Responding to a Telemarketer

I tell the telemarketer that I’m not a prospect.  I wish them good luck on their next call.  I say goodbye.  And then I hang up.


  • Saying I’m not a prospect is better than saying no, and especially when they haven’t asked whether I want what they are selling or not.
  • I used to say something negative, but that just left me with a negative feeling about the encounter.  Saying something positive (and something that is also sincere) has a better effect on me.  I can get back to being me more quickly.
  • Referring to their next call is my way of planting a seed, an idea that their time and efforts might be more profitable if they put less focus on this one interaction, and more focus on the whole endeavor.  That is one of the basic concepts in High Probability Selling.
  • I say goodbye when I am done with a conversation.  I say it in a neutral tone, the same way I would if I were the person placing the call.
  • I hang up.  It’s kinder than hanging on while they continue to talk.

There are some exceptions.  If I can’t interrupt the caller, I’m not interested at all, and just hang up.  If it is a human caller, and I have time to be interested in the person, then I might have a conversation.  If the person is interesting to me, I might ask, “How long have you been doing this?”

I’d like to hear from you, my readers.  How do you respond to a telemarketer, and how does that make you feel?

Workshops in May 2018:
Chapter 12 Updated on Thu 17 May for $95

Author: Carl Ingalls

Administrator for High Probability Selling Blog

4 thoughts on “Responding to a Telemarketer”

  1. Hi it depends on my mood at the call. sometimes and mostly I like to hear what the pitch is. If it starts with Hi how are you,,,,,,i know I m being pitcxhed. almoast an insult,,,but the I have to remember they are trained to do this,,,hoping to get a sale.,,,,other than that I may listen for a minute to see hpow gfar they will go before I start throwing out the usuall objections,,,,I ll think aBOUT it,,,etc,,,,,,Its kind of intetersting to hear all of this,,,,,HPS knows that word well……Thxs for letting me respon POry


  2. I received this from Tom, by email.

    If they seemed open, young and earnest, and not a parrot (keeping in mind that their manager in the call center is listening/recording), I have mentioned High Prob a few times as an alternative way of making calls but unfortunately knowing that none of them can do anything differently because it’s a call center with prepared scripts that they read. It’s the job.

    But I usually do say that I’m not a good prospect for you today.

    Unless I’m driving in which case I say I’m driving and can’t talk now goodbye.

    I vaguely recall a high prob user saying that when they got a telemarketing call they took the time to prospect the telemarketer using a memorized offer.

    Not sure if that ever helped them other than as a moment of practice.


    1. Tom,
      I may be the high prob user who told you they sometimes prospect the telemarketer about High Probability Selling. However, I first find out a lot of things about the person before I do that. The immediate payoff is the practice. Otherwise, it’s just putting a seed out there, one that may drift or lay dormant for quite a while.
      Carl Ingalls


  3. I received this from Steve, by email.

    I respond in various ways, depending on the circumstances.

    If the caller begins with, “How are you today?” and I have a few minutes to spare, I point out the fact that their beginning could be much stronger.

    If the caller begins with some unbelievable claim, I might say something like, “I don’t have a lot of time to listen to your pitch right now, but if you’ll tell me what you are selling and the price, I’ll tell you if I want it.”

    If it’s automated, I push the button that says they will delete my number from their list.


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