Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: Hmmmmm on September 19, 2012, 11:22:27 AM

Title: Help with cold calls
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 19, 2012, 11:22:27 AM
I work at a major international company in mid-level management.  My department has about 500 employees scattered globally there are probably 20 people at my level with different areas of responsibility.  I have been working at my company for over 13 years and have held 6 or more roles/titles.  For the last 6 years, I've been using a very generic title because I got tired of having new business cards printed... example Director or Marketing.  My name and contact information has been sold to companies with various versions of my different titles.  I receive at minimum 2 cold calls per day and 5 or 6 emails soliciting business.   

My problem is when one of these cold calls goes like this which is about 75% of them:

Me:  HMMMM Last Name
Caller:  Hi, is this HMMM Last Name?
Me:  Yes it is.
Caller:  Hi, How are you.
Me:  I'm well.
Caller:  That's good.  Did I catch you at a good time?
Me:  May I ask what this is concerning.
Caller:  My name is X and I'm calling on behalf of 22 company.
Me:  OK, how can I help you?
Caller:  22 comapny provides blue, yellow, and green services and I'd like to discuss how we can do business with your company.
Me:  I'm sorry, I'm not responsibile for those activities at my company.
Caller:  continues to explain how 22 company can provide value to us.
Me:  I said I was not involved in those activities.
Caller:  Well, your the Director of Marketing, aren't you?
Me:  Yes, I'm one of several but I do not have those roles.
Caller:  Well, what do you do?

By the time we get to this point in the conversation, I'm irritated I've spent 4 or more minutes already on this conversation and that I now feel they are challenging me about whether I'm telling the truth about not having those roles.  I'm also irritated that they have researched so little about our company that they wouldn't understand that we would have many Directors f Marketing, not just one. 

These bolded statements are word for word responses I get on at least half of these conversations. 

Normally I answer a few more of their questions and try to politely disengage.  I do not provide contact details for my peers.  But this morning I was not in a good mood and my response was "Why are you challenging me on what my role in the organization is?  I said I am not involved.  Goodbye."  and I hung up. 

I don't want to be rude, but I'm loosing patience. 

Any suggestions for different phrases to use to get it across earlier in the conversation or to accurately convey they are wasteing their time and mine?
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: NyaChan on September 19, 2012, 11:26:31 AM
I would add "So, I can't help you.  Have a nice day"  to this and hang up.

I work at a major international company in mid-level management.  My department has about 500 employees scattered globally there are probably 20 people at my level with different areas of responsibility.  I have been working at my company for over 13 years and have held 6 or more roles/titles.  For the last 6 years, I've been using a very generic title because I got tired of having new business cards printed... example Director or Marketing.  My name and contact information has been sold to companies with various versions of my different titles.  I receive at minimum 2 cold calls per day and 5 or 6 emails soliciting business.   

My problem is when one of these cold calls goes like this which is about 75% of them:

Me:  HMMMM Last Name
Caller:  Hi, is this HMMM Last Name?
Me:  Yes it is.
Caller:  Hi, How are you.
Me:  I'm well.
Caller:  That's good.  Did I catch you at a good time?
Me:  May I ask what this is concerning.
Caller:  My name is X and I'm calling on behalf of 22 company.
Me:  OK, how can I help you?
Caller:  22 comapny provides blue, yellow, and green services and I'd like to discuss how we can do business with your company.
Me:  I'm sorry, I'm not responsibile for those activities at my company.
Caller:  continues to explain how 22 company can provide value to us.
Me:  I said I was not involved in those activities.
Caller:  Well, your the Director of Marketing, aren't you?
Me:  Yes, I'm one of several but I do not have those roles.
Caller:  Well, what do you do?

By the time we get to this point in the conversation, I'm irritated I've spent 4 or more minutes already on this conversation and that I now feel they are challenging me about whether I'm telling the truth about not having those roles.  I'm also irritated that they have researched so little about our company that they wouldn't understand that we would have many Directors f Marketing, not just one. 

These bolded statements are word for word responses I get on at least half of these conversations. 

