The Cold-Call Conundrum: Respecting Time

I’m not a salesperson, but I still understand salespeople need to, you know, SELL to get business and feed their families at the same time. It’s what they do. It also seems like it could be a very stressful job at times (Death of a Salesman, anybody?) and the burn-out factor is high.

So when I’m cold-called at work, I am at the very least prepared to give a listen to what the other person has to say. Unless it’s an automated message, that voice on the other end of the line is a living, thinking human being trying to connect with another living, thinking human being. I can respect that and respect their time as well.

Where my patience gets a twist is when my time isn’t respected in turn.

What I don’t get is the assumption that:

  • They’ve reached the right person
  • This is a good time to talk
  • You’re even interested in their product
  • You’re going to open the gates wide to your company

Perhaps this is the way sales works: Get through to someone, anyone, no matter who. Even if that person isn’t the right one, they might know the right one.

Hmm, sounds a lot like networking! EXCEPT: Networking is a lot more about give than take. And with networking, you usually say how you found the other person, right? My work number is not publicly listed, for example.

So with a call like this, I’d have preferred if the person would have asked if I had anything to do with their subject BEFORE launching into a 2-minute spiel right after the Hello, I am Mr. X from Company-You’ve-Never-Heard-Of-That-I’ll-Say-Too-Fast.

That’s all. Just that one simple question. You’re working, but so am I. My time is important too.

Spell it, don’t just say it!

When you’re leaving a voicemail, it’s common etiquette and courtesy to speak clearly, stay brief and concise and say your name and number–slowly!–at the beginning and end of the call.

At least, this all should be common etiquette, as this post by AvidCareerist also shows. How many times have you had to replay a v-mail just to scribble down the phone number or decipher the caller’s name?

I would like to add another tip. If you’re also leaving your email and it’s attached to a corporate address, spell it out–all of it. Continue reading