How to Kill Cold Calls

There is a standard response which will destroy the cold call industry if a significant number of people adopt it. Show genuine interest and put any human operative on hold while you pretend to "fetch your wife/husband", real or imaginary. If a machine calls you, press 5 immediately. Never put the phone down on cold callers. That is what they want you to do.

Why Will This Work?

The cold call business is a very tight margin business. Callers have to call hundreds, if not thousands of people a day to get enough positive responses to fund their pestilencial business. Even just pressing 5 to any recorded sales call will probably destroy them. How will they know which of the 'interested' responses are genuine and how will they afford the man power to answer each one? All we have to do to destroy this business is waste nearly as much of their time as they waste of ours. If everyone does that, the nuisance will stop, because there will be no profit in it.

Proficient Time Wasting

Here's an account of a conversation I once had:
Recorded message: Are you looking for health insurance? We offer the best value insurance...
Me: <press button 5>
Salesperson: Hi, thanks for your interest in health insurance, please can I...
Me: We are a small company of 72 people, and we're looking for a group health insurance policy right now. We're just about to sign up to a new policy. Can I fetch the person who is dealing with our application and she'll be able to tell you more?
Salesperson: yes, certainly.
Me: OK - please stay on the line for a minute while I fetch her. <press the mute button and carry on with your day>

Occasionally I pick up the telephone and say "I'm sorry for the delay - she was on a call but is just coming now. She'll be with you any minute. This salesperson waited on the line for 15 minutes in all, and was therefore unable to keep to his quota of dealing with customers.

With practice it is very easy to waste a lot more of their time than yours. And remember, always press 5 if it's a machine, because just having the telephone ring in their sales centre will put them out of business. They won't be able to cope with the number of calls their own automated systems generate.