Normally I answer a few more of their questions and try to politely disengage.  I do not provide contact details for my peers.  But this morning I was not in a good mood and my response was "Why are you challenging me on what my role in the organization is?  I said I am not involved.  Goodbye."  and I hung up. 

I don't want to be rude, but I'm loosing patience. 

Any suggestions for different phrases to use to get it across earlier in the conversation or to accurately convey they are wasteing their time and mine?
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: O'Dell on September 19, 2012, 11:32:51 AM
I would add "So, I can't help you.  Have a nice day"  to this and hang up.


Yep. Don't wait for them to end the conversation because that won't happen. End it yourself.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: lowspark on September 19, 2012, 11:35:50 AM
I don't get a lot of sales calls at work but every once in a while, somehow, they dial my number. I answer the same as I do at home.

Thank you but I'm not interested.
And instantly hang up. Even if they are still talking.

These are, after all, cold calls. I don't see any reason to engage in any kind of long conversation with someone from whom I've requested nothing and with whom I have no intention of doing business.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Zilla on September 19, 2012, 11:37:57 AM
Me:  HMMMM Last Name
Caller:  Hi, is this HMMM Last Name?
Me:  Yes it is.
Caller:  Hi, How are you.
Me:  I'm well.
Caller:  That's good.  Did I catch you at a good time?
Me:  May I ask what this is concerning.
Caller:  My name is X and I'm calling on behalf of 22 company.
Me:  Okay and this is concerning?
Caller:  22 comapny provides blue, yellow, and green services and I'd like to discuss how we can do business with your company.
Me:  You will need to contact So and So, let me transfer you back to the operator OR here is the email address. Or if you don't know who handles it, "I do not have the authority to authorize that nor do I know who it would be.  I must go now." and hang up.



It's not rude to hang up as they are taught to overcome any objections of any kind and will waste your time.  Their goal is to keep you on the phone.  Just hang up after that statement.  And if they call again, invoke the please add me to the do not call list and hang up again. 
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: RebeccainGA on September 19, 2012, 11:41:07 AM
I'm not sure I'd go into that much detail - I get those calls, too, as my company deals with the Federal government and our phone numbers are attached to work we do, which is displayed on a publicly available web site. I just tell them "I'm sorry, we don't do business with companies that make cold calls to us." and hang up - it has the virtue of being absolutely true (we send out a RFP when we have work that we need a new vendor for).
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 19, 2012, 11:49:14 AM
I think I'd do the same thing I do at home:  'We're not interested.  Thank you.'  And hang up.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Judah on September 19, 2012, 12:23:07 PM
I think I'd do the same thing I do at home:  'We're not interested.  Thank you.'  And hang up.

I add, "and please remove me from your phone list." before I hang up.  I just got off one of these calls.   ::) I don't engage, I just tell them I'm not interested, remove me, and end the call.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 19, 2012, 01:10:13 PM
I have never thought about having my corporate provided phone number put on a no call list.  I'll have to find out if the laws apply to corporate phone numbers.

Based on every ones input, I'm feeling better about being abrupt with the callers.  I think I've been trying too hard for a professional interaction because my actions do reflect on my company.  I have no issue of cutting them off when they call my home number.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: artk2002 on September 19, 2012, 01:12:43 PM
It's not rude to refuse to engage.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not responsible for those functions. Have a nice day. *click*"

The point is that you don't need the other person's permission to disengage from the conversation. I know that feels rude, but it's not.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Judah on September 19, 2012, 01:16:51 PM
I just remembered something I've done.  Our phones are a VOIP system and that allows us a lot of flexibility.  I can set it up so that certain numbers go straight to voicemail and never ring my phone, sort of like a spam filter for email.  I had a couple of very persistent vendors who would not take my number off their call lists, so I have them go directly to VM.  They've since given up on me.   :)
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Hexteacher on September 19, 2012, 02:05:52 PM
Am I a bad person because I interrupt the cold callers by singing happy-birthday to them and then hang up?  (Bonus points if you catch their name and use it in the song.)
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Judah on September 19, 2012, 02:36:01 PM
Am I a bad person because I interrupt the cold callers by singing happy-birthday to them and then hang up?  (Bonus points if you catch their name and use it in the song.)

