[Edit: I've had assurances from the orignally named law firm saying the call below is most definitely not them. Trusting their word, I've removed their full name.]
I have never been involved in a car accident.
This is an important fact, as around 10 minutes ago I was contacted by someone from [edit: something sounding like CTS] telling me I had been involved in a car accident.
Working in marketing, I know how cold calling works and am not instantly dismissive to the person calling me. After all, I work in a connected industry.
However, the conversation went like this:
Caller: "Hello is that Mr Hadfield?"
Caller: "Hi, I'm calling from [something sounding like CTS Lawyers]."
Me: "Erm, right. Is this is sales call?"
Caller: "I am not selling anything today Sir."
Me: "OK I'll rephrase that, as I know you'll have been trained to say that. I have never contacted you, no? You are instigating unsolicited contact with me?"
Caller: "I'm calling you about a file I've been given about a car accident you were recently involved in."
Me: "Really! That's interesting. I'd love to see that report, as I've NEVER been involved in a car accident."
Caller: "... erm... OK..."
Me: "Can you send me a copy of that report please? I'd love to see it. I'd love to read about a car accident I've never been involved in. Can I see it?"
Caller: "I'll make sure we take this report off our records."
Me: "I suggest you do more than that, as, just to re-iterate the fact: I have NEVER been involved in a car accident. OK? Goodbye."
Caller: "Goodbye Sir."
[I'm paraphrasing, but those words are roughly what I said.]
What I object to is not the cold-calling. True that is annoying, and one of the most wasteful forms of marketing as it hits a lot of people that are irrelevant, the wrong demographic and in the wrong frame of mind (I was just going into a meeting).
To be honest, I'm not even too concerned with the strategy of using a lie to try and talk to me.
What I am most upset with is that the lie that I had been involved in a car accident is utterly distasteful, and for anyone you successfully target that had had a 'minor scrape' you're also going to contact people that have deep emotional scars if either themselves or a loved one had been involved in a bad car accident.
I suggest you re-think this strategy as you have all of your phone numbers on your website and it would be easy for a person more annoyed than me to get them and use them. Maybe to ask you all how you are feeling after your recent lawnmower accident half way through a meeting for example.
This letter has been posted on my blog here.
I hope more people read it, and I hope it prompts you to change your marketing strategy.