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Cold Calls - What a Pain!
How Best to Discourage Persistent Sales Companys?

 12:47 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, as anyone with a company and telephone knows, you're gonna get cold calls. That's just the way it works.

However, what do you do when some firm insists on calling several times a day? - I've told Ivana (who usually anwsers the phone) just to hang up and not even engage in the debate any longer but is there anything else we could try?

These annoying little oiks just wont give up.

Suggestions welcome....




 12:49 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ask them if they can give you their personal home number and if you can call them back at home later that evening, and every following evening, until they buy something from you.

Maybe not... ;)


 12:51 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I always try to see them my coffee mug ... they are dying to hang up by the time you finish, however, you need time on your hands for that one.



 1:23 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hanging up works perfectly for us. You just really have to do it like you mean it (loud slams are good).



 1:24 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

>I always try to see them my coffee mug

I don't understand...

I have trouble with cold callers ever since I stupidly typed my real number in for a trial use of Wordtracker. Man... they just won't leave me alone. I could use a good line. I'm far, far too polite.


 1:26 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you are in the US: [donotcall.gov...]

[edited by: RussellC at 1:26 pm (utc) on July 22, 2003]


 1:26 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

We just came up with this obvious one: If they're going to waste our time, let's waste theirs....

Just say, "certainly, hold please" and let them hold till they get bored ;-)

We don't get many calls on this line so no worries.

The annoying thing is that these snotty little nobodies aren't even very good. I did fairly hardcore telesales for years and the first rule is don't waste your own time. If you aren't getting anywhere, move on....



 1:33 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ask them if they hear a clicking sound. Then hang up.

I also enjoy giving them a quick answer that instantly makes me a non-prospect:
1) I'm moving to Northern Finland in two days.
2) I just spent all my money on lottery tickets.
3) My mom's not home right now.
4) My prison sentence starts tomorrow.

[edited by: dvduval at 1:38 pm (utc) on July 22, 2003]


 1:35 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm moving to Northern Finland in two days.

Quality. I'll try that one next time. I like the "Northern" bit - nice touch.



 1:36 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

The annoying thing is that these snotty little nobodies aren't even very good.

That is exactly right - but the best cold callers are always moved swiftly to the high margin products (the minority) - and the bad ones sell all the useless and cheap stuff.

I've done it as well and I would at least try to know what I was talking about (or at least sound like I was) some of the people who call me up just make me laugh.


 1:36 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's been quoted before and it's quoted again.
From seinfeld:

Telemarketer: Hi, i am wondering if you are interested in changing to company long distance service

Jerry: Sorry i was just going out, but if you give me your home number i can give you a call

Telemarketer: Sorry we are not allowed to do that

Jerry: So i guess you don't want people calling you at home

Telemarketer: No

Jerry: Good now you know how a i feel (hangs up)

Web Footed Newbie

 1:37 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

How about "the person that makes that decision just took a sabbatical for 6 months, please call back then - goodbye!
WFN :)

Web Footed Newbie

 1:39 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nice one, lazer.

Another one from Seinfeld:

Caller: "Are you interested in the taking the New York Times?"

Seinfeld: "Yes" and hangs up!

WFN :)


 1:45 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

The one's I hate just read from the auto-cue - for three minutes - mispronouncing my name several times in a "personalised" attempt.

Put him on the speaker, get some coffee, when he's finished his script, ask him: "Excuse me - I didn't quite get that, could your please repeat?"


 1:46 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

The best method we've come up with is to have a dedicated member of staff who deals with purchasing and marketing.

Anyone getting a cold call immediately refers the caller to this person, refusing to give out a phone number but giving an email address. The policy being that all first contact must be by email. The person taking the call refuses, politely but firmly, to even begin to discuss things as its not their job.

Its a remarkably cheap system. You don't actually employ anyone to fill this position, just set up an email account and remember to clean it out occasionally so that the emails don't bounce.

Its a nice feeling to waste their time rather than the other way around.


 1:56 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey, love the email idea ;-)

Another one, if you get time is the real stroke: Play right along, get them all hot and sweaty over signing the contact or whatever and just keep having 'little issues' with the technicalities.....



 2:39 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)


Problem with that, fun though it is, is they'll then never leave you alone.

My money is on the hang-up or the "Northern Finland" approach.



 2:42 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

easy start talking dirty down the phone, just make sure your wifes not around


 2:46 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have found that with especially persistent telemarketers keeping them on the line with the occasional encouraging sound and several "Oh - can you hold on just a second..." I was able to string along one telemarketer for about 40 minutes - before he finally hung up.

