Solicitors are People, Too

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The solicitor is one of the many call types that, as a receptionist, I handle every day.  As a Ruby®, my goal is to handle these calls professionally, efficiently, and cheerfully.  There are a few things I like to keep in mind.

1) Whom are they calling?

Sometimes, the company that the solicitor is calling actually does want to talk to them.  After all, there are several reasons that you might just want to talk to that cold-caller.  I always try to keep in mind that not all solicitations are a bad thing.

2) Identifying the Solicitor.

Usually, a solicitor will ask to speak with “the owner or manager.”  At this point, I will ask the caller their name, company name, and what the call is regarding.  I always assume that they are any other caller until I prove otherwise, which means treating them with respect and speaking cheerfully.  There are two phrases you can use to ascertain whether the call is a solicitation.  Sometimes I say, “May I ask if this is a solicitation?”, but more often than not that gets a confused “Huh?” in response.  The other way to phrase it is “Are you calling to offer your services?”

3) Don’t Name-Drop.

If the call is a solicitation, and the business they are calling does not want to speak with solicitors, I always try not to name-drop.  The reason for this is that if a caller asks for someone specific, my screening techniques are different.  I only ask for the information that the person has requested.  Solictors are notorious for calling back several times, and even if you are able to screen them the first time, if you give out the “owner or manager’s” name, then you might not be able to screen the call the second time.

4) Declining the Call.

This is where it gets tricky.  When you have found out that the call is a solicitation, and you know that the business doesn’t want those calls, you are faced with the task of ending the call and asking the solicitor not to call back.  The phrasing I use is, “Unfortunately I’m not allowed to accept this type of call.  Please remove us from your list, but have a nice day!”  Whenever I can, I use the caller’s first name as well.

5) Solicitors are People Too.

Personally, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to make cold-calls all day long, getting shut down time and time again (and not always in the nicest way).  That’s why it is very important to remember that even though it is a solicitation, there is still a real person on the other end of the line.  I tend to be especially nice to solicitors.  The other bonus about this is that the screening process is fallible.  Sometimes a real caller can sound like a solicitor, and hanging up on a real caller is never a good thing.  But if you do make the mistake of disconnecting a legitimate call, then at least you’ve done it in a friendly way.

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