Do Not Call?

Three reasons that true advisors shouldn't worry.

Even though it currently resides in legal limbo after a court challenge, the "Do Not Call" legislation was prompted by telemarketers interrupting people who were working on deadline, eating dinner, doing other things they didn't want to stop doing to talk to some stranger about something they couldn't care less about-what the rude so-and-so wanted to sell them. But the person who picked up the phone used to have little recourse other than to hang up. Now, folks who are fed up with whole thing can just put their names on the National Do Not Call list to discourage-nay, penalize, to the tune of $11,000 per infringement-anyone who might ring them up with the intention of foisting their "wonderful opportunity," "must-have product" or annoying, persistent sales chatter on them.

Fair enough.

What's scaring some financial professionals about this is they believe the law applies to them. But take a breath and think about this for a moment. If you're reading this, you probably consider yourself a financial advisor, not a financial products pusher. And if you're doing your job right, your clients make this distinction, too. Furthermore, the new law doesn't affect you, except to save you from having your dinner interrupted by a pesky phone call.

How can I be so sure? Here are three reasons.

1.You are not a telemarketer.

You already know I think cold-calling has no place in the business practices of a financial professional, and it's antithetical to my definition of a "trusted advisor." And now there's a legal reason not to do it.

2.You don't behave like a telemarketer.

So if you're not calling random people from lists, and your clients don't consider you a salesperson, just what kind of call might get you in trouble with the FCC? Maybe you're concerned about phoning people to whom you've been referred. But this doesn't have to be an issue if, again, you don't behave as a telemarketer. Telemarketers call up and quickly angle around to the services or products they want to sell.

Consider this script for a call placed after sending someone an introductory, "value-added" piece.

Hi there, Joe. Your Uncle Hank asked me to call you because he said you love to spend your time with your family and that everybody really enjoys sailing trips together. Is that true?