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Cold calls, cold response

Every few days cold-calling salespeople show up at our office unnannounced to pitch us on insurance, lease deals, laser toner, office supplies, voip plans, bottled water, etc.

We have an open office. So when they enter, 11 people immediately look up at them. This can apparently be somewhat intimidating, based on their flummoxed reactions. They usually ask for a business card so they can call us later. I sometimes offer them mine, since my card doesn't have a phone number on it. Then they beat a hasty retreat.

Lately we've been trying a new tactic - not acking their presence when they come in. There's no receptionist (of course), and it's not clear who they should attempt to speak with. None of us really want to listen to their pitch or take their flier anyway, so playing the game of chicken with the other folks in the office sort of emerged as a default behavior. Who will be the first to crack at their nervousness, make eye contact, and thus become the dupe left holding the flier or handing out their business card?

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost!

Comments (7)

Cold calls by sales persons are a big head ache for people. A proper tactic needs to be followed.

The trick is to have a diversified portfolio to offer... say datacenter automation software and cement. If the assumptive close on one product does not work, then go for the Corleone close.

I think you should assign someone to video each visit. Eventually you'd have enough footage for a "Cold Calls" documentary.


I remember when I worked at the family business my brother just had a sign up. He's not the talkative type, so I guess a sign that says "I DO NOT WANT WHAT YOU'RE SELLING" is enough for them to get the point. There's a reason you don't usually see the same one more than once...


Hmmm...maybe there's a market for real-world office visitor spam filters. If they pass...let them in, if not..set the bear trap. Well, just an idea.

While these cold calls can be annoying, you have to think about what effect you could have on the individual that is coming in to your offices. If they have been ripped to shreds by every other company, and your company is polite, takes some time to listen, and maybe even purchases, this could look good on your company.

Honestly, these are just people trying to make a living for their families, they just happen to have bad jobs. They probably don't want those jobs any more than you or I. Treating them poorly for having them doesn't help your business, it only hurts it.


I plan to come to your office and just walk around randomly for a while to see how long you all can ignore me.

That, or when you're pointedly not looking at me I'll pick up objects and carry them out of the office.

Or maybe I'll come to your office and try to sell you door locks.

But seriously, interesting story.

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