Telemarketer question

Why do so many telemarketers not want to give up? Can any telemarketer (or ex-telemarketer) Dopers explain this to me?

Let’s take an example–a paraphrase of a call from earlier today:

Telemarketer calls my store and says, “Hi, this is Susan from Frabqueechie International. How are you today?” I respond, “Fine. What can I do for you?” She says, “Are you familiar with Fraqueechie Internationa?” I respond, “What are you selling?” She dodges the question, and I say, “I’m not interested.”

At this point, were I in her shoes, I’d hang up and move on to the next person on the list, who just might be interested in the product. Instead, she pushes forward:

“You’re not interested in saving money?” I’m getting a wee bit testy by now, and respond, “Whatever it is, I’m not interested.”

Clue two. Time to hang up. But noooo.

“Studies have shown that we can save businesses like yours hundreds of dollars a month.” Okay, last chance here. I say, “Either tell me what you’re selling, or hang up now.”

That’s two "not interested"s and one ultimatum. Why is she still wasting time with me?

“Our toner products cost considerably less than–” At this point I interrupt, “I don’t have a copier or a laser printer. I don’t use toner.”

Now she’s 100% certain that I’m not a potential customer. I don’t even have a use for her product.

“Well, are you sure that–” click

This seems like an extremely inefficient use of this woman’s time. Why didn’t she just tell me what she was selling in the first place, and hang up when she found out I didn’t need it, instead of wasting several minutes of my time and hers? Aren’t telemarketers better trained than this? Or is she just an idiot?

Most telemarketing scripts that I’ve seen require at least 2 if not 3 attempts at pushing their product. But yes, her style does show her to be an idiot.

Most telemarketers I know work off a script and are trained to “keep on pitching” even if the person objects. They aew working hourly and don’t really care if you buy or not.
But they do have supervisors who monitor their calls and reprimand them if they deviate from the script or give up too easy.

I wondered in college why I had to read Thomas Aquinas. About seven years later, I found out why when I had to write “objections and replies” scripts for the telemarketing agency I contracted with to do fundraising and membership renewal calls for the museum where I worked. The callers are paid hourly, with – depending on their employer – either cash or crappy giveaway item incentives to get commitments from a certain percentage of their callees. Their supervisors and the client organization’s representative (me, at the time) could monitor any caller from on-site or off-site, just by dialling in.


I did telemarketing. We were paid by the hour with a tiny bonus for a sale. So I would always try to get a conversation started. If you get a conversation started you can get a sale.
Secondly, every sale I ever got probably started of with the customer saying ‘no’. People always do, even if they want the product.
Thirdly, if you telemarket like this:
Telemarketer: Hello. I am Bob. Do you want toner?
Customer: No.
Telemarketer: Ok. Bye.

You will never get a sale. And your supervisor will tell you off for “Burning data”( i.e. going through too many phone numbers too quickly).

I was selling the best Newspaper in Australia delivered to your door at 60% of the newstand price. How does that sound? Once past the initial ‘no’ that everyone gives, it was easy to get sales.

Ah, yes, but – well, BUT!

You, I would have talked with. You are offering a genuine product with a percieved genuine price advantage. Now, these I listen to. I am not ashamed to admit that I have bought some magazine subscriptions from telemarketers, for instance.

BUT–as you said, these were offering a potentially good deal if I was interested in their product. I am afraid, though, that most telemarketers are “tarred with the same brush” as the other 90-plus percent of asshole telemarketers.
And, it has gotten even worse with those %$#&&!@# bastards who use auto-dialers, which, when I answer and no one is available to “take the call” results in my being hung up on. Talk about a killing rage on my part.

What ever happened to genuine telemarketers who could take “No” for an answer after you listened to their honest and brief (!) spiel? Listen, I don’t as a matter of Southern politeness just automatically hang up on on cold callers. But I surely do when they exceed the boundaries of politeness and good taste.

Are telemarketing firms really profitable?

I guess they would have to be or none would exist.

The industry as a whole is so saturated in negativism.

I don’t ever recall hearing someone admit to buying something from a telemarketer. Furthermore, it seems to be socially acceptable and encouraged to torment them when they call.

Google “telemarketer” and you get page after page of links to negative web sites about them encouraging abuse and hostility towards them.

The .GOV even formed an official agency just to allow people to request NOT to be called by them.

When in college, I worked for a few months as a car salesman. I have nothing but respect for anyone who does this for a living. The rejection and negativity is CRUSHING. Everyone who comes onto a car lot is expecting the salesperson to try to rip him or her off. In no other industry, do people become genuinely angry at the salesperson for approaching them and asking to help. I had to quit after a few months b/c I couldn’t handle the open hostility. And that was somewhere that people actually came into to shop. I can’t imagine the abuse and rejection a telemarketer goes through.

As a business, do I really want my product being represented by such a poorly received medium?

I just can’t see how enough people buy the products to justify staying in business.

I’m usually not polite enough to wait for them to hang up. I just say “not interested” and hang up the phone. On the off chance that I feel patient enough to play with them, I tell them “no” 3 or 4 times, then let them talk (since they’re usually begging to tell you all about their deal anyway).

While “burning data” may be a bad thing, so is staying on calls too long without making a sale. So, I let them talk, and talk, and ask questions, and talk, and then I say “no” again and hang up. Now that really pisses them off!

