I am sitting at my desk and the phone rings. For some reason our company does not have caller
ID. On the other end of the phone is a young (or so I assume) man (in fact I cannot recall a woman ever calling me with stock recommendations) who reminds me of a conversation we had a couple of months ago where he offered a few stocks for me to follow. The problem is that conversation never took place and I have a very good memory.
Brokerage houses obviously have some sort of prospect profile that identifies me as a potential customer. Aside from running a business for 15 years I am not sure what else identifies me as a person that would pick up the phone to speak with someone I do not know and be interested enough in some random stock recommendation that I would agree and engage them in a ‘relationship’ as a stock broker. Let me just say that I would NEVER do that.
But it has to work right? Dialing (pressing?) for dollars has been around nearly as long as the telephone has been in existence. So I surmise that the numbers game must be effective or else why would brokerage houses continue to employ this as a tactic? But the tactics are cheesy, sleazy and in my view even lower than a fast talking used-car salesman. On many occasions over the years someone employed to simply get me on the phone will call and ask me to hold for someone else – like this somehow makes it more important.
Having been involved in direct mail for much of my career, I was and am often asked why companies send junk mail. The answer is – because it works. No mailer wants to send mail to a person that does not wish to receive or respond to it. However the idea is that enough people will respond to make the promotion a success.
Receiving a mailing is incredibly less interrupting (and offensive) than a cold phone call from someone I don’t know asking me to trust them with investing money when they know nothing of my personal financial situation.
If I actually did receive a mailing from a stockbroker outlining their thought process, capability, and track record, and then that mailing was followed up by a phone call, if the information was compelling I would at least be more inclined to have some sort of conversation out of courtesy. That has never happened. And I don’t expect that it ever will.
I feel that the model of stock broker cold calling probably has not changed in fifty years. Isn’t it time it did? Do you get these kinds of calls? If so do they aggravate you?