Cold calling by phone has become such an irritant there is a risk we may miss useful sales calls, says Pride of Britain chief executive Peter Hancock
However, my days are blighted by incessant telephone calls from salespeople whose training has rendered them deaf to the words "no thank you" and who think nothing of stealing precious minutes from total strangers in pursuit of their target.
Those of us who advertise are especially vulnerable because we have revealed the existence of a budget, much in the same way that sharing the remains of a picnic with an urban pigeon can quickly result in dozens more birds crowding around one's ankles.
I sometimes wonder how successful the tactic would be if we tried to turn the tables. "Is that the classified ads manager for PMT Monthly? Good afternoon, I hope you don't mind me calling you Pete. Tell me, Pete, do you stay in hotels from time to time? Yes? And if I told you our hotel was a four-red-star architectural masterpiece with a cracking chef, would you be interested in a free Champagne and romance break, with only your accommodation and meals to pay for? No? Why do you say that, Pete - don't you have a girlfriend?" and so on.
Clearly this approach is destined to fail, although if a large team working at desks stretching from Manchester to Mumbai made sufficient calls they would be sure to get some bookings, perhaps enough to convince their employers that this is a sensible way to acquire new business.
Cold calling over the phone has become such a nuisance that it can deter the busy and the important from taking any calls unless first screened by a PA or receptionist. I find this often, when our team needs a piece of information it can take ages to get hold of the right person because countless sales calls have conditioned them to avoid the telephone whenever they can. This is understandable.
The pity of it is that some sales calls are actually worth taking. Lots of catering businesses have formed brilliant relationships with excellent suppliers, many resulting from an initial approach by phone. If only we could tell from the ringtone, or some other method, which calls were from helpful and which from parasitic sources our lives would be transformed.
Now there's a challenge for the techies.
Do you agree or disagree with Peter Hancock? Let us know at www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk.