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How to Control the Conversation With Telemarketers

I often explore enjoyable activities like this for practical purposes that provoke one's curiosity and share my experience with you.

Have some fun with telemarketers.

Have some fun with telemarketers.

Have Some Fun When Telemarketers Call

We all have our day interrupted by obnoxious telemarketers who call our home or cell phone. Unfortunately, adding yourself to the “Do Not Call” list doesn’t help much because the dishonest ones ignore that.

I'll show you some tricks to get back at telemarketers by not letting them control the conversation. In addition, you’ll have fun with it when telemarketers disturb your day.

Take Charge of the Conversation

Telemarketers usually have no concern for your privacy or your time. But time is precious for them because they need to quickly move on from one call to the next to meet their quota.

So, when a telemarketer calls, take charge of the conversation yourself. They are taught to control the conversation, and therefore it's best never to give them the opportunity to follow their script. That will confuse them and cause them to waste time.

When you realize you picked up a call from a telemarketer, you can have some fun with any of the following methods. You'll have the satisfaction that you overpowered these unfortunate individuals.

What Not to Do

Never answer their questions. When you do that, you will have given up control.

Never say the word “yes” or “okay.” Avoid any affirmative statements. They record these calls and splice your affirmative answers from the conversation to use as proof that you agreed to something, ordered something, or accepted a contractual offer.

Always maintain control of the conversation yourself. Never give a telemarketer a chance to get anything of value from the conversation.

Tell Them They Have to Pay for Calling You

First, let them finish their initial spiel. That will get them invested in the call since they already wasted some time.

Then, say this:

“Before we continue, you to agree to a charge of $10 for my time that will be billed to your phone account automatically.”

Most of them will be frightened, not knowing if this is possible, and will just hang up. However, for the few who continue, you can repeat the request for the requirement to accept the charge before continuing.

Just keep repeating the request like a robot. Telemarketers won’t be able to handle that. They are trained to engage people. But when someone acts like a robot, they don't know how to handle it. So you can have fun with that.

Force Them to Answer Your Questions

Once a telemarketer gets into their script, instead of responding to whatever question they ask you, turn the situation around by asking them questions instead. Such as:

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  • “Do you enjoy your job?”
  • “Do you always meet your quota for the day?”
  • “Does your boss give you breaks between calls?”
  • “Do you get to make personal calls to your friends while working the phones?”

You get the idea. You can come up with questions of your own. Have fun with it.

These telemarketing calls are usually recorded so that management can assess each agent's success, so they won’t want to stay on the line with you once you begin shooting off questions instead of replying to their script.

Remember never to respond to any of their questions. Instead, respond only with your own questions, ignoring whatever they are saying to you. Be robotic about your approach.

In most cases, you won’t get very far since they will give up quickly. Nevertheless, you’ll still get some satisfaction out of it.

Give Them a Taste of Their Own Business

You can do your own version of telemarketing back at them.

After they spend their precious time with their introduction, respond with your own script rather than responding to anything they have said.

For example, you can say:

“I’m so glad you called! Do I have an opportunity for you! I have a plan that will help you get out of your demanding telemarketing job and start enjoying life. I'll tell you about it.”

Keep going on with this. I gave you a start. Improvise the rest yourself. You can do this.

The important thing is to keep going. Do not ask questions and stop. That will only give the telemarketer a chance to say something, and that’s not what you want to allow. Remember, you don’t ever want to give up control. That's what they are trained to do, but you can overpower them once you know the trick.

In most cases, you won’t need to keep going very long. They will quickly hang up. But you will feel satisfied.

Make Believe That You Know the Telemarketer

As soon as they begin to talk, and you realize it’s a telemarketer, interrupt them by saying how wonderful it is to hear from them.

Then continue with reminiscing about old times that you recall having with them. Just make stuff up and keep going. This video is an excellent example:

Try the Silent Treatment

Sometimes I'm not in the mood to work at any sort of game playing. But I still want to get something out of it, especially since they want to waste my time. So, in that case, I remain silent after answering with "Hello." Then I let them talk, and I don't say anything further. I don't respond to any questions. I just listen.

I usually hear them going on, trying to get me engaged. I'm curious to see how they handle that. When you do that, you'll get different reactions. Some will just hang up, but I've had some get crazy. "I know you're there! Speak to me!"

Just keep giving them the silent treatment and see what happens.

Telemarketers Are Just Doing a Job. Right?

