[Note: Better not to use this answer with a receptionist. That’s a different situation with a different response. Receptionists aren’t usually screening…they’re more likely saying, “There’s no one here by that title.”]
Routinely, when we’re conducting workshops or working one-on-one with coaching clients, people tell us this phrase sounds “rude,” “pushy,” “too aggressive” or “bitchy.” They fear that in using this phrase the secretary may respond negatively, and may even keep them from their prospect.
This is a fascinating perception. The words are in and of themselves, neutral. “Please tell (your prospect) that (your name) from (your company) is on the line.” There’s even a “please” at the beginning of the sentence to make it more polite and deferential!
What then causes the uproar? Let’s imagine that Steve Smith, CEO of ABC Telecommunications calls your prospect and says to that same secretary, “Please tell (your prospect) that Steve Smith from ABC Telecommunications is on the line.” Is he being rude, pushy, or too aggressive?
How about Prime Minister David Cameron? If he calls your prospect and says to the secretary, “Please tell (your prospect) thatDavid Cameron is on the line,” is he being rude, pushy, or too aggressive?
If you believe that Steve Smith andDavid Cameron can use this approach and you can’t, what does this say about your belief system? Do you believe that you and what you have to say are not important enough? If so, perhaps it’s time to change the way you think. Rude pushy, and too aggressive are all judgements that you place on yourself. Put another way, it’s “stuff you make up.”
Remember that on an introductory call, your prospect’s secretary (just like your prospect) is a stranger. You have no way of knowing what that prospect’s secretary is thinking. You can choose to believe that she will view you as rude, pushy, or too aggressive, or you can choose to believe that she will view you as confident, in control, and having something important to say. In the first scenario, your expectation is that she will ‘screen you out.’ In the second scenario, your expectation is that she would put your call through, that you and your call is important.
Your expectations can and will become self-fulfilling prophecies. The first expectation is self-defeating. In essence, you are “doomed before you dial.” The second is empowering…whether or not you actually reach that prospect. There are always more prospects and you have the power to make more calls. Your acceptance that your call is important and that you will eventually reach your prospect puts you in control. Choose your expectations carefully as you ‘dial for dollars.’
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