Secrets of Telemarketing From an Industry Insider
They call you at all hours. They don't care if you're eating dinner or taking a shower. And they really don't like to hear you say no. They're telemarketers. And recently, someone from "behind enemy lines" came forward to give us all invaluable tips on dealing with those harassing calls.
The information comes from reddit's Ask Me Anything section (IAMA). Usually, people will put themselves out there to answer questions on anything from work and hobbies to computer games and, well, anything you can think of. Today, a telemarking insider came forward to reveal all on a profession that's about as beloved as dog poo on your shoe (he uses the pseudonym "Lotkrotan" to protect his identity).
He explains that roughly 90% of telemarketing calls are made from specialized call centers, not the business itself. From Bank of America to EA Games, everyone is outsourcing this stuff. Often, it's to places like India, but there are still plenty of call centers here in Uncle Sam's country. The numbers they call are on an auto-dialer which recycles numbers on a monthly basis. And as for the human you eventually talk to, they're armed with a bag of tricks loaded with everything they need to convince you to say YES.
The original post is quite lengthy. But here is a condensed and edited version that gives you the best advice in a nutshell. Follow it wisely, and arm yourself with the knowledge that will stop these people getting between you and your hard earned cash.
Here are the 10 top tips on dealing with telemarketers.
1. So you're on the Do Not Call List? So what?
This is not a cease and desist order to every telemarketer in the world. Bottom line, if you have ANY kind of relationship with the company, or it's a political or non-profit group, the list does not apply. You can request to be put on a do-not-all list for that specific company, or you can ask to be put in that call center's do-not-call database. If this doesn't work, you have the FTC on your side. Call them.
2. Never hang up immediately.
Why? Because the reps mark it as an early hang up. No pitch was made, so you're still a prospect. Hence, you go back on the list.
3. Don't be rude.
Aside from the fact that these people probably hate their jobs anyway, they have the power to put you back on the calling list. And they will if you're rude.
4. A simple NO isn't good enough.
Saying you don't want the product doesn't mean they won't bug you again. And again. And again. So ask to be taken off the calling list as well.
5. Trickery won't work either.
We've all done it: "Oh, he's not here right now" or "No speak English" may get you off the hook for that one call, but it won't stop the next one.
6. The telemarketer has to rebut when you decline.
Getting mad because they initially won't take no for an answer is not going to help. Reps often get fired for not rebutting at least once, often twice. But after that, it's time to ask to be taken off the list or speak to a supervisor.
7. You have rights.
Check out the TCPA. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 provides rules that telemarketers must follow, or face serious penalties. If a telemarketer breaks ANY of these rules, your have the law on your side (yes, you can sue). They include:
- Solicitors may not call residences before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., local time.
- The solicitor must maintain a "Do Not Call" (DNC) list, which must be honored for 10 years.
- Solicitors must provide their name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity may be contacted.
- Solicitation calls cannot be made to residences with artificial voices or recordings.
- Calls cannot be made with artificial voices or recordings to cell phones or to any service in which the recipient is charged for the call.
- Prerecorded or autodialed calls cannot engage two or more lines of a multi-line business or to any emergency number.
- In a related section, unsolicited advertising faxes are also prohibited.
- In the event of a violation of the TCPA, individuals are entitled to collect damages directly from a solicitor for $500 to $1,500 for each violation, or recover actual monetary loss, whichever is higher.
8. Beware of buying from infomercials
Many are legit. Just as many are high-pressure sales outfits with all sorts of upselling techniques and sketchy practices. Here's a direct quote from "Lotkrotan":
We used simple circle talking techniques to trick people into buying our product. In the infomercial it was $120. We had a list of people that called the number from the infomercial but didn't buy the product. We called them back and offered the same product for $45. Then if they refused we'd go down to $35 and eventually $25 as a last resort effort. They were willing to sell this product for $25, and people were buying it for over 4 times that much! (Employees got the product for $5)
9. Learn the rebuttal and "permission to continue" laws for your state.
Some states require that the rep ask your permission to continue. Others must terminate the call after your first refusal. Know the law for your state and it's another weapon in your arsenal. There's a ton of info here.
10. Remember, you're dealing with a real person.
This is a person with a real family, real bills and real problems, just like the rest of us. It's a minimum wage job and it's not pleasant. They most likely took it because it was all they could get and they're just trying to make ends meet. Before you get into a fit of rage over their call, remember that they're only trying to make a living and your attitude could get them fired.
Here's the complete text. I did my best to cut it all down for you, but it's well worth a read if you want to learn a little more. Also, the other links contain a lot of info, but that is also very helpful.