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How to get rid of time wasting telesales callers

22nd of January 2007
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Telesales CallsI get this all the time. Some bloke phones me up, seemingly my friend. He’s got a heavy Asian accent, but his name is Jonathan and his favourite football team is Manchester United. He likes beans on toast. I know all of this because he makes a big point of telling me. He asks me how my day has been and what I’ve been up to. He’s too nice. You just know he’s after something; usually he’s trying to get me to switch my phone company or to out-source all of my work to some other country. Nowadays I just say something like “Is this a sales call?” and then after he eventually admits it is I tell him a polite no thank you.

Now a friend and client of mine has a different approach, it goes something like this:

Telesales: “Good afternoon Mr X. I hope you are having a good day. I wish to talk to you about your internet service provider and how we could save you lots of money.”

My Friend: “Before we get onto that, would you might awfully doing me a favour?”

Telesales: “Yes of course Mr X, how can I be of assistance?”

My Fiend: “$#?* Off!”

At which point he puts the phone down.

Not only do I not have the guts to do this, but I would be worried that maybe, one day I would accidentally insult a client or friend; thinking they were a sales representative. Its also really rude!

I have learnt a few tips over the years that make things a lot easier when dealing with these kinds of people. Firstly, be polite. The person on the other end of the phone is just doing his or her job and trying to make a living. Being polite doesn’t cost anything. You will also find that these people will respond better to any questions you may have for them.

Next, ask them directly – Is this a sales call? They have to answer. They might take their time, but they will tell you in the end. You then have the choice whether or not to listen to their sales pitch.

When you have decided that you don’t want to listen to the pitch, state clearly this fact – tell them that you are not interested. Don’t give an excuse. I have found I have completely lost the battle (and it is a battle) when I have said that I didn’t have time right now, and they replied with the age old question “What is the best time to call you? Is about a week ok?”

Sometimes they will put the phone down at this point. After all, you have made it clear that you are not interested, and you are essentially wasting their time. (The irony!)

Finally, if they are still on the other end of the line, politely ask them where they got your number from and firmly ask them to remove you from their list. If at any point they start being rude to you, calmly ask to speak to their supervisor. Sometimes it doesn’t get that far though, I remember once in my last job this guy phoned me and was so rude it was unbelievable. At the end of the day it’s not worth getting into an argument with them as you just want them to go and stop calling.

I would be very interested to hear anyone else’s experiences with telesales calls.


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