It may be a sign of the times but I'm getting more and more cold calls these days. Some of these are just people looking to sign me up to a business directory or to sell their SEO skills and get my business to page 1 on Google but just recently I've taken calls from two organisations who are trying to sell me their services.
As with most of these calls, they're not upfront about what it is they actually have to offer until they've been through their 'spiel' or they go through what appears to be a great opportunity for me but is actually just a thinly veiled offer to lure me in to what they're really interested in selling me.
One person started - injected a few questions along the way but was patently not listening to or interested in my answers before he carried on with the rest of his script, not bothering to adjust it to what information he'd just been given. I was counting the number of times he said "That's fantastic" in response to my answers (with poorly masked insincerity) as he wasn't really listening, it was just a way of interjecting something into the conversation before he moved on. It took him fifteen minutes before he got to the point i.e. what he was actually selling. This particular company has called me on a weekly basis for the past few weeks and each time speaks to me as if it's the first time they've called. I'm pretty sure I've spoken to the same person at least twice and requested again that they remove me from their list. Wonder how long before the next call.
Today's caller went on for almost twenty-six minutes without stopping - he did ask a couple of questions. I said I wasn't really interested when he finally got to the crunch point after fifteen minutes but he just carried on and repeated the benefits several times, emphasising what a great deal they were offering. I also had the classic "Hold on, I'll just talk to my manager to see if we can do a better deal for you"!
Suppressing the laughter, I sometimes keep listening out of a sense of amusement to see just how the pitch is going to unwind and how long they'll take to get to the point and if I can work out what it is they're actually trying to sell me before they say it and whether they've established if I'm likely to be the slightest bit interested.
Sadly - there seems to be one all too frequent sales 'technique' where the approach is - launch into sales pitch, talk for at least fifteen minutes before revealing the 'solid gold, not to be missed, this week only' offer, ask occasional questions, make suitable 'listening' noises, don't let the customer interrupt, stick to the script no matter what, rinse, repeat until customer gives in and agree to a sale or hangs up on you.
Now, I'm no cold calling/telesales expert and like many people would probably rather have my teeth pulled than make cold calls but I think I'd prefer to establish a) if this is a good time to talk, b) are they likely to be interested in what I have to offer before waffling on for fifteen minutes, wasting not only my time but theirs.
At least I'm learning what NOT to do.