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The Secrets of Dealing with Telemarketers

08/20/2014

So, you’ve started your new business. Congratulations! You have a product or service that will help people and you are effectively getting that product or service to those people. Awesome! You are working eighty hours a week, keeping a notepad next to your bed so you can jot down ideas, and you haven’t had a quiet meal where you weren’t working in months. Welcome to the life!

But another thing has started: you are getting fifteen, twenty calls from telemarketers every day. They are wasting your time, interrupting important meetings, and in general are making a nuisance of themselves. You have yelled at them, hung up on them, and avoided them, but nothing seems to get them to stop. You’ve even noticed that some of the same companies seem to keep calling you despite your disinterest in their products.

Well, you aren’t dealing with them right, and I’m sure there are a few things you don’t understand about the telemarketing industry.

First: there is no “Do Not Call” list. Well, there was, but it was essentially an epic failure. Cell phones are pretty much the only things that companies can’t call, or unlisted numbers. You, as a business who wants your customers to find you, have an available, easy to find telephone number. Listed. Anyone gets to call you. But, there is something you can do. In fact, there are some things you can do.

First, please be polite. You are dealing with a person who is either paid minimum wage to hear people say “no” in varyingly rude ways, or they are paid a commission based on sales, or a bit of both. They have a crap-tacular job that is incredibly demoralizing, especially if you are rude or mean to them for doing their job. They are also working under the Law of Big Numbers – for every fifteen calls they make one person will listen, and for every fifty who listen only one will probably buy. Needless to say, there is a very high turnover rate in the telemarketing industry. Also, they don’t want you to waste their time any more than you want them to waste yours. There’s no need to be a jerk.

There are some ways to just not hear a telemarketer, though they won’t stop the calls from coming. You can get an answering machine to screen your calls, because it isn’t worthwhile for a telemarketer to leave a message. You can also invest in one of those obnoxious phone trees – just be prepared to annoy your customers, too. Avoidance works, but it isn’t effective and you would have to change your system in order to do it.

Instead, all you have to do is say, “Don’t call me; take me off your list.” Telemarketing companies have many lists that they purchase, and there are many copies of the lists. However, when you request to be taken off their list, they have to comply or risk sanctions by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). The SEC dictates a lot of things, from the management of their phone lists to the wording of their scripts. If you ask to be taken off their list, they have to do it. However, because of the complexity of their list it won’t happen right away, and it won’t affect other companies because a company is only in charge of their own list. So… you’ll have to do it several times and in a few months you’ll notice a difference – a real difference.

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