It happens virtually every evening, generally just as we're sitting down to dinner. The phone will ring and when I check the caller ID, it says "Unavailable," "Blocked," or "Unknown Caller." I never answer the phone because the only calls that come from those ID's are sales calls or charities soliciting donations. I don't buy stuff from people over the phone and I choose my charities in my own time and for my own reasons.
The bottom line is, there's no need for me to ever answer a call from "Unknown" because I know who "Unknown" is and I'm not interested in talking with them. I'm guessing you feel the same way.
So, why would you deliberately block your caller ID when doing customer service, booking, and sponsoring follow up calls? I've heard about this practice for years and someone recently asked me about it on Facebook because a corporate trainer with her company is advocating it.
Am I missing something? I just don't understand the value in this.
Basically, if you're willing to push *67 to block the person you're calling from seeing it's you calling, you're assuming that they don't want to talk with you and won't pick up the phone if they see your name on their caller ID (which I'm here to tell you is all about assumption and, 99% of the time, inaccurate assumption on your part, but that's another blog post). So let's say you block your name so the person you're calling is "duped" into picking up the phone and it actually works and they answer.
According to the psychology behind this practice, you're now on the phone with someone who didn't want to talk with you in the first place. Congratulations. As my teenage sons would say, "Awkward!" What are you supposed to say to get them to do whatever you're calling about from this perspective? Frankly, it reminds me of my time on Match.com when men would use profile photos of themselves 20 years younger and 50 pounds lighter to entice me to go out with them. What did they think would happen when we met in person? I'd fall instantly and madly in love with their personality and forget the fact that I'd essentially been tricked into showing up for coffee with them?
Trust me, that never happened.
So, instead of tricking people who don't want to talk to you because they have no relationship with you into picking up the phone for an unproductive, uncomfortable conversation, how about building relationships with your customers and potential hosts? That starts with connecting with them more often than twice a year when you're hoping they'll book a home party or place an order. It starts with you actually taking an interest in their lives, their kids, and them. Sending a card on their birthday or anniversary, inviting them to an appreciation open house, or calling out of the blue with no agenda other than to make sure they're doing well and enjoying their products.
Then, when it's time to call and offer them the opportunity to work with you, in any capacity, not only will they want to hear from you, but you'll feel comfortable making the call. And that's worth it's weight in gold.
I'd love to hear your take on this practice in the comments below. Do you use *67? Has it worked for you?
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Julie Anne Jones is direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.