I’ve done more than my fair share of cold calling and am heartily glad I got cured. I don’t wish to pretend I was good at it, but I believe I was as good as a lot of expensive training and hours of doing it was ever likely to make me. So yes, I hate cold calling – and I’m not a hating kind of guy. And yes, I know some people claim to love cold calling. I’ve met more who don’t.

Because I’ve done so much of it, I try to be civil to the people who are still doing it, even when they actually sound like they are on a very bad line in a noisy bar at 6 o’clock on a Friday night – which probably means in fact that they are calling from a noisy call centre, almost certainly in another country. I love it when I say ‘You are on a very bad line’ and they say ‘What was that?’ – which is especially entertaining if they are trying to sell me on a new phone deal – yes, it happens!

And it doesn’t help when this stranger asks me cheerily, without any sign of actually caring about the answer, ‘And how are you today?’ Of course the honest answer would usually be: ‘I was doing real well until I picked up the phone about 30 seconds ago’.

But sometimes when they are going on and on about their service, or about how my name has amazingly been drawn from a competition I didn’t know I was in and I can now have a holiday at some luxury hotel hundreds of miles away, etc etc, I just have to butt in and say something like “Excuse me, I don’t have a need for your services. Thank you for calling.” and hang up – quietly, calmly. Well, ok, occasionally I get a bit steamed up when people are doing an impersonation of a dog with a bone.

So I enjoyed reading David Regler’s account of taking a cold call from a recruitment company and what he subsequently did and thought about it: see Do that still teach that? Lucky for us they do! Choice stuff, for example,

ME: Well…we don’t employ anyone.

JAMES: Er…er…(this was obviously not an objection on his script)…I don’t understand…er…

ME: We work on an associate model, that means we don’t employ anyone. So why would you want to waste your time meeting me?

Oh dear

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