How to deal with pesky street recruiters

  • Thread starter Monique
  • Start date
In summary, the speaker shares their experience of being approached by street recruiters multiple times a week. They often start with a compliment and then try to sell memberships for various causes. The speaker has tried different tactics to get rid of them, including saying they are not interested, but the recruiters are trained to overcome objections. The speaker is looking for a foolproof way to avoid these encounters.
  • #1
Monique
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,219
67
Ever have someone start waving enthusiastically at you, followed by them skipping over and proclaiming "HI! I really like your coat, where did you buy it?". Followed by "Do you also want to make the world a better place?". Yes, a street recruiter who wants to sign people up for a membership.

The above happens to me about 4–6 times a week. No, I'm lying, they don't always compliment me on my coat..

Now when they say "HI!", I reply with "Hello! Sorry, I'm not interested". However, that annoys them and that in turn annoys me. I get the reply "You don't even know what I want from you!".

Does anyone know a good deal breaker that I could use to stop them before they strike up a conversation? Saying "I'm already a member" doesn't work, they're hiding the identity of the funds they're recruiting for.

There must be something, but I can't think of it. Maybe invite them to walk with me and keep them chatting until they're annoyed and excuse themselves..
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
What are they selling? Since Hare Krishnas were banned from soliciting, I've not seen anyone soliciting, but of course this is the midwest, they'd be shot.
 
  • #3
It's summertime. Why are you wearing a coat?Tell them you're a poor student and you got that coat at a second hand store. Since it's summertime, that coat was almost free. Their summertime clothes were too much for your meagre budget.
 
  • #4
Door knockers are even worse. The thing to keep in mind is that these people work it as a numbers game. They expect to hit some percentage of go's and another percentage of no-go's. Your job is to find out how you can place yourelf in the no-go category so that they just move on. It's not easy, though, because they are trained to overcome objections, and the number one objection they're trained to overcome is "I'm not interested." Close behind that is "I don't have the money."

What I typically do is just throw some wild curve ball back at them that immediately puts me in the no-go category. For example, just the other day some guy tried to sell me coupons for synthetic motor oil. What? I told him that my buddy works for a repair shop and that I get all my oil changes for free in return for helping him when his computer acts up. What's he going to say to that? No go, NEXT.

I deal with the cell phone hawkers in the mall by telling them I get unlimited minutes for $15 a month. They just look at me dumbfounded. NEXT. At the mall I just keep walking slowly and talk to them. Same thing on the street, you don't want to stop. At the house though, they have you, and sometimes you will get tricked into stopping in the street or the mall. The thing to do is to let them give their speel for about 30 seconds while you're coming up with you trump card blow off line. Coming off as short or rude just gives them something to come back at you with. Give them 30 seconds and make it very clear that you are a No go and that you heard what they said and that you are being courteous by not wasting any more of their time. You let it go longer than 30 seconds and it just gets tougher to blow them off from there. Hope that helps :smile:
 
  • #5
D H said:
Tell them you're a poor student and you got that coat at a second hand store.
Hmmm. That might be exactly why they're after you. Poor student = someone we can draft to write letters, convince to get walk up to rich looking women who aren't wearing coats in the middle of the summer to wheedle money for the cause, etc.

Do you know what they gimmick is, and why they're picking on you?
 
  • #6
I would tell them "No. Do I look like I want to make the world a better place?"
 
  • #7
Evo said:
What are they selling? Since Hare Krishnas were banned from soliciting, I've not seen anyone soliciting, but of course this is the midwest, they'd be shot.

There're trying to recruit people for membership of "good causes", such as the cancer foundation, green peace, etc. They have a city license to stand on certain locations. I already have multiple memberships that I consider enough.
 
  • #8
About the coat, try to not wear one in summer weather of 10oC :)

DiracPool said:
It's not easy, though, because they are trained to overcome objections, and the number one objection they're trained to overcome is "I'm not interested." Close behind that is "I don't have the money."
Exactly, these people are highly trained and have a solution for every scenario. That's why I cut them off at the greeting, but I'm sure they are working on tactics to address those replies as well.
 
  • #9
D H said:
Do you know what they gimmick is, and why they're picking on you?
Sorry, the app doesn't support multi-quote..

I guess it's obvious I'm not a tourist, which makes me stand out, and I shop alone, which makes me the optimal target. Probably I'm also in the right age group and don't have children, and am just approachable (the last one I just like to think).
 
