First in a series of articles, we’ll explore various issues and practices associated with modern ways of selling over the phone.
Whenever we speak of telemarketing, we can’t ignore the 900-pound gorilla that is smack in the middle of the room. This critter is the sordid history of the field that resulted in restrictive legislation and formation of the Do Not Call Registry.
Why did legislators at all levels of government jump on the bandwagon to restrict calls made to residences?
I believe it had less to do with the times and places of calls, than is popularly believed.
Yes, many people were called at home at the dinner hour, but if it weren’t for the fact that conversations were inherently abusive, that they were built on a command-and-control communication style, I think we’d still be living in a relatively unregulated environment.
Telemarketers abused the conditional privilege of entering people’s homes: fundamentally they were impolite, and so they were booted out.
And the people who were most offended and disgusted were precisely the folks who you don’t want on your case, mobilized to punish you: older Americans, who were raised in a more polite era, and who have endless time on their hands to call and to write and to lobby their legislators for relief.
Moreover, technology simply exacerbated the problem, enabling countless calls to be aimed at people, efficiently. Predictive dialers would “drop calls” when phones went unanswered for a certain number of rings, and at times when no telemarketers were available to converse.
Old folks, in those days without wireless capabilities, would take pains to get up to reach the ringing line, only to have it stop before they could pick it up. Worrying about the call they missed, they would fret over or actually feel terrorized by uncertainty.
Geriatrics were also lonely and in many cases, financially secure enough to write checks, and this combination made them great targets for scams, and they were disproportionately victimized by con artists.
Add these practices up and you have a formula for reform, and that’s exactly what happened.
Everyone could see it coming, but few did anything significant to avoid the storm.
That would have entailed adopting The New Telemarketing™, which wasn’t widely available at the time.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of www.Customersatisfaction.com , is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone®, You Can Sell Anything By Telephone! and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service, and the audio program, “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable, ” published by Nightingale-Conant. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph. D. from USC's Annenberg School, a Loyola lawyer, and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He holds the rank of Shodan, 1st Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org