December 13 2013 Latest news:
Friday, July 20, 2012
Surely the most annoying new sales technique
The cold-caller is universally loathed and despised by all, with the exception, perhaps, of the chronically lonely or mentally insane – both of whom relish the chance to bend someone’s ear.
But whether they are calling you up at home to try under the guise of a “courtesy call” - which within seconds becomes, quite clearly, sales banter - to get you to switch your energy provider/mobile phone/hack into your computer, they have a new weapon in their arsenal…and it is perhaps the most irritating yet.
Under 99.9 per cent of normal circumstances, saying “how are you” sits within the ‘polite formalities’ category. For friends and acquaintances it is an answer to be met with a response which rarely requires thought, and should never, ever, actually involve you bleating on about not feeling well or moaning about anything.
It’s merely foreplay to the conversation intercourse which is about to be played out.
We all play along; we all don’t bat an eyelid.
Except, that is, when it is included in a sales call.
“Is that the owner of the house?”
“Yes. Who are you?”
“My name is Derek and I’m ringing from You Pay, We Cash In – a home insurance specialist. And how are you today?”
I don’t know Derek. What’s more he’s just interrupted my supper or viewing of The One Show. Nor have I any interest in home insurance, or any interest whatsoever in buying anything from anyone who rings me at home and disturbs me from doing whatever it is I wish to do in the privacy of my own home.
I also know for certain that he does not care one jot about my health, well-being or general state of mind. Nor I, his.
What’s more, by the fact he’s clearly been told that asking ‘how are you?’ is a great way of engaging with the potential customer, I have now vowed in my mind to end this conversation in a new world record time…potentially by saying nothing else and simply putting the phone down on him.
Some, of course, will argue that surely this caller is displaying merely common courtesy. That it’s simply manners.
But, of course, it isn’t. It’s merely a sales technique deployed as part of a well-scripted attempt to screw me – and others more vulnerable and gullible – into parting with their money for things they don’t want or even need. To think they care immediately means you’ve fallen into their trap.
I suppose the ideal response will be to actually embark on a conversation about how my day really has been, a full blow-by-blow of my health and various aches and pains.
To bore them into submission, to make them put the phone down on me.