Let’s face it. People aren’t very good at returning calls these days. If you don’t have something they want right then, often times the calls take a back seat to the more pressing matters at hand.

In business, it seems to be less offensive than in one’s personal life. In business, if someone doesn’t return calls it is usually because the person isn’t quite ready to do business. Perhaps they haven’t made a decision or they are working on another project. Perhaps they don’t want or need your services and so they’re saving face by not returning the calls. Casual persistence is the best way to handle these people. And dropping a hand written note with valuable information is always a good tactic. Sometimes, by adding enough value you are able to charm the person into returning or taking your calls. A rule of thumb though is to NEVER, EVER make them feel guilty for not returning the calls. It’s best to pass it off and never mention it again. It’s past history!

In business and in friendships there are usually good excuses why people aren’t returning calls.  Okay, there are times that a relationship will be put on hold due to some of the choices we make. And there are cases that a relationship is over due to the differences in values that people have.  Or, perhaps they’ve found another vender who is more affordable and they don’t have the guts to tell you.   But normally, it doesn’t happen like this. Normally, there is something else going on.

For instance:

The other person had a death in the family and is having to attend a funeral.

They are in the process of moving offices or homes.

They are at a business conference.
They are having some financial issues and getting together for lunch or dinner is not in the budget.

They have many other pressing business matters that need their attention first.

Okay, you now get the picture! People are BUSY. Taking it personal that someone isn’t calling or emailing you back is probably natural, but not practical. We are living in a different day and time now and the old days of everyone returning calls immediately has now changed to, “I’ll call you back when I can.”

Returning calls and emails is the polite thing to do. My dad once told me to always be the last one to write or call and to never leave people hanging. It’s great advice and it’s advice I share with others. But I also have tolerance for others when they are slow to move as quickly as I am at that moment.


My friend Kelly Price of Kelly Price & Company has it all figured out. Her business of real estate is all about relationships and so she makes it a point to be efficient, and organized.  Kelly switched from a paper calendar to electronic through Outlook to book appointments with her friends and clients. In her business, time of the essence so she sends a request for a meeting and once the person accepts, it gets put on both of their personal calendar. Kelly told me there is “no more phone tag” and loves the simplicity.


Blogspot Radio host and author Kerry Heaps of www.kerrysnetwork.com prefers the good old fashioned notebook to manage her phone calls. She agrees with the statistic that it takes 5-6 outgoing calls to get a returned call and by then the person is usually thanking her for her persistence!  Her method of stapling business cards to the notebook to keep a running long of her phone activity, she believes still works well for the “visual” person.


In a day in time where connecting solely by phone is almost in the past, people have to first figure out what system the person is using to communicate with others the most – Email? Texting? Twitter, Linked In, Plaxo or Facebook? Do they Skype? Teleconference?  Or do they use the good ol’ fashioned phone! But then you have to know, do they use their land line or their cell phone? So many choices! 


Most people find, that if you want to talk with someone, do what you can to make it happen by phone. When you finally are on the phone together, it’s time to seal the deal!
Because who has time to go through all of this with every vendor!? 


Phone calls are not out of style, but managing them has evolved.   Take time to create a system that works for you so you can increase the ease and efficiency in your business. And soon with all of the happy clients, people will be calling YOU.