  • #10
Monique said:
I already have multiple memberships that I consider enough.

That's the last thing you want to tell them. That puts you squarely in the "go" category. The charity hawkers are a bit of a different game from the one I gave above, though. Like the guys that stand out in front of the supermarket. That's a lot easier. The thing to do is definitely acknowledge them, smile big. If they compliment you on the coat say, "thank you so much." I usually give them a corny plaintiff lip tightening to express sympathy for their cause. And then just keep saying, sorry, I can't today and just keep walking. Another good one is to kind of look down at the ground implying that you are as sad as they are that you weren't able to help their cause, 90% of the proceeds of which is going to the boss. Piece of cake. There's so many people walking by they're onto the next victim/donater right a way.
 
  • #11
I think the last one is probably it as well. A little unrelated but I always thought my sister is waaay prettier than I am but whenever we go out together men are always coming up to me to talk to me and NEVER her. I asked one guy about it and he said I smile a lot and seem friendly. So I think your approachability must be high. I wouldn't recommend going about scowling or changing your demeanor in general, but a firm no to these people should work hopefully.
 
  • #12
Tell them your 6'4" boyfriend works across the street and gets extremely jealous of anyone that you speak with. Self preservation should kick in at that point.

While not exactly the same, it reminds me of a Jehovah witness who knocked on my door one day. The curtains were shut and I decided not to answer. I could see just enough to see that he was trying to peer into the window. He found out that wasn't a good idea when he saw a rifle barrel suddenly poking through.
 
  • #13
One other thing. The charity hawkers are one exception to the playing poor rule. If they ask why you can't contribute, you say financial hard times. They can relate to that. You are having money problems, so am I. Let's pray for each other. Have a nice day and good luck. NEXT.
 
  • #14
HeLiXe said:
I think the last one is probably it as well. A little unrelated but I always thought my sister is waaay prettier than I am but whenever we go out together men are always coming up to me to talk to me and NEVER her. I asked one guy about it and he said I smile a lot and seem friendly. So I think your approachability must be high. I wouldn't recommend going about scowling or changing your demeanor in general, but a firm no to these people should work hopefully.
I would carry pepper spray if I were you. Better yet carry an automatic assault rifle. Then when they come up to you and ask "how are you my friend, do you have a minute for such and such" you can pull out your assault and rifle and say "why don't you say hello to MAH lil friend" xP
 
  • #15
DiracPool said:
Door knockers are even worse.

I just say something like, "Uh oh, the wasps are coming out of the nest in the porch light! Run!"
 
  • #16
I can be pretty arrogant and rude when some one annoys me. Here in Toronto it's mostly Green Peace teenies who ask you to donate. I politely tell them to F*** Off.
 
  • #17
Evo said:
What are they selling? Since Hare Krishnas were banned from soliciting, I've not seen anyone soliciting, but of course this is the midwest, they'd be shot.

Well, there's less of a chance they'll be shot where I live, but still it's not part of our culture. If someone approached me like that I'd assume they were trying to scam me out of money. I just give them a cold brush-off.
 
  • #18
It looks as though everyone but me on this thread advocates the proverbial "Sell your lies to my friends Smith and Wesson" approach, as opposed to the subtler techniques I have espoused. That's definitely one way to go. I approach it a bit differently most likely because I used to do it myself, so 1) I have more sympathy for these guys because it is a hard gig, and 2) I know the way they think. I've sold just about everything at one time or another, Cars, Spas, motorhomes, camp ground memberships, etc. When I was a kid I used to sell the LA times door to door all over So. Cal. I lived in various tourist resorts and sold timesharing, various events and tours, you name it all off hawking tourists right off the street. So I probably have a lot more sympathy for these guys than most people. My approach definitely isn't for everyone but it works for me and eases my guilt. I just basically say in not so many words, "I know you're just trying to make a buck but I'm not your guy. Good luck." If they don't go for that and keep pestering me, then I'll come down on them hard in a way they won't forget.
 
  • #19
Try stuttering really badly , I (do-do-do-do-do )^300 (not-not-not-...)^500 , etc. Try spending a full minute in each syllable, see if they can take it.
Or change the topic: say they come to you with" I have a message from the Lord" , you say, who, George Lord, the Oakland A's Pitcher? Why would he want to talk with me? Besides, wasn't he traded to the Rangers in exchange for Coco Crisp ? He's got a good knuckleball, George, doesn't he? Or, you say, is that Lord the one from Lord and Taylor? I haven't seen any Lord and Taylor around here. How come? Maybe George Lord bought it and moved it somewhere else. Or try laughing really loud for no reason, and tell them their comment is really funny.

