Are client calls more important than client visits?

So, I was standing in a store recently trying to buy something.  The clerk was right in the middle of helping me when suddenly, without warning or an explanation, he decided to help another customer instead.  That’s right, he just left me standing there with money in-hand and gave his attention to  someone else.

The other customer happened to be calling on the store’s telephone, but should that have made a difference?  Maybe if it were 1907 instead of 2007 and telephones were a novel new invention with unpredictable and expensive service I’d understand.  But nowadays when even the homeless have cell phones, "Hold on a second, I just need to take this call" makes me want to shove the phone down the other person’s throat, or into some other orifice.

There is simply no excuse to impose on a customer or a client who is standing in front of you or sitting in your office, just because someone else is calling you on the phone.  Think about what that communicates to a prospect or a paying client.  Better yet, think about how impressed that same person will feel when you go out of your way to ask your secretary to hold all your calls, or make it a point to forward your calls to voicemail out of respect for the other person’s time.  And the bonus in this to you – besides the fact that you’ll close more sales calls and have happier clients, is that you’ll be more focused and productive during your sales calls and client meetings.