Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Telemarketing: What to say?

Along with most of you, I am occasionally — perhaps three times per week — interrupted in my reading and writing by someone who calls our number to sell me something I haven’t expressed interest in or to ask me to participate in some poll. Kris has this stuff all figured out, and she knows how to report numbers of companies who are doing what they’re not supposed to be doing. I don’t know quite what to do. We have caller ID, but sometimes the “Unknown Caller” is someone I know. So I answer anyway.
I find these calls to be some of the most challenging moments in my life. I’ve told this story often, so let me begin with it. On occasion, after I’ve said something I shouldn’t have, Kris will say something to me now like this, “That wasn’t very Jesus Creed-like.” She’s always justified in saying this. When I try saying the same thing to her, her comment is always the same and justified and stops me in my tracks: “I didn’t write the book, you did.”
Well, sometimes I hang up the phone on the telemarketers and the like and wonder to myself if I was being very Jesus Creed-like. Usually I wasn’t.
But, they annoy me and I don’t think they are entitled to break up my day, barge into my home, simply because I am a number — if they call enough numbers in a day they’re numbers of successful sales increase. I’ve never once bought anything from such people, and I wish I could put my name on “don’t call that guy list, he’s likely to chew your head off.” But, somehow, they keep calling.
My best come-back, when I am in my right senses, is this: “Can you give me your home phone so I can call you back tonight?” I’ve never gotten one, and they usually get the idea that I’m not fertile ground for what they have to offer, and we separate amicably.
Even with laws protecting us from these intrusions (which is really all it is), some of them find their way into my day.
I got five spams on this account this morning from Viagra sellers.
I wonder, what do you do when they call?

Comments read comments(23)
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Mark Perry

posted November 23, 2005 at 12:43 am

As a teacher of technology, I have come to believe strongly in the notion that ALL technology is a tool. It should serve us rather than us serving it. I find telephones to have become something we serve; enslaved to the ring with a Pavlovian response: the phone rings, we answer. With cell phones, this has become even worse. Caller ID gives me control back so that if a number appears I don’t recognize, I don’t answer the phone. If it is someone who needs to talk with us, they’ll leave a message. If they don’t, it must not be important. Somewhere along the line we have failed to recognize that we don’t need to answer the phone.

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Dana Ames

posted November 23, 2005 at 1:08 am

Before we got on the National Do Not Call List we got many more telemarketer calls than we do now. It takes about a month to activate, but the results or noticeable. Or you can do what Mark does. I have a friend whose answering machine message includes the phrase “I screen my calls”- he’s being honest instead of letting people guess, and I like that.
Then or now, if I’m not interested I say I’m not interested. If they keep talking, I say “I’m going to hang up the phone now. Goodbye.” Then I hang up. They’re just trying to do the job they’ve been hired for.

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Michael Lee

posted November 23, 2005 at 1:26 am

Scot, I think the only sensible solution is to do what we do – buy an animatronic monkey-bot TA and force them to answer your calls and check your email.

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posted November 23, 2005 at 1:53 am

We have call display so I generally can pre-screen calls in my office. But a couple of times a week we get a call with no CID info. Those are often wonderful new offers 😉
I find that when I tell them I’m not interested, they move to their next line and keep talking. At that point I thank them and … hang up :)

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joe kennedy

posted November 23, 2005 at 2:40 am

If it’s not a machine, you should launch into the Roman Road. I hear that’s incredibly effective in getting people to walk away.

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posted November 23, 2005 at 5:28 am

Well heres the other side of the story. I used to work for a telemarketing company. Why? Because at that time I could not find any other job, and the company I worked for was selling what I considered to be a good product.
But heres the important point.
I took the job so I could feed my family.
And I suspect many of the other people you have encountered were just doing the same. Remember that the next time they call.

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Jim Martin

posted November 23, 2005 at 8:53 am

Scot, My standard line is “I’m sorry I don’t do business over the telephone. Thanks” Then I immediately hang up.
It is still annoying but is so much better since we got on the National Do Not Call list.

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Danny Zacharias

posted November 23, 2005 at 9:02 am

My son is just approaching two years old and he likes to hear people talk on the phone and he’ll answer back (in his own language). I think next time I’ll just put him on the phone.

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A. B. Caneday

posted November 23, 2005 at 9:09 am

We placed our phone number on both the national and our state “Do Not Call” lists. That has stopped the vast majority of calls.
We still receive some calls, probably one or two each week. Whenever I answer the phone and speak to a telemarketer my wife tells me that I am much too nice to the callers. I simply remind her that the caller is a human being who is trying to earn a living and that I am obliged to conduct myself toward the person as I would like to be treated. I find telemarketers difficult because I cannot bring myself to hang up on them. I always work hard at bringing the conversation to a very quick end so that we both hang up at the same time. I simply state that our family policy is never to conduct business over the phone with solicitors. Rarely are they so persistent that I hang up on them while they are still speaking.

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Dave Anderson

posted November 23, 2005 at 10:18 am

My Mom usually lays the receiver down on the counter and just walks away…
I agree that telemarketers have to make a living too, but what gets me the most is the supper time calls. Seems like the odds would be more against a sale than for it, for that reason.
The most important thing that one can do (aside from the NDC registry, is to request to be taken off of “the list”. Assuming they do that, your number won’t propagate to the other lists. We did this awhile back and it has seemed to help.

