November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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112 | Printwear N ov e m b e r 20 1 4 Last Laugh by Dan Danbom Dan Danbom is a former speech writer and communication manager whose freelance work has been published worldwide. His book reviews for a number of publications have motivated thousands to give up reading. Nonetheless, he continues to write and is also a principal at Danbom & Sons Books, an online bookstore headquartered in Denver. | | | | I don't know about you, but my workday consists of opening the doors, serving customers, paying employ- ees, and answering phones—even if answering leads to an average of 38 "junk phone calls" a day. I say junk calls because these are calls from complete strang- ers who aren't calling to make a purchase but rather to per- suade me to make a purchase. The callers wisely know that if I need something, I don't just buy it. No, I wait for someone to call and make an offer. Then, I drop everything to learn how to lower my credit card's processing fees. Wow—where have you been all my life? Of course, I'm on the supposed "no-call" list for my residential phone. This keeps solicitors from calling me unless they are political fundraisers or opinion researchers. Then, there's Jane from the charity who asks if I have any cars I don't want or Rachel from cardholder services who says that there is currently no problem with my account, but unless I act right away, I'll probably live in a federal prison. But a work phone is a different matter. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can call, and they do. I can always tell if it's a sales call because the caller is not actually on the line when I answer, mangles the pronunciation of my name, or asks to speak to the owner of the business. Besides the obvious interruption and annoyance, these solicitations make me a rude person. I often stop these callers mid-sentence, demanding to know what they want to order. When they say they're not ordering anything, I say that this is a line only for orders. When they ask what number they can call with their spectacular offer, I give them the number of the previous so- licitor. Sometimes, I ask these callers to hold, and then put down the phone and see how long it takes them to figure out that instead of wasting my time, I'm wasting theirs. One sales rep stayed on for 22 min- utes. Other times, I lie. Recently, someone called and asked to speak to the executive in charge of our company's drinking-water supply. I said, "That's our senior vice president of liquid affairs, Mr. Lake. He's on vacation at his lake home." If these callers ask to speak to the owner of the business, I agree but only if I can speak to the own- er of their business after they're done. They usually won't allow this. Most likely, these sales reps don't even know the owner of their business, and if they did, they would leave the world of cold calling to do more appealing work, such as running onto inter- state highways to remove the roadkill carcasses. The sad thing is that because I get so many of these calls, I sometimes answer real customer calls with that tone of voice that says, "I'm about to track you down and set you on fire." Then, I have to apologize and ask if the custom- er would like to speak to the owner of the business. There's apparently no end in sight for these calls, so it's my mission to make the caller hang up on me. I think a comment like, "Yes, I'm very interested. Mmm, what are you wearing?" might work. But if the caller answers that question, I'm changing phone numbers. Hot Strategies for Cold Calls pw

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