I work with a local theatre sometimes that does melodramas. Modern pun filled, silly plays where the actors are encouraged to overact and everyone has fun. Originally, melodramas were cautionary tales to warn people to the evil in the world. I have been thinking about writing one and came up with a title based on the phone calls I have received this week:
Know Your Vendors; Or just because someone says they are one of your vendors doesn't make it so.
It is a modern tale of a small business owner who deluged by calls from "her" copier company with a deal on toners, or a sales rep wanting to see if she wants to re-order the pens she likes so much, or a yellow pages call wanting to verify her listing and upgrade the listing. She's confused because she doesn't remember these companies But she's too polite to question these slick sales people and ends up ordering things she doesn't want or need. Now she can't pay the mortgage/employees and her business is a mess. To her rescue comes a blogger with a simple message: know who you want to do business with and don't let the others pressure you to buy from them. Learn to be rude.
Telemarketers have become very cunning. Some have a little info about you or your business and try to use it to worm their way into your trust. I had a call today from a rep from Ikon. I had a copier/printer through them but not now. I am sure the Ikon info came from the property tax list. He wanted to sell me toners. Nope. Others just BS their way in with lines like; "I have the pens you like so much." or "I want to update your listing" or "So-n-so highly recomemeded you for membership". Even if you don't buy from them, you have wasted time and energy dealing with them.
- Know who you are doing business with. Who is your yellowpages ad(s) or online service with. Who you use for promotional or office items. Telemarketers count on us not wanting to seem foolish and that we will go along with their assertations. If they are lying, call them on it. It can be fun to hear them digging through papers looking for the script covering the fact they lied to you. Then hang up.
- If they sound familiar but you're not sure, ask them for claification. If it still doesn't ring a bell, tell them you think they have made a mistake and you are hanging up. And do hang up.
- For any call, take control of the call. Stop them, tell them you are busy and their have X (15/30/60) seconds to come to the point of the call. If they can't or won't come to the point, hang up.
- Or, put the receiver down and go about your business until they figure out you aren't there.
- If something seems interesting, ask for a website or that info be e-mailed to you (use a hotmail or yahoo account).
- Don't be afraid to be a little rude. You don't have to listen to the call. You don't have to justify your decision. Don't let them control the situation.