If you haven’t reached your contact in three tries, chances are they are not interested — at least not now. The best investment of your time is to move on, leaving the ball in their court. Do add them to your pipeline, however, making a note of when to get back in touch.

Next time, we’ll talk about the dos and don’t of written communication.

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Are You a Leader? Four Ways Small Business Owners Serve

leadership signWho do you think of when I say, “Leader in the world of business?”  

A Warren Buffet or Bill Gates type? Maybe a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg?

Perhaps the phrase doesn’t bring to mind a particular person, but rather a “type.”

A CEO in a well tailored suit. The company President who is firmly rooted behind his desk.

If you own a small business, you are not only in business for yourself, you are probably in business by yourself. Even if you employee a small staff, my guess is that you don’t think of yourself as a “Business Leader.”

As Sherra and I work with our clients, we are reminded time and again that small business owners are the real leaders in the world of business.

If you are struggling to see yourself as a Leader, here are a few reminders of the things we see you doing. Day in and day out:

1. Serving as Leaders in Your Industry.

You are involved in professional organizations, networking groups, and continuing education. You represent your market with professionalism and a constant thirst for knowledge. Most importantly, you share freely with others, knowing that helping others be successful is a leader’s greatest gift.

2. Serving as Leaders in Your Community.

Small business owners often have flexibility in the work week. You choose to invest time in service. Whether at your child’s school, a local non-profit organization, or in small town politics, you model ways to give back to your own neighborhoods and cities.

3. Serving as Role Models in Your Family.

Small business owners have vision. You share that vision with your family and find ways to work together toward a shared goal. Many of you put your family right to work! Others remind your children and your spouses that time invested in business hours has a tangible pay off — a vacation, family time, bills paid, dreams made real.

4. Serving as Leaders for Your Clients.

This one is my favorite. For me, a real leader is someone who builds up other people. A real leader shares confidence, skills or products that make life better. You encourage others with a smile, a compliment, and a helping hand. Simply put, you make a difference.

As we wrap up February and look forward to the renewing energy of Spring, allow us to take one more opportunity to share our love and respect for those of you who work diligently to build something of your own. And to serve others at the same time.

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