Once upon a time when the phone rang, there was no way of identifying the caller. Back in the dark age ending around 1992, an infamous group of people would tie up our non-call waiting lines: the telemarketer.

First of all, I need to admit that I generally like telemarketers. I grew up enjoying listening to people try to sell me their product. In my mid-twenties, I had the pleasure of working as a door-to-door salesman as well as a call center caller.

Having been trained by some of the best in sales, I learned at what points we had to stop selling. To my surprise a couple techniques really do work when talking to telemarketers.

One small caveat: this blog is about how to interact with telemarketers, not avoid completely. There are numbers you can call to do that.

1. Write down their name and company. Further discussed in point 3.

2. Politely tell them, “Thank you, at this time we are not in need of your product. Why don’t you call me back in about six months?”
I am simply amazed at how this drops phone traffic. 96% of the time, they will not call you back for at least two years.

3. If they get aggressive or angry, kindly tell them to calm down or you will hang up the phone. If they call back with the same attitude, ask for their supervisor. When their supervisor answers, tell them what happened. Most calls are recorded and when brought to their attention, they will review and take action.

4. Treat the telemarketer in a way you would want to be treated. Kindness goes a long way. Most telemarketers are working to provide extra money for their livelihood. This is rarely their dream job, but for them necessary. If anytime in the conversation you do not want to buy, tell them number 2. Leading on telemarketers is costly to them. I can’t remember the stats, but for every 15-20 calls, they might make a sale.

5. No one likes having the phone hung up on them. Telemarketers would rather be hung up on the wasting time on a caller who doesn’t want to buy.

Bonus: Dealing with door-to-door sales – I have no idea. I have found these people to be more pushy and rude than telemarketers. Generally, I just keep repeating, “No thanks.”

How do you deal with telemarketers?