When I wrote a piece several weeks ago in opposition to the “Do Not Call” list and its restrictions, I was reasonably sure I would catch some heat from people who disagreed. Well, the flak did materialize in letters, phone calls and private conversations. I even got a polite letter from my son who very diplomatically said I was dead wrong. We do have a very democratic family when it comes to differing views and I appreciated his willingness to try and straighten me out.
Those with differing views all made valid pointsthe chief one being that 51 million people like the list. Im not sure where that leaves the other 225 million Americans. Most of the rest of the criticism centered around the general ill-will toward the concept of cold calls and the intrusiveness.
I have never been an advocate of cold calls and in my almost 48 years in the business, I could count on one hand the number of people I have known who have used cold calls effectively. Most agents hate cold calls and are not good at them. I have in the past attended seminars on cold calling conducted by so-called “telephone experts” and always have found their tactics tasteless, if not ruthless. Cold calls are not the issue as far as I am concerned.
I also believe that the nuisance factor has been somewhat exaggerated. I am not on the D.N.C. list and continue to get calls (many automated) and I suspect, given the sucker lists that I am on, in a volume greater than most people. I made of point of timing the amount of time consumed answering such calls (and hanging up) and over a period of 5 days, it averaged less than 3 minutes a day.
There are a lot of things that annoy me more than that. Sitting in a booth in a restaurant while the person in the next booth talks for 20 minutes on a cell phone is to me more obnoxious. But do we pass a law against it? Loud and stupid commercials on TV drive me up the wall. But should they be outlawed because I find them to be a nuisance? What happened to our free market system?
There is no question that telemarketers have abused this marketing technique and some form of constraint does seem desirable. However, I believe the present “cure” is a classic case of “throwing out the baby with the bath water,” and a lot of people are likely to be hurt by it, our business being a case in point.
I believe it is important to perceive properly both the nature and the dynamics of our business to gain the insight needed to judge our activities. Our business operates essentially at 2 different and distinct levels. First there is the corporate level and that, in every sense of the word, is big business. Billions of dollars are traded and invested, and a high and important visibility is maintained. Corporate officers hobnob with investment bankers, real estate tycoons and others that are essential to making our financial markets work smoothly and to produce results for the common good. Sweeping rules and regulations affecting marketing do not have a direct or immediate effect on the conduct of that aspect of our business, although in the long run, the impact can be felt.