Another time, a telemarketer called trying to sell me a set of home repair / maintenance books (published by a very famous publishing house - as seen on TV). I was feeling especially evil because I had the flu so I played with him a while - letting the guy play out his pitch, gently suggesting that I wouldn't be able to use his books... But he insisted that *anyone* could use these, they were a great investment, blah blah blah. Yet, I would always suggest that *I* probably couldn't use them. After about 15 minutes of having him tell me that the books would let me repair my dishwasher, a roof leak, etc, etc and that *everyone* would find them useful, I relented and said - "Wow, they really sound great. I'm convinced! Please send me the Braille edition."

The telemarketer sputtered for a few seconds, and then hung up.



 2:52 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

What I hate is those "we're conducting market research on IT equipment" scams. Basically, it's just a way for johnny sales rep to see what you got, how much you spend and how much he can rip you off when he phones you phone a few days later.

I never fell for it, but I've noticed many unwitting helldesk staff fall for it.

If you do get a persistent one, either at work or at home, you just have to lie about your equipment, sales, income.

"how many employees do you have" "...Two"
"what's your turnover" "..$5,000 a year"
"What O/S do you use" "Windows 3.1"

This is the best way to get rid of them. Just hanging up puts you on the "call back" list. But by basically saying your a no good company with zilch sales means they delete you from their database.

If you need a bit of laughter, The Jerky Boys have some great phone pranks ;-)


 4:00 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Imho, the best way is to say something like:

"I know you work in sales and you earn less money the more you talk. You will not make a sale here, so try the next on your list, and make sure that you remove my name from your calling list."

- i used to find it amusing to do long talks, but now i think it's better to just cut off the conversation resonably fast.



 4:19 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Bleh, I just told one that has been calling daily for weeks (they either say they'll call back since the person they want isn't in, or their predictive dialer hangs up when we answer) - I asked him if this was a "valued customer blah blah" type of call. He said yes, so I said we're not interested, please take us off the list - click.

I had another this morning that claimed to be reviewing our D&B report and wanted to know if they could help with various financial aspects of our business. Yeah, you call out of the blue and pretend to know me - sure I'll do business with you... NOT. Hmmph.

LisaB - who is fed up with time wasting prospective clients, time wasting phone calls and is just a bit irritated in general today.


 4:22 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Hi there, I've been practicing my voice lessons. Tell how this sounds:
No-thing compares
No-thing compares
...to you
(crying)No-thing compares..."
You know, sing that Sinead O'Conner song and really suck it up.


 4:39 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

As Nick_W and many others said it's best to waste their time. There is a good example of that, in the episode of the movie called "High Strung [movies.yahoo.com]" with Steve Oedekerk, when the insurance salesperson comes in and Steve talks to him for about an hour, saying that he got this huge estate from one of his dying relatives. He told him that he will get the craziest insurance on his life, house, care, etc... Then he tells the guy that he has to do something right now and he will see him in his office in 40 minutes. And when the salesperson just about to leave all happy, right when Steve closes the door, he yells reaaally lout "I'd rather die then get any of your insurance" and slams the door really hard! :)))


 4:43 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Asking them to delete you from their database generally doesn't work. You can insist on speaking to a supervisor and then demanding you be taken off. You will need to get the supervisor's name... but even that doesn't usually work.

Two suggestions:

1. They usually ask for the name of the person who does the purchasing. Tell the operators to give out the name of Mr Manjit Inderjit (M.I.) Singh. When any telemarketers call for Mr MIssing we explain he's in a meeting with Mr Not Around and Mr You've Been Had.

2. The BEST success I've had is with something similar to the email address plan. Tell them that they have to click on the purchasing link on your site. Setup a detailed form asking them everything from their inside leg measurements to their mother's maiden name. What do you do when confronted with such forms? Exactly! They usually don't bother.


 4:46 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's a nice anti telemarketing script if you want something a little bit more wordy than just "bye":



 5:14 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like to reply with "I'm sorry, I don't have a phone". They never seem to know how to react to that ;)

Wasting the caller's time is all well and good, but it wastes your time too - better just to hang up and forget about it.


 7:51 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

"I'm sorry, I don't have a phone".

I used to tell <door-to-door solicitors> that I didn't speak English.... in perfect English, then close the door. ;)

[edited by: lawman at 8:15 pm (utc) on July 22, 2003]
[edit reason] See Foo Charter [/edit]


 9:17 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

They make plug-in units that attach between your phone and the incoming line... You press the button on the gizmo, hang up the phone handset, and it delivers a recorded message about how your phone number does not accept this kind of call, then hangs up on them for you.


 9:30 pm on Jul 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just try telling them you are not interested, but wouldn't they be interested in joining your satanic church?

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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