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Friday, 17 October 2014

How not to make a sale

I have come to the conclusion that there must be a central training establishment for telephone and door-to-door salespersons on the make. These dreadful people appear to have been told that the best way to engage with a potential customer (victim?) is to begin with the words "Hello, how are you today?"

The most obvious answer -- and one that I usually give them -- is "Well, I was fine until a few moments ago when you called wanting to sell me something." They inevitably reply "Oh no, we're not trying to sell you anything." But, of course, they usually are -- and if, by chance, they aren't, they are trying to empty your wallet with some other proposal.

From time to time I have to phone people with a sales pitch. My opening line is always along the lines of "Hello, I'm Ian Richardson, a freelance journalist/writer, and I wonder if you could spare me a couple of minutes while I tell you about a story idea/proposal that I have?" Usually, they agree to listen and if they're not then interested, politely tell me so and the conversation ends in an amicable manner.

If I were to ring them with the opening words "Hello, how are you today?", they would probably slam the phone down, exactly as I do on such people. But will the wideboys and widegirls learn this lesson? No chance, I suspect. Nor will the training establishments that turn these people lose on the public.

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