I am blessed in my current school by a front office team who screen sales calls for me. If I don’t want to speak to them, often because I’m too busy, the front office will give the caller the brush off for me. This is a stark contrast from my last school where the receptionist’s objective was to get rid of callers as quickly as possible, usually by transferring anyone who called straight through to IT, and often even when they actually wanted another department.
This screening is in practice in enough organisations that the more unscrupulous suppliers out there have taken to employing ‘dishonest turns of phrase’, otherwise known as ‘lies’, in order to trick their way past the front office. The two most common examples are:
- “I’m calling on behalf of BigNameCompany,” which means “I’m a generic reseller who wants to sell you some BigNameCompany products”. A variation of this is “I’m calling from the BigNameCompany partner program”. The most egregious one I’ve ever heard was “I’m calling from Google” from someone trying to sell SEO products. This coincided with a moment of boredom in the office, a moment quickly relieved by me pointing out that the company obviously had no connection to Google whatsoever, and telling the quite argumentative salesman that he was an utter liar.
- “…just a quick follow-up call,” which usually means “I have never spoken to you before”.
Here’s a quick hint if you’re one of these companies: my front office relay to me exactly what you said to them. If when you speak to me, I think you’ve lied to get past them, it will be a very short conversation, and will never end with you getting a sale. You may therefore take your deceptive sales practices, and shove them where the sun does not shine.