While this may read as a gripe session, it's really not - it's not meant to complain; simply to illustrate a point about life.
I am pretty much at the end of trying to connect with someone who was referred to me by a great client.
I received their contact information late on a Thursday and was planning to contact him the following Monday if he didn't reach out to me by then. (My experience over 20 years in business has been that referrals who don't reach out to me first are usually not ready to explore working with me or about purchasing promotional products at all.)
On Friday night at about 6:40 pm, my business phone line rang. Our family was in the middle of dinner, so I didn’t answer it - that's the rule in our house. Turns out that it was this referral calling me. The message I received was that I could call him back over the weekend or sometime next week.
(Although I will, when necessary make business phone calls and/or set meetings during “non-business” hours, that extra service is usually reserved for good clients or urgent matters. That’s not to say that I don’t work on weekends, early mornings and evenings, because I do, but that’s either for clients who are not in the California time zone or for emergencies. Otherwise, that’s family time, me time or back-office work time.)
I returned the call on Monday morning during business hours and left a message for him, since he didn't pick up.
Several days later, he called me back when I was in a meeting with a client, so it went to voicemail. I returned his call a few hours later (still during business hours) and left a message for him again. Several days later, still not having heard back, I sent him an e-mail alerting him to the fact that I would be out of town for three days on vacation, but would be happy to set a time to meet with him. I gave him several time options. A week later, I still haven’t heard back.
Come to find out that he told the person who referred me that if I’m too busy to take his call when he calls, then I will probably be too busy to actually work with him. He didn’t mention my return phone calls or the e-mail I sent, or that he wasn’t available when I returned his calls.
So, why am I telling this story? It's about reminding everyone that people do have personal lives, personal/professional emergencies, technical glitches, other clients, and yes, we occasionally even have to go to the bathroom and may miss a call as a result of any of those reasons. Sometimes we do play telephone tag before an actual connection is made and that’s ok. Have patience and take some of the responsibility if some calls go to voicemail and/or you don't return a message promptly (within one business day or less).
If you don’t think it plays a part in your branding, you’re wrong. Personally, I have a very specific view of this person and whether I want to do business with him as either a provider or a customer.