We all get them unfortunately but it’s very hard to put a stop to them. The cheery ultra positive attitude of the salesman greeting you very often by your forename and asking how you are before following up with his sales pitch. How do you deal with this interruption at work? Your concentration is disrupted and if the call irritates you, it can be 2 or 3 minutes or longer after the end of the call before you switch properly back into work mode again. I hate these calls because I just don’t respond to telemarketers. If I want to buy something, I’ll research it myself, find the best price and purchase it in my own time. I don’t want to be rushed into buying something I haven’t researched properly.
Well, here are some tips on dealing with telemarketing calls mostly learned the hard way.
Treasure your phone number
Seems obvious but think very carefully before you give out your landline or cell phone number to anyone. The crucial point is, if you don’t mind voice communication with them go ahead but be very careful. I’ve been caught out here in the past when the telemarketers pass on (sell) your contact details to others. If you are asked to give a number when signing up for anything online and you just don’t want phone contact from them for fear of telemarketing calls, just change the area code and number slightly and give them that. Probably best to go ex-directory as well – that way you have more control who gets your number.
Take control of the conversation
So it’s too late. Your number has been passed around the marketers. I’ve found that you often get an idea when a marketing call is coming up. Sometimes when your phone rings, you pick it up and you’ll hear a ring tone as the dialling bot at the other end routes your call to a telemarketer. If they don’t respond in time the bot will hang up. Assuming they respond, you may hear a lot of background noise as other marketers in the vicinity go about their business. On my caller ID display, the telemarketers calls often show up these days as ‘International’. When you’ve identified you have a telemarketer on the line, be polite but firm right from the start; you have to take control of the conversation. I generally stop them early on with ‘I’m sorry, I just don’t respond to telemarketers’, and hang up before they answer. Don’t bother asking them to remove your number from their database – they just won’t bother.
In the UK, you can join the Telephone Preference Service. It’s an opt out register where you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It’s a legal requirement in the UK that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so. However, it just doesn’t stop the increasing numbers of overseas marketers and the scammers trying to fix your computer which I’ve already blogged about.
If the worst comes to the worst, change your landline number and go ex-directory. It’s a nuisance having to give your friends, family and business associates your new number but it may be worth it in the end.
Stopping cell phone telemarketing
Thankfully, I don’t have the problem of telemarketers on my mobile phone – I learned the lesson from my landline experience and I’m very careful who gets my mobile number. Rich Menga at PCMech published a good post recently on how to deal with cell phone telemarketing with particular advice for the US. With most mobile phones you have the great facility to block or reject these calls. And Guiding Tech have a great post on how to filter and block calls on Android phones using the NetQin app.
Do you have any tips for dealing with telemarketers? What’s your approach? Drop a comment below.