Your Cell Phone Can Be Your Most Important Tool

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Professional and timely return calls make all the difference.

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I’m amazed at how often I hear clients tell me that I was one of the only call-back responding to a voice-mail they left requesting an estimate. Years ago a trusted old carpenter once told me that the key to all his success was quickly responding to messages that potential clients left. I can tell you that after years of heeding his advice I’m pleased to say he was right! I recently read a statistic in a trade publication suggesting that contractors on average only return 50% of the calls/messages that they receive.

Start A Journal and Document Phone Calls

Sure cell phones are great and smart phones are even better.  However, I find these really effective tools have some down sides including: lack of formality, lack of organization, and to some degree a  huge distraction. To combat some of these issues I highly recommend that you get yourself a small pocket sized journal. The journal’s sole function should be to keep records of phone calls including:

  • Write down the voice-mail messages
  • Document the time and general content of the return call
  • Take general notes about type of project, schedule, special limitations, etc.

By creating this journal you are effectively creating a very useful file for storing job leads, job problems and other possible hot issues. Better than that, each time you open the Journal you’ll be able to quickly see if you’ve spoken to the contact and made any progress on signing some work. Eventually your Journal will be your go to resource for landing new work. Previous clients are very likely to hire you again for future work.

Remember, if someone calls you that means they are likely looking for some work to be performed. The person is most likely going to choose someone that responds in a timely and professional manner. Your phone can definitely be your most important tool. However, you need to use it to keep work coming in vs using it as a mental distraction while playing Angry Birds!


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Todd Fratzel is the editor of Tool Box Buzz and president of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web-based media company focused on the home improvement and construction industries. He’s also... Read more

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