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Top 10 Dirty Little Secrets Of Telemarketers

by Dylan Pate
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Telemarketers have to be some of the most hated people on the planet. Nobody wants a sleazy salesperson to bother him at home and try to weasel money out of him over the phone.

It definitely takes a certain kind of person to do such a job because most telemarketers don’t last longer than a month in the profession. A good number of them don’t even make it through the first day.

As you can imagine, people don’t always have the nicest things to say to us when we call. As a telemarketer, I actually managed to survive for a few years. Over those years, I learned a lot of inside information about the profession which I’m happy to share with you.

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10 Almost Everything They Say Is Right Out Of A Script

If you’ve ever talked to a telemarketer, you might notice that they don’t talk like an everyday person and that they sound almost like a robot. That’s because they’re probably reading everything they’re saying from a computer screen. They aren’t supposed to stray from the script by even one word.

Most of the time, even their responses to your questions are scripted. If you’ve ever wondered why it might take them a second to answer you, it’s because they’re fumbling to get to the screen with an answer to your question.

To throw off a telemarketer, ask an uncommon question like what they had for lunch. They hate it when people ask such questions. Once you read the script enough times, you eventually memorize every word and can talk without looking at the screen. But it takes lots of reading to get to that point.[1]

9 You Should Never Take The First Offer They Give You

Most of the time, we have a better deal than the one we’re offering right off the bat. That way, we have a bargaining chip in case you turn us down out of the gate. Sometimes, we offer to “waive fees” to butter people up when those fees don’t even exist. It’s just something we say that sounds good.

For you, it’s best to play it cool even if the offer sounds like a good deal. Act disinterested to see if you can get the price down. It might even be a good idea to turn down the first couple of offers just to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t be a sucker.[2]

8 They Like Making You Mad

As I said, it takes a special kind of person to be able to withstand the barrage of insults and obscenities hurled at us daily. The individuals who can make it past the first few days have found ways to cope.

After a while, it becomes funny when people freak out and lose their cool. You’d never know it, but while you’re screaming and yelling, we’re probably trying our best not to crack up. Or we’re waving a buddy over to have a listen.

As furious as it might make you, we’re a little too thick-skinned to be bothered by what you have to say. We’ve heard it all. So the best thing to do is just hang up.[3]

7 They Are Careless With Your Personal Information

Even if you want to buy something from a telemarketer, it probably isn’t a good idea to share your credit card number or any other sensitive information. Most of the time, it will probably work out okay. But if someone really wanted to, they could easily copy down your information and take it home with them.

I didn’t see this happen very often. But there were a few instances where it did happen, so you can never be too careful. Sometimes, it will be a “warm call” where they already have your information on file. In that case, you are probably all right. Just something to keep in mind as you can never be too careful.[4]

6 They Have To Push Back When You Say You Aren’t Interested

In the industry, we call this a “rebuttal.” We know that almost nothing will make a difference if someone just doesn’t want what we’re selling. But we’re obligated to put up a fight, or we could find ourselves out of a job if we don’t try.

If you ever talk to a telemarketer who seems pushy, just know that he’s only trying to do his job and that he is under a lot of pressure to perform. Management will do everything they can to motivate us to make more sales. If our numbers slip, we will end up out on the street in a heartbeat.

So next time you find yourself talking to one of us, don’t bother to give excuses and explanations for why you don’t want to buy. No matter what you say, we have to push back even if we know it’s a waste of everyone’s time.[5]

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5 They Have Ways Of Getting Revenge If You Aren’t Nice

We definitely deserve everything you have to say to us. But if you aren’t nice, the unethical among us will find ways to make life difficult for you. Instead of putting you down on the list as “not interested” like we’re supposed to, we might put you down to be called back later the same day just to mess with you.

As someone who worked on the phones and in the quality control department, I’ve seen everything. A lot of times, you’re dealing with someone who has all your personal information at their disposal and not much to lose. So you might want to think twice about being rude.

I’ve seen instances where someone has brazenly charged someone’s credit or debit card for products or services they didn’t want or refused to cancel their service when asked. As tempting as it might be to give a telemarketer a piece of your mind, you might want to consider if it’s really worth the trouble.[6]

4 Some Will Say Practically Anything To Get A Sale

As I previously mentioned, telemarketers are under a lot of pressure to get sales. Many of us don’t make much of an hourly wage and rely on commissions to make ends meet. On top of that, we usually have a sales quota that we’re required to meet.

If we don’t make that quota, we will be put on a “pip” (performance improvement plan) where we will be coached and closely monitored for a period of time. If we can’t get the numbers up, we will be let go.

Now you know why we are so pushy. Some will do whatever it takes to get sales, including flat-out lying to customers just to get them to buy. Of course, this is against the rules. But our supervisor might look the other way because he’s under a lot of pressure, too. So be careful what you get yourself into, and always read the fine print.[7]

3 They Are Allowed To Keep Calling You (Kind Of) Even If You Say Not To

In the industry, we have the “DNC list” (aka the “Do Not Call Registry”). We don’t want you to know about this list. To get on it, you must explicitly ask to be put on there. Just saying “don’t call here anymore” isn’t good enough. You have to say the words “do not call list,” or we won’t put you on it.

Even when you ask to be put on the list, we are allowed to keep calling for up to a month. Although we will tell you that it takes time for your name to be removed from the system, that’s most likely a lie.

In fact, asking to be placed on the DNC list isn’t the best way to get the calls to stop. The most effective way is to tell telemarketers that they have the wrong number. They will put you down as such and probably won’t call again.[8]

2 They Prey On Senior Citizens

Senior citizens are where many of the sales come from. It’s pretty sickening, but it’s like a lion preying on a weak antelope. Seniors are easy to sucker into buying things because they don’t always have their faculties about them or realize what they’re getting into.

Taking advantage of seniors is about as immoral as it gets, but they don’t call telemarketers “sleazeballs” for nothing. If you’re getting up there in age or have a parent or grandparent whom you care about, it might be a good idea to keep this in mind. Always just say no and hang up the phone.

Unfortunately, some people don’t always have your best interests at heart. Remember, you don’t owe them the courtesy of staying on the phone.[9]

1 Most Of Them Are Breaking The Law And You Can Sue For Compensation

Most people don’t know this, but it’s difficult for telemarketing companies to operate without breaking any laws. Strict laws prohibit telemarketers from using robocalls or autodialers. Yet almost every telemarketing company uses autodialers, including the company I worked for.

Ever notice a long delay before someone comes on the line? Bingo. That means they’re probably using an autodialer.

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, telemarketers aren’t legally allowed to call you without your express written consent. It’s also illegal to call cell phones.

If anyone breaks these laws, you are entitled to collect from $500 to $1,500 for each unwanted call you receive. This is something they definitely don’t want you to know. Don’t let your rights be violated.[10]

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About The Author: I am an aspiring multimillionaire penny stock trader and movie buff whose hobbies include reading mostly nonfiction and occasionally writing articles, essays, and short stories. I have also been known to enjoy a good pizza with pineapple on it when I’m feeling adventurous.

fact checked by Jamie Frater