What to do when someone won't return your call

By: Andy Bounds

Date: 19 August 2016

What to do when someone won't return your callDon't you hate it when you can't get through to people you need to talk to?

Telephone tennis, email tennis, you know how it works - you leave a message, they leave a message, you leave one back, they leave one back…

Or, even worse, you leave a message or send an email and you don't get a reply at all. So, you're faced with a tricky decision: do you chase it up and feel like you’re pestering; or wait and feel impotent?

I hate email tennis so I don't play it.

Here are some things you can do instead:

  1. If you work in the same office, walk to the person's desk.
  2. Do things differently. If you've been in touch by email and haven't had a reply, don't send another email, ring them instead. Or try texting; people tend to reply to texts. Try saying something like: "Hi X, Let’s catch up today. I'll call at 3pm. If this time doesn’t work, please text me a time you’d prefer."
  3. During your first conversation, agree when you'll have the next conversation. And get it in both your diaries before you wrap up that first conversation.
  4. A final option (but one you need to be careful with) is to ask one of their close contacts for her advice. You could say: "I'm struggling to get through to X. How would you advise I contact her?"

Which of these is best? Well, it depends on the situation and the person you're speaking with. But I find a text usually works well. And it makes sense. People get hundreds of emails a day – most of them boring. It’s easy for yours to get lost in the noise… But they get fewer texts. And people tend to reply more quickly to them.

Identify the people who aren't getting back to you. Now identify a new way to chase them. Remember: if your last chasing technique didn't work, it probably won't work next time either. So try something new. It’s often as simple as that.

Copyright © 2016 Andy Bounds, communications expert, speaker and best-selling author. You can sign up for his free weekly tips here and join his online video club here.

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    Andy Bounds

    Awarded the title Britain’s Sales Trainer of the Year, and described by AstraZeneca’s Global Communication Director as “a genius, whose advice can’t be ignored”, Andy’s insights stem from the fact his mother is blind.

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