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Danger, Will Robinson! Email Requesting Phone Call

Business Email First Contact Requests

Just when you think you’ve seen it all. Let me share with you a situation I experienced this week that may help you to handle or avoid the same.

On Monday I had an individual send me the following email:

Please call me immediately. I have some questions about working with you.

Then, a signature file followed with all their contact information. No “Hello” or “Hi”, no name, no thank you in advance. No information about what the questions pertained to.

So, I called within an hour of receiving the email. They were on a “smoke break.” I left my name, number and message that I was “returning their email” and that they can give me a buzz back after their smoke break or at their convenience.

They didn’t call that day… or the next.

Two days later, I get a forwarded copy of the very same email. Really? Pretty unprofessional (and bossy). I guess this was their way of saying “Call me!” which I did — and again, not available.

Appearance of Professionalism or Not

Eventually this person did pick up the phone and call me after I did not respond to the 2nd forward of the original email. Their subsequent voicemail and email noted I needed to respond faster thus avoiding playing “tag”.

At that point, I had called twice and was not going to be bossed into a 3rd call. I had responded to their emails asking how I could be of service. No response to that question.

I didn’t return that last call or following emails. The writing on the wall was clear that this would not be a person that would respect my time.

Words + Actions = Respect

Email is not meant to avoid picking up the phone and calling someone whose help you need. Nor is it to be used to forward your demands without comment. Or details.

Never underestimate how those who you are approaching to do business with, are at the same time, taking into consideration if they want to do business with you. Based on how you present yourself and how you chose to address them.

Being a one-woman-show, I have to screen those I take on for new projects. I’m only one person with a healthy list of those who depend on me to back them up.

Smarties realize that how I have my website setup caters to professionals. The wealth of information and features are there so they can do their homework about a professional partnership. (Maybe it’s a bit of a test?)

Do they read my site? Do they respect my time? Can they follow instructions? Are they looking for a partnership or do they want to be the boss of the relationship?

How I am approached by potential new clients gives me the answers to those questions. Insight into how, or if, we can work together on very difficult tasks necessary to produce any level of online success.

Danger, Will Robinson!

For those not familiar with the above statement, it’s from the T.V. show Lost in Space:

Yeah, I’m probably dating myself. But I’m trying to make a point.

This is a prime example of how email should not be used in business communications. Specifically business communications with new contacts who don’t know you or who you have not yet formed a relationship with.

I now have an opinion of what this person would be like to work with. This experience told me this potential client would be trouble. Trouble not worth getting into in the first place.

Don’t make that mistake when you make first contact.

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