Unless you talk to people on the phone for a living, then the telephone can quickly became Enemy #1 in your fight to protect your time.
I know this. You know this. And yet we still let the telephone control us.
What can we do?
Well, about about 2+ years ago, I had begun using “open call-in hours” at the suggestion of Alex Mandossian. It worked really well.
But after a while, I guess I got apathetic. I thought, “The phone isn’t really a problem now. I won’t worry about honoring my open call-in hours. I’ll just answer the phone anytime.”
And at first, the phone wasn’t a problem.
That’s because most people thought I was still using open call-in hours.
But over time, I began to get more and more phone calls. I was being interrupted on a more frequent basis, making it hard to write sales copy, strategize, or do much of anything for a sustained period of time.
So what was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back?
It was becoming the Affiliate Manager for MaestroConference… and… publishing my phone number on outgoing broadcast emails.
You can’t imagine how frustrating it is to field phone calls from people wanting to know, “So what exactly is an affiliate program?” and “How does an affiliate link work?”
Helloooo, it’s called Google!
Honestly, Google can answer your basic questions about affiliate programs much quicker and much more thoroughly than I can. ;-)
But that’s beside the point.
This week, I spent some time getting clarity about my business and creating a strategy for where I want to go.
I wrote a lot of things down.
Underneath the question, “What MUST happen in order for me to focus on this plan?” I wrote:
- I must get control of my phone by:
- re-establishing open call-in hours.
- removing my phone number from all outgoing MaestroConference emails.
I’m happy to report, both items are DONE.
Establishing open call-in hours may be something you want to consider doing yourself. It’s very simple, and it’s one of the best ways you can honor your #1 asset.
First, update your phone message. Here is what mine says:
Hi, this is Ryan Healy of RyanHealy.com and you’ve reached my direct business line. To better serve my clients, my open call-in hours are from 2-4 p.m. Mountain Time, Monday through Thursday. If you are calling outside those hours, feel free to leave a message. And if you were referred to me, please let me know who I need to thank.
Secondly, update your email signature and web sites to reflect your open call-in hours.
It’s that simple.
Does this mean you can never talk on the phone outside of your open call-in hours? No. It just means you’ll have to be intentional about scheduling your calls and planning your work around those calls.
Trust me, it’s a much better way to run your business.
If you do implement this strategy, let me know how it works out for you, okay?
-Ryan M. Healy
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