Want to Get That Annoying Salesperson to Stop Calling You?

Since our blog is already chock-full of posts with tips that are specific to sales reps, like how to design a successful sales call cadence or how to prepare for the QBR, we thought it was high time to switch perspectives a little bit and answer the question every single business person has asked at some point: how do I get a salesperson to stop calling and e-mailing me?

The truth is, many sales organizations still adhere to oft-quoted statistics that lend merit to the belief that tenacity pays off. Putting the legitimacy of such studies aside for a moment, there’s no question that sales is a numbers game, and the most successful sales reps have always been the ones who put the most effort into reaching their prospects. 

Unfortunately for prospects, this means that salespeople are trained to do everything they can to contact you until you give them a legitimate reason not to. However, it’s important to keep in mind:

1. The goal of most sales calls is to get information, not to make a sale

Most sales calls these days are meant to learn more about your business- to see if you are even a viable prospect, not to sell you something on the spot. Getting a company to stop calling you can be as simple as picking up the phone and saying something like, “No, Ma’am, my company is located in Kansas and not in the market for tsunami insurance.”

By taking 30 seconds to actually tell the rep why she shouldn’t be calling you (beyond “I’m too busy right now”), you’ve given her the information she needs to take you off her list, and ensure that no one else from her company will ever call you again. That’s how you can take advantage of the numbers game- salespeople want to make the most of their time, and they won’t waste it calling bad prospects.

2. There is a specific reason you are getting called

It’s true that sometimes sales calls are way off the mark. However, if a salesperson is being really stubborn about calling you, chances are that you look like a good prospect from the outside, and it’s worth your time to find out why. The front lines of innovation in tech these days is on the phone lines of startups. If a company is calling you, you can bet your competition has gotten a ring as well.

Annoying as it may be, a short conversation with the sales rep will give you enough background to determine if their offering will actually drive your business forward, and by the same token, arm you with the information you need to get yourself removed from the list if you are not a good fit.

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When you speak with a salesperson, try these 3 steps to make the conversation short and productive: 

1. Ask for the 30-second Elevator Pitch (and actually listen to it)

If you want to keep the conversation very short, pick up the phone and ask for the elevator pitch. If the salesperson doesn’t say something relevant to your business, you can explain why the product doesn’t provide any value to you and disqualify yourself as a prospect. The same goes for e-mail: One sentence back to the salesperson identifying why the product isn’t relevant will stop the outreach.

2. Ask Pointed Questions

In the event that the elevator pitch contains information that is compelling, make sure you ask pointed questions. Tailor the conversation to your needs, “How will this product affect my business specifically?”, “If this is my major problem, how would you help me?”. Even if your needs don’t seem to be specifically related to the product, ask how the product will address them.

Keying the conversation on your needs will give you plenty of ammo to disqualify yourself. If the sales rep can’t adequately answer your questions and explain how she will help you, she won’t have any reason to contact you again.

3. Be responsive if you ask for more information

If it turns out that the product is worth digging into further, don’t be afraid to ask for more information, but set a concrete time to follow up. The worst thing you can do is ask for more information or say you’ll spend some time looking at their website simply to be polite. Such behavior marks you as a hot prospect (whether you think you are or not), and will lead a salesperson to be even more persistent if you go dark.

If you legitimately want to find out more, keep the follow-up concise and under your control by having the rep send a calendar invitation. She won’t contact you until it’s time to follow up, and at that point, you can leverage the information you’ve gained to ask pointed questions and easily disqualify yourself.


Stopping sales calls really just comes down to one thing: acting human. Salespeople aren’t socially unaware or maladjusted (for the most part), but years of industry experience have taught them that there’s money to be made in follow-up calls, and their managers will not accept “I stopped calling because I was being really annoying,” as a legitimate reason to give up on a prospect.

As a result, if you have a misguided salesperson after you, the fastest way to stop the chase is to pick up the phone and be very clear about why they’re barking up the wrong tree.

If you would like some tips on being a successful salesperson that go beyond “make more dials”, take a look at our free e-book to learn more about outbound prospecting.

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