“Samson killed a thousand men with the jaw bone of an ass. That many sales are killed every day with the same weapon.”
I recently did something I won’t do again.
Granted, I tend to accept “modern conveniences” grudgingly, but being plugged in seems to create a modern expectation of 24/7 attention – or an excuse for rude behavior.
I originally bought a cell phone as a choice between the cost of a rental car and the risk of driving from Rochester to D.C. with an old Camry burning a quart and a half of oil a week. I like driving my own car, so a flip phone purchase was easily justified. It was a business expense, a great tool to have when driving to new client locations if directions were wrong (this was before GPS mapping on phones – or in cars) and offered some peace of mind on longish trips.
The car lasted a lot longer than the phone, with nary a breakdown until the day I had it towed to my mechanic. I sheepishly asked if he could fix it, to which he exclaimed “I’ve never seen oil spewing out of more places on a car!” All that black smoke was a bad sign even I could recognize.
For years, I didn’t give out my cell number. I considered this device a convenience for me – not a tether for others. I’m a big believer in customer service – but not at the expense of having a life.
Recently, I was asked to cover the jobs of two others due to an odd mix of unavailability circumstances. This required my cell phone morph into handcuffs. When not in the office, I was expected to forward all calls to my cell and sleep with the darn thing.
I don’t live like that.
Of course, calls came in all night (mostly hang ups), usually just after I had found myself escaping into the glorious moment of finally found sleep. At the time, I was also suffering from severe back pain, which made this blissful moment challenging and required hours to get back to it.
Those that choose jobs that require on-call always availability have my admiration – and sympathy. For most seeking small business success, this isn’t necessary, nor prudent.
Are you suffering from a cell phone addiction?
Perhaps I’m cantankerous, but I find it rude when someone I’ve schedule time with puts primary attention on their phone and little attention toward me. This includes family, friends and business associates. Old school, perhaps, but to me, polite in-person conversations involve undivided attention. My time is valuable (not only to me, but clients as well). If responding to your phone is more important than our time together, have at it. I’ll redirect my focus to someone who appreciates who’s in the room.
I was working with someone recently seeking my help. He was texting, answering calls and distracted to the point of zero retention. Are you kidding me? You might need a different kind of help than what I can give.
It’s rare, short and sacred time (at least for me) I spend with family. When cell phones take precedence over even the most engaging, emotional or loving conversations – under the guise of business priority – it’s sad.
Do you know friends who ask for your presence then pay homage to their iPhone as though you’re not there? Does that get you excited about the next get-together?
Call me crazy, but I can’t help but feel trivial when your phone gets more attention than me.
Your clients and prospects might have the same reaction. Ever used that mute button?
Don’t think I’m ignoring your call intentionally. I really do fail to charge my phone, bring it or hear it. It’s not personal – oh wait – yes it is. When I’m with you, my cell usually isn’t.
Most small business success isn’t about being always on and always available. When you envisioned the lifestyle small business ownership would allow did it include business focus 24/7? Why suffer with this responsibility? Clients will understand if you’re clear about availability. Prospects, family and friends will appreciate you more if your phone isn’t the most important discourse in the room.
How about you? Would you like to put someone’s cell phone in their cocktail? Are you an addict? Have any funny stories to share? Think I’m living in the dark ages? Leave a comment and if this post resonates with you, share in the easily clickable links to the left. Thanks!