Last week I took a very difficult call, that shocked me. It was from the Managing Director of a large Events company. We are a supplier. The company are going into liquidation and the outstanding debt to my music company Viva Live Music is unlikely to be paid. The MD wanted to warn me that I would be receiving a legal document to explain this.
By anyone’s standards, it was a difficult call to make: and he did reveal to me that he would have to make 24 more calls to other suppliers. It was, of course, also a very difficult call for me to take, since I am going to have to pay my suppliers without being paid….
However, I feel I should mention that the MD had worked out how he knew me (he’d met me a couple of times at business network meetings and of course knew me within the industry). He referred to this straight away, before dropping the bombshell. He made the conversation very personal and very respectful to me as a fellow business owner. Instead of getting a junior member of staff to make the call, or even worse, not communicate with me at all, he had the courage to call.
I know of people that would have stuck their heads in the sand in denial; letting the suppliers know when they received the legal documents. Of even worse, he would get the already stressed accountant to make the call. I have to respect him for being the leader of the company, and taking the flack from some companies (not me I hasten to add).
This made me think of calls we make: whether they are calls of bad news or even sales calls. The MD actually prepared himself with information (and mentally) for the call, so that it went as well as could be expected. Taking the time to find out information on the person you are speaking to, such as common contacts, common education or hobbies, the company. It immediately helps establish a rapport with the other person. Great places to find out this information include Linkedin, Google+ and even Facebook. Googling the name of the person and company you are going to contact is great preparation for a call, and can mean the difference between a successful call, and having the phone put down on you.
And as to the outcome of the call I received, I will be lucky if I get any of my debt paid; so my savings for a new VW Beetle are out of the window…