Telemarketer Pesticide


The phone rings, it’s a number you don’t recognize but you pick it up anyway.  Who knows, it could be someone you haven’t heard from in a while.  Perhaps a chance to catch up.  Big mistake.

“Hi, is this Jack Smith?”

“Yes,” you respond, wondering if you should have agreed.

It’s Simon Wall from Xenix Product Corporation calling.  How are you doing today?” they start off, like that’s his real name.

“Good,” you answer, cringing.  But before you have a chance to even think “what’s this about?” he’s on you!

“We have a fantastic offer for you today, Mr. Smith.  Everyone needs…” he continues.  That’s when you wish you hadn’t answered in the first place.

And these people don’t take no for an answer.  They just keep on hounding and hounding you.  You know right down to your soul that there’s no way in hell that you’re going to buy their product but their livelihood depends on it so they keep pursuing it.  You don’t want to be mean (at first) so you try to butt in and politely tell him that you’re not interested.  That doesn’t work.  They eventually force you to be callous.

Well, there are other ways.  Here’s a few that I’ve used in the past:

  1. One time when the Globe and Mail called, I said straight away that I was illiterate and couldn’t read their paper even if I wanted to.  They hung up before I even had a chance to defend it.  Worked like a charm.
  2. Ask them to hold for a second, put the phone down and come back in 5, 10, 15 minutes.  If they’re still there then you’ve essentially wasted more of their time than they wasted yours.
  3. Ask them for their home phone number so that you can call them back later when you’re not so busy.  This only worked once for me.  The woman on the other end said, “well, ok.  it’s ….”  She rattled it off so fast that I didn’t even have a chance to take down the number.  That worked.  On the other hand, if they say that they don’t like you calling them at home you can come back with “I don’t like you calling me at home either,” and hang up.

Here are some things I’ve always wanted to try but either haven’t had the time or didn’t think of it in the heat of the moment.

  1. Start asking them a bunch of questions.  First ask them about the product then veer off and ask them what colour it is, then ask them what their favourite colour is.  Get right into those personal questions.  Watch them backtrack.
  2. Start telling them a story that, at first, relates to their product but eventually has nothing to do with it at all.  Make sure it takes at least 15 minutes to tell the story and if they try to butt in, pretend that you can’t hear them and just keep talking.
  3. If you sell something as part of your job, try to sell that product to them thereby reversing the process.  When they say that they’re not interested, say “huh?  That’s what I said like 15 minutes ago and you wouldn’t have it either.”

If you have good “Telemarketers Be Gone” stories, share them here!

What burns your ass?

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About brianwawryk
PMP and Prince2 certified project manager.

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