October 25, 2008

Annoying Pest Or Welcome Guest? The Do Not Call List

Cold prospecting is like coal mining. It’s dirty, filthy, ugly, smelly, sweaty work best left to people who earn minimum wage with brawn, not maximum wage with brain. --- Dan Kennedy, Magnetic Marketing

There's lots of talk about the new National Do Not Call List (DNC) in Canada. As a consumer, you're probably happy. What about advisors trying to make a living? Some are concerned. Others aren't. 

Annoying Pest

You don't want to ignore a phone call at night because it could be important. We'd get calls from fax machines calling our fax machine. We didn't have one. So they'd call back again and again thinking our machine ran out of paper.  

Office fax machines still spew garbage faxes. You pay for the paper and ink. How annoying. There was no easy way to opt out until now. On a random day, I saw 27 wasted pages.

Email spam is annoying but it's easier to filter out --- 33 messages correctly tagged today. 

Telemarketing is the second worst pest. Calls at inconvenient times. Products and services you don't want or need.

Those days are now gone (with some exceptions).

The Most Annoying Remains

There's no relief for the most annoying pest: door-to-door solicitors. Two cute kids rang our doorbell and asked us to buy popcorn to support a cause we never hear about. I took the catalog. How can you refuse? The prices were $45-$55 on the open page. Yikes! Saying no then became easy.

Welcome Guest

You can easily joing the National Do Not Call registry. Online, you enter your phone number and confirm you're a human by typing an onscreen code. Here's the surprise. You don't even need to prove the phone number is yours. If you're not getting enough telemarketing, maybe someone opted you out. An act of random kindness. 

Unintended Side Effects

Before you choose your wish
You better think first.
With every wish there comes a curse.
--- Bruce Springsteen,
With Every Wish

Old techniques like cold calling may be dead. Advisors are generally told that they cannot call on behalf of a company and if they do, they'll pay the entire fine of $16,500 per incident. Ouch! 

Suppose you're my advisor and I give you a referral. If you phone, you're telemarketing and you don't have permission. I'd have to call on your behalf or you could send them a letter. 

Businesses seek ways to encourage you to contact them. We're already smothered by advertising but expect more. From those willing to spend. 


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