I used to wish I had a secretary or admin, if only to answer my phone!
These scenarios may sound familiar to you:
- You’re in the middle of writing up an assessment or report – and the phone rings.
- Or, you finally take a vacation, and you keep getting phone messages that require a response – because your business is your brand, after all.
- Or, you find yourself in meetings all day with not a minute to return a call.
- Or, any of a dozen other scenarios where your time, on any given day, is committed, or just not your own.
But the phone doesn’t stop. And you feel like you need to answer – or reply quickly…
I have found a solution that takes about one minute a day and works even better than having (or paying) someone to answer your phone! As follows:
A few months ago we looked at the FIRST question to ask a prospective client. That first question is actually a self-defense move; making sure you aren’t getting yourself into a problem with someone who has been advocate-hopping and avoiding payment.
Find that First Question to Ask a Prospective Client
The second question to ask them is their first name. Yes. Just their first name at first, so they won’t think you are trying to delve into their personal business, or their situation too far, before they are ready. Should the call progress and you know they’ll be comfortable sharing their last name, too, then it will be time to ask more.
And then – Question #3 – this is a question to help you too! Asking this question, and getting an accurate-as-possible answer can help you save time, money, and frustration.
What’s that question?
When someone is desperate, afraid, frustrated, and therefore, possibly angry, they sometimes make choices that turn out to be dangerous to themselves and others.
Smart advocates know that those descriptors can easily fit patients who feel as if there is no hope and no way forward. Their plight may also be exacerbated if they are dependent on drugs they can no longer take (especially opioids) or if they feel as if there is a treatment that MIGHT help, but they can’t avail themselves of it.
Desperate times lead to desperate measures – and those measures can be dangerous to advocates who don’t take steps to keep themselves safe.
Years ago, I wrote on the APHA Blog: Just Can’t Throw the Switch? The Analysis of Paralysis
Wow! What a nerve I touched with the point — that sometimes we spend so much time worrying about what might happen if we attempt something big (like starting a new business) that we are too paralyzed to actually take the leap.
So let’s take a look at that leap…
Yes – it’s a biggie! And while it’s not to be taken lightly, there are some truths that might help you take the leap.
First – let’s define it:
My childhood best-friend’s father, Ed, was in his late 70s when he began to deal with difficult medical problems. A cancer diagnosis led to surgery, chemo, myriad tests and treatments…. and, of course, many doctor appointments.
His daughter, Janet, was a stalwart advocate for her father, driving 90 minutes each way, week-in and week-out for years. She attended all her father’s appointments, took notes, asked questions, filled prescriptions – in short, all those things we do as advocates, which many of us can relate to.
I used to check in with them both every couple of weeks to see how things were going. On one of those calls Ed, frustrated, reported: