Okay, I see that I have a call coming in from an unknown number. Is it a potential client relocating to Austin? Is it something productive? Sadly, no. It is a sales call - again. I have registered all of my numbers on all of the "do not call" lists available, yet I still manage to get at least several of these each week. I noticed that they don't call my home anymore, which is a blessing, but the office number and my cell phone are still targets.
Granted, the types of calls are more targeted now, which is good and bad, I suppose. On the good side, they are not trying to sell something completely without value to me as a real estate broker. Conversely, they are trying to SELL ME SOMETHING OVER THE PHONE. As such, I wish they would have mercy on me and make it brief. State your business and see if I have even a modicum of interest in your product or service, then move on with your life after I tell you that I do not.
Here is a verbatim account of a call that I received today at my office:
ME: Austin Texas Homes, this is Jason.
RANDOM ANONYMOUS TELEMARKETER (RAT for short): Hello, sir, this is ____ with ____.com. I see here that you had expressed interest in one of our programs.
RAT: Well, I show that you used our _____ program and I wanted to see how that worked out for you.
ME: I don't know what you are talking about - I'm sorry.
RAT: We had a program back in the day that allowed you to work a lead and pay a referral fee, rather than an upfront fee.
ME: Oh, yes. That was a long time ago.
RAT: Yes, well, we have some other programs that will allow you to (inaudible) or just (inaudible) and not pay any referral fee.
ME: Mm hmm.
RAT: We work with all of the search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, MSN.....
It was at that point that I gently put the phone back on the cradle and disconnected the call. I usually don't give them as much time as this guy had, but I was feeling generous today and maybe he had something to offer. He also seemed so, I don't know, pathetic? For the record, the service he mentioned was something that I used EIGHT years ago. Wow - they must have a massive pipeline of previous customers if there is an eight-year lag to get back in touch. No, I am not exaggerating - I remember the clients well.
At any rate, I was willing to listen to him for a few seconds. I just realized how he managed to keep my interest beyond the initial greeting. Telemarketers have a terrible habit of asking how you are, then when you
respond, "I'm doing well. How are you?" they inevitably say somewhat manically, "I'm great! Thanks for asking!" I have yet to speak with anyone in the normal course of a week who says these words that is not trying to sell me something. If I call my wife during the day, or my mom, or my best friend, or a client, they NEVER say, "Thanks for asking!" I am not a big-time poker player, but this is the biggest "tell" that a telemarketer has. In other words, I know in the first three seconds what their objective is. From there, sadly, it is downhill for them.
I have a new habit with telemarketers and I admit that it is a little cruel. Whenever someone says the key phrase ("Thanks for asking!"), I usually begin my next sentence and hang up the phone in the middle of my own sentence. I simply don't have time to listen to their scripted sales pitch, and the only time that a telemarketer has ever been successful with me is when they are asking for a donation for a worthy cause (such as Special Olympics, National Children's Cancer Society, VFW, etc.). The non-profit guys never start with a script - they just introduce themselves and their organization, and I will give them the time of day. Maybe the other guys could learn from this.
On a related note, I recently complimented a waitress for saying, "My name is Janet and I am your server. Can I get you something to drink?" RATHER THAN, "My name is Janet, and I'll be taking care of you this evening." Who started that? Taking care of me? Will you pay some of my bills for me, or watch my kids while I go to a movie? Or is there some seedy other meaning that I am not catching? I realize that they are probably trained to say that, but I still don't have to like it.
Sorry for the rant - Jason Sardi should be happy to see this post. He mentioned that he would like to see me rant sometime.
Thanks for reading about some of my various pet peeves. I welcome your comments.
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