I do think that's rude.  Just end the conversation and hang up.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: lowspark on September 19, 2012, 03:19:29 PM
Yeah I have to say that in my opinion the best thing to do is end the conversation as quickly as possible. Prolonging it simply for the purpose of making the caller feel bad is rude and a waste of both people's time.
Thus saying "Thank you, I'm not intereted" and immediately hanging up, regardless of the fact that the caller may still be talking to try to convince you, is, to me, the best solution and not rude at all. You make it clear the conversation is over and you hang up. If the caller refuses to acknowledge that, that doesn't make you rude.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Lynnv on September 19, 2012, 04:37:35 PM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.  Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 19, 2012, 05:36:47 PM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.   Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.

But doesn't it concern you the impression you are giving of employees of your company?  I think that is my biggest issue.  When they call me, they aren't calling me as an individual, they are calling me as a representative of my company and any impression I give is one they will have of the company and not me personally. 

While my company isn't directly consumer based, we are well known and want the general public to have a good image of us.  And calling a member of a company and just being hung up on would not leave me with a good impression. 

Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Pippen on September 19, 2012, 05:36:55 PM
What about something along the lines of "I don't deal with any procurement issues and can only use companies on our preferred suppliers list."

Calls like this really work on your very last nerve esp when you are getting them every day and they follow the same pattern. No doubt you know as soon as they start speaking what they want and having to go through the motions does seem like a pointless activity.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Pippen on September 19, 2012, 05:42:08 PM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.   Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.

But doesn't it concern you the impression you are giving of employees of your company?  I think that is my biggest issue.  When they call me, they aren't calling me as an individual, they are calling me as a representative of my company and any impression I give is one they will have of the company and not me personally. 

While my company isn't directly consumer based, we are well known and want the general public to have a good image of us.  And calling a member of a company and just being hung up on would not leave me with a good impression.

Every interaction anyone has with your company can help with either building or destroying their brand and reputation and you are duty bound to be as polite as possible to them, which you already are. Maybe if you could find out the people who are in charge of making these decisions you can pass them off to them. After all it is their job to deal with these things rather than having you do it.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: artk2002 on September 19, 2012, 06:47:12 PM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.   Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.

But doesn't it concern you the impression you are giving of employees of your company?  I think that is my biggest issue.  When they call me, they aren't calling me as an individual, they are calling me as a representative of my company and any impression I give is one they will have of the company and not me personally. 

While my company isn't directly consumer based, we are well known and want the general public to have a good image of us.  And calling a member of a company and just being hung up on would not leave me with a good impression.

So? If they're calling to sell something, why is their good opinion of you or your company important? How about the reputation of their company? Calling you cold and then  berating you for not being the person who can hear their sales pitch?

Here's a fact of life. No matter how nice you are to some people, they aren't going to like you. Trying to make everyone like you will just end up with you being frustrated. Concentrate on the people who actually have some influence. The odds of a cold-calling salesman actually having some influence is pretty slim. If the salesman can trash your reputation based on you politely saying "I can't help you. Good-bye. *click*" then you're in a worse situation than Caeser's wife.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Lynnv on September 19, 2012, 07:31:41 PM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.   Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.

But doesn't it concern you the impression you are giving of employees of your company?  I think that is my biggest issue.  When they call me, they aren't calling me as an individual, they are calling me as a representative of my company and any impression I give is one they will have of the company and not me personally. 

While my company isn't directly consumer based, we are well known and want the general public to have a good image of us.  And calling a member of a company and just being hung up on would not leave me with a good impression.

No-it doesn't.  We are not directly consumer based either.  But if the company reputation can't take the hit of a telemarketer whining that someone didn't spend extra time on the phone with them, then we would be pretty hosed anyway. 

