When I switched to having an internet-only phone I had to get a new landline number. This gave me the opportunity to start again with my phone number knowing no cold callers would have my number.
As well as getting a number for incoming calls, I decided to get a second number for putting on application forms, insurance quotes etc where I wouldn’t want to speak to someone. Instead when someone calls this number they get a message (from me) and get to record a message. This message is then emailed to my mailbox (and thanks to a filter in gmail it gets forwarded to my partner too).
I chose Flextel to provide my phone number but other choices are available. Calls to the number (and emailing of voicemail messages) is free but other paid options are available including forwarding to a landline or receiving faxes (remember those?)
Instructions on the Flextel site help you chose a number and set up voicemail (including recording your own message). Hint – turn off the call notification emails otherwise you get an email every time someone calls the number regardless of whether they leave a message or not.
So does this work? Yes! Use an insurance comparison tool, put in your new number and wait for the voicemails to come in. I’ve also given it to salesmen when looking for quotes and they simply assume that you are on the phone and so leave a message. We only give out the main phone number to people we might actually want to speak to (for example doctor, dentist) and everyone else gets the voicemail only number. No more running to the phone to speak to sales reps, and you can listen to the messages on your mobile phone (assuming you receive email on it).
Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more.