How I Handle Cold Calls

phone-business-1204495_63422068The phone rings and, from the caller ID, I can see it’s an out-of-state number. I know what I’m in for. Do I send it to voice mail and ignore any message they might leave? Would I want to be treated that way?

So I answer the phone. Cheerily, as I would for any call.

The vast majority of my clients are local businesses. Their customers don’t come from out-of-state. My personal policy is, if I can find the same services from a local company, I use the local company. Not only is supporting local businesses good for the West Michigan economy, but what are the chances of that out-of-state company using a local restaurant here? Or other business? That’s one of the examples I use to explain why I won’t be using their services. I feel as if that’s clear.

But salespeople are persistent! They go on to tell me the benefits of their product or service. Then I say that they are better off hanging up the phone and moving on to another potential customer that might actually use their services. I stress that their time is more valuable than listening to my “no.”

Of course, some will still persist. Am I on Candid Camera? Am I being Punk’d? I try (not always successfully – I am human after all) to repeat myself.

My final line of defense is “I don’t make that kind of decision over the phone. Please send me more information.”