I’d Be Happy to Take a Message

I work at a small software consulting company in Redmond and every day I answer about 10 sales calls. No, I’m not the receptionist, and no, that person can’t answer those calls because that person doesn’t exist. I wish we did have a receptionist, though, that would make my life a little less tedious at times.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. When I answer these sales calls I’m really courteous. I have been told by my co-worker not to waste my time being courteous. I have watched my boss just flat-out hang up on sales calls. For all intents and purposes I have been given the green light to be rude to sales callers. I find that I can’t, however, not matter how hard I try.

Don’t say I’m not tempted though. As persistent as I am about not giving salespeople information, they are twice as intent on gleaning any information they can out of the phone call. I feel like the gatekeeper of my company and at times I’ve had to tell people “I will not be giving you any information but I would happy to take a message”.

Despite my polite and courteous responses, however, no one ever wants to leave a message. I don’t take it personally (unless they hang up on me. I think that after extending the olive branch and not hanging up on them in the first place they could at least return the favor) but I still have to wonder at the harsh industry that is sales. Especially sales involving cold calling.

Man, that must be rough. It must be like going door to door as a Mormon, only worse because if people don’t care about their eternal souls they sure as heck aren’t going to care about your low prices on office supplies.

I guess this is why I’m courteous to sales callers. Yes, they’re interrupting me and yes, they’re frequently very rude and relentless. I’m not sure though if that’s how they are normally or if that’s what the industry’s turned them into. Either way, I remain firm and unyielding. I like to think, however, that I’m like a Cadbury Creme Egg. Firm and unyielding but with a soft squishy center (and melts if left in the sun too long).

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