Wolf of Wall Street Cold Calling Scene - What tonality to use on the phone

42 replies
You've probably seen the movie Wolf of Wall Street.

There is a great scene in the movie where Jordan makes a pitch on the phone. I think it does a good job of demonstrating of how to use tonality.


What tonality do you use on the phone when you cold call or talk with clients? Think it's a great subject that deserves attention because tonality makes up almost everything on the phone, as you don't have body language...

I myself try to sound a bit "no bullshit", straight forward, authority/expert and not so up beat. Will experiment more with it though in the coming weeks, to find new styles. And would be awesome if you could share any thoughts of what you have found working when it comes to tonality.
#calling #cold #phone #scene #street #tonality #wall #wolf
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    That almost precisely how Belfort trains people in his Straight Line Selling training. DiCaprio really nailed it.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    IMO, it`s a way to convey ideas about yourself without saying it overtly.

    I always go in authoritative in the first few seconds and it's fairly rare that people hang up on me straight up but I let it go fast and I try to make it more conversational afterward.

    I think depends on the prospect`s mood. IMO, it`s not as important to match the person perfectly as it is to reply with the right tonality with the right words given the circumstances.

    Rule of thumb for me is that if I can convey it with tonality instead of words, I go for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmericanMuscleTA
    Sounds just like the sales call scene from the Boiler Room (Great movie by the way!!!)...

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  • Profile picture of the author Climb Online
    Tonality is used to create emotion in the prospect. A greed, or need, scarcity, excitement, secrecy, trust to name a few. Language patterns combined with tonality that elicits the emotional state that you want the prospect to be in, is where its at.

    There is no point in using tonality just for the sake of it, the next call my tonality will be authoritative, that is not going to get you anywhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author rawandrew
    I believe tonality should be used to keep a prospect's attention. If you speak in monotone you are boring and people don't want to hear you speak for a long time. Tonality adds some excitement to the conversation and it is what good storytellers use to keep their audiences wrapped in the story for hours.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      There is sooo much more in this clip than tonality. Every statement builds on what was said before. Every question pulls the prospect in. For a movie, it's got some great selling in it.

      If, at any time, he didn't sound sure about what he was saying, the whole pitch would have failed. That was the real power.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        There is sooo much more in this clip than tonality. Every statement builds on what was said before. Every question pulls the prospect in. For a movie, it's got some great selling in it.

        If, at any time, he didn't sound sure about what he was saying, the whole pitch would have failed. That was the real power.
        I think most people will fail to see most of it. That was amazing selling and amazing acting. I'm not even sure I consciously got 100% of what he did and I know without practice I couldn't repeat that.. But every single part of that was designed to make a quick and fast sale.

        That a beautiful example of what I call a semi-cold call.

        We should really break it apart and show all the beauty in it. See what each of us caught that we can explain.

        For me two of the most powerful moments in that were the "disinterest" shown in the beginning and the "best in 6 months" part.

        The "disinterest" as I call it shows that he doesn't need this sale. It's a courtesy that he is even calling. The prospect can't hang up on him because he doesn't care if the caller takes his call or not. The prospect can sense the fact that if he doesn't listen he won't be getting a call back. Then as soon as he has the bait in the mouth he instantly turns on the confident interest and goes into the pitch.

        The "Best in 6 months" is what I call "believable hype". No one is going to believe it is the best ever or some of the crazy stuff that people pitch. but the fact that it "may be" the best in the last 6 months is perfect and believable. It shows them it is good, rare, but not over hyped.

        I think a lot of marketers could learn some lessons from these two points.
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  • Profile picture of the author mckennabrowny
    I match my tone to the person who answered the phone. You can tell a lot by the way a person sounds when they answer the phone. I think socialentry nailed it, I think a lot of it has to do with the prospects mood. People want to buy from YOU. You present the product, but then sell yourself. You hear a dog barking, ask about their dog, and then mention your dog. They mention kids, grandkids, then ask about them. To me it's all about sounding like a real human to them and not another sales guy going after their wallet.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    The problem I have with the clip is that he was lying about everything. All style, no substance trying to legitimately add value to the client. Belfort was all about ripping people off, but I guess people like his style.

