“In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.” -
To Telemarket or NOT to Telemarket. . .
“In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.” --Robert Oppenheimer
This famous quote from Robert Oppenheimer, theoretical physicist and head of the Manhattan Project (the American project that produced the first nuclear bomb), did not come immediately after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. It was only after the long-term implications of creating such a weapon of mass destruction were fully recognized that Oppenheimer began to reflect on what scientists had unleashed in human history. To be sure, the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan definitively ended World War II. If American scientists associated with the Manhattan Project had not created the first nuclear bomb, Germany or Russia would have most likely developed their own nuclear devise in a relatively short time.
So, what in the world does this have to do with a real estate blog? In examining my real estate business over the past month, I have noticed an increasing trend in large real estate teams--telemarketing. Large regional and national real estate teams are hiring inside sales agents to call between 50-150 numbers per day in hopes of getting a listing or helping a buyer.
Picture this: you are sitting in your favorite coffee shop (mine is coyote coffee, without a doubt), and your cell phone rings. Sloshing your Twisted Pumpkin Latte, you look down at the number--it is local but you do not recognize it. You pick it up, and you hear the infamous long pause associated with sales calls, "Hello, is this (put your name, mis-pronounced, here)?" How is your stomach feeling right now? How about your annoyance level?
So, lest I find myself tortured by my own moral compass (which I will freely admit tends to be very over-active, especially for a career in real estate), I want to ask the question, "is getting into the tele-marketing game going to cause the same moral malaise Oppenheimer experienced?” To be sure, my moral dilemma is by no means even close to the same scale as Oppenheimer’s, but it’s a great quote and there are parallels.
The most frustrating part of this dilemma does parallel Oppenheimer’s: telemarketing is deadly effective. Need 10 closings this month? No problem—most companies now have a formula based on previous performance and can work backwards—10 closings requires 25 appointments, and to get 25 appointments, our inside sales agents need to call 1,500 people. Is the “sales call” voice still echoing in your head?
I admit I have a particular distain for telemarketing calls. My favorite response to telemarketers is something like: “Mark Wise? Oh, he’s not here. He’s actually serving a six month prison sentence for assaulting a telemarketer. I’m sure he will want to talk with you as soon as he gets out, what is your direct line?”
Also, I recognize my personal moral objection and emotional distain for telemarketers is not going to stop telemarketing. I am under no illusion that my refusal to use telemarketing to generate business is going to convert the entire world salesforce (or even my own industry’s salesforce) to stop telemarketing. The heart of my question is, “will I be able to sleep and night and live with myself?”
I am therefore turning to you, my previous clients, my local community, my fellow Realtors, my current clients and customers: what are YOUR thoughts? Is it silly to even ask this question? Should my personal hatred of telemarketing influence how I market? Please, leave me your comments!
One final thought—my ultimate hope is that I manage to have enough business without telemarketing. Unfortunately, I cannot create that business completely on my own, so please remember me the next time you, your family, your friends, or your neighbors are looking to buy or sell commercial or residential real estate! I would love it if you were able to keep me out of the telemarketing business for good!
“Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” This quote found on a T-Shirt worn by an 80 year old woman in a sushi restaurant in Bangkok expr....