Most Consumers would Ban Cold Calling

Three quarters of consumers dislike cold calling so much they would like to see it banned, research by consumer group Which? has found.

As well as those who wanted the practice banned, 60% of the 2,092 people surveyed by Which? said they hang up on cold callers immediately. One fifth of respondents said they had been pressured to purchase something they didn’t want to, while one in four said they had felt intimidated by the callers.

Customers are able to prevent most sales and marketing calls by using the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which allows them to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls. Businesses are obliged not to make calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have the individual’s consent to do so. Pure market research calls ? where researchers carry out genuine research into public attitudes ? are not covered by the TPS.

However, Which? warned businesses not to try to get around cold–calling rules by disguising sales calls as surveys, as this is a breach of privacy regulations.

Commenting on small businesses’ use of cold calling, Drayton Bird, founder of marketing consultancy Drayton Bird Associates, said:

“I think small firms should do what works. I’m amused by the prescriptive way in which people say ‘you should do this, you shouldn’t do that’. Not all cold calling is alike.”

“If I want to get people to listen and respond, then I will do exactly the same thing with cold calling as I would with anything else: I would be polite, charming and helpful, and I would spend a lot of time before the call trying to think about the person that I was talking to.”

“If you tell people why you are talking to them, they will respond very well,”

said Bird.

“The trouble with marketing weapons is that those which are the most intrusive, and therefore can be the most successful, can also be the most infuriating, so it requires a little bit of tact, sensibility and interest in people.”

For further reading see our business advice article Making a Cold Sales Call.

Most Consumers would Ban Cold Calling

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