One Technique for Preventing Unnecessary Phone Calls

Last year I wrote about How a Single Meeting Can Derail an Entire Day. As we’ve grown, the semi-legitimate meeting requests have increased significantly. Pure Adapt probably uses hundreds of different products and services to keep our business running, from financial (accounting software, banking, etc) to technical (servers, backup, etc) to shipping (supplies and carriers), and that’s not including all of the suppliers that Detailed Image works with.

We’re large enough at this point that most of these companies have assigned a sales rep to us. As a sales rep, their job is to touch base with us regularly to ensure that we’re happy with their product/service, and to sell us on any new offerings that they have. Almost universally they want to have a phone call or stop by. I don’t blame them, it’s their job. However, as I alluded to in that post, a single meeting can legitimately derail an entire day, so for the best interests of the business it’s my job to preciously guard my time.

In most cases, the new product/service that their offering can be summed up in a few sentences or with a link or a PDF, at least to the point where we can determine if we’re interested in learning more. A phone call or in-person meeting is then appropriate in the minority of instances where we are interested. They wouldn’t look at it this way, but I always view it as a win-win: no sense in either of us wasting time on something that isn’t going to happen. If we know the gist of the product/service, we can inquire more down the road if we think there might be a fit.

Finally a few months ago I added the following text expansion to my repertoire. A text expansion is important for me because I’d often spend quite a bit of time crafting a sentence like this. Since I wrote it pretty good once, it makes sense to have it handy for reuse.

Could you send over some more information via email? In general email works better for me as I’m in and out of the office and prefer to have the email record to look back on in the future.

I’ve never had someone react poorly to that. Over time, most people who know us learn that we prefer email and that we’re stingy with meetings. They tend to just cut to the chase and only ask for meetings or calls when it’s really necessary, which ultimately works out great.

2 comments on One Technique for Preventing Unnecessary Phone Calls

  1. Timothy Coleman says:

    This is an interesting problem, one that has to be experienced to truly understand. I only recently understood being THIS busy.

    Recently, I’ve adopted Mark Cuban’s policy for in-person meetings, unless someone is cutting a check I’ll pass. Sounds arrogant, but there comes a point when you become so busy that an in-person meeting simply costs too much if it’s anything less than of critical importance. I still make exceptions for very close friends/business partners but otherwise, I’m very direct. I simply cannot stop to grab a cup of a coffee and have someone “pick my brain” right now. I’ll gladly exchange email, and for the next rung up of contacts schedule a call, call me a jerk, but the cost to these activities that I gain nothing from is now too large.

    I’ve also worked hard to maintain no more than 2 meetings a day, this is harder to coordinate due to the nature of my work, but it’s my goal.

    All of this sounds preposterous to the me of early 2016, but due to good fortune and a LOT of hard work I have to make smart choices or pay the price. I love helping people, but it has to be on my terms or the cost of helping is just too large. I don’t hear much from sales people thankfully, I’d probably have to simply ignore them or I wouldn’t be able to sleep ever.

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