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Sadly, some people attempt to say "no" by ignoring caller. This is a terrible strategy for two reasons. First, caller does not know what you are doing. They will conclude that you may be traveling or sick and thus call again, and again, and again. Second, ignoring someone is rude, especially if you asked person to call you, send a proposal, or provide information. If you want to end a dialogue without talking to person, call (or have an assistant call) and leave a message during off hours (early morning, late evening, weekends). Most good business people appreciate candor and understand word, "No."
Use voice mail
Strategic voice mail can protect your time. Rather than leave an outgoing message stating that you will return calls, leave a message that helps screen calls. For example, your message could state, "Hi this is Pat Smith. Leave a message if you have an work related issue. If you are selling wingnuts, do not leave a message because we are not buying them." or "If you are selling something, call Chris at Extension 101." In latter case, Chris may be someone assigned to screen sales calls.
Be open to possibilities
Realize that caller is another human being, trying to earn a living. In addition, that caller may also be a customer or able to influence your customers. Thus, rather than immediately reject every call, consider that some of offers may help you improve your business and make your job easier. Treat callers with respect and courtesy that you expect from others. You will find valuable opportunities when you give them a fair chance to explain why they called. And you can always say, "no."
IAF Certified Professional Facilitator and author Steve Kaye works with leaders who want to hold effective meeting. His innovative workshops have informed and inspired people nationwide. His facilitation produces results that people will support. Call 714-528-1300 or visit his web site for over 100 pages of valuable ideas. Sign up for his free newsletter at http://www.stevekaye.com