When I worked in banking we had a specific scripted way to say no.  But this is how my boss (and his boss) handle telemarketing calls.  I think they figure (and I agree) that I have already spent time on the phone figuring out that this is not a legitimate call, so hanging up quickly is the best way to avoid wasting more time.

I suppose it is vaguely possible (though not likely) that someone I hung up on when they were trying to hock overpriced toner cartridges could change fields completely and then become a manager and then not use our company because I hung up on their sales spiel.  But I think, and clearly my bosses agree, that the likelihood of that happening is pretty low.  And the likelihood of this hypothetical person remembering someone who hung up on them over all of the people who were aggressive, profane and horrible to them is pretty darn low.  Add in our status as the leader in our field, and the chances that me hanging up on a telemarketer will cost the company in dollars or in reputation is so close to zero as to make no difference.

I would not be concerned about ignoring a person who was selling flowers on the corner, even if I were identifiable as a member of my company.  I am not concerned about being identified as a member of my company who ignored someone selling paper products via the phone.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: DaisyG on September 20, 2012, 05:35:54 AM
I work at a small 'branch' office of a larger organisation and sometimes get cold calls. I have tried reasoning with these callers and have had a couple of callers lie that they are on our preferred supplier list. Now I just say something like "I'm sorry this isn't the procurement department" or "you'll need to talk to the procurement department" and then hang up without giving any details of the procurement dept. I figure if they really wanted to talk to procurement, they would use the number for head office which is on our website.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Decimus on September 20, 2012, 09:48:28 AM
You need to remember the basics of cold-calling is something like for every 100 calls, you'll get a lead, and for every 100 leads, you'll get a sale.  If you hang up, the marketer is not going to specifically remember you out of the 98+ other rejections they've alread had or will have.  They'll probably just cross your company off the list and move on.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: kglory on September 20, 2012, 11:12:55 AM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.   Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.

But doesn't it concern you the impression you are giving of employees of your company?  I think that is my biggest issue.  When they call me, they aren't calling me as an individual, they are calling me as a representative of my company and any impression I give is one they will have of the company and not me personally. 

While my company isn't directly consumer based, we are well known and want the general public to have a good image of us.  And calling a member of a company and just being hung up on would not leave me with a good impression.

Well, that's one reason why most of us wouldn't curse them out or say "bleep you!" or whatever.  If you did that, then yes, that's a negative impression of your company.  But if you just say "No thank you" and hang up, that's perfectly polite. It doesn't waste any more of either of your time.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Lynnv on September 20, 2012, 12:13:29 PM
I handle work cold calls the same way I do home cold calls.  I hang up.  I don't talk over the person to say goodbye or not interested-I just hang up mid-spiel.   Just as I close the door if I get a solicitation from a door-to-door sales person. 

I don't owe them a conversation,  I don't owe them my time.  And I don't owe them an explanation.  I figure they make money on sales.  I am not buying anything.  Therefore, the best thing to do for both of us is get them moved on to bother the next person on their list.

But doesn't it concern you the impression you are giving of employees of your company?  I think that is my biggest issue.  When they call me, they aren't calling me as an individual, they are calling me as a representative of my company and any impression I give is one they will have of the company and not me personally. 

While my company isn't directly consumer based, we are well known and want the general public to have a good image of us.  And calling a member of a company and just being hung up on would not leave me with a good impression.

Well, that's one reason why most of us wouldn't curse them out or say "bleep you!" or whatever.  If you did that, then yes, that's a negative impression of your company.  But if you just say "No thank you" and hang up, that's perfectly polite. It doesn't waste any more of either of your time.

And, while others disagree, I think it is perfectly polite to hang up without a "goodbye" or a "sorry, not interested."   And my bosses agree. 

I don't slam the phone down.  I don't curse them out.  I don't make up a crackpot religion and try to get them to donate to the cause.  I don't hand the phone to the cats.  At home, I just hang up-and I do it the same way at work.  Not that I get a lot of these calls at work since my number is not listed in any publications and is not in any way a 'main' number for my business.  But I don't waste any more of my time than I have to.   And that means hanging up mid-spiel without a "no thanks" or a "goodbye" to soften it.   

