Ending Phone Solicitation – Gorilla Style

One time a couple years ago, some wind damaged our building roof. We got estimates from several companies. We selected one of them and they did the job. Over the next few weeks, we got calls back from the other vendors asking what we had done. We told “Star Roofing” that we had chosen another contractor and the job was completed. In a reasonable world, you’d expect this business to invest no further sales efforts into customer with a repaired roof. However…….

Over the last two years since the repair, we’ve received solicitation calls from “Star Roofing” numbering in the 30’s. Each time asking them to remove us from the list, our roof is fine. Yet, they just keep calling and calling and calling. It’s a terrific waste of money and time to be interrupted many times. Each interruption could lead to an error, or at the very least the person that answered the phone has to find their spot again to continue the project they were working on. Over time, our conversation and tone grew more and more insistent they they never call again. We even tried begging. After each call, there is another disruption in the office while somebody laments to others, “Can you believe those dumb SOB’s called us again”… So, time for a new tactic….

I instructed everyone in the office; whomever answered the next unwelcome “Star Roofing” call to please invite them out. A couple more calls came and in the irritation of the moment, my strategy was forgotten and replaced by the well practiced “Please don’t call use anymore and remove us from your list” was employed. Then finally, somebody remembered our plan under the duress of yet another phone solicitation. “Come on out they said”………

A few minutes later, we get a call from the solicitors supervisor asking some question about our roof. Of course, to prevent phone solicitors from padding their paychecks by claiming appointments that are not real, the supervisor must verify that it’s a real appointment. I don’t know what the solicitor gets paid, but lets assume it’s $20. Probably not far off. The company then provides the leads to the company that hired them at some sort of profit. So, lets say “Star Roofing” might have had to pay $35 for the verified sales appointment. Imagine all the paperwork involved and costs of this visit.

After not showing up one day, they called then next, we’ll be out in an hour or two. We’re in Dayton, they mention they are driving from Cincinnati. I’m pretty sure this sales call is going to make an impression on them. Sure enough, about an hour later, the 50-60 mile trip is complete and the salesman arrives……

I introduce myself while shaking his hand. “Let me tell you why you’re here. We’ve been trying to get off your phone solicitation list for 2 years. We’ve done the Christian thing and asked nicely many times, the calls continue…We’ve insisted in not to nice tones “never call us again” and still the calls continue. After 2 years of this torture, let me tell you what we are going to do. We’re going to invite you out every time you call.”

The salesperson was gracious and understood our irritation. Never apologized, however I thought he handled the situation respectfully. Mike (person has has fielded most of their calls) asked if anything will be done about the calls as he is exiting the building. He replies “I’ll never be back here again.” to which Mike says “So that means you won’t be stopping the calls?” At that point he’s so uncomfortable hiding is embarrassment and anger for the waste of his time that he just heads on out the door…….

Rather obviously this incident isn’t going to go unreported. About 20 minutes later we get a call from “Start Roofing” office. An angry manager of some sort is giving Mike the “what-fore” on the phone. I can only hear one part of the conversation and it’s things like “maybe you should be in better control of your business” and “what do you think it does to your reputation..” and “Why do you have to be such and ass-hole” and etc. After Mike gets off the phone he told me the manager said he was going to put us on speed dial. What a professional approach he is taking in representing his company. Needless to say, I’m fairly certain, we won’t be hearing from this roofing company again. After paying the phone soliciting company, paying the salesman, paying for fuel and wasting all their time, I’m pretty sure we made an impression.

Don’t be afraid to use gorilla tactics to get action when your being ignored. It does not mater if it’s a business or government institution. If they won’t cooperate, don’t just lay back and take it.

My name is Dave Thacker and I’m doing something about it.

PS:The companies name was altered. It’s not my point to hurt anybody, just to end the ringing phone. (And perhaps suggest a little confident action goes a long way) 😉


Value Of Products

I don’t know if this has ever been written or theorized about. Perhaps it’s basic economics 101. However, I don’t think most people see a relationship that I’ve noticed for years.

There is an inverse relationship between the value of a product transaction how much effort is put into it’s sale.

Am I saying all advertising is an indication that a product is not a good deal? Not at all, however, I am saying an excessive amount of advertising of a product might be an indication that the cost of the product is much more than it’s value.

An extreme example would be a timeshare. Your not going to find any financial counselors who will recommend a time share as a purchase with high value. Most people who own them are sorry they every purchased. A critical look at the cost of “maintenance” fees would show for the amount of these fees you could probably buy a similar vacation each year anyway. If you look to buy a time share from an individual, you find they sell for about 10% of the original price down to free. People are anxious to get rid of them. How are they sold? GREAT effort where you are one on one with a high pressure sales person for hours. This is an example of a product with minimal value, maximum price and maximum effort required to sell.

A pencil is another mater. You walk into the store, nobody is going to twist your arm, urge you purchase, tell you 50 reasons why the pencil will make your life whole, health, improve your personal life. Nobody cares. You’ll never see a pencil commercial. You buy it or you don’t.

Think of popular TV products. It’s occasional fun to watch the info-commercials for me as I enjoy watching the salesman work. I like listening for the hot buttons, how he makes you want the product. I recently watched a commercial on the Ninja Blender. Hey, I would like to have that, or should I say, I’d like to have what I saw in the infomercial, the enjoyment and fun of the smoothies and ice drinks. If you buy this blender, the promise is you can have the healthy food, the pleasure and enjoyment of quick and each healthful food. What could be wrong with that? Notice however, the infomercials are 10 minute to 60 minute long sales pitches. Those infomercials don’t come cheap. When you buy that product, your paying for the commercial, the harder a product is pushed or advertised, the more of a gap must be between the cost of manufacture and the retail price of the product. For this statement not to be true would assume the company selling the product is doing it for a loss. In other words it assumes there is no profit motive and without a profit motive, nobody does anything. Look at the impoverished history of Russia where socialism demanded that very little of what a worker did was for his own benefit, nearly all of his effort was taken away to give to others. People set their tools aside and did as little as possible. Shortages of everything ensue. What proposes to have a “classless society” value ends up with a great devide between the rulling class and the poverty stricken working class. Ok, I’ve gotton off topic….

I will occasionally look one of the products up on Google. In this case, the blender is sold for about 3/4 the price (about $150) from retailers and mail order suppliers. If you respond to the infomercial, the price is about $200. So immediately we see the infomercial, (big sales effort) has a higher immeadiate price. We must also understand that because of many people that view the infomercial and are sold the idea the product is worth $200, the price does not need to be alot lower than that to sell in the store. It’s perceived value is $200 but hey, Joe’s Appliances has it for $159. It’s a great deal! We’ll, maybe, maybe not. Without the Infomercial, it might sell for about what most blenders do, $40-$100. I don’t know for sure, but it seems obvious to me.

We’ve all heard of supply and demand economics. Just remember that producers and sellers of products to some degree and for a short period of time are able to play with the supply and demand equation. Remember the oil embargo? Oil was held back from the USA in order to drive up prices. Supply was altered for a period of time. Altering demand is not hard, you can create demand if you have enough expected profit in the product to advertise it strongly. Temporarily the demand will be higher. Remember Ginsu knives and Ron Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman? These are products past their advertising driven temporary demand period.

The value of a product has an inverse relationship to the effort put into selling it.

Happy Shopping!