Because of a lot of adverse media attention, I had developed a particular perception of the sales promotion calls you get on the phone. I usually gave a stern response and hung up, later regretting a little my brusqueness. There was one phone call that made me change my attitude.
“Am I speaking with Ms Raksha Kumar?” came a husky voice with a strong accent. “Who’s this?” asked I. “I’m calling from … bank, may I take some of your time?” she asked politely. The lines were well-rehearsed. “Well, I was in the middle of something important,” I wasn’t completely lying.
Sensing my hesitation, she nearly broke down, “Ma’am, I have called 20 people since morning with no positive responses. I have three brothers and two sisters. Please let me speak to you.”
Without knowing how to react, I said, “Sure.” For the next five minutes, she explained a new scheme. It will benefit you, she concluded.
After politely declining her offer, I hung up. Later that evening I thought of the difficulties faced by these poor sales people. We all know what a nuisance they are, but this call made me wonder about what young people have to do to get ahead in these competitive times. Why do we have to be so preoccupied with our own worries? Surely we can listen to what they have to say if we are not into something important?
But these thoughts didn’t last long. The very next morning I received another call. “May I talk to Ms Raksha Kumar?” asked another well-rehearsed voice. “Yes?” my manner was a lot more relaxed. “Ma’am, I’m calling from … bank and want to inform you about our new scheme,” said he. I tried to infuse enthusiasm in my voice, still guilty about my brusqueness with the lady of the previous day. He took four and a half minutes. When I declined the offer, he said, “You are a woman. Please understand my plight.” He then went on to narrate his problems.
Now I was guarded. I sensed that he was trying to work me into buying his ‘new scheme’. It made me think. Could it be that these salespeople were now peddling stories to sell their schemes?
Getting the right response to these unsolicited inquiries is a tough call.
Published in: The Indian Express
Published on: 28 September, 2006