How small business owners handle phone solicitors

vbridges@newsobserver.comMay 20, 2013 

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners how they handle telephone solicitors. This is what they said.

•  “When I first opened the business, I put everything under my dog’s name, Pete Wheatstraw,” said Shonna Greenwell, proprietor of Rebus Works and pH Seven fine art framing in Raleigh. “Pete came to work with me every day, and whenever anyone called and asked for him, I knew they were a solicitor. I would reply with, ‘He’s not able to talk,’ and now that Pete has passed on, I say, ‘He’s no longer with us.’ ”

•  “We listen to the first few words, but most of the time, I say, ‘Thank you very much; I am not interested,’ ” said Shelley Holmes, co-owner of Elegant Stitches, a sewing, quilting and embroidery supply shop in Cary’s Waverly Place … “They are a little too persistent sometimes, though, for a business setting,” said Renee Spell, the shop’s other co-owner.

•  “Our phone rings all day long with that, honestly,” said Cristina Bradley, manager of Fresca Café and Gelato in Cary’s Waverly Place. Bradley says that she asks to be taken off their call list. “If it’s one that I have already tried that with, I will let it go to message or voicemail.”

•  “I politely decline and then move on with what I am doing,” said Amy Davanzante, owner of Enrigo Italian Bistro in Cary’s Waverly Place.

•  “When it comes to dealing with phone solicitors, I try to be respectful and kind. I recognize that everyone is trying to make a connection these days, plus sell a service or product,” said Becca Smith, director of marketing for Smith & Smith, CPA, in Cary. “I thank them for calling, tell them that we are not seeking their service at this time and wish them a happy day. Sometimes I flip it back on them and ask them if they need a CPA or if they have joined the Cary Chamber yet.”

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