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posted November 23, 2005 at 10:21 am

I usually just say, “I’m sure you have many calls to make and I don’t want to waste your time. I’m not interested. Have a nice day.” And then I hang up. Fast.

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posted November 23, 2005 at 10:38 am

once i said to the woman on the line, “i’ll give you five minutes of my time if you give me five minutes of your time first.” she paused, then said tentatively, “okay, deal.”
i then proceeded to ask her about her life. “do you like your job? are you in school? what are your dreams? do you go to church? do you ever get the sense that you were created for something greater?”
it was fantastic. she actually opened up and talked about her life. she expressed frustration and dissatisfaction. she expressed a vague sense that there must be something more to life. i talked to her about becoming a dwelling in which God lives by His spirit. i talked to her about becoming free to be the person she was originally created to be. she said, “i really need to check out a church, because what you’re saying sounds right to me.” she asked what kind of church she should be looking for. seriously.
we talked for about twenty minutes, until the conversation seemed to come to a natural close, at which time i said, “so, it’s your turn.” she had completely forgotten, and seemed a little embarrassed about returning to such a banal subject, but she asked me her sales questions dutifully and i answered every one of them. then we pleasantly said goodbye, and i wished her well.
i don’t usually have the time for this – i typically just end a telemarketing call quickly and mercifully, like ripping off a band-aid – which is sad i think. people are desperate for genuine human contact.

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posted November 23, 2005 at 11:05 am

After working in a call center for two years (though never doing outbound calling) I know first hand the abuse you suffer. Caneday is right, the people on the phone are trying to pay their bills, and you can believe with all your heart know one enjoys what they are doing.
I just try to tell them before they get to long into their monologue that I am not interested and that they should take my number off their list. They are mostly quite happy to do so.

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Hans Cornelder

posted November 23, 2005 at 11:35 am

A few simple, premeditated, memorized lines can take care of it in s Jesus-Creed way.
—I am not interested in buying from your company at this time.
—If they persist and ask “why not?” (that happens, often!): “I don’t want to waste your time going into that.”
—If it’s a request for money: “Send me info in the mail and I will look at it.”
If they continue, just play “broken record” by repeating the same line, preceded by, “As I said…”

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Ron Fay

posted November 23, 2005 at 1:54 pm

These calls and driving on highways tend to be two of the things that most often test my Christian walk.
I am doing much better with the calls, just do not ask what I mutter while driving.

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posted November 23, 2005 at 2:29 pm

I have been know to engage these people in converstation as if I know them. I might say something like: “I am so glad you called I have not heard from you for years.” Then just let the conversation go on from there. I have gotten into some crazy conversations. All in fun!

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Georges Boujakly

posted November 23, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Last night I got a call. A survey of 5 questions, the caller promised. I answered all her 5 questions. I was counting on one hand. Then she asked, “is this Georges?” I said yes. I Had to use the second hand now with which I was holding the phone. Then she asked if Carolyn was my wife’s name? I said this makes 7 questions and you promised 5. She hung up on me after an “Oh my God” comment! I think this is the first time a survey caller hangs up on me. I’m hurt.
Usually, I cooperate with survey takers but not sellers of insurance, credit cards. For those I say I am not interested and hang up.

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lukas McKnight

posted November 23, 2005 at 8:10 pm

I’m more committed than ever to being nicer — I’ll work at this. Thanks for all this conversation, and I’m still interested in hearing more.

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Scot McKnight

posted November 23, 2005 at 9:54 pm

Last comment was by Scot, not Lukas, McKnight.

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David Wright

posted November 23, 2005 at 11:19 pm

There was once a period where I would two or three times a week get a sales call from the same outfit. It always happened at the same time of day. Almost always, I had just arrived home from work and had kicked back on the couch to unwind. And then the phone call would come. Finally, the point arrived where I had had enough.
I’ve got a big mouth. I managed to put nearly the entire mouthpiece of the phone in my mouth. Then I roared, as loud as I could. I roared with the might of a lion. When I was done roaring, there was no one left on the line.
They stopped calling.
I doubt Jesus would have done this. But he is called the Lion of Judah.

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posted November 25, 2005 at 8:07 pm

I love Jason’s response. Wow! What a great idea. =)

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posted November 29, 2005 at 1:37 pm

i work as a phoner for several survey research companies fyi, surveys are not regulated by the do not call list. remember, if you are politically aware/concerned, you can register an opinion for your stands. also, most polls have a sample of 1006; therefore your answers might send your
opinion on a person or issue one or two notches higher.
i have been doing this for three years and most people refuse to do a survey. thus relinquishing their right to register an opinion.

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Miss Smith

posted July 7, 2015 at 10:47 am

I consider the telephone and the human voice to be an excellent form of communication. I am not a slave to my phone, it is a useful tool to reach out to others. Like Shawn, I too work on the phones. Customers who dislike my calls rarely offend me, I have empathy for their situation. Those getting calls like mine who love and know Jesus should take the opportunity to sell the greatest thing on earth- salvation in the name of Jesus, right back at the telemarketer. Not in a mean or comically vengeful spirit, but as an open door to bless others. Honestly, as I have grown as a Christian I am getting a little less offended by people as time goes on and telemarketers (unless they are rude) get more pity than anger from me now. I know this comment is on a forum from 10 years ago but I felt the need to comment when I saw the grumpy comments. People like Shawn are just trying to feed their family. Most of us would not want to be a telemarketer.

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