As an entrepreneur, you have enough things to keep in front of you. With the daily struggle to keep track of goals, sales totals and appointments there isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done. So, I’d like to help you avoid this one major time waster we all struggle with. Those unannounced calls and visits.
Let’s say you are in the middle of a big project. There is a deadline to make. You’ve got a few more details you need to look up before compiling all the rough data. Everything up until now has been going smooth. All the sudden you hear a knock at the door. It’s your old friend Bill from down the street.
Bill is a nice enough guy, got laid off a few months ago and now he’s been moping around the neighborhood from house to house seeing what everyone else is up to. Now I guess it is your time. But what do you do? You’ve got a deadline. If you don’t get this project done you don’t get paid and if you don’t get paid you are going to lose that brand-new car that you spent your lifesavings on.
Bill is standing in the doorway, with that “Hey aren’t you going to invite me in?” look on his face. You must decide. Let him in or….
We’ve all been in this situation, where you have an unannounced visitor, Facebook request or whatever but the point is…You’ve got to decide on what you are going to do. So here is a great way of taking care of this kind of situation the next time it occurs and oh yes…it will.
Bill says, “Hey ole buddy old pal, aren’t you going to invite me in, so I can spend the next few hours with you talking about stuff and keeping you from doing whatever you were doing? (ok, maybe he didn’t say that but that’s what is going to happen if you don’t do something and quick)
You could say to Bill. “Nice seeing you Bill, wish I could spend some time with you BUT I have some urgent work that has got to get done. Can I get a raincheck and get back with you later?” Or you could say, “Would love to hang with you Bill but I’m almost done with this project and it’s got to be done by tomorrow. Let’s get together later.”
You get the idea. Don’t allow unannounced interruptions to be the end of your scheduled work day. You’ve got things to get done and people need to know that you have important work to do. Try one of these approaches and see if this doesn’t make a major difference the next time.
The Direct Approach
In the Direct Approach, which is used by business professionals all over the world, you say to the unannounced visitor, “I’m doing something else right now, I can’t take the time now to speak with you.” This is a legitimate approach but one that might leave the visitor feeling that he or she isn’t important. It should only be used on people you don’t want to see ever again.
The Avoidance Approach
The avoidance approach is used when you see the person before they see you. As the visitor is walking in the door you either slip out the back, don’t come out of your office or tell your gatekeeper to lie and tell the visitor you aren’t there. This approach, although effective trains your staff to lie to get to an end. Namely to deal with your inability to deal with the situation.
The Professional Approach
In the Professional Approach, you might say to the unannounced visitor “So good to see you Sam, I’d love to spend some time with you. I’m right in the middle of something. Let’s get together later over lunch and spend some time.” This approach conveys the idea that the visitor is important but that right now something else must be addressed.
Let Them Step All Over Me Approach
This final approach is the biggest time consumer you can imagine. The scenario is one in which an unannounced visitor arrives and it is evident that they are not there to say hi and bye. What do you do? You allow your scheduled time to be gobbled up. After an hour or two, the visitor has something else they need to do and finally leaves.
This scenario should be avoided at all costs.