What to say to Telemarketers to get Them to Leave You Alone!


Any phone call that starts with a stranger asking ‘Is this a convenient time to talk?’ has usually only one agenda – to try and sell you something that, in all likelihood, you do not need or want.

Telemarketing is one of the fastest-growing forms of marketing around, but also one of the most widely despised. This may in part be due to the fact that it feels inappropriate when a stranger calls to try and sell you something personal like life cover, but more than that telemarketing is just plain annoying and invasive.

We at The Catalyst sympathise with those of you who are under siege, and to help you cope better and launch your own counter-offensive against the tyranny of unsolicited phone calls, we have compiled a list of snappy responses to telemarketing approaches.

The next time you get that bright & sparkly voice asking if it’s a good time to chat, hit them with one of these:

  • Start telling them about the wonderful encyclopedias you have in stock.
  • Start telling them your life story
  • Tell them about your intense hatred for salespeople, then ask where they live
  • Reply to all their questions in song
  • Ask for someone who can translate pig Latin, as you speak no other language
  • Hand the phone to the youngest member of the house (under 5)
  • As soon as they name the corporation they represent begin barking relentlessly
  • Start trying to give them a psychological analysis
  • Demand that they refer to you as Dr. Chopsticks
  • Proudly describe what you found in your ear this morning
  • Ask them what colour underwear they are wearing today
  • Describe your socks in detail
  • Interrupt them repeatedly to describe the beauty of your new toaster
  • Ask them repeatedly if they believe in antelopes
  • Ask them for their phone number so that you can call them back and chat some more
  • Burst into tears when they try to hang up and scream “Don’t leave Me!”
  • When they ask to speak to you spend a long time trying to decide if that really is your name and after you realize it is ask them to remind you of it occasionally
  • Proudly explain that they are the first person that you have spoken to since you were released from jail for killing a telemarketer
  • In the middle of the conversation start humming the sesame street theme song, when they try to speak sound surprised and say, “Is someone there?”
  • Begin snoring

With thanks to Daily jokes.


Fetola Mmoho-164Anton Ressel is a Senior Consultant at Fetola and has over 15 years experience as an entrepreneur, trainer, business developer and mentor in the emerging business sector. A published writer for Sawubona, Business Day, fin24, Entrepreneur Magazine and many others, Anton is a Director of the Fetola Foundation as well as co-founder of Streetwires, one of South Africa’s largest and most successful social enterprises.