Do Not Call madness

Extending the Do Not Call register to include business numbers is an idea that belongs with those pixies at the bottom of the garden. SUE BARRETT

Sue Barrett

By Sue Barrett

Last week SmartCompany ran a story saying that the Federal Government may include business numbers in the Do Not Call register. What is the Government talking about?

Prospecting for new business via the telephone (referred to as unsolicited phone calls) is still a legitimate and critical business activity necessary for anyone in sales and in business, especially in business-to-business sales where consumer marketing and advertising strategies do not work effectively.

It is a vital activity any business or sales person worth their salt should be doing on a regular basis. Therefore I do not believe that the Government should include business numbers in the register.

Good sales people have done their homework on who they want to call and are prepared to approach the prospecting phone call with a clear client-centred purpose and professional manner. They don’t just pick up the phone willy nilly and dial anyone.

Many businesses have won loyal clients and large projects by prospecting to new businesses. How do you think we did if before the internet? How do you think we still do it? While the internet and SEO is helpful, it has not replaced prospecting as a key source of new business development. Prospecting is still a key strategy to grow sales for any business.

Unless someone can come up with alternative, cost effective sales prospecting/new business development strategies that can bypass using the telephone as a prospecting tool and are fair for all concerned (meaning it doesn’t leave small businesses at a disadvantage to bigger players who can afford other means more easily), we need to be able to prospect via the phone to continue to find new viable customers and grow our businesses.

Using the phone to source new business is a cost effective sales tool that gives parity to anyone from a start up business to a large corporate. Placing businesses on the Do Not Call register would discriminate against smaller businesses and start ups. It would further kill off diversity in this already over-corporatised country.

So using the phone to prospect should be here to stay. If not for fairness and the ease and cost of doing business but for the environmental factors as well. I mean who wants more junk mail? (Which would probably replace the phone calls.) I would rather field a few calls (many of which are legitimate) than get copious amounts of emails or mail to deal with everyday.

As you know I spend my much of my business life demystifying what good sales and prospecting practices are versus unethical and incompetent practices. While there are those people and businesses who give sales and prospecting a bad name, fortunately they are in the minority. This type of proposal is at risk of basing its findings on the minority of “bad” operators at the expense of the majority who do the right thing.

Let’s make sure we do not kill off initiative, common sense and the entrepreneurial spirit by denying us the opportunity to use a legitimate business tool in a legitimate business tool box.

My only hope is that whatever happens on this proposal, the Government has the common sense and foresight to put business people and competent sales people on to its task force to ensure the “real world” view is heard and acted upon. So I am putting my hand up and am happy to contribute to the debate if the Government wants my point of view.

Sue Barrett is founder and managing director of BARRETT, a boutique consultancy firm. Sue is an experienced consultant, public speaker, coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating high performing people and teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. Click here to find out more

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