Let’s change this up a bit. I’m going to give you the one-liner, and then you are free to leave. Well, you’re always free to leave, but you know what I mean. If you want the longer-than-one-line story that this one-liner brought to mind, you’re equally free to continue reading. There’s another one-liner near the end.
I get a lot of marketing calls at work. Thanks to CallerID, I get to send most of them to voice mail. Occasionally, when CallerID fails to do its job and I am expecting a call from someone whose number isn’t in my contacts list, I take an unidentified incoming call. I suffer the consequences. At least this time, I got a one-liner out of the deal when the guy introduced himself and then said:
“I want you to know that I’m not trying to sell you anything.”
Then why did you call?
Full disclosure, I sympathize (a little) with cold callers. I endured a short stint as a telemarketer in 1977. I attempted to sell subscriptions to one of the (then) two Pittsburgh area daily newspapers. I realize that the people placing cold calls are not really free to respond logically and sensibly to the person who answers the phone. That’s because they are working off a script, and that script contains a response for every imaginable reason for not making the purchase.
Fuller disclosure, I didn’t survive my 3-day evaluation period.
During the evaluation period, my supervisor listened in on my calls. I was sitting in front of a three-panel poster board (like the ones kids use for school projects) that had my opening script at the top of the center section. Beneath that were all the possible reasons a customer would refuse this wonderful offer. Each of those had a line drawn to my “required” response. The one below cost me my job:
Female customer says:
“Could you call back another day/later/tomorrow/whatever, when my husband will be home?”
Your Response is:
“We live in a time when men are recognizing women as being capable of sharing minor household financial responsibilities. Subscribing to a newspaper is the kind of decision that men are now trusting women to make.”
I just couldn’t.
When “caught” by the supervisor and asked to explain, I told him I thought that response was insulting, disrespectful and flat-out stupid. The supervisor responded with:
“Perhaps, but it works. Speaking of what works, you don’t.”
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.