How I Stop Door-Knockers and Telemarketers

Sick of being interrupted? Shut them down!

It’s a fact of modern living – and working from home especially – that you’re going to be harangued by the occasional door-to-door salesperson or called by telemarketers.

I won’t deny that these can be legitimate business approaches, and indeed that for quality products they’re not necessarily evil. That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want them in my life.

Now, you can simply decide to never open the door or answer the phone again. For me, that’s not an option, especially the phone front because every unknown caller could be a potential new client dialing from the very website you’re reading right now. So how do I shut them down?

Door Knockers

Door Knockers aren’t using some predetermined list of prospects – they’ve been assigned my street, and are knocking on every door. I can’t stop them knocking*, so my goal is to end the conversation immediately. They’ve been trained to overcome objections like “I’m not interested” or “I’m releasing the hounds”, but because they’re paid on commission and ultimately only pursue viable sales opportunities, I reckon I’ve found an answer that moves them on in a hurry.

“Sorry mate, this is an AirBNB, I’m just here on holidays from London.”

For salespeople, it’s a great foil. No I don’t want to buy your discount tyre-replacement service – I don’t own a car in this country. No I don’t want your meal delivery service – I leave the country in a week. No I don’t want to donate to your charity – good luck with it, but I have charities I support in my own country.

It helps that I did actually live in London, so can answer any follow-up questions (lots of doorknockers are backpackers on a working holiday visa, so the typical response is “Cool, I’m from X, where in London do you live?” “Brixton, south west London.” “Oh, cool, well enjoy your holiday bye”).

I’m optimistic that the AirBNB route also suggests there are no valuables left on the property – should the doorknocking be a ruse for burglary.


Based on the success of my AirBNB ruse, I modified it to suit telemarketers.

“I’m sorry, I bought this sim card at the airport. I’m just in Australia on a short holiday.”

Not only does this shut down the conversation in a similar manner, I’ve twice had the person on the other end of the line apologise and then tell me the number will be taken off their list. How hard is it sometimes to actually get taken off a phone list (especially for organisations that aren’t subject to the Do Not Call registrations), and here they are doing it voluntarily!

So give either of these a shot. And let me know how you get on!

* It is possible to stop doorknockers. The best I saw was a friend with a sick baby, who put up a blackboard that said “We have a sick baby inside, and are all living on minimal sleep. If you knock and wake my child, you will have to deal with me and the consequences. So DO NOT KNOCK”. It worked so well they kept it for years until they moved house!

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