I received an interesting telemarketing call today. The young man on the phone (I assume he was young and inexperienced, you'll learn why later) proceeded to tell me that a client of ours suggested that he call me. Here was the conversation;
Young Man: "Could I speak to someone in marketing?"
Me: "I guess that would be me."
Young Man: "A mutual client suggested that I call you. They purchased an outdoor flag from you and said the flag was great but that your website was a little 'rough'."
Me: "Hmm, I guess I need to know which client said our website was 'rough'."
Young Man: "I am not here to share any names."
Me: "Oh, I see."
Young Man: "We do website work, would you be interested in exploring an update to your website? I did take a look at your website and honestly, no offense intended, it is a little dated. Do you do any selling of product online?"
Me: "Well, thank you for your opinion. We do not sell online, that is not our business model. We are not interested in making any changes. We have a partner that provides the content, keeps prices and product information updated and it works quite well for us thank you."
Young Man: "What is the name of the company that does your website?"
Me: What I should have said, "I am not here to share any names." I simply said, "It is not a local company".
The long and the short of it? I call B.S. There was no customer that gave him our name. If they had, he would have known someone's name here. We are on LinkedIn. I have an open profile. It would have taken him all of 10 seconds to look up a contact name. My title on LinkedIn is VP of Sales & Marketing. We don't sell very many outdoor flags. Yes we have them, it is just not a market we have seriously pursued.
Also not a great idea to lie to a prospect, or to totally trash some portion of their business.
I hope he finds a new cold calling tactic, because I don't think this one will work well for him. Remember people buy from people they like and people they TRUST.
P.S. Do you want to buy any outdoor flags? We have great flags and I promise I will do a great job selling it to you.
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Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.