Since May we have received 7 reports of what appear to be high pressure sales techniques from a business known as Vardis, seeking advertising in a directory with the indication that proceeds will go to charity. The reports received have shown dissatisfaction with the quality of material provided, doubt with the advertising value and the high pressure to sign up ‘then and there ‘ for amounts from £199 to £399. These might be exceptions, but there are sufficient to argue caution. The Forresters Fund for Children, clearly from comments on their website, appear to have had some benefit by way of receipts from Vardis, but what percentage of sales this is we do not know. This may be a genuine attempt to raise funds for this worthy charity, but from the reports we have had we would at least take care before agreeing to contribute.
Generally……it is suggested FOR ANY sales approach by phone - you should be careful and questioning. For example:
1. Do not agree to any telephone sales from any company on the phone unless you are satisfied of their bona fides and do not agree to pay any money immediately in any circumstances. Ask for a week to consider it and tell them you will phone them back with your decision once you have seen an example of what they propose in writing.
2. Ask them for more details of what they are offering, and if a charitable element….how much goes to charity and the name(s) of the charity(charities) concerned, so that you can check with them. Consider whether you would agree to this promotion if a charity was not involved – try to separate the charitable aspect from the business aspect.
3. Request details of the way in which your advertising will be published, whether there are certified advertising (e.g. ABC) figures available, and for reference to existing advertisers. Get an understanding of whether their target market will actually benefit your business. How will they distribute your advertising and to whom?
4. Telephone sales techniques are designed to be persuasive and tend to try and get the recipient to make an instant decision. This is neither necessary or wise and one should always seek to make the decision later when you are not under pressure. The golden rule is never to commit to expenditure which you have not sought immediately. Very often in the cold light of day your decision may be different.
We hope these comments will be useful as we seem to be facing an increasing level of ‘cold calling’ and if others wish to tell me of instances where they have faced similar cold calls we would be happy to receive them.