Allow me to apologize up front - I am a professional marketing person. I make junk mail. I make email which you may or may not want to receive. I write sales pitches talking about features and benefits. I have been known to hire people to make annoying phone calls. I am the kind of person you probably hate. I also work in fundraising and development which means I know how to ask for money as well as spend it.
However, this gives me great skills for getting rid of pesky sales people. First of all in the business world, what department gets to spend money? Marketing. We get to spend money on new logos, new letterhead, advertisements, printing things that no one wants to read, hiring expensive outside consultants, renting mailing lists, and more. So that means that who gets calls from pesky salesmen - marketing. Yes the purchasing department gets this too but marketing is also privileged enough to get these calls.
As a result I have developed some finally honed skills in dealing with these people. I dislike the door to door people - its harder to avoid the door bell than it is to avoid the ringing phone with its little caller ID window. For the Bible carrying door to door visitors, I tell them I do not believe. I just say to them 'I am an atheist' or something helpful and close the door. For the political ones, I belong to a different party than they do and they can't convert me either. I don't care what religion or political affiliation they are, they are intruding on my privacy so go away. If you are delivering chocolates or flowers, feel free to stop by.
For the calls I actually bother to answer, I am polite - at first. As soon as they ask me for any money I give them my guidelines: 'I do not give money over the phone. If you want me to give you money, you need to send me something I can read. I will not tell you an amount I might give after reading your materials because then you will hound me and ask me for the $20 I 'promised' which I never promised.' If they try to argue with me, I hang up. (By the way, they only want that amount up front so they can budget on how much they might receive. Never commit over the phone. Its probably a scam or at the very least a high pressure sales pitch. A legitimate charity will be happy to send you materials.)
There is nothing wrong with standing your ground and
saying not interested and even hanging up on the marketing people. In
the business world, I would not recommend hanging up with out some sort
of polite good bye - even if you cut them off in mid-sentence. They
really don't want to waste their time with people who will never give
them money in the first place.
About those do not call/do not mail lists, make sure
you are signed up. Charitable organizations - which unfortunately
includes political campaigns) and businesses where you already have a
business relationship (such as a big fat mortgage) are exempt from these
but you they will help. Unfortunately there is not a do not stop by and
ring my door bell list. A beware of dog sign accompanied by a growling canine is probably the best deterrent. Our cat is pretty useless in this respect. He thinks anyone who comes to the door might feed him.
So last week I got a call from a life insurance salesman from the financial organization where we have some money and our (rather large) mortgage. With my medical history, I haven't really bothered with life insurance on the premise that no one will give me any. But I figured since they called and asked, I would give it a try. So I said 'would you provide life insurance to someone with two cancer diagnoses?' Hell, it never hurts to ask. No harm, no foul in asking. He replied 'how long ago were you diagnosed?' I said 'thirty years and four years'. His reply 'We like people to get to the five year mark so you can call us back next year and we'll see what we can do.' I translate that to there's a snowball chance in hell of them underwriting my life insurance anytime. But I also guarantee he will never call me again.\