    His Straight Line system, kind of a telling name. Does he advise people to snort a straight line of coke before a cold call too? LOL.
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  • Profile picture of the author big tymer
    I wanted to buy Aerotyne Industries stock when I watched the movie!
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  • Profile picture of the author Gladiator
    The Acting- So,So... I could see the seams in his delivery!

    The call- It was a re-load and not a cold one call-close. Not a fresh new lead and a cold call! But a client already, maybe.

    It was a lay-down, no objections at all!
    However that happens if you use enthusiasm, energy and urgency and greed! Basically it's more on how you say things and not what you say, however watch out for the misrepresentation!

    You also have to take control and tell the client "Here's what we're going to do" And then get it done get it closed!

    BTW- i never saw the movie, just commenting on the video.
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  • Profile picture of the author neuroscience
    I agree with NewParadigm on the lying bit. Putting makeup on a turd isn't really that hard - so the result kind of lost a bit of it's power. I still think he would have nailed the call even without the makeup, due to the enthusiasm, energy and tonality. Back to the old basics of, not what you say, but how you say it.

    "does that ring a bell? The reason for my call"... like a Jordan clone
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Tonality, at least the way Belfort defines it, is about how something's said, to inflect and change tone in such a way where it delivers a specific unspoken message along with the words. It's rather ingenious, actually.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      Tonality, at least the way Belfort defines it, is about how something's said, to inflect and change tone in such a way where it delivers a specific unspoken message along with the words. It's rather ingenious, actually.
      Yeah, he says Tonality, but he really means timing, spacing, inflection, showing concern, projecting an image of authority (if that's needed)....everything except the words you use.

      The posts here about him lying? They are missing the point. The fact that his offer was bad is incidental. The methodology works....just don't use it to scam people.
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      • Profile picture of the author serryjw
        Claude...I am surprised. you liked it. To me the call was 100% B.S....There have always been great telemarketing crooks that could sell 'ice to Eskimo'. That isn't real world.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by serryjw View Post

          Claude...I am surprised. you liked it. To me the call was 100% B.S....There have always been great telemarketing crooks that could sell 'ice to Eskimo'. That isn't real world.
          What about it was not real world?

          Sure, the vast majority of calls wouldn't go that well, no matter how good you are. But I'm not sure what you mean.

          I liked it because the actor sounded like a real salesman.
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          • Profile picture of the author serryjw
            No true empathy, he just 'snowed' him while tap dancing...where was the objections? Due Diligence? I watch "American Greed' all the time and can't believe people fall for the most common B.S. I'm sorry they lost their lifetime wealth BUT...I research a WSO more than they researched the 'investment' they were about to lose everything.
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            • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
              Originally Posted by serryjw View Post

              No true empathy, he just 'snowed' him while tap dancing...where was the objections? Due Diligence? I watch "American Greed' all the time and can't believe people fall for the most common B.S. I'm sorry they lost their lifetime wealth BUT...I research a WSO more than they researched the 'investment' they were about to lose everything.
              Very few people practice due diligence. If they did, marketing would be mostly fact based, advertisements would be footnoted, and we'd all check the sources before buying. Emotional buying can lead to a great purchase, but it's a matter of chance; it can also ruin you.

              I agree with you about empathy; what gives the guys in the clips such a great advantage is they are sociopaths who can be convincing telling the biggest lies. They can give a great big sincere smile and handshake to someone whose pocket they are simultaneously picking, while that person really feels like there is a bond being created. Sociopaths have no "tell" because screwing people is perfectly normal and comfortable for them; the rest of us would flinch, and would have to learn to quash that, in order to do what comes easily to the best manipulators; those without conscience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Climb Online
    Real world example of tonality: My better half and I went to the fancy sleep number store at the mall to enquirer about an adjustable bed for my aging father.

    Halfway through the sales lady's spiel she lowered her voice and started talking very quietly about a "secret discount" available. There was only the three of us in the entire store!

    I guess there could have been secret recording devices placed strategically by management, or not, it did make me chuckle though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by susie haynes View Post

      Real world example of tonality: My better half and I went to the fancy sleep number store at the mall to enquirer about an adjustable bed for my aging father.

      Halfway through the sales lady's spiel she lowered her voice and started talking very quietly about a "secret discount" available. There was only the three of us in the entire store!

