Good Phone Manners Pay Off

Do you follow the Golden Rule when it comes to phone etiquette?

Whether it's cakes, flowers or venues, you're likely working the phone to land new customers. And like most of us, you're leaving voice mails that are rarely returned.

But ask yourself – do you behave any better? A photographer told me earlier this week that he strives to return every call, no matter how insignificant it may appear in the voicemail. He relayed a story about returning a bride's call some two years ago. She was asking about shooting her wedding on a particular date.

Although he already booked the date, the photographer took the time to return the call and break the bad news to her.

"You're the first photographer out of half a dozen I've called this week that even got back to me," the woman said.

He suggested another photographer new to the area that might be available. She thanked him; he wished her well and thought that was likely the end of the story.

But just recently, the woman called back asking for a quote on baby pictures. She had to remind him of their phone conversation two years earlier.

"Why didn't you call the photographer who shot your wedding," he asked. "Didn't I give you a good recommendation?"

"He was fine," she said. "But when you took the time to call me back even when you knew you couldn't make the sale – well, something tells me you might be even better."

I'm betting he's going to get another call for some graduation photos to take in about 18 years.

Some might call this karma; some will label it good manners. If you believe neither, then look at it from a strictly business/mathematical standpoint. Two minutes of effort to return a phone call grew into several hundred dollars of profit. Talk about a return on your investment!