So, here’s a little unsolicited advice for you, regarding telemarketers. This advice is more important if you answer the phones for a business you do not personally own.
Every business gets the calls. Solicitation calls from advertising agencies and marketing organizations. They start out friendly enough, and in some cases present themselves as though you are already a client, or that they are a known entity, like your phone company.
But it’s like getting an unexpected call from your credit card company or an email from your bank. Use the same level of caution with them as you would the unsolicited emails – you’d never click on that link and enter your social for verification purposes, right?
Right. You’d go to the company website by typing into the address bar, or pulling from your favorites list. Or you make a call to the direct and commonly listed phone number.
Apply this caution to inbound calls offering you ANY service, advertising or marketing. Like you’d never click the link in the email, never answer a question with a simple yes or no.
And be particularly careful when you are told the call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.
You want to be cautions, or here’s what can happen:
In your uber professional voice that makes you want to cut yourself, you’ll answer with the
programmed required greeting to hear a pleasant man named George from the phone services company ask to speak to the owner or business manager, to discuss your current ad state in the Yellow Pages.
Since you have both a phone services company and an ad in the current Yellow Pages Book, this will not set off your bullshit detector like many other solicitation calls do.
He will fail to mention that the phone service is not YOUR ability to make and receive calls, but the service of providing solicitation calls for a third party.
He will also fail to mention that the Yellow Pages Book is in no way related to the Yellow Pages in the free phone book distributed by the phone company (your REAL one) that everyone throws out because it takes up too much space and they can just look the damn number up online.
And there is an advertising state. Not having an ad is a state. If you are a creative thinker. So nothing is an outright lie.
They may try to pressure you, the deal will only last a while. But you’ll know better, you’ll give them the contact information for Sammie in Marketing, take a message and disengage.
But before you go George will stop you.
Before you go, I just want to confirm who I was speaking with. Lynnette, right?
BZZZZZZZZZ! Wrong answer.
The correct answer to that question is a weird turn around, My name is Lynnette. You repeat the question as the answer.
And are you a direct employee?
Again, WRONG ANSWER!
The correct answer here is, I’m a direct employee.
And did you take down my number?
NO! Aren’t you people learning anything? There is a pattern here.
Repeat their number back to them in answer to this question. Do not answer with a yes, a no, a correct, right or any other ambiguous answer.
Because if you do, one day you could find yourself in the big boss office.
Did you tell George from the Yellow Pages that you were authorized to purchase ad space for us?
Pfft. No. I always route those calls to Sam.
It’s good to know you know who is in charge of marketing. But I’m going to ask again. Did you tell George that you were authorized to buy ad space?
Think hard? That’s always a trap. Tread carefully.
Well, you did, and the ad is going to cost the practice 400.00. And now you’re lying about it, which makes it that much worse.
Wait, what? I didn’t buy any ad space. Why would I buy ad space?
And then it will get fun. You will have a computer spun around to show a media player, and be instructed to hit play.
And you will hear George talking to you, hear your own voice answering. But the conversation won’t go quite as you remember it. You seem to say ‘Yes’ an awful lot. You’ll say it when he asks if you’re a direct employee. But you’ll also say it when he asks if you’re authorized to purchase ad space. And when he asks if you want the large ad. And when he says that it will be 400.00 and asks if the price sounds fair.
And your brain will begin to skip a little, and your mouth will hang open and you’ll wonder if you have a mental illness.
One that is causing you to be entering nightly fugue states and running through the streets naked, wielding a pineapple and singing showtunes.
Because something is making you act out of character and be unable to remember events.
If you’re a quick thinker, like me, all you will think of to do is say something like, “Obviously that’s not really me. I’d never choose the large ad, we already blow too much money on stupid things and I want a raise.”
This? Will not help your cause. You will be sent back to your office to ponder what you did.
And when you finally have good sense kick in and you think to check with the Better Business Bureau to learn that the company has hundreds of complaints lodged against them for manipulation of recordings, false presentation and a host of other things, it will be too late.
You’ll show your boss, but the damage has been done. He’ll raise one eyebrow, the skeptical one, and even in your pissy self-defense mode you’ll be annoyed that he can even do that. Because after the eyebrow goes up, he’ll remark on the fact that not a single complaint had closure. BBB didn’t actually condemn them.
But three months later, after he answers the phone and suddenly the office is locked into a 2 year copy paper delivery to the tune of $150 a month, you can smile.
Because you’ve been dodging that scam for years.