      I guess there could have been secret recording devices placed strategically by management, or not, it did make me chuckle though.
      I was in a furniture store, with my wife, where I agreed to a very expensive bedroom suite. The salesman leans over and whispers (loud enough for anyone 30 feet away to hear)...."Now that you've got what you want....what are we going to get for your wife?".

      I loved it! I laughed out loud, we bought more.....

      I wrote it down when we left. I love being sold to by a great salesperson.

      Some selling is theater.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    This goes to one of my fundamental beliefs about sales, which I have diagnosed over and over in people who struggle to sell.

    The bigger the BS - the better salesman you have to be.

    I'm not saying that people who are good at sales are flim-flam artists. There are a lot of great sellers that I respect. A few have posted in this thread.

    If your offer is a total load of crap - like when I was selling the "Vortec Force" vacuum cleaner door to door in my first sales job - you gotta sing and dance like a circus performer. Like Jordan Belfort did.

    Not all offers are amazing so the more "ordinary" level of value you are providing, the better seller you need to be.

    For me, it all comes down to empathy. Jordan Belfort has a real ability to produce fake empathy. This is what all con-men have in common. It sounds as if they really get you. They tune into your needs. They tune into your frequency, and then make an offer you'd be crazy to refuse.

    In business, if you have real empathy for your prospect and only offer them things of great value, your technique can be a little bit off and you can still make a good living.

    If you combine great value with great sales skills, you will become wealthy.

    The first thing I target when someone is struggling to make money isn't their selling technique, it's their value proposition.

    I'm not a great seller but I have loads of empathy. I can tune in to what a person needs and offer them exactly what they are looking for. The solution to their problem. Doing this, I don't need the sales tricks. I took Jordan's course. It was great. But I never really needed to apply it.

    If I could work hard enough and really become great at sales, I would make more. But I don't believe sales technique alone will get you there unless you are willing to lie about the value you are offering. The small lies and exaggerations will cause small amounts of resentment in your clients. Tell big enough lies, and you go "up the river" to the big house.

    Instead of working really hard at learning to sell, I work really hard at learning to provide value. I believe I end up with about the same income and it feels much much better.
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Lowering their voice as if sharing a secret is one example.

    The "Wolf of Wall Street" clip isn't a training film. It's good acting though. So you're almost but not quite actually hearing the tonality done as it should be, so let me give you another example.

    The part where DiCaprio (as Belfort) says to the person he's calling, "you mailed in my company a postcard..."

    Now, you could say that matter of factly as a statement.

    That would be one tonality.

    Another tonality would be to say it as if it were a question.

    "You mailed in my company a postcard?"

    DiCaprio almost does that in the clip.

    And what happens in the recipient's mind is when they hear that statement inflected as a question, the mind interprets it as a question.

    Even though the sales person continues on speaking.

    And because the mind hears it as a question, naturally, it seeks to answer it.

    So the recipients mind is thinking, "Postcard? What postcard? Mailed in?"

    And even if they can't remember doing it, their mind tells them, "I must've done that and forgotten it"

    ...with the result that they're more open to the message.

    All because it's delivered with an inflection.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    My general tone on calls is to project myself as a slightly confused, wise old man. Also works wonders for talking to girls in the day time because it's disarming. I think it's where I learned it from actually. Slow, deliberate, unsure. Not reacting or needing anything from the other person.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gladiator
      Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post

      My general tone on calls is to project myself as a slightly confused, wise old man. Also works wonders for talking to girls in the day time because it's disarming. I think it's where I learned it from actually. Slow, deliberate, unsure. Not reacting or needing anything from the other person.


      Really?! If you called me I would quickly think this guys is out of it and confused, Thank you and hang up!

      If you are going to make the call, you need to sound like you are awake and know what you are talking about. Basically the guru or the pro of your field! People need to assured they are talking to a leader and not a confused voice over the phone!

      And I'm not talking about a $200 quick digital job.

      It might work with some chick in a bar but not in the real sales world, with real people and deals to close!

      I really try not to comment to much about the art of closing because it really will take me all day! But I can see that there are few that can do it here! Some forums have too many posers.

      I respectfully disagree!

      Andre
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
        Originally Posted by Gladiator View Post

        Really?! If you called me I would quickly think this guys is out of it and confused, Thank you and hang up!

