There is nothing more annoying than being interrupted by the phone during dinner. Oh wait, there is something more annoying: It’s when the call is from a telemarketer!
Back in my college days, I worked as a telephone solicitor and sold magazine subscriptions over the phone. I would probably have another perspective about telemarketers had I not had that experience.
Our first reaction to solicitors and telemarketers is to yell and hang up on them. We don’t like having our dinner, sleep or leisure time interrupted, nor should we. But think before you curse! These people are just trying to make a living. It may not be the most glorious job but perhaps it’s the only job they can get, especially in this economy. They don’t deserve to be yelled at.
Instead of slamming down the phone, avoid talking to telemarketers in the first place. One way is Caller ID – use it!
Another is to let the call go to your voicemail. Most solicitors will not leave messages on your machine. And if they do, you can always just hit delete.
Register all of your phone numbers, including your cell, with your local Do Not Call list. This will help keep you off the telemarketing radar.
If someone still gets through to you, do not be rude. Be assertive and firm and ask them to take you off their call list. End the conversation by saying: “Thank you and have a good evening.” It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to people. You will feel better about yourself.
For those of you who were “Seinfeld” addicts in the ‘90s, you may remember the episode where Jerry gets a call from a telemarketer. It goes something like this:
Jerry: I can’t talk right now. Why don’t you give me your home number and I’ll call you later.
Telemarketer: I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to do that.
Jerry: Guess you don’t want people calling you at home.
Jerry: Well, now you know how I feel.
Being rude does not impress anyone. You never know who will see or hear you, and it may change the perception people have about you. And do you really want to be responsible for making someone’s day hellish?
Of course, not all solicitors reach us by the phone. To avoid door-to-door solicitors, don’t open the door unless you are expecting someone. It’s not safe to open the door to strangers, anyway.
Not interested in those Girl Scout cookies? Tell them in a very nice way that you are on a diet or cannot eat sugar. Be nice and wear a smile when you say “no.” The same goes for religious solicitors. Thank them politely, and be wary of engaging in any religious debate with them.
If the person is really persistent, say “My final answer is no.” or even “What is it about the word ‘no’ that you don’t understand?” and walk away. Do not give them an opening to continue pleading their case.
“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” – Tony Blair