Sure, it is a real job, nevertheless. But that's no reason to accept being harassed with repeated phone calls throughout the day. Especially when they call you during dinner with family or when you're busy working.

I don't feel it is right when they keep pushing when you say, "I'm not interested." That's what I usually do when I'm too busy to play with them, as I've been discussing.

Sure, you can't always play this game. You would often be better off just not answering the phone when you see an unknown Caller-ID.

Before I retired, I was in the phone business, and I created a telemarketing program that telemarketers bought from me. I learned a lot from my clients, and many admitted to having an attitude of not caring about people's personal lives.

Blocking Numbers Does Not Work

The terrible thing about this business is that the Caller-ID can be spoofed to show a different number each time they call. That's why blocking numbers no longer helps.

Another thing telemarketers do to get you to answer—they spoof the Caller-ID to display a fake number with the same first digits as yours. Some people will think it's an important call from someone in the neighborhood. They get more people to answer that way. The best strategy is simply not to answer unknown numbers.

In Conclusion

You may find these types of calls stop happening after a while. Some telemarketers sell hot phone numbers to other telemarketing firms—numbers that had successful results or at least a person who responds well to their script.

When they have an experience like the examples I’ve described above, they will just want to get rid of your number. It’s not worth anything to them. Not even to sell to another telemarketer.

Of course, you could always hang up or not answer when you see an unrecognized Caller-ID. But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

© 2019 Glenn Stok


Suzie from Carson City on February 04, 2020:

I surely came upon this article in a very timely manner, Glenn! Just recently, a friend and I had a discussion about how frustrated we've become with telemarketers, arbitrary sales calls, robo-messages....

Hate them!

Your suggestions are terrific! Next call? I'M READY!!! Thanks, Glenn!

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on February 04, 2020:

David Brown - I like that idea! They sit safely behind a desk and never have to meet with the public. This would scare them for sure. LOL.

David Brown on February 04, 2020:

Ask for the location where they are calling from so you can discuss this in person.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 19, 2019:

T - Caller ID can be spoofed to show a different number each time they call. That’s why blocking numbers no longer helps. In addition, they spoof numbers that have the same first digits as yours so you think it’s a local caller. They get more people to answer that way. The best strategy is simply to not answer unknown numbers.

T on May 19, 2019:

Glenn, this is great information, turn it into fun! How much time do we waste watching youtube spoofs, or watching AFV? Get in on your own spoof!

Like you say, wasting their time is the best revenge. I just say “oh, hi, can you hold on a second” and I leave them hanging if I’m busy or when they prompt me to come back on I say “coming just one more minute” or “I’m almost there” and string them along as long as I can. They don’t want to hang up on a living breathing human being.

Marketing scams are the most annoying practice imaginable on a cell phone,. I have blocked a thousand numbers and have three applications on my phone that are supposed to stop it but I still get an average if 3-5 calls a week!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 24, 2019:

I was thinking that it was someone we knew who has a history of bothering people by phone and online. I don't think it was malware because my son has an old flip phone without internet, There are easy to find sites online that will annoy people for you, for a small charge.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 18, 2019:

That’s an interesting story Dolores. Caller ID can be spoofed into a different number, even though it’s illegal to do that. But that doesn’t stop crooks.

I find it interesting that they know your son's number to use it to spoof you. I would suspect that his phone was hacked and may still have malware on it that sends its contents to the hacker. Check it out.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 18, 2019:

Hi Glenn - love this stuff and how you can actually have fun with these obnoxious callers. However, it got so bad here that I just don't answer the phone anymore unless I know who it is. We have also been getting spoof calls (over holidays) where the caller ID number looked like it was from a relative but wound up being a "prank" call, One came from my son's phone supposedly while he was standing right in front of me but not using his phone.Now my phone's ID says "spam" in front of other words. I'm just sick of being pestered.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 17, 2019:

Helpful and entertaining. I do like these tactics. I'm ready to try one. Thanks.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 12, 2019:

You mention useful points. I do get calls from telemarketers. I am always pleasant.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 10, 2019:

Jo Miller - Good points Jo. It’s all a matter of what you want to achieve. If you want to have fun for a minute of your time, you can do what the title of this article suggests.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on January 10, 2019:

Does your tactic decrease the number of these calls you get? If not, it seems to me it would be more beneficial to you to just hang up. That'll save some of your precious time and, though striking back feels good in the moment, I'm not sure that really benefits you in the long run.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 09, 2019:

Liz, That's another trick l like—letting them waste their time going through the entire script and then giving them a response that is a dead end.

The only thing to be careful with: try not to say the word “yes” because they could be recording the conversation and use that to prove that you agreed to a purchase.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 09, 2019:

I really enjoyed reading this article. You give some great tips. My best experience was many years ago when we lived in a first floor apartment. I let a telemarketer go through their whole script about a conservatory. In answer to their closing question: "Would you like a quote for a conservatory?" I responded: "Yes. I would be very interested if you could explain how you can build a conservatory onto a first floor apartment!" I seem to remember the call ending abruptly.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 08, 2019:

I am thrilled to have some technique to fight back as we get those calls all the time. I love your way os handling them.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 06, 2019:

Brian Leekley - I usually add them to my block list. I have that feature on my iPhone. Then they never get through again. The only problem is that some of them use a different Caller-ID each time.

I like that idea of yours, saying “Would you like to speak to someone who lives here?” And then putting them on hold — forever.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on January 05, 2019:

If the caller isn't in my Caller ID, I don't answer the call. Later I Google the phone number. If it has been reported to be a robo-caller, scammer, telemarketer, or other sort of phone pest caller, I add the number and that information to my Contacts so that I know next time not to bother to check for a voicemail. I don't like trying to express myself on a telephone and avoid receiving and making calls as much as possible. I tell friends and family that I prefer texting. If I did bother to talk to a phone pest, I'd strive to think of convincing reasons to put zir on hold. How about: "Would you like to speak with someone who lives here? Hold on a second."

Years ago when I went through period of compounded debt, I learned to never talk on the phone with a debt collector. Doing so is pointless.

A telemarketer should always leave a voicemail, in case the call is offering a product, a service, or a chance to support a cause in which I'm interested. I'm unlikely to call back, but I might look for information online. An example might be a call asking for support for a political candidate or initiative.

Suzie from Carson City on January 05, 2019:

Glenn....I'll give you the benefit of the doubt about whether telemarketing qualifies as a "real" job. However, unlike the majority of "other" sales positions (retail, etc) one's income does not rely on cold-calling, annoying & pressuring potential consumers with unsolicited, unwelcome calls & scripted spiels, no one wants to hear.

The reality simply is, 90% (or higher) of the public has a complete aversion to this method of selling (harassment)

My attitude is so simple and genuine.....I recall a very old adage: "Don't call me, I'll call you." LOL Peace, Paula

Suzie from Carson City on January 04, 2019:

LOL...Very good, Glenn. Rest assured, I have used my own personally-created routine with those annoying telemarketers! If I don't simply end the call abruptly by disconnecting, I'll go on with my questions and comments, non-stop, giving them little if any chance to speak. They do get frustrated. At that point I'll ask them to excuse me while I put them on hold (there's someone at my door) Then, I just never go back to the phone.

Oh, I'm a meanie...but they SO deserve it. These people need to GET A REAL JOB!! I love your suggestions!! Paula

savvydating on January 04, 2019:

It's a job, and I don't humiliate people who are working. I have more meaningful ways of having fun. All you have to do is say, "Not interested "and hang up. The end. Luckily for you, you've never had to be a telemarketer. But you might be good at it, since you like out-talking people. Just saying....

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 04, 2019:

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon - Wow, you only get telemarketing calls on your landline and not on your cell. You're the lucky one! LOL.

Readmikenow on January 04, 2019:

I had an interesting experience. I kept getting telemarketing calls. So, when they called, I started speaking Ukrainian to them. It was funny. They got frustrated. Wouldn't you know it, I did it to one telemarketer, he said wait a minute, and they had someone get on the phone who spoke perfect Ukrainian This guy tried to sell me on a bank loan in Ukrainian. I never thought I would hear such a thing. When he was done, the Ukrainian speaker told me he knows I speak English. I told him I know he should get a job at the embassy. So, good advice Ralph. Enjoyed reading this.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on January 04, 2019:

I do enjoy messing with them. :) But even that got dull, so I just unplugged my landline and use my mobile exclusively. Life's a lot more peaceful now.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 04, 2019:

I love this advice, Glenn. I will certainly try this approach. Normally my way of getting them to hang up or not want to pursue the call is if I say I just had a death in the family and am not up to talking. But your ideas are more fun.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 04, 2019:

That’s right Ralph. Good way to define it. That’s the way to do it.

Ralph Schwartz from Idaho Falls, Idaho on January 03, 2019:

Be aggressive and ruthless - nice advice Glenn !

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