When telemarketers attack: How NOT to get a sale

I’m certain I’ve mentioned it at least once already.

Hey, I’m getting up there, bear with my foggy memory.

Back when I was a senior in college, I had a part-time job as a telemarketer.

It was — how do you say? — abysmal.

I seem to recall most of my paycheck going to Olan Mills’ studio toward portrait packages, which is, of course, what I was ostensibly “selling.” And by “selling,” I mean begging my mom, sister and closest friends to buy ’em.

I’m not sure where good old Olan has locations now, but I need to check because I’m fairly sure I’ve got at least four outstanding sittings paid in full.


Either way, I’ve always, always been very conscientious in acknowledging that the person on the other end of that annoyance call is a human — just trying to get by in the world by making an honest living. Therefore, I am NEVER rude to telemarketers.

But even I have my cap, capisce?

Based on what I can only describe as the absolute worst attempt at a phone solicitation in the history of history, including my own pathetic performance, I give you my crash course in “How to be a Really, Really Bad Telemarketer 101.”

1 — Don’t address a callee by name. Or worse, use the wrong name. That was a click you just heard.

2 — Pretend you’re NOT a telemarketer and that you and the callee are acquainted. This goes hand-in-hand with using the name of one of their friends, colleagues or associates as bait, stating, “Mary asked me to reach out to you.” Hard click.

3 — Call a cell number 14,742 consecutive times from the same phone bank and don’t leave a voicemail. Dead giveaway.

4 — Connect to someone via social media and upon acceptance of your invitation, immediately try to sell them something. You are now blocked.

5 — Call someone’s home at 8 a.m. on a Sunday, 9 p.m. on a Wednesday. Or like, ever. JK.

6 — Forget that you just called someone, even though you spoke to them at length, and pitch them again. Yikes, what are you, like, my age? Come on, kids, try a little.

7 –Leave this message:

Begin with a heaving, disgusted sigh. (Guess she thought I was screening? I was truly in a meeting. Either way.)

Then say, in the most irritated tone known to man since Archie Bunker learned his “little girl” married “the meathead”: “Hey, this is Adrianna if you could call me back, I’d appreciate it.”

Well, Adrianna (such a beautiful name for such a bitter young lady, BT dubs), I might take you at your word if your attitude didn’t scream, “YOU ARE SO IGNORANT FOR NOT TAKING MY CALL AND YOU CLEARLY WON’T CALL BACK BUT I HAVE TO COMPLETE THIS RIDICULOUS FARCE TO GET PAID.”

Finish up with: “My number is 325-203-****. Thank you.” (Probably would’ve been wise to say where you were calling from and why?)

FYI, that last line was delivered sans sincerity but with the same inflection as another dual-word phrase ending in “you” — typically followed by an exclamation point. I don’t mean the post-sneeze courtesy, either.

Let me tell you something, little miss Adrianna, you are pretty darned lucky that my editor won’t let me print your number in its entirety.

But thanks for your call. I appreciate it. Kinda like a canker sore.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who thinks Adrianna would ace her course. Check out PK’s plethora of useful tidbits at www.patriciakimerer .com.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)