19 APRIL 1963, Page 15

THE HARD SELL Sig,—Leslie Adrian, quoting selectively from an article

of mine in World's Press News, includes sell ing by telephone in his blanket condemnation of th. 'hard sell' In point of fact, telephone selling tech niqucs as practised by this company do not inched,. the 'hard sell,' a technique which is always dangerou and is particularly so in a situation where en irritates or uninterested customer can simply replace the re ceiver.

Had Mr. Adrian read my article constructively he would have understood my main points, which were that marketing by telephone offers great economies of time and money.- together with in- creased productivity; and depends for its success on highly intelligent operators each of whom has 'the ability both to sense and adapt herself to a variety of sales situations.' Apart from the ethical con- siderations involved, no intelligent operator would dream of trying the 'hard sell' on the shrewd and profit-conscious businessmen with whom we deal. She would, however, willingly and convincingly answer a charge of using the 'adaptive sell.' If, for example, she were contacting Mr. Adrian, she would make an appreciation of his personality. She would note that he once spent two 'precious' hours over the 'ghastly' business of declining to buy the Encyclopedia Britannica. She would conclude that he is either inarticulate, excessively scrupulous, or faint-hearted. Since the Spectator employs him, he must be articulate.

The intelligent operator would further note that since Mr. Adrian finds the word lelesales' ugly, he is likely to be in a constant state of depression from his daily contact with the word 'television.' She would note also that he is capable of self-delusion in that while he affects to condemn invasion of privacy by the marketing operating, he nevertheless invades our reading privacy by including in his editorial material plugs for Fortnum and Mason, and the Erna Low Travel Service. She would, therefore, base her approach on the Adlerian compensations to be expected from the mentality of a faint-hearted, melancholic, self-delud- ing, pompous nit.

Provided she made her contact not less than one hour after his latest traumatic experience, she would

Sales Manager

Phonesales Ltd., Old Bond Street, WI