Editor’s Note – Pick Up the Phone–and Listen

Today’s Machining World Archive: April 2010 Vol. 6, Issue 03

By Lloyd Graff

Sometimes the moves you make to survive end up working for you in ways you don’t expect.

At the Graff Pinkert/Today’s Machining World office we laid off our primary phone answerer and bookkeeper. We had the choice of buying a phone menu software system or answering the phone in an ad hoc way by the folks working in the office at the time of the calls. We decided to pick up the phones.

For me this duty has become a terrific opportunity to connect with clients before they reach Cathy Heller, our spare parts doyen, Rex Maggagnotti, our master of machinery sales, Emily Halgrimson, Today’s Machining World’s managing editor or Noah Graff, the features editor.

My usual line when I pick up is a self-deprecating “this is your lucky day, you get to talk to me first.” I’ve found this jocular, tongue-in-cheek approach to be disarming, and the callers are almost always freed up to talk following my greeting. I usually ask questions. I often know something about the caller or their business, and if I don’t I look at it as an opportunity to get to know them.

I invariably find something valuable in these conversations—even if it’s only the good vibe.

I strongly suggest that you turn off your annoying phone software system at least one day a week and allow your key people to answer the phone and connect with the folks you deal with. You’ll be amazed at what you learn—and sell.

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