As someone who has dedicated themselves to marketing for the past 20 years, you might find it surprising to hear that I really don't like certain marketers. These are the door-to-door solicitors that pass through my neighborhood every so often, and always come by right at dinnertime.


They are peddling all sorts of stuff, but mostly it's questionnable hard luck stories or grammer school campaigns that are supposed to trick you into having a conversation and eventually part with some money. I especially dislike certain solicitors who try to convert me right on the spot to their religion.
So, I've tried various tactics to end our conversations quickly. You know, like telling them I'm not interested, or I gave at the office, or any number of other possibilities.
The problem is that when you do this, there is always a counter-argument. For example, you might say that you are not interested in what they are selling, but they will take that as a great starting point for trying to convince you otherwise.
I grew tried of these selling games a few years ago and started using a different tactic... this is one that always works. And so while I still get door-to-door solicitors, I haven't spent more than about 20 seconds dealing with anyone.
Here's what you do. When the doorbell rings and you know you're about to engage with someone who is going to try and sell you something, open the door, but only a little bit. Once you hear the beginning of their talking script, put a distressed look on your face and quickly glance back and forth between the person at the door and some imaginary person inside the house. Then say in a low voice that this is horrible time to talk right now because you're in the middle of a "major family problem."
This always works. I find that solicitors will always disengage at that point. After all, they came to sell you something, not to get involved in some marital dispute. The more distressed you look and the more imperative it looks like you need to return to the major family problem, the faster the person will leave. If you can convince them that divorce is imminent, even better.
Yesterday, I got this person who was clearly selling bogus baseball tickets to leave within 10 seconds after I started my little act.
Ok... well, maybe this is dishonest (and it is), but sometimes you have to take strong measures to keep marketers from hassling you.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss is the CEO and founder of MarketingProfs. He's also a longtime marketing professor and mentor at the University of Southern California, where he leads Mindful USC, its mindfulness center.