Starting a Cold Call with a Lie is Not a Good Idea

Don’t Lie About a Cold Call

Maybe they are cold calls because they need the ice to put out the fire on their pants.
Maybe they are cold calls because they need the ice to put out the fire on their pants.

I get a lot of calls from vendors. Since I recommend products to other lawyers, I imagine getting my attention is useful. Add the fact that I work in a mid-sized firm, and now there are two potential markets if you can get me on the phone.

I will tell you a secret. I don’t like cold calls. I don’t like cold emails either. I especially don’t like either of these when the person on the other end is showing me that she is either a liar or incompetent.

No, You Didn’t Meet me at ABA Tech Show

I had the privilege to speak at the ABA Tech Show this year. For reasons that have nothing to do with a lack of value, I spent no time in the vendor area. Zero. Zip. Nada. Given this, you can imagine my surprise when I received a call today from a vendor who claimed we had spoken at Tech Show and she was following up.

I am feeling a bit grumpy today so my response was a bit more blunt than it might have otherwise been. Or maybe not. I am, perhaps, maybe sort of known for being blunt if you irritate me.  At any rate, when the person told me she was following up because she had spoken to me at ABA Tech, my immediate response was, “no you didn’t. Do you know how I know this? I didn’t go into the vendor area.” She was dead silent for a moment. Then she started to apologize saying she didn’t know how such a thing could have happened and so on and so forth. I really cannot tell you everything she said for the verbal squirming.

Come on now. We both know exactly how it happened. She got my name off the attendance list and was cold calling me. But, she thought I wouldn’t remember whether I had spoken to her (or someone else from her company) and figured I would welcome her as someone I must have talked to once before. She didn’t expect me to be so certain in the fact we hadn’t spoken. Of course, there is an alternative to lying. That alternative is incompetence. As in, your company is incompetent and didn’t keep a correct list.

I guess you, dear reader, can pick which you think is worse in someone trying to sell me a product.

By the way, lest you think this is limited to Tech Show, I can tell you it is not. I have signed up to attend Legal Tech in New York twice. I have not attended either time. And yet, I have received calls informing me that the vendor wanted to follow up with me after we spoke. I have had this experience with other vendors as well. Random people who must have gotten my name from my website. Other people don’t respond to this behavior well either. My friend Pamela Starr pointed out this article to me when I posted about my experience on Facebook.

Don’t Lie

People aren’t stupid. They tend to know with whom they spoke. If they don’t recall, they probably kept a business card and can check. These kinds of lies aren’t helping anyone. If you are making a cold call, just be honest about it. Or better yet, don’t waste our mutual time. I have no idea what this vendor was selling. You know why? Because after she kept talking, I just hung up on her. Normally, I will at least let vendors get out why they are calling. But if you lie to me, you won’t even get that far.


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