Recently, I was reading a post on cold calling, it brought up the age old, “How do you generate leads without interrupting people?”
The short answer is, “You can’t!” That is, unless prospects call you, in which case we are delighted they are interrupting us!
The fact is, people choose to be interrupted–whether it’s a prospecting sales person, a colleague, a family member, any one. But we choose to be interrupted. We open the email, we pick up the phone, we respond to the knock on our office doors, we respond to the text.
Interruptions fill our work and personal lives. We choose them, or we ignore them–in which case they aren’t interruptions. We may disconnect. We may shut our office doors or go into a quiet area, choosing not to be interrupted.
Interruptions and being interrupted are always the choice and in the control of the person choosing to be interruption.
The problem, consequently, is not the interruption, but how we use that time, once someone has accepted the interruption.
People get upset when they perceive their time is wasted. It doesn’t matter who is doing the interrupting. It could be a pushy sales person, a manager, a colleague. If the interruptor wastes the time of the interruptee, that’s when the interruption become unwelcome. That’s when people who are willing to be interrupted complain about being interrupted (Isn’t it ironic, they made the choice in the first place.)
Oddly, enough, when we use their time well, they don’t believe they have been interrupted.
Our responsibility becomes, “How do we use their time well?”
Are we relevant? Are we addressing something they are concerned about now? Are we teaching them something, that’s relevant to what’s on their mind now?
Do we have a track record of always using that person’s time well? I have a number of clients saying, “Dave, your calls are never an interruption, I learn something in each one. Please feel free to call me whenever you want!” (Technically, they are an interruption, unless they are scheduled–but you get the point.)
Don’t be worried about the interruption you may cause. That’s the person you are interrupting’s choice. Just make sure you are using the time well–you are talking to them about something they care about, not what you care about.