23 August 2010

Becoming Dolly Parton to Thwart Insane Telemarketers

Fun fact#1 -  I can mimic a variety of accents and phone personalities.  Now you may wonder, why the heck does that matter?

Well recently, I've had a couple of persistent telemarketers routinely call my office every other day in the hope to get connected to me or to one of my colleagues (both in Boston and Paris).

Fun fact #2 - I routinely use those accents and personalities against telemarketers - just for fun (I would say that I am trying to teach them a lesson - but they obviously don't learn).

Telemarketing is defined as "the act of selling, soliciting or promoting a product or service over the telephone." Now, let me be crystal clear - when done correctly, to the right audience, with the right tactic and message - telemarketing can be highly effective.

So what makes these gnat-like telemarketers so bad that I pull out my Dolly Parton accent?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again
 and expecting different results.  - Albert Einstein 

Without naming names, I'll explain a bit about why these folks are destined to fail (and remain insane):
  • They never explain up-front what they are offering.
  • They never clearly explain who they are.
  • They lie and say that the person that they want to speak with has spoken with them (trust me, they haven't!).
  • They refuse to give proper contact details for actual call-backs.
  • They ignore requests to be taken off of their call list.

At least in ambulance chasing lead generation, which I recently blogged about, they at least try to form a suitable reason as to why they are calling,

What these insane folks don't understand is that people like me know all the tricks - I check caller ID, I run a google search on you when you have me on the phone, I look you up on LinkedIn to see if you are SOMEHOW connected to me, and when you violate my request to be taken off their call list, I will submit a complaint to the FTC.

By the way, here are the links that you may want to identify do-not-call violators:
So what could they do differently?

Learn my business needs - if you read my company's website, it is pretty clear that we are not a classic business - and probably don't have a classic B2B business need.  How does your business service actually apply to my business model?  Show me that you understand me (and my company).

Stress your value up-front to whomever answers the phone.  You may think that you have reached an assistant - but you could be speaking to a director, vp, or to an assistant.  And if you don't understand that each has power in their own right within a company, then you need to grow a brain.  Most assistants run their offices, most junior people have friends that are mid-level people, and word travels fast amongst departments when the encounter idiots.  Plus, when you make rude comments to said "assistant" when you can't get past the initial gatekeeper, those comments WILL be relayed to the the person you are targeting.  NOTE: I don't like being called a liar by a sleazy British biz dev guy who doesn't realize that he is actually speaking to his mark.

Identify yourself clearly.  This one snarky telemarketer chooses to identify him by the initials of his company versus the full name of his company.  In the era of Google, that will not stop me from knowing who you are.  

Analyze why you haven't succeeded thus far with your telemarketing.  If I am just a "task" in your Salesforce.com calendar - and between appointments, they have not thought of why they still haven't connected with their prospect (me), shame on them.  Especially when you have tried at least 20 times to reach me.  Just a clue: there may be a problem to your approach.  Just sayin'.

If the telemarketing community decides to not follow these "hints", get ready for some more Dolly Parton.