Earlier this week, I had a rather pleasant conversation with a cold caller.
Yep. I had a pleasant conversation with a cold caller. A stranger who dialled a random number to try and make a hard sell. Past experience has taught me that sometimes you have to be firm with these callers because at best, they’re pushy and at worst, they’re rude. Unfortunately, nice cold callers are very rare…
The only time other time a cold caller has been nice was when they weren’t trying to sell anything. (Though they did ask for donations for their charity- well it was for a good cause!)
But this caller was trying to sell something. Well I think he was. To be honest, the conversation never got as far as the actual sell.
My automatic reaction to calls like these is: Get out of there as fast as possible. Also I have real trouble with the whole “just hang up on them” unless they’re being outrageous.
For your amusement, I thought it could be fun to share the conversation. I’ve also added the thoughts I had throughout.
Phone call. I look at the caller ID. From the first few digits show it’s a local number (not one of those spam-looking numbers). Probably a legit call then. I picked up and chirped “hello!”
There’s a skip on the other side of the phone.
Me: (Ah. Their phone is playing up again.) “Hello!!” 🙂 (note about the enthusiastic hello: because I only read a few digits, I thought it was a particular friend calling. This is how I normally greet her so she knows it’s me.)
Caller: “Hello! How are you on this sunny day?”
Me: (Oh. I thought it was… who is this? Oh… great. It’s a telesales person, isn’t it? Tricked by a local-looking number!) “I’m alright, thank you!” (He sounds cheerful so I’ll respond cheerfully too.)
Caller: “Great! I don’t know if you know the cost of *service they were trying to sell*. Do you know?”
Me: (How am I gonna get out of this one?) No 🙂 (Oops. That sounded both chirpy and confused…)
Caller: “Well I’ll tell you! It’s *a big number!* How does that make you feel?”
Me: “That’s.. quite expensive.” (This guy is so polite and happy-sounding… which makes it harder to get out of this because I don’t want to be rude! Come on, give me an opening here.)
Caller: “It is! And what do you think we should do about this?”
Me: (Um…) “I… don’t know..?” (But I’m sure you’ll tell me.)
Caller: (some laughs, probably because I sounded mega confused) “Well, what we could do is reduce the costs by *some spiel… probably about the service they offer.* What do you think of that?”
Me: “I guess that’s good… but it’s not really something I think about.” (I’m not interested, hint hint!)
Caller: “Really! Why is that?”
Me: (What?) I- I don’t know. I just don’t, really…
Caller: (he laughs, like he wasn’t expecting this answer) “Why? Why not?”
Me: “I just don’t, me and money, we’re just…” (not sure why I said this, hence the sentence trailing off – I was just trying to find an escape!)
Caller: “Are not friends?”
Me: “No, it’s not that! I just think there are other things to think about.” (I really have no idea what I was saying.) (worth mentioning I had a cheerful-but-nervous-laughter-voice on because I was really hoping for an out from this conversation.)
Caller: “But you should! It’s important!”
Me: “No, no it is! But… I just haven’t…” (might also be worth mentioning he was laughing a lot at this point. Either he found it highly amusing that I sound so confused or that my answers were a little weird. Cue laughter from me because I have no idea what to do.)
Caller: “What’s your horoscope?”
Me: (Eh?) “Sorry?”
Caller: “What’s your horoscope?”
Me: “Oh my horoscope.” (I didn’t mishear then.) “Taurus.”
Caller: “Taurus! I’m your neighbour, I’m Aries!”
Me: (My neighbour?! Well I did see some new people move in recently but– Oh I see. Still talking about horoscopes. I’m an idiot.) “Oh right cool!”
Caller: “Let’s bring up the Taurus horoscope here.”
Me: (Eh…? Bring up the horoscope?!) “O-okay.”
Caller: “Here it is! So a Taurus is *reads out entire Taurus profile… quite a huge block of text…”
Me: (offers sounds of confirmation every so often to show I’m still listening… this guy is really reading me my horoscope profile, huh…)
Caller: “Does that sound like you?”
Me: “I guess it does.” (some laughter + I wonder if he can hear how confused/amused I am + what is he achieving by looking up my horoscope for me?)
Caller: “It also says you can also be quite stubborn and *some other stuff I can’t remember because I was too busy being confused*”
Me: (what is he doing??) “Okay, y-yeah.”
Caller: “So back to the original subject, don’t be stubborn with me and let me tell you how we can help you with the costs of *service*.” (Oh my. What a line.)
Me: (nervous laughter and I manage to stutter out) “Okay.” (Help. I can’t find an out!)
Caller: “So what would you say if I told you we can reduce the cost of *service*?”
Me: (An opportunity!) “I’m not really interested in that.”
Caller: (the smallest of pauses) Work with me, Taurus, work with me!
Me: (Hang on, what?! + laughter) “Um, well… (I’ve gotta be honest with him, this guy’s got a job to do and I’m wasting his time…) Sorry, I’m happy to talk to you but I’m not actually going to buy anything.” (I’m sorry! Don’t get annoyed!)
Caller: “No! You don’t have to, it’s just something to think about later..”
Me: (So much joy. I‘ve never had a telesales person be this nice.)
*A little more talk when he realises I’m not really the right demographic for this service and I guess he gives in.*
Caller: “Well, thank you for your time and you have a great day and a great rest of the week!”
Me: “Thank you, you too!” 🙂
Caller: “And stay positive!”
Me: “I will!”
I mean, at the end of the day, it was still meant to be a hard sell… but his positive energy was so contagious. I ended up carrying that energy with me into the next few days. “Cold caller” is surely not a fitting term for this person.
My after-thoughts on the conversation:
- I want to answer all phone calls with a bright tone like that from now on.
- He must have thought I was really strange person.
- But the fact he seemed amused with my strange responses made me – without me realising – more openly strange..
- I kinda see why cold callers can become so blunt… they must get so many rejections a day. It must not be a very satisfying job…
- Which makes all the more refreshing to hear from someone lively.
- It was a local number… does that make the business local? Or is it some kind of proxy?
- Does he read everybody’s horoscopes? Is that how he makes his sales?
- Oh I should have told him to “stay positive” too.
- Or I could have told him “stay energetic.”
- … Or would that just make me seem even weirder?
- Oh… I forgot to apologise for wasting his time…
- I feel a little bad that I automatically assumed he’d be a typical pushy cold caller.
- I really did end up being a stubborn Taurus, didn’t I? (Oops 😛 )
Sorry, Aries, that you had to waste five minutes talking to me! Please stay bright and energetic! I’m sorry for being so awkward!