Every business needs to use marketing techniques to advertise its presence to potential customers. Some of these are more sophisticated than others – you can use social media, advertise in the local press or leaflet drop to let people know about the service you offer. All of these methods are within the scope of the What’s Expected of You document and Code of Conduct that you signed up to as part of becoming a Which? Trusted Trader.

However, one sales-technique that isn’t endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders is cold-calling or door knocking. Clearly there are some businesses, such as Avon or Betterware that have been largely built-up around this principle – these are legitimate companies and we wouldn’t want to suggest otherwise. Unfortunately many businesses that don’t want to deal fairly with customers use cold calling as a sales technique.

Find out why working with the wrong companies can be a risk to your business, or read on for more about why we don’t recommend cold-calling.

Problems associated with cold-calling

The major problem for customers when faced with cold-calling as a sales technique, is that they don’t really know what the business is, where it comes from or any contact details should there be a problem. Naturally this is why it is a technique used by people who do not want to deal fairly with customers.

Rogue trader that use cold-calling as a sales technique will typically want to do the job there and then and be paid in cash – sometimes obtained under duress. Then if they leave the job half-done, there’s no means for the customer to contact them.

People are more vulnerable when they’re socially isolated or have other issues such as drug or alcohol dependency or health problems. So rogue traders or doorstep scammers will target elderly or vulnerable people, as they are more likely to be susceptible to these sales techniques.

There’s evidence to suggest that if someone falls prey to these scammers on one occasion, they then go on to a ‘suckers list’ which means they’re more likely to be targeted again in the future. In some cases the problem will escalate to petty theft, using distraction techniques or even direct intimidation.

Several local councils have set up ‘no cold-calling zones’ to protect their residents from scammers who work by targeting vulnerable people in their homes. Which? Trusted Traders worked with Camden council and sponsored their local no cold-calling zone, located close to the Which? headquarters in London.

Which? Trusted Traders Code of conduct

Cold-calling isn’t something that we want associated with Which? Trusted Traders in any way. That’s why we check that you don’t use cold-calling as a sales technique when your business signs up to become a Which? Trusted Trader.

We’ll review again during the assessment with a trading-standards professional and we ask you to maintain that pledge to avoid cold-calling for the duration of your endorsement. We will check this regularly to ensure that you are sticking to this agreement.

If you want to make sure that your sales processes fall within the Which? Trusted Traders Code of conduct or you need any further guidance, contact your account manager on 0117 456 6032 or email them on trustedtraders.which.co.uk.

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