5 tips: "Help, someone is calling me!"

You are in the Business Register, which means other entrepreneurs can find you. They may look up your phone number to call you and make you an offer. While some may offer interesting products or services, others may offer things that you are not interested in at all. 5 tips to avoid getting stuck with unwanted contracts.

An amendment in the telecom act means it is not allowed to call an eenmanszaak (zzp'ers and freelancers included), vof, or professional maatschap out of the blue

Tip 1: Stay in control of the conversation 

Catching you by surprise over the phone is a well-known sales tactic. Smart salespeople love calling when you are at your busiest. Even though you do not really have the time, you still pick up the phone. Before you know it, you find yourself answering questions without stepping back to think calmly first. 

Always ask who is calling and why. If the person on the other end of the call starts talking about an "offer, proposal, great deal, practically free service...“, you know enough. If you still do not quite know what the call is about, keep asking. 

Do not allow the salesperson to rattle off their go-to marketing spiel. Stay in control and lead the conversation. 

Tip 2: Do not say ‘Yes’ until you know what the call is about 

If you are interested in the offer, ask the salesperson to send you the information by post or email so you can take a closer look at your leisure, or schedule a call for a later date. 

Do not make a decision until you have taken the time to actually look at the offer. Do you need the product, is it a good offer? Never agree to something with someone you do not know over the phone. 

Certainly do not give your personal details, not even if you tell them that you want some time to think. Do not give out this information until you are sure that you want to make a purchase. 

Tip 3: Give yourself time to reflect 

There is a great offer NOW. You have to decide right away. It is a temporary offer. Valid only during this call. These are all ways to tempt you to make a quick (or rash!) decision. Never allow salespeople to put you under time pressure. If they have a great offer today, it will still be there tomorrow. 

If you take a little more time, you can compare offers and explore exactly what you need or seek advice from someone else. 

Tip 4: Learn to recognise sales techniques 

Telemarketers use various psychological tricks to persuade you. Here are a few: 

  • The ‘yes’ trap makes it harder to say no 
    With the so-called ‘yes trap’, salespeople exploit the fact that people generally want to appear reliable. After answering YES to a few minor, general questions, it is more difficult to suddenly say NO to the next question. 

  • You have been specially selected for this offer 
    What an honour! When a salesperson tells you that you have been specially selected for on offer, it can be hard not to feel flattered. This feeling will make it more difficult not to accept the offer. 

  • A gift is hard to refuse 
    When someone gives you a gift, you tend to want to give back. By giving a gift, the giver makes it hard for you to refuse. Remember that it is never impolite to say no. 

  • Others do it too 
    The salesperson proudly mentions how many other people have already bought the product. Humans are social creatures. We like to follow the herd. And we definitely do not want to miss out. But a product that is right for someone else might not necessarily be what you need. 

  • Delightful salesperson 
    Salespeople tend to be super friendly, firing off all sorts of question in a cheerful tone of voice. In response, you will become more friendly too and be more inclined to answer. If you want to remain friendly, it can be hard to say you are not interested and you might find yourself answering questions anyway. 

  • The salesperson is an expert and is bound to know what he or she is talking about 
    If someone pretends to be an expert by mentioning all sorts of details, you are more likely to believe them. Do not fall for it. 

Tip 5: No is no 

If you are not interested, you can end a conversation simply by saying "no, thank you." You do not owe the seller a reason, an explanation, or an excuse. Explaining why you are not interested only gives the salesperson another reason to make one final attempt. Simply state briefly and firmly that you are not interested. Wish the salesperson a good day and hang up the phone. 

When someone calls you, stay calm and try not be caught off guard. Do not fall for the same old psychological tricks and calmly and rationally assess whether you are interested in the offer. If it sounds appealing, ask for more information and time. If you are not interested, end the conversation with a brief yet firm goodbye. You are in charge.