Or, for more confusion, try all strategies together.
 
  • #20
Borg said:
Tell them your 6'4" boyfriend works across the street and gets extremely jealous of anyone that you speak with. Self preservation should kick in at that point.

While not exactly the same, it reminds me of a Jehovah witness who knocked on my door one day. The curtains were shut and I decided not to answer. I could see just enough to see that he was trying to peer into the window. He found out that wasn't a good idea when he saw a rifle barrel suddenly poking through.
Thanks, that gave me a good laugh :smile:

DiracPool said:
One other thing. The charity hawkers are one exception to the playing poor rule. If they ask why you can't contribute, you say financial hard times. They can relate to that. You are having money problems, so am I. Let's pray for each other. Have a nice day and good luck. NEXT.
I've tried that in the past, doesn't work. Their reply is that I don't have to give a lot and then they pull out the sign-up card and start talking numbers.
 
  • #21
Don't be fooled by a recruiter sounding offended by you trying to brush them off, its all part of the act to suck you in. Once you realize you are facing a recruiter you just express total loss of interest in them and move on. If the recruiter has otherwise been polite, you may grant him a single "I'm not interested", but the point is not to engage in any further dialog with him. If you feel pressed to say more then just say "I'm not interested" again. If you were just standing around when they approached you (thus making walking away less of an option), you can just turn or look away, and engage in something that will make the recruiter seem impolite if he keeps talking, like reading, writing, using your phone, talk to a friend, etc. Having a headset on is also a good signal, and if they are playing music so much the better.

I know people who get sucked into a dialog with recruiters because they actually care or have an interest in the stuff that the recruiter is presenting. Don't fall into that trap. You can always look for the information yourself on the net and you can be sure that any organization worth joining also has a web-site you can visit at your own leisure.
 
  • #22
Filip Larsen said:
Don't be fooled by a recruiter sounding offended by you trying to brush them off, its all part of the act to suck you in. Once you realize you are facing a recruiter you just express total loss of interest in them and move on.
:devil: I've also tried completely ignoring them, not even replying their greeting. What happens then is that they're extremely offended and say with a loud voice "you don't even say hello??", like I didn't greet a long-lost friend. The phenomenon is quite new, something of the last year.

I've sent an e-mail to the heart foundation, which I'm member of. I get the reply they recognize my story, but they're not going to do anything about it. Their reply: "Unfortunately it appears that the methods described are necessary to have any kind of conversation with people, to recruit donors that we so desperately need in order to do our job".
 
  • #23
I've used this many times.

I let them follow me a bit, ignoring them just enough. Then I stop quickly in my tracks and turn to them "Can you hear them?"

And keep walking. Bonus points if you say it creepily enough. Generally, even the most aggressive sales person still has self preservation.
 
  • #24
Monique said:
I've also tried completely ignoring them, not even replying their greeting. What happens then is that they're extremely offended ...

You need to convince yourself that them sounding offended is a deliberate act. But if it makes you uncomfortable to completely ignore them then just say "I'm not interested" every time they say something to you, including when they (with much astonishment in their voice) ask how you possible can say you are not interested when they haven't even told you about this-great-thing or when they try to provoke your guilt by saying something like "so you are not interested in saving lifes of your fellow humans?". Just reply "I'm not interested" in tired flat voice while you disinterested stare right past them.
 
  • #25
Monique said:
Sorry, the app doesn't support multi-quote..

I guess it's obvious I'm not a tourist, which makes me stand out, and I shop alone, which makes me the optimal target. Probably I'm also in the right age group and don't have children, and am just approachable (the last one I just like to think).

It takes years of training if you dedicate 1 second of each day to it, or a few minutes if you complete the training in one session, but you should develop B****y Resting Face to make yourself less approachable. (Warning: very mildly offensive language)
 
  • #26
If you don't mind being a bit cruel, you can tell them any of my jokes ; see the "Random Thoughts" section. That's how I get people I know to leave me alone:I tell them I have a joke, then I start hearing things like " Oh, I'm running late", or " I think I left the stove on", etc. And I start getting the same response from people I don't know when I start telling them.
 
