As a Marketing Intern at Skyline Exhibits & Design, one of my main and on-going responsibilities is to clean up our database. “Grunt work” as my boss calls it; this task consists of going through our database and calling all of its contacts to update their information. This task definitely isn’t the most exciting but it is the most necessary.

Many companies see callers like myself as a telemarketer and aren’t always too eager to answer the call. It’s completely understandable to think that the purpose of the call is to sell something; I really am just trying to update contact information. If I happen to gain a lead or spark some interest in our products from one of these calls that is just a bonus because ultimately the company I’ve called would gain access to needed products or services.

After a few weeks of making calls and getting some negative feedback, I started to think about how these calls can relate to networking. Rejecting all unsolicited phone contact is not uncommon; however, it could be a possible oversight on the part of the business. Businesses don’t answer calls from people who they do not know or who they presume to be telemarketers.  

It could be in the best interest of these companies for this approach to be reevaluated. Incoming unexpected calls could be great networking opportunities that companies are missing out on. Calls received from barely audible, overseas “boiler room” call centers are very different (and more of a nuisance) than professional b-to-b organizations seeking to maintain proper contact information.

Networking is about building relationships and using these relationships to benefit your company and vice versa. With these types of calls, you may not know how much this person calling could help you and you them. Companies that ignore these types of calls are missing the opportunity to gain helpful information that could ultimately benefit their business.

 Also, that unexpected person calling could turn into a potential client. Ignoring these types of calls causes companies to miss out on a chance to sell and position their product to a new prospective customer. Networking can also be about using other company’s resources to benefit your own. The company calling you could have access to resources that could be helpful for you and your company.  Once you realize the possibilities that these types of calls could have for your company, it may be beneficial to reevaluate your approach to taking calls and reacting to “telemarketers.” It may end up having successful results for you.