How Not To: Deal with a Sales Call at Work

17 Aug

Don’t worry! I majored in hot messes.

The web is chock full of tutorials on how to do things—deep clean an oven, defrag your hard drive, make a sleeping bag out of old curtains and duct tape. But with some things in life, the best way to learn how to do it the right way is to do it every other way first. Here at Cushion, I show you how NOT to do things. Please, allow me to make the mistakes, so you don’t have to.  

You’re speeding through the last of your to-do list so you can gettheheckoutta the office, when the phone rings. One look at the caller ID and your heart sinks. Solicitation! It’s OK. Take a deep breath, and whatever you do, don’t:

  • Avoid picking up the phone. I know, it’s so tempting when you see that 800-number. But deep down, you know they’re just going to keep calling.
  • Ask him how he is. This invariably gets an answer involving the proximity to Friday with an overly-loud fake laugh tacked on to the end. Although this can be a great diagnostic tool if you aren’t sure you’re dealing with a salesman.
  • Hang up on her. See Number 1.
  • Put him on hold and “forget” to pick him back up.See number 1.

Hello? I think we have a bad connection.

  • Pretend you don’t speak English. She probably has a few more languages up her sleeve to try, and do you really want to give your shoot-down speech in leftover college Franglais?
  • Let him go through his entire spiel. It’s like a pit bull clamping down. At that point, he’s invested, and he’ll think you are too. He won’t be letting go without a Taser.
  • Believe her when she says she already spoke with your boss about it. Sure she did—in the .7 seconds it took your boss to say thatsnotmydepartmentyou’llwanttotalktoJanie.
  • Tell him you’re not really the person who makes the final decisions (even if you’re not—technically). He’ll want to know who is, and Bob in the corner office won’t be bringing you any Einstein Brothers if the caller mentions that you gave out his name.
  • Be too nice. Lesson number one in salesman school is: nice people are suckers.
  • Be too mean. We’ve all been driven to this point by a particularly persistent caller, but let’s not get carried away. You don’t want anyone important overhearing you snap.
  • Leave them an “in.” If you tell her you’re too busy to consider this right now, the next words out her mouth will be choosing a day next week to call you back—or worse, drop by the office.
  • Freak out too much. Even if you make one of these mistakes, they’ve got a call list of 478 more people who will probably do something worse.

Happy Friday!


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