Cold Calling Claptrap

Ever since I got my Ooma VOIP system, I’ve reduced my sales calls quite a bit. Anytime I get a sales call (usually a robocaller), I simply add the number to my blacklist. No more sales calls!

Or almost…

Lately, they’ve been resorting to using local numbers that make it look like a legitimate phone call. So yesterday I answered the phone and was greeted by a woman who wanted to help me save money on my merchant account.

Here’s how it went:

“Do you accept credit cards?”


“What kind of business are you in?”

A service business.

“Recently, the government passed some new laws that removed mandatory merchant fees. We’d like to stop by and take just 15 minutes of your time to review your merchant statement and see if you’re paying any unnecessary fees. I have time on Thursday or Friday afternoon, which day works best for you?”

No, thanks. I’m not interested.

“So you’re not interested in saving money?”

Not in this way. Goodbye.

And I hung up the phone.

Now think about how ridiculous this cold calling script is…

A complete stranger calls me and in the span of 60 seconds wants me to invite yet another stranger to my house to look at my merchant account statements?

Uh, no thanks.

The worst part, I think, was that the woman had the audacity to use a leading question to imply I don’t care about saving money. Normally, I’m fairly tolerant of sales people seeing as I am one. But her question-disguised-as-an-accusation was over the line.

I’ve gotten multiple calls over the last 6 months that follow a script similar to the one above. It usually involves a merchant account… saving money… and a request to meet with me for “just 15 minutes.”

I assume it must be working, otherwise they wouldn’t be using it.

But I have to wonder… wouldn’t it be better to actually build rapport with prospects before asking for an appointment? And wouldn’t it be better to avoid insulting your prospects?

Better yet, why not eliminate cold calling entirely by approaching prospects by direct mail and enticing them to call in and self-qualify themselves?

If the laws had recently changed and there really were thousands of business owners being charged unnecessary merchant fees, it seems like that would be a fairly easy sale.

Furthermore, wouldn’t it be better to set up a system whereby you could do the statement review over the phone — no appointment necessary?

I pose these questions because right now the cold calls I’m getting are complete claptrap. If you’ve got a sales pitch you want to make over the phone, at least make it good.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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