It seems very easy to dismiss advertising emails and spam—I separated the two because advertising emails can be useful, particularly those received from vendors that you do business with or would like to do business with, whereas spam is general emails sent from businesses that purchased your contact information. With a quick preview, the importance of the email can be read in its entirety or deleted on the spot. Sometimes, these emails don’t even make it into your inbox if they spam filters are set in your email. And luckily, if emails from a certain vendor don’t apply to you or you’re not interested in them anymore, you can just hit unsubscribe. If only this can apply to phone calls and doorbells. Emails aren’t invasive. They passively land in your inbox and can be ignored easily. Phone calls and doorbells cannot be ignored. They are especially distracting when you’re trying to write your manuscript and get into a flow with your story.
Why don’t I just ignore the phone calls? Unfortunately, this is an era where people are attached to their phones 24/7. Most of the time, it’s used for the apps—let’s face it, mainly for the games and social media—but it’s hard to ignore a phone ringing. It’s insistent. It makes a noise. It distracts your train of thought. It also doesn’t help if you’re waiting for that very important phone call from a potential employer.
In Canada, we have the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), where you can add your phone number and the telemarketers should know not to call you. However, this doesn’t apply to registered charities, political parties or candidates, surveys, newspapers calling for subscribers, or businesses that you are using.
It’s too bad that I can’t make my phone number exclusive to family, friends, school, and emergency contacts.What also irritates me is the inconvenient times that they decide to call: dinner time, nap time, night-time, and I’m-writing-my-book time.
But phone calls aren’t as bad as someone at the door, ringing the doorbell, during baby’s nap time, when you have a dog. I don’t want to give an invitation to a random technician to check my water heater nor do I want to change my utility billing to some unknown company because I’m eligible for a special rate according to my contract. Unfortunately, many people have been duped by these sales thinking that the company they actually do business with sent the technician. Luckily, the Government of Canada has made commercials about this scam—check photo ID and for a copy of your contract.
So, I put up a sign that stated, “No soliciting.” Just when I thought that my writing time would be undisturbed (I write during the baby’s nap time), the doorbell rings from a religious group. When I pointed to the sign on my door, they merely stated that they were not selling anything—or at least that’s what I think I heard during the banshee screams from a baby that woke up to a loud barking from a doorbell-hating dog. So, I changed the sign to “No soliciting, no canvassing, nor evangelizing.”
Are phone calls and door-to-door sales effective in this day and age? Most of the time, people check online reviews if they want to switch or change something. If they don’t have access to the online world, they ask someone in their family or circle of friends that does. Maybe there are the small few in a major city like Toronto that have to rely on phone calls and door-to-door sales. Businesses need to learn that online reviews and social media are the ways to gain business.
With the digital age and access to online information, getting business through the phone or door-to-door is not as effective as it was in the past. The number of people not connected is decreasing, and many times they rely on the connected generation to provide the best course of action for purchases.
Stock image from @iStockPhoto.com