Got this email last night…
“We were going to book in for one of your workshops until we made a call to your office & whoever answered the phone was basically rude so we forgot about booking in
Pls delete me from your group emails”
Now I don’t know about you, but if I get something like this, I sit up and take notice.
Barbara and I run a small business and the last thing we want to be is rude on the phone. We’re even polite to the ubiquitous cold callers trying to sell us mobile phones, holidays and dubious investment strategies involving horse racing.
So what could have gone wrong?
My first reaction was that they’d called and got a wrong number so I wrote back…
First of all thank you taking the time to let me know. Now just so I can clarify, can you remember approximately when you called and was it a man or woman who answered the phone.
Reason I ask is the only 2 people who would pick up the phone are either my wife Barbara or myself (and if we’re not here it goes to voicemail) so I’m wondering if you might have got a wrong number and got someone who had no idea what you were talking about?”
This morning I called the gentleman in question to dig deeper and further clarify.
Well we had a very pleasant conversation and all was revealed – well sort of…
Around early March I’d had a call from the gentleman’s secretary. She wanted to know if we were legitimate and not some scam organisation.
Now I was about to run out the door to another appointment, but spoke to her at length and in my mind (and this is the operative bit – my mind) gave her the information she wanted, offered some references she could talk to and generally thought all was well.
She said she’d talk to her boss and get back to me. So far so good.
Barbara followed up a few weeks later and left a message – no response. Now given that she thought I was rude and difficult to do business with – hardly surprising.
Anyway, we cleared the air, both agreeing there must have been a miscommunication somewhere.
Now let me be quite clear. I in no way blame his secretary. I AM RESPONSIBLE for my message and making sure the other person really understands where I’m coming from. Hence the statement – “The meaning of your communication is the response you get”.
Now you’re probably wondering why I’m bothering to write a newsletter around this…
Well, Barbara and I teach communication skills. We teach people how to understand and get into the other person’s shoes and gain rapport, facilitate buying decisions from them and form long lasting relationships.
But we don’t always get it right and when we don’t it can cost dearly – and I don’t mean just financially. By not checking if my communication was received in the way I intended, we potentially lost the chance to develop what could have been a meaningful win-win relationship over time.
Luckily the gentleman in question took the time to write to me and not just silently cross me off his list. And I thank him for that.
So ask yourself… how are you communicating? Is your message being received the way you want it to be? Are people silently crossing you off their lists?
And if you think this might be happening even occasionally, check out some of our programs around communication skills below.