How to cut down on telesales calls

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Do you suffer with constant telephone calls from people who 'aren't selling anything'?

Are your evenings interrupted (usually when there's something good on the TV) by strangers offering you a 'free' fitted kitchen?

Would you like to string these people up from the highest tree in the kingdom?

Then read on.

The best way to get rid of them entirely is to go ex-directory, but this costs you money, and if you're anything like me you will resent having to pay so as not to receive unsolicited telesales calls.

The next best way (for those of us in the UK), which seems to result in an immediate reduction of cold calls by about 85% is to register your phone number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This is run by the Direct Marketing Association. They will put your phone number on a register that is made available to all their members so that they know not to call you. This actually seems to work, and it's free!

If you wish to register your number with the TPS, call 0845 070 0707 and follow the instructions.

There are some companies that the TPS does not cover, such as market research organisations. Also, small local companies do not tend to be members, so if either of these rings you, take the following steps:

1. After their preamble, during which they will give you the company name together with the name of the person who is calling, ask them if they subscribe to the TPS.

2. If they say they do, take down the date they called you and let them know that you are registered as a number that doesn't want cold calls. Companies registered with the TPS tend to be reputable and are therefore very good about this, offering you profuse apologies, etc.

3. If they say they don't, tell them that you don't want them to call you again and to make a note of your number for this purpose. With companies that aren't registered with the TPS, it is vital that you get the company name and the name of the person calling you, together with the date they called. This is so you can give them all the facts and figures about when you told them to stop calling if they pester you again.

Using the above, I have seen a reduction from about 5 or 6 calls a week to virtually nil. This process took about 6 months, but the immediate effect was to reduce the number of calls to about 2 or 3 a month.

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