It’s very common in the sales process that we become obsessed with connecting  with a particular person, only to find ourselves speaking with a business partner, associate or even a gatekeeper. More often than not, a salesperson will consider this an “unsuccessful contact”. But the reality is that many times a person other than our targeted contact can be just as (and frequently even more) helpful to our end goal.

Recently my 3 year-old grandson was picking on his little sister to a point that he was rightfully disciplined by his father. Despite the fact my daughter-in-law was enjoying a well-deserved night out with some girlfriends, her son decided that his punishment was important enough that he had to contact her and share the details of how mean Daddy was being. From his perspective- he hadn’t done anything wrong because after all, ‘she started it!’

When I was 3, I couldn’t come close to reaching the rotary phone that hung on the wall (Google “rotary phone” for definition) but these days, 3 year-olds have grown up in a world where dialing is done in an entirely different way; my grandson simply picked up his Dad’s smartphone, pushed the appropriate button and proceeded to say: “Call Mom”. Obviously, my son doesn’t have his wife saved as “Mom” in his contact list.

As I saw the call on my phone indicating it was from my son, I answered with  “Hi Honey” to which I heard a sharp, “No! Not you Nonna…Mommy!” My caller was clearly surprised that his dictated request connected him with his grandmother and not his Mom! Through his sniffles – and some background commentary from my son, I got the gist of the story and was able to successfully calm a teary-eyed grandson down, and encourage him to apologize to both his sister and his dad. I was also able to convince him that he didn’t need to bother his Mother. While I wasn’t his intended party, our conversation satisfied his objective without potentially multiple attempts to reach his Mom.

So the next time you pick-up the phone to “Call Prospect” be more open-minded to engaging in conversation with whomever you end up speaking to. Try it for a few weeks and just see what a difference it makes to your productivity as opposed to leaving a message that inevitably never gets returned! Remember what ultimately drives results is “performance producing actions” not just “work related activities”!

Diane Ciotta
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