IMO, hanging up without saying goodbye is the phone equivalent of ignoring someone selling their politics/religion/newspaper/flowers/Tshirts/used turnip twaddlers on the street corner.  Just because they invited themselves into my life doesn't mean I have to pay attention to it.  On the phone it may take a little longer to realize that they are selling something, but once I do realize that, I feel perfectly justified in ending the conversation unilaterally.  I am not rude to them (even though they, IMO, have been incredibly rude to me).  But I don't have any obligation to interact with them at all.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: dawbs on September 20, 2012, 12:28:19 PM


Me:  HMMMM Last Name
Caller:  Hi, is this HMMM Last Name?
Me:  Yes it is.
Caller:  Hi, How are you.
Me:  I'm well.
Caller:  That's good.  Did I catch you at a good time?
Me:  May I ask what this is concerning.
Caller:  My name is X and I'm calling on behalf of 22 company.
Me:  OK, how can I help you?
Caller:  22 comapny provides blue, yellow, and green services and I'd like to discuss how we can do business with your company.
Me:  I'm sorry, I'm not responsibile for those activities at my company, so I'll be unable to help you.  Goodbye.  *hang up w/o waiting for a response.*
I'd just do that^

I'd not give them anyone else's information--that'll just put someone else on a sleazy sales list (and won't really get you removed).

You've said goodbye, you're just not waiting for a response.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: bopper on September 20, 2012, 03:25:37 PM
Me:  HMMMM Last Name
Caller:  Hi, is this HMMM Last Name?
Me:  Yes it is.
Caller:  Hi, How are you.
Me:  I'm well.
Caller:  That's good.  Did I catch you at a good time?
Me:  May I ask what this is concerning.
Caller:  My name is X and I'm calling on behalf of 22 company.
Me:  OK, how can I help you?
Caller:  22 comapny provides blue, yellow, and green services and I'd like to discuss how we can do business with your company.
Me:  I'm sorry, I'm not responsibile for those activities at my company. Thanks, <click>

Stop the conversation there.  Their job is to try to get you involved or give you the name of the person who IS responsible. If you are not going to do that, then save them time and let them get to their next call.
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 20, 2012, 04:56:37 PM
Thanks for everyone's input.  I won't feel so rude when I hang up with them.  Honestly, I think that a lot of it is because I know based on the incoming number that many of these callers are coming from international locations.  I feel like when I cut them off like that they are thinking "Wow those Americans are so rude".
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: #borecore on September 20, 2012, 05:09:18 PM
Thanks for everyone's input.  I won't feel so rude when I hang up with them.  Honestly, I think that a lot of it is because I know based on the incoming number that many of these callers are coming from international locations.  I feel like when I cut them off like that they are thinking "Wow those Americans are so rude".


Well, to that I say: What they think of Americans is even LESS your responsibility than what they think of your company! (And I think hanging up on cold callers transcends borders.)
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: Thipu1 on September 20, 2012, 05:31:45 PM
I agree with all those who have said that it's perfectly fine to ask about the purpose of the call and, when the pitch begins, simply decline and hang up.

Cold callers at a business are very similar to people who show up at your front door with a political or religious' message'.  These are not guests. They have not been invited and have chosen to intrude on your time for their own benefit.

It doesn't matter where the call originates.  I don't doubt that in most places, an intrusion like this would not be warmly welcomed. 

However, although I'd never do it, Evil Thipu loves the Birthday song idea.   >:D
Title: Re: Help with cold calls
Post by: lowspark on September 21, 2012, 10:55:33 AM
Thanks for everyone's input.  I won't feel so rude when I hang up with them.  Honestly, I think that a lot of it is because I know based on the incoming number that many of these callers are coming from international locations.  I feel like when I cut them off like that they are thinking "Wow those Americans are so rude".

That's funny (to me!). I know a lot of people in other countries think Americans are rude. And yeah, some of us are. Some aren't. Just like any other country. But think of it this way, if they already think Americans are rude, one hang up more or less isn't going to change their mind.