We all know how annoying telemarketing calls are in our personal life. They conveniently seem to come in the middle of the family dinner hour, or just continue calling incessantly throughout the day. But moreover, the telemarketers are just as tenacious at disturbing us at work as well.
In fact, places of business are much larger targets for telemarketing calls because there are so many more opportunities to sell to a business. But all those unwanted calls waste valuable time, disrupt work flow. And, since time equals money, they are wasting our money.
Therefore, practicing defensive measures to thwart telemarketers is a way of putting money back in your pocket.
Live Call Screening – If you are a management-level executive, then having a person get your calls first is probably the most effective technique you can use to screen out unwanted sales calls. However, small businesses may not be able to afford such a luxury. One way to accomplish the same effect is by using an old-fashioned answering machine where you can hear the person leaving a message. This may sound a little corny, but it’s a technique that was used frequently by one-person offices during the 1990s.
Caller ID – This doesn’t require much explanation. If you don’t have it, what are you waiting for? True, on traditional phone lines is does add an additional $5-$8 per month, but almost all Voice-over-IP lines include this feature at no additional cost.
Early Bird Callers – Good sales people know the best time to get a decision maker on the phone is early in the morning before the arrival of the assistants who normally screen the calls. Be wary of answering the phone early in the morning.
The PAUSE is the CAUSE – When you answer the phone, if you don’t hear someone reply within one second, it’s a pretty safe bet the call is from telemarketer in a call center. Simply say, “sorry, I can’t hear you”, and hang-up quickly.
No HELLO – Avoiding using the word “Hello” helps stops marketing calls before they begin. Instead, answering with a phrase like “This is Frank, how may I help you?” causes the call to disconnect. This is because marketing call centers employ technology that listens for the word “Hello”. When the sensors don’t hear the word “Hello” they assume it’s an answering machine and disconnect.
Here are some barriers you can put in place to slowdown or even stop telemarketers from getting you on the phone.
The DO NOT CALL List – This is an oldie but goodie. While it seems so obvious, don’t forget to put all your companies phone numbers on it, not just the main line. However, one thing many people do not know is that the DNC list does not apply if you already have an existing relationship with the company that’s trying to contact you. (i.e. One of your creditors). In that case, you’ll need to inform them that you wish to opt out of future offers.
Telemarketing Screening Codes – If you’re a small business or a one-person business and telemarketing calls are really frequent, you can employ a measure by where all your calls are first answered by a recording that ask the caller to press a particular key before the call will proceed. This eliminates almost all the call-center originated calls because they are initiated by machines instead of people.
What NOT to Do
Robo-calls are the modern nuisance in recent years. This is where a recorded pre-amble is played as soon as you answer the phone. Then at some point the recording asks you to press a key to be connected with a rep or press another key to be removed from the calling list. DO NOT press anything!
The act of pressing a key, even if it’s the option to be removed, is telling the calling entity that the number they dialed was answered by a real person. Robo-calling is already an illegal activity, why should they honor your request to be removed from their calling list. It’s more likely, that you’ll be receiving more calls.
The Big Picture
It may seem ridiculous that we have to go to so much trouble to protect ourselves from our own phone, but it’s an unfortunate reality of doing business in America today. It’s important to keep in mind that these callers are predators. You didn’t invite them to call. And, they’re not calling to bring business to you. So, don’t be shy about ditching their calls.
Never worry about being perceived as being rude. Any GOOD professional telemarketer doesn’t take it personal. They totally see it as a numbers game. And, you’re just a mark.