        If you are going to make the call, you need to sound like you are awake and know what you are talking about. Basically the guru or the pro of your field! People need to assured they are talking to a leader and not a confused voice over the phone!

        And I'm not talking about a $200 quick digital job.

        It might work with some chick in a bar but not in the real sales world, with real people and deals to close!

        I really try not to comment to much about the art of closing because it really will take me all day! But I can see that there are few that can do it here! Some forums have too many posers.

        I respectfully disagree!

        Andre
        Really! What's ironic is that in the real world, if you posture yourself as a know it all guru they are far more likely to hang up on you. Because sales isn't about you, it's about them. Every salesperson is trying to do the same thing: be the man, taking the spotlight off the prospect. By being unsure you open space for the other person to help you and sell themselves to you, because from their perception you aren't acting like a slimy salesperson.

        If you aren't on the phones every day I can understand that this is a hard concept to understand because it's a paradox. If you ever want to listen in send me a PM sometime and we'll see what approach works best.
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        • Profile picture of the author Gladiator
          Maybe it works for you great, keep on doing what your doing!

          But you will attract problem clients if you are Not the pro and leader from the start. Remember that is why they would even consider listening to you. Now if they were in the investment world, it would be urgency, and greed.

          It's what you tell the prospect, what they need and what they need to do, or else you will get too many strokers and waste a lot time. Ok sure you will close a deal here and there using some other way.

          But if you sell them one time that would be the end and not get them to spend more with you because they control you!

          Also a blind mouse finds a piece of cheese once in a while!

          Did you see the video in this post? That is how it's done most of the time, of course there are some changes to make depending on the service or product you are selling.

          I would be more then happy to pitch you on the phone and not just listen to you but you know this could also be a waste of time, but when I have some time we could chat.

          Andre


          Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post

          Really! What's ironic is that in the real world, if you posture yourself as a know it all guru they are far more likely to hang up on you. Because sales isn't about you, it's about them. Every salesperson is trying to do the same thing: be the man, taking the spotlight off the prospect. By being unsure you open space for the other person to help you and sell themselves to you, because from their perception you aren't acting like a slimy salesperson.

          If you aren't on the phones every day I can understand that this is a hard concept to understand because it's a paradox. If you ever want to listen in send me a PM sometime and we'll see what approach works best.
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          • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
            Originally Posted by Gladiator View Post

            Maybe it works for you great, keep on doing what your doing!

            But you will attract problem clients if you are Not the pro and leader from the start. Remember that is why they would even consider listening to you. Now if they were in the investment world, it would be urgency, and greed.

            It's what you tell the prospect, what they need and what they need to do, or else you will get too many strokers and waste a lot time. Ok sure you will close a deal here and there using some other way.

            But if you sell them one time that would be the end and not get them to spend more with you because they control you!

            Also a blind mouse finds a piece of cheese once in a while!

            Did you see the video in this post? That is how it's done most of the time, of course there are some changes to make depending on the service or product you are selling.

            I would be more then happy to pitch you on the phone and not just listen to you but you know this could also be a waste of time, but when I have some time we could chat.

            Andre
            I don't understand why people form opinions about things when they have zero first hand experience. I posted a thread if you have the balls to show me how it's done.
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  • Yes, yes the tonality was good.

    But, the key point is the "prospect" sent in a postcard.

    Only the best way ever to get great clients.

    Obviously sell them something legal and ethical.


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author misterme
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      But, the key point is the "prospect" sent in a postcard.
      Oh, good one! Now all's we need is Kanigan to chime in with it works because he was using a telephone script and Midasman to reminisce about when he sold stockbroker ads on restaurant place mats - and we got ourselves a whole new thread.
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  • Yes, and so they should (lol)

    Always good to bring attention to these details.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author JCorp
    Tonality sure is everything. I consider tonality also being in line with enthusiasm, although a lot of people would call me crazy for doing so, doesn't matter.

    Your enthusiasm is better than being a soft spoken, low toned person on the phone who makes cold calls. Not gonna happen and you won't be making very many sales.

    So enthusiasm sets the tonality.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gladiator
    big ones!!

    And by the way I have more experience than you many, many, many times over in the real world of closing with real closers that would make your head spin and then you would look confused! OK
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Gladiator and Mathew....

      You are arguing both sides of the same coin. Two different facets of the same thing.

