How many calls do you get a day from merchant services, auto-dialers stating that “your Google listing is in danger of being deleted, press 1 now to speak to a Google specialist”, or companies that claim “We have one spot on Google just for you!”?
10, 20, 30 calls a day? Ugh.
A couple of years ago, I made the mistake of creating a fake business. The reasoning was sound, I wanted to test local SEO theories I had on this “business” to help benefit our clients in the long run.
Within a matter of a few days, I started getting pummeled with telemarketing calls. 5-10 calls a day for merchant services for a few months. The biggest problem was that the phone number was a Google Voice number and was connected to my personal cell phone.
After these calls started to die down a bit, I started to receive another 5-10 calls a day from internet marketing companies trying to pitch there services.
At first I had fun with them, sometimes I would talk in a weird accent, or answer the phone by saying “County morgue, you kill em’ we chill em’”, I would even listen to the pitch, then start to ask technical questions.
One particular call came from a local SEO company based out of Orange County CA, specifically Irvine. I asked him some technical SEO questions, which irritated him, he then called me a rather nasty name and hung up on me. I did some searching, found his name, the CEOs name, and sent a nice letter to the CEO on LinkedIn.
According to the CEO, he would take “appropriate” action against this sales rep. I doubt anything happened.
These calls also started to really effect my productivity. Like you, my time is valuable and these calls would throw me off of what I was trying to get done. I just stopped answering my phone entirely for the sake of my sanity.
So how do you deal with telemarketers?
You can add your number to the Do Not Call list, but I’m guessing you already have. The DNC list is also geared towards consumers at home, not businesses. Even if it was geared towards business owners, telemarketers likely wouldn’t honor it.
Time to fight back
I use to be a daily contributor to the Local Search Forum. One day Linda Buquet, the forum owner, posted a thread about getting a call from a robocall that contained a slurry of lies. The thread went on for a bit and I posted something I had seen earlier that year about a great way to get back at telemarketers.
Let me introduce you to Lenny, a robot recording that knows how to handle these scammers. The video below is more than 18 minutes of an Indian SEO provider trying to pitch good ol’ Lenny.
Setting up Lenny was pretty easy if you had a PBX phone system. Unfortunately the itslenny.com now redirects to a different website.
How can you create your own Lenny?
Depending on what kind of phone system you have, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Create an extension on your phone system that automatically goes to a recording that you set up. The timing of the recording could be similar to Lenny’s, and it should work like a charm.
After it’s set up, create a name for your new director of marketing, and start transferring telemarketers to it.
Now you can sit back, relax, and know that you got some sweet sweet revenge on telemarketers.
The effects of telemarketers on the local SEO industry
What really sucks about these telemarketers is that they put a black eye on the local SEO industry. Local SEO companies that do great work aren’t going to call you. You might be able to find someone locally that does great work. Before hiring a local SEO, be sure to ask them these 8 questions [link to post].
Google is finally starting to get involved directly with these scammers. Mike Blumenthal broke the news first about Google suing Local Lighthouse. Google gave Local Lighthouse numerous attempts to change there tactics, and nothing changed.
Hopefully this will start to have these companies change the way they call businesses, or better yet, stop calling altogether.
Thanks for reading, I hope you found this entertaining and useful.
Blake is the President & Founder of RicketyRoo Inc. He has more than 12 years of local SEO and paid search marketing experience working with a variety of small to medium-sized businesses. He’s a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors and speaks at digital marketing conferences about local SEO.
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