Can I Talk to the Boss?

Josie Leavitt -- November 1st, 2013

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’ve been getting a lot of awkward cold calls. I know this must be a thankless job, as we all resist the urge to just hang up the minute we sense it’s a solicitor call. I’ve got some pointers for people who want to have success.

- Do not ask the person answering the phone, “Can I talk to the boss?” It’s rude and dismissive of the person on the phone. How about a nice hello? And then ask if a manager is available.

- If you ask the above question do not ask “if he’s around.” It’s rude to assume that the boss is a man. And when calling bookstores, it’s very likely the boss, is in fact, a woman.

- Do not say this call will only take two minutes, when, in truth, you know it’s going to be at least 10.

- Everyone’s time is valuable. Tell me why you’re calling at the outset. If you’re looking for a donation, get to that early on. If it’s a cause I care about and the store hasn’t exceeded its giving budget for the month, I might just give you a gift card.

- Do not call any retail establishment in December looking to buy your product or switch my phone service. None of us has time. We are not being rude when we cut you off, you need to know when to call.

- Contrary to what’s been happening, Monday morning is not a good time to call.

- Lastly, we know your job is hard, but if I ask you to leave you a message for the boss, or the “person who makes buying decisions,” please do that. Not being able to call someone back when there might be interest in what you’re selling is irritating. And honestly, I don’t trust people who won’t leave a message.

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