Professionals: BEWARE the OVERSHARE
Can we talk?
We intend to explain ourselves. In fact, we try to over-explain so that our listeners will understand that we aren't ignoring them or blowing them off. We think we are being professional, and working to positively manage expectations. We think we are earning credibility by being "honest" or "transparent". We think we are earning respect by showing how very busy we are or what kind of activities we give our time to. We think we are building relationships because we are sharing details about our personal lives.
Nope. What we are really doing is flat out sending our listener the one message they don't want to hear... that whatever the something else is in our lives, it is indeed more important than they are. And they will either have to wait in line for our attention or work harder to accommodate us somehow. And that's just not good business practice. Nor is it professional.
Imagine going through the drive-through window of your favorite fast food restaurant, and instead of hearing that your order will be out shortly, you hear, "Today isn't a good day for me. Can you come back tomorrow? The school just called and I need to leave to pick up my kid. She's throwing up." :-/ (Bet they won't get a second chance with your business.)
Think about it. When a client, customer or colleague calls for service, they aren't calling to hear about how busy your personal life is. They aren't calling to listen to your life's challenges. They aren't interested in what you are doing right now. They don't care if you are driving, eating, cooking dinner or bathing your dog. They don't care if you plan to do those activities tomorrow either. All they know is that you answered the phone and that they want to talk about a problem you can help them solve. The last thing they want to hear is that they are going to have to wait. Even if their timeline isn't urgent, they still don't want to be told they will have to wait. No one ever wants to hear that. They just want to hear that you are on it!
Folks, your explanations --and your excuses -- do not matter. Moreover, they are unnecessary, time-consuming and distracting. If you want to be thought of as a professional in the real estate, mortgage & loan, title or insurance industry, start handling communications like one. Get out of your own heads. Quit making the conversations about yourselves personally, and start making the discussion faithfully client-focused.
- Professionals don't explain why they can't do something right now.
Instead, professionals talk about when they can or will do something.
- Professionals don't blather on about personal details.
Instead, they keep the conversation focused on business -- and the customer's needs.
Professionals know when to let voicemail take the call. No one wins points for trying to take a call in the movie theater, while on a romantic date, during a nap, or while they are undergoing brain surgery. Stop that. And when professionals do return calls, they do not stop to explain that they were in a movie theater, on a romantic date, taking a nap, or having brain surgery. None of that matters. What matters is fully engaging the topic the client wants to talk about.
- Professionals know the benefit of using auto-text and auto-reply to handle a busy or out-of-office notice. Or they use an answering service to provide live answering when they are not available.
- Professionals have healthy boundaries. They know the difference between TMI (oversharing) and managing expectations of both present and future engagement.
Bottom line, no matter how honorable an excuse or admirable the explanation might feel, "it" steals time away from the client's conversation and plants a seed in their minds of their needs being a lesser priority in your life.
Learn to respond instead with simple phrases like, "got it", "on it", and commitment statements leading to when, and then keep your promises.