  • #27
Oh yes, talking the sales person into a corner is the best thing ever. I get a perverse pleasure out of making them uncomfortable. Door to door sale's people are even better.
 
  • #28
Monique said:
There're trying to recruit people for membership of "good causes", such as the cancer foundation, green peace, etc. They have a city license to stand on certain locations. I already have multiple memberships that I consider enough.

I don't know about the laws where you live, but if they are doing what you described, then you have a legitimate complain that they are harassing you. If they have some identifying signs, such as the organization and the name of the person, then I would suggest contacting whatever agency that granted their license and lodge your complaint.

My tactic has always been that I show them ZERO interest. I will either just say no and continue my walk at the same speed, or I just shake my head. And this also works for pan-handlers. Most of them don't want to waste time on someone they know they won't get anywhere. But if you show even the slightest interest, or give them the impression that you might even talk to them, even to tell them no, then you give them ample excuse to want to try and get you.

Under no circumstances should you stop, even to tell them no. If they follow you while you are walking away, then this is clear harassment, and at least here in many US states and cities, this act is in violation of their permit to solicit on city streets.

Zz.
 
  • #29
Our current House representative came door-knocking and I hollered at her to just go away. She kept peering in my windows and shook her head "No". What a *****. She lost a vote then.
 
  • #30
ZapperZ said:
If they follow you while you are walking away, then this is clear harassment, and at least here in many US states and cities, this act is in violation of their permit to solicit on city streets.
Interesting remark, indeed now I see an old article from 2008 that states that it's prohibited to stand in front of the entrance to a store or walk along with passersby. I've just sent an e-mail to the advertisement code foundation, to see what the current restrictions are.
 
  • #31
I used to stay polite to these kids. Until one day i was walking down the street and one of them asked me if i care about poor children, i said no and kept walking, and the girl said "thats stupid". She surprised me so i didnt stop and complain. Now i no longer feel an obligation to stay polite them anymore.

Here are some of the things i do:

1. I say "im a bad person". This is what i do most often.
2. I ask a counterquestion, anything i want to know at that moment (where is the nearest ATM?)
3. If I am bored and don't have anything better to do, i will (if it is a girl) have a discussion about the state of the world, that the real problem is overpopulation and that she is naive and should donate her own salary. If it is a guy and i don't like him i explain that I am going home to have sex. Does he think I am going to waste my time with him?
 
  • #32
Frankly I think they see in my face that it's a waste of time.If they continue I just tell them to **** off.I know they're just doing their job but if you don't send a strong negative signal right away the conversation will never end with these guys.
 
  • #33
For starters, I just keep walking and don't break my pace for them.

If I have to give a response, it's often "Not Interested." And if they follow up with "but you don't even know..." then I respond with "Don't care." I don't even use complete sentences, just the bare minimum of words to let them know they are wasting my time.

If I feel like being nicer, I've found "not today" to be a pretty effective response. It seems to imbue them with false hope that I might be more responsive tomorrow. That's total crap of course, but it's almost as if humans have a natural or programmed response of patience when getting a "not right now" type of statement, and it let's them avoid having to feel like they've just been rejected and they need to try to fix the situation. Don't use this one on people who come to your door though, because they might be back tomorrow!

Funny story, I've noticed lately there's a bunch of solicitors outside the supermarkets near my house, and just yesterday when I went the supermarket had put up a big sign saying "These solicitors are here without our permission. We've asked them to leave. We recommend that you don't encourage their presence by contributing to their causes." They're still there, but they've been a lot less aggressive lately.
 
  • #34
I ignore anyone who approaches me on the street. I will literally pretend I can't hear or see them. If it's obvious I did hear or see them, I will shake my head "no" and continue walking.

This is impolite, surely. But it was impolite of them to interrupt my business to scam me out of money.
 
  • #35
Bark and growl like a mad dog at them.

If this doesn't work make inane clucking noises and yell incoherently.

70% of the time it works every time.
 

Similar threads

Replies
1
Views
756
  • General Discussion
Replies
12
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
13
Views
1K
Replies
81
Views
4K
  • General Discussion
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • General Discussion
Replies
11
Views
1K
  • General Discussion
Replies
33
Views
5K
Replies
10
Views
2K
  • STEM Career Guidance
Replies
2
Views
1K
Back
Top