“No, don’t hang up,” he says, “this is not a sales call.”
Of course, he was lying.
It absolutely was a sales call. The fact that he suckered me in with “hi, how’s it going,” didn’t mean I was his new best friend.
My wife tells me not to answer the phone when I’m home, to let it go to voice mail. But running a home business, when I hear the phone ringing, I am compelled to answer it. I don’t want potential customers to be put off by having to leave a message. So, I get all the calls. Some I recognize.
“Do not hang up the phone.”
That’s how a company that wants to sell me Google listing services starts their automated call. I gave up blocking the numbers because they just keep using different ones. And then there is the “there is nothing wrong with your credit cards, but before the next billing cycle, someone in your home may qualify for a better interest rate.”
The most entertaining sales calls are the insurance company representatives that are working off a list that is at least a year old. I shopped for Obama Care 14 months ago and I still get calls asking if I need health insurance. I am polite and thank them for checking on me and my needs. Then I hang up.
So, I am used to sales calls.
But my recent bout with Major Depressive Disorder changed that. When I first got out of the hospital, I was not concentrating on much of anything. Still trying to figure out the first steps in living with depression, I wasn’t answering the phone. I must have taken three to four weeks off. But now, I am feeling so much better and am back to driving sales in my business.
This means I am back to answering the phone.
For my business, I have had an 800 number for 7 years. I got it long enough ago that it is an 800 number, not an 866 or something that tries to be an 800 number. I have the 800 number business calls forwarded to my cell phone. That way I can always speak to new clients.
This arrangement works great most of the time. At home, I have an upgraded cordless phone system. It allows me to sync my cell phone to it. Now when I am in my home office, I can answer the home office line or my cell line from the same cordless landline phone. I think it’s cool.
When I am on the road, the 800 number calls ring on my cell.
This is what happened today. I was driving to a meeting and the phone rang. When I am driving, I have the phone synced to my vehicle, so I can answer hands-free. The voice was a little muffled and sounded like someone I know. And he said, “hi, how’s it going?”
I should have known right away that something about the call was odd, but I was driving and until the phone rang, I was wondering if I was going to make it on time to the meeting. So, I said “it’s going good”
Then he started asking me about my energy bills for the business.
Now I know this is a sales call. I interrupt and say that I am not interested. He said, “I am not selling anything.” That sounded so phony I couldn’t believe it. Then he pushed forward, wanting permission to send me information so I could make an informed decision about my energy consumption.
I could have thought “Gee, that is so nice of him to take time out of his busy day to make sure that I am aware of all of my choices for energy providers. What a swell guy for doing that.” I could have thought that, but I didn’t.
What I did think was, “Why can’t he hear me saying no?”
He’s now forcing his intentions on me and I said: “No, I do not want this, do not do it.” Then I reached over and hung up the phone.
I was almost shaking I was so angry.
A simple phone call and I was super-charged and ready for a fight. Thoughts began to stream through my brain like the ticker tape scrolling along the buildings in Times Square; things like “just stop that,” “why are you still talking?” “I can’t believe this guy doesn’t get it. He is pissing me off.”
What had just happened?
Before I acknowledged depression, I was not focusing on myself or figuring out things that triggered responses such as this. Now it’s all I think about. I am finally curious, after all these years, about why I do certain things, make certain decisions, see things a certain way.
Understanding myself is helping me understand how I can now say with conviction, day after day, that depression is not my boss.
But this phone call had me all worked up. Why?
In the end, I realized that I did not feel heard. Most of the time, I am never rude to the person making the sales call to me. I get it, they are trying to make a living, and there are people who purchase (for whatever reason). But I am not going to be sold that way.
Not feeling in control during the call was what made me mad.
And I was not in control because I was hungry and tired. When I was driving to the meeting, it was 97 degrees. The day was super-hot, and I had not really eaten lunch before leaving. This stress, combined with wanting to get to the meeting on time, allowed me to let this person’s persistence make me mad.
Realizing that, I took a series of deep breathes, slow in, hold and slow out.
I did this while keeping both hands on the wheel. It took a couple of minutes, but I got myself calmed down. There was no way I was going to take that negative energy into the meeting. In fact, the incident never came up. By the time I got to the meeting, I was relaxed and focused.
No one knew I had exploded just a few minutes before.
I am grateful for all the tools I have learned as I build my new life with depression. Regaining my calm after the sales call I am marking as a victory.
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