When answering the phone at work, eight times out of ten the call will be a sales call. I can literally write a book on the consequences of telemarketing and telesales as there's no way better to damage the reputation of your company or business than a really bad and awkward telephone pitch. When it's done well, it's an effective market research and sales tool, but if done bad it can really make your business look rotten.
Here's the top five most annoying things telesales people do:
1. Call, wait for me to pick up the phone but not ending up saying anything before hanging up. I know this is because you would connect three calls at once and as the first person picks up, the others are disconnected. These are technically illegal as they're classed as "silent calls", and are very very annoying, especially if I was in the middle of telling an extremely funny joke.
2. If you want to talk to my boss/manager, don't say that you know them personally or have spoken to them before just to be put through. A conniving strategy... until my boss/manager looks confused and asks me to take a message as they've never heard of you before in their life. Your name and company will probably be blacklisted for next time you call (by blacklisted I mean having your details scrawled on an eye-catching heart shaped Post-It note and sticking it on my Mac).
3. Do not pretend to work on behalf of, or with, a well known organisation to gain credibility. No, no, no and no! Once we had a man call the office claiming, with what he thought was a bossy "authoritative" voice, that he was calling from the Metropolitan Police. However he was very vague as to what he wanted to speak to my boss about and would never leave a message or number. It's well known that the police always leave a message if there is a genuine reason or a case they need to discuss. Turns out this guy was working on behalf of a company who sold advertising space on police wall calendars. So not really the crime-busting police force then. Fail.
4. Forcibly set up a sales pitch meeting over the phone. Please don't do this. It's awkward and irritating to have to explain why I don't want to take time out of my busy schedule to sit through a sales pitch for a product we neither need or want. And don't send me iCal invitations for meetings that I have refused over the phone... I'll only end up deleting them.
5. After I have told you that we do not require your services/products, please don't keep calling even though I have told you to take our company's number off our database. That is illegal too. And don't try to disguise your voice by holding your nose, I know who you are!