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Old 03-12-2013, 10:15 AM
92 posts, read 233,991 times
Reputation: 190


So, I had a phone conversation that went something like this:

Me: Good morning. Company XYZ, this is Pixie1000 speaking. How may I help you?
Caller: Hi. Can I speak with Manager Jim Bob?
Me: I'll check and see if he is available. May I ask who is calling, please?
Caller: John
Me: All right. What company are you with and what is the call regarding?
Caller: Company ABC. He's know why I'm calling.
Me: Let me check.

*Placing call on hold and intercoming my boss*

Me: Jim Bob, I have John on the line for you.
Boss Jim Bob: What does he want?
Me: I asked him and he said that you'll know why he's calling.
Boss Jim Bob: I don't remember that. Did you ask him for details?
Me: That's all he indicated.
Boss Jim Bob: O.K.

*Transferring call*


Boss Jim Bob: Really, Pixie1000, that was a sales call!!! You really need to screen these people better. OK?

I usually can ferret out sales calls 98% of the time, but there are times it can be impossible! Let's say it is an important client and I am pulling teeth to get information because I suspect their reticience means a sales call, I can end up offending them by the all the questioning. (Which has happened to me and why I am leery of it.) Can't Boss Jim Bob just understand that one or two sales calls are going to escape my screening and acknowledge all the calls I do block?
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:23 AM
1,232 posts, read 2,530,737 times
Reputation: 1489
Seasoned bureaucrats know not to give answers anymore. Call hold hell, speak to my supervisor. Break, lunch, break, bathroom, bathroom, Im off..
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:40 AM
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,948 posts, read 19,413,264 times
Reputation: 7202
Suggest to your manager that you use this approach (bosses like employees to develop solutions):As soon as the caller asks for Joe Manager, don't even indicate if Joe is in the office. Just ask for the name of the caller and what product or service he is representing...... If its personal or they are a customer or have a unique issue they will clarify at that point.

Before you start applying that practice, be sure your manager likes that approach and if not, ask him to make another suggestion.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:59 AM
Location: Upstate, SC
10 posts, read 11,477 times
Reputation: 46
Pixie1000 how would a sales caller share what he or she has available to Manager Jim Bob. You never know if it might be something he's looking for. It's a double edged sword for which I'd love to get an answer.

You see, I'm on the other side, I'm a salesman caller. I work with a large reputable well-established insurance firm that has benefited many thousands of business. I lament the fact that the only way my company has to get to the decision maker is by attempting to build a relationship starting with a cold call. It ain't the best of systems but it's all we've got. Unless you can tell me another way to grab Manager Jim Bob's attention, I'm going to keep dialing and you'll be getting those kinds of calls.

Your thoughts would be appreciated. What else is going to work with Jim Bob?
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:06 AM
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,784,416 times
Reputation: 4425
Another option might be (if the caller absolutely refuses to give any more information) to say he's tied up and can he call them back? Then ask for their contact information and what it's regarding. If they refuse to give it, all you can then do is say that you will let him know they called but you can't promise he will call them back. Presumably if it's a genuine business call or friend, your boss will already have their phone number.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:31 AM
9,753 posts, read 16,914,523 times
Reputation: 18346
Jim Bob needs to call out the caller. "Why did you tell pixie I know why you are calling? I don't even know who you are."
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:18 PM
Location: Here.
13,824 posts, read 12,596,032 times
Reputation: 16220
Next time get the callers last name. Then ask your boss "Are you expecting a call from John XXXXX from ABC Company?" If he says no, tell the caller "My boss isn't expecting a call from you, would you like to leave a message?"
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:07 PM
3,395 posts, read 3,345,523 times
Reputation: 9264
I am in a position where every business I am calling had a specific request that I was responding to. Sometimes, I will get a suspicious receptionist that will question me like the OP. The difficult thing is, I have to honor the business owner's confidentiality. Maybe he doesn't want everyone in the office know that he is buying out the other partner and is getting a loan to do it. That's the tricky part. I have to be a little coy and act just like those sales people. In most cases, I will just offer to leave my number.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:16 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,602 posts, read 54,185,975 times
Reputation: 30841
I don't get many sales calls at my current job, but during the 16 years I owned a business, there were 5-10 a day. I could say "not interested" and hang up pretty fast, and get back to work and free up the line for customers. My employees knew the names of my family and close friends that might call, and they would always call my cell anyway, not the business number.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:26 AM
2,945 posts, read 6,775,753 times
Reputation: 3532
I've been on both sides of the phone. What I loved is when I shut out a sales person and they tried to go around me to the owner. The owner then railed on the sales person and said that I had already made a decision, why are they calling back? Plus what was fun about this job is that we had free reign to harass cold callers. We would keep them on the phone asking dumb questions, speaking to them in a made up language, make them regret the time they just wasted calling us. Caller ID was a great help, especially when you received out of state calls and they told you that they were calling from a local company. We would ask them where their office was, what was the weather like today or something that only a local would know. Then ask them why they lied about being local.

As a sales person for the bulk of my career, cold calling on the phone is about the worst way to get your foot in the door. Usually found that a well crafted email or message on LinkedIn works a lot better.
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