How To Deal With Telemarketers, A Strategy, Just Hang Up!
Intrusive and annoying!
In my opinion, telemarketing is one of the most intrusive types of marketing that we are subjected to today. "Lead generators" and other telemarketers are trained to keep you on the phone until you make some kind of commitment. The longer you stay on the call, the harder it is to get off.
I understand that in our market system we need advertising and marketers. However, as consumers find more ways to disregard the ever increasing amount of unwanted marketing attempts they are subjected to, the marketers increasingly become more intrusive and annoying. But it seems, that of all forms of marketing we have today, telemarketing is the most invasive and troublesome to deal with.
I'm convinced that telemarketers are not polite people. They may act friendly, but take a moment to think about their actions and motivations. They interrupt you at the busiest time of your day. They call you by your first name, without your consent, in an attempt to disarm you and make you think that you know them. They won't let you end the call when you would like to do so. They manipulate you through pre-planned strategies. Many of them find ways to make you feel guilty, in an effort to influence you. All the while, their motivation is to persuade you to part with your hard-earned money in order to line their own pockets with a commission. They are even trained to believe that their true goal is to "benefit" you or to "do you a favor."
Even equipped as we are today with defenses for unwanted intrusion, like caller ID, you are not safe from telemarketers. I have heard about some callers who use programs which have the capability to put out a false phone number that can look like the number of someone you know. So, even if you screen every call with caller ID, you are still likely to come into contact with a telemarketer. Besides, sometimes we are waiting for an important call from someone whose number we may not recognize. We don't want to miss the important call, so we answer the call from the unidentified or unfamiliar number.
Some try screening all calls by listening to the answering machine and picking up the calls they want to receive. The problem with this is that you may miss calls that you want because the caller didn't feel like leaving a message.
The National No-Call list may help some, but any "opt-in" activity you participate in (entering a contest, taking a poll, signing a petition, buying a product, calling a business, and any other activity for which you have to provide your telephone number) may give telemarketers all they need to legally add you to their call list for a period of time, despite the fact that you are on the no-call list.
How Many Times Per Week Are You Interrupted By Telemarketers?
Why So Many Questions?
Telemarketers are trained to ask you questions. Just by answering their very first question, even if it is just "How are you, today?" you are entering a labyrinth of questions formulated to end in a sale or in some kind of commitment. Many questions are designed with only one possible "correct" answer, which is intended to lead you into the next question, and inevitably, into that commitment. Even the phrase, "I'm not interested" has been extensively studied and analyzed for any possible way to turn it into a question that you cannot answer without admitting to some kind of interest. This, of course, has already been planned out in advance, before their auto-dialer ever entered your number.
Many telemarketers routinely "role-play" before making calls. They think about what you will answer and how they will react to that answer. They are prepared to "overcome" any "objection" you may raise. No matter what you answer, they are going to ask another question. Some telemarketers are even trained to "evade objections" altogether by ignoring your objection completely, and you guessed it, ask another question.
Who is being rude anyway?
Is it rude to hang up on an unsolicited caller? I'm convinced there is no way to politely end a call with a telemarketer who is trained to "overcome" all your "objections" to ending their call or refusing their product or service. The only way to end a call, in a way that can't possibly be "overcome," is to just quietly, and immediately hang up.
Hanging up in this manner is quick. It is easy. It is painless. It is final. You may feel that you are being rude, but consider how rudely you may end up acting if you continue the conversation in the hope of reasoning your way out of the sale. Ever ended up barking at, or even screaming at, a telemarketer? I have. I have even used words that I try not to use in everyday life. Perhaps you are even doing them a "favor" by not wasting their time arguing your way out of a conversation with someone that you do not plan on doing business with anyway. Hanging up may also prevent you from being rude to your family, or work associates, afterward. The telemarketer has a strategy, so should you!
Just Hang Up!
I have learned to hang up at the end of the, quickly delivered, opening statement, before they even have a chance to ask the first question. Unless of course the opening statement was a question! Either way, as soon as I realize that the call is coming from a telemarketer, I simply hang up.
If you don't hang up, but choose to play along with their game, and you make it through their entire sales call without buying anything, the telemarketer is going to ask for permission to call again, as a way for you to end the call by making a commitment, no matter how small. Now you've grasped at the chance to hang up, only to ensure that they will call you again to put you through the entire humiliating experience once more.
So there you have it, my simple strategy for how to deal with telemarketers and have peace of mind: Just hang up!
- National Do Not Call Registry
Register online for the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.
- PDF version of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
For those of you who are hounded on the phone by Debt Collectors, here is an online PDF version of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.