      Have you ever consulted a doctor?

      Doesn't he sound sure of himself? Confident? Knowledgeable? Absolutely.

      But it isn't about him. It's about you. And the entire focus of the visit is on helping you solve your problem.

      See? It isn't an either/or thing. At least not the way I do it.

      Posturing is fun to watch. Young people. :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn7Harris
    When i was on holiday in the USA i made the mistake of putting my business cards at various places. When i returned to Australia i got a phone call from a company who wanted to sell me some stock, and suggested one of their dealers call me, i tried several times to say no, but the guy was pushy so i said, ok. Within 1 hour i got this very charming guy ring up and say he wanted to give me $3000 to put into a investment account, so i could start making money from it, again i tried to say no, but it was a very smooth approach and i said ok, I then tried a different tack and asked at what point could i take money out of the account, he replied i could remove money at any time.
    So i said ok, i would like to withdraw $3000 that you just put in, which would go towards paying my lawyers fees as i have just declared bankruptcy.
    That part of that $3000 will go towards paying the rent in my government housing commission home.
    Before he replied, i think he must have been drinking coffee or something as i heard a loud bang some swearing and next thing the phone line is cut off. I waited patiently for him to call me again but alas that call never came, so i put down the phone, and decided to go for a swim in my indoor heated pool at the house that i 100% own and had a good laugh
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    • Great thread! As a personal coaching student of Jordan Belfort's I'd like to throw my hat in the ring.

      Personally, I believe that viewers of The Wolf Of Wall Street, Boiler Room, and those who know his story, misconstrue his system and insights.

      His system is goal oriented selling, and the goal of all encounters is to close. Closing is the most noble act a sales person can bestow upon their prospect. Closing is the ability to influence your prospect to make a positive decision that enhances their livelihood. However, closing to most means the ability to convince or manipulate someone to make a decision that is either for your own benefit or not beneficial for them.

      When you engage in any encounter, your goal is to close, because it is in the best interest of the prospect. It is your responsibility as a sales person to gather intelligence to know if your product/service is in the best interest of your prospect, and if it is, whether they are open to it or blinded by their own beliefs, it is your duty to remove their objections so you can give them what they need.

      With regards to tonality, it is the tool you use to effectively communicate with your prospect and move them towards closing. No one specific tone can accomplish this. You will have to use a multitude of tones throughout your conversation.
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  • When Cold Calling I try and find a quick commonality. Ie. I may have found their business card at a deli. When they answer I speak to them as if we have meet before using the tonality initially of a friend as if we have been aquatinted before. (just because we have eaten at the same deli) This works well because it immediately lowers their guard, they believe they are talking with someone they have meet before not some sales person.

    Then I do my best to pace, mirror and match to build a solid rapport, using phrases like: most people, you know how, and everyone says. These really target the subconscious well and quickly help to build rapport. After this create the urgency find the need and use tonality to match the situation if you remain monotone or sound like you are reading a script you might as well have not picked up the phone.
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn7Harris
    I know phone canvassers do a job, just wish that there was a word that could be used instead of the word no, as they do not seem to understand i am not the slightest bit interested
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Glenn7Harris View Post

      When i was on holiday in the USA i made the mistake of putting my business cards at various places. When i returned to Australia i got a phone call from a company who wanted to sell me some stock, and suggested one of their dealers call me, i tried several times to say no, but the guy was pushy so i said, ok. Within 1 hour i got this very charming guy ring up and say he wanted to give me $3000 to put into a investment account, so i could start making money from it, again i tried to say no, but it was a very smooth approach and i said ok, I then tried a different tack and asked at what point could i take money out of the account, he replied i could remove money at any time.
      So i said ok, i would like to withdraw $3000 that you just put in, which would go towards paying my lawyers fees as i have just declared bankruptcy.
      That part of that $3000 will go towards paying the rent in my government housing commission home.
      Before he replied, i think he must have been drinking coffee or something as i heard a loud bang some swearing and next thing the phone line is cut off. I waited patiently for him to call me again but alas that call never came, so i put down the phone, and decided to go for a swim in my indoor heated pool at the house that i 100% own and had a good laugh
      Glenn; Are you saying that you don't have the willpower to hang up? And then you went through all the effort to create a lie, to "fool" the telