Unfortunately, I read more and more stories of people losing money to cold callers. But what are the signs that you’re about to sign up for a bad deal and why is it preferable to be eaten by a lion?
I’ll be truthful, not all cold calls are outright scams. But there’s often a good chance you’ll end up paying far more than something’s worth. If a product or service is that good, it should sell itself. If you end up being pressured into buying something, you probably don’t need it.
I think the vast majority of us have been given the advice to ignore cold callers at some point in our life. The problem is, as a nation, we’re too polite. When somebody phones or turns up at our door, many of us feel far too uncomfortable to just say no and carry on about our day. Instead, we quietly listen to what is on offer and hope a quick “no thank you” will be the end of it. But it’s never quite that simple.
How cold calling works
Think of the situation like this – the salesperson is a lion and you are a little antelope, having a lovely time in the sun roaming across the Serengeti (or your back garden).
That first sighting
So you see a lovely bit of grass or bush and decide to have a nibble. What’s the worst that can happen? In the real world, your first encounter is often made outside of a store, by phone or somebody knocking at your door. They are usually very friendly and are keen to let you know that any further meetings carry no obligations. Although, you’ll possibly find that there is already an obligation… If you’re in a couple, both of you will need to be there when the salesperson calls. They’ll claim it’s so you can both see the wonders of their product. Really, it’s so at the end of their pitch you can’t turn around and say you’re not willing to say yes or no until you’ve spoken to your partner.
My wife and I on holiday:
The moment you said yes to the meeting, the lion has already smelt blood. They’ve spotted you and think you’re there for the taking. This is the chance for the salesperson to earn a decent commission and buy a better car, so they will go all out.
Then the creeping starts. Prepare to be praised, they are attempting to get you onside. You’ll probably hear about their life story, even if you didn’t ask, just so you can build up a picture of what decent folk they are. They will then try to find some common ground with you so you start to build up a rapport. You’ll be blissfully unaware of your impending doom.
Next, it’s the sprint towards you. You’ll be bombarded with facts about their product and why it’s so brilliant and what your life is missing without it. You’ll be sat there bewildered and confused.
Now the lion pounces and pins you down. Let’s talk money. The first price they quote will be some astronomical figure that nobody in their right mind would ever pay. But they like you, so they will knock the price down instantly. The price will still seem very expensive but now won’t seem so bad. Then, they will keep chipping away at the price using various techniques until it looks more reasonable. The truth is, it will be far more than you were willing to pay at the start of the day, but it’s got you thinking.
And this is where the lion goes for the kill. This offer is only available today, otherwise, the price goes up. Only an absolute fool would turn down this price. You’re not a fool. Are you?
Say yes to the offer and the lion will drag your carcass off to show to the rest of the pack. Say no and the lion will be chased away by a hunter (or my wife as I like to call her) and you can breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, my lion analogy doesn’t quite tie-in. In reality, a lion will take less than a minute to kill its prey. A salesman will take hours. The chances are, you will probably sit there wishing you had been born an antelope.
The sooner you say no, the sooner you can get on with your life. Be firm, be polite and in the words of Dionne Warwick, walk on by.
Take a look at my post on how to stop cold calls on your home phone.