It would not have pissed me off. As I said I got paid by the hour with a tiny bonus. I would much prefer your call than someone just hanging up. We got rated o the average length of calls as well as sales. You are doing the individual people a favour, but not the company.
I often got people doing the Seinfeld bit " I cannot talk right now. Give me your home number and I will call you back." They would expect me to do the whole “Oh uhm…we cannot do that…”.
I would just immediately say to them “My number is 0412 xxx xxx. Call me any time.” That would put people on the back foot. I would just continue my sales pitch

Wouldn’t have been doing me a favor when I did telemarketing. Our company did magazine subscription renewals and most of our money was in commission. We had our base pay ($8 an hour I think) and it was salary vs commission. I averaged about $14-15 an hour, which was well over the base pay. Two of my friends there typically made $22-25 per hour.

Mostly just saying here that it depends on the company.

I did it for a very short time, maybe a month or so, before something better came along.

During training, we were taught to only terminate the pitch after two “hard” no’s. If someone said “I don’t think so” or similar, that wasn’t a hard no. “Not interested” was not a hard no.

It’s a tightrope, because the QA people are always listening to your calls, the customer wants you to follow their script, but sales come from conversation, not reading from the computer. I always got sales, but was constantly being called back to get a lecture about sticking to the script.

I remember that we were trained to handle rejections in the following way:

Us: “This insurance is endorsed by Christopher Reeve, and is available to you as a valued XXX customer for a reduced rate.”

Them: “No, thanks. I already have insurance.”

Us: "Yes, Mr. Johnson (always use their name, never “sir” or “ma’am”) I understand that you already have insurance (gives the impression that you’re not ignoring what they’re saying) but blah blah blah…

Them: “Still not interested.”

Us: “There is a free trial, if I could just verify your address is still 2203 N. Grove St., I’ll get an introductory packet out to you today at no obligation.”
Of course, that amounted to signing them up in the program. They got their packet from wherever it came from, and did have 30 days to look it over, but if they wanted out they had to call and cancel before their trial period was over. At that point in the conversation (reading their address to them), about 3 out of 5 people will just give in and take the mail. 1 in 5 would ask if they had to do anything special to opt out once they got the information. Generally, these people gave the second hard no, as they didn’t want to have to call to cancel. The other 1 in 5 hung up or demanded to be taken off the list.

But, as someone said above, EVERYONE starts with “No”…the first one is as worthless as “Hello”.

God I hated that job.

To those that worked in this field:

About what percentage of calls resulted in a sale? 1 in 10, 1 in 100?

I used to have to cold call for Gateway Computers an I not once in the two years of cold calling got one sale. I spent an hour each day cold calling too. I HATED IT. BUt needed the job really bad due to a new baby and all that jive…

Because you’re still on the phone?? Honestly, what can she do but continue her spiel. Who knows, you might have an associate who needs toner.

I consider myself a generally polite person. I don’t like to hang up on people–although I do when telemarketers won’t give up. The responses in this thread make it sound like telemarketers prey on politeness, and being rude is the only way to get them off the phone. Is that really true?

It certainly IS a hard no. Clear, unambiguous, and to the point. Any telemarketer who won’t stop selling when I say “I’m not interested” is just being obnoxious, and despite what I said above I think such a person deserves any rudeness they get in return.

Ok, you might hate me right now, but the salesperson described in the OP seemed to know what he or she was doing. I would bet s/he’ rather successful.

A salesperson need to start a conversation, make the person they call ask the questions, and so forth, and by then the person their calling is a customer.

Then there are a lot of InvisibleWombats out there, dead ends, but most are not like that. I would say that many agree to test the product just to get the bastard off the phone.

Most people feel very uneasy to just say no, because most people feel they are being unpolite to a nice stranger. It’s human psychology telemarketers are playing with, and they often know exactly what they’re doing. Sad but true.

At the first pause in the telemarketer reading the script, I say politely but with as much “fuck you” as I can muster into my tone: “Look (Miss/Sir), sorry, but I’m not interested. Furthermore, if you have my name on some sort of calling list, I am going to request at this time that your company removes it. Do not call here again. Good-bye.” Click.

I wonder if that works?

I once got three calls from the same company in the same week. The second time I said “Take me off your list” and the third time I got angry and demanded a supervisor. The telemarketer hung up rather than transfer me, and I wasn’t quite annoyed enough to track the company down. The company, incidentally, was AT&T.

About 20 years ago, I got a telemarketing call from a commodities broker in New York. I told him politely that I was not going to invest in commodities several times. When I finally said loudly, “Look, I said I’m NOT INTERESTED” he cussed me out thoroughly and hung up. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten the name of his company, so I couldn’t complain about him to a supervisor.

It should always work, however saying ‘take me off the list’ and immediately hanging up doesn’t always work. If they haven’t verified who you are yet, if they haven’t verified that the # was called correctly, etc it might not happen.

When I was telemarketing for a while, policy was that we would remove anyone from the call list that asked but we were required to verify who we were speaking with and verify the phone # called before doing so. It doesn’t hurt to take a moment to be sure that your request is processed.

I have a memorized script. "No, thank you. We do not accept telephone sales or solicitations of any kind at this number. If you send me something in the mail I will consider it but under no circumstances is this an agreement to buy anything. Please put this number on your do not call list. "

If I get anything other than “thank you,” I repeat and add “Do you understand what I have just told you?” It rarely gets to that.

I also have our number on the national “do not call” list. Plus we have a Tele-zapper that automatically screens out anything that’s a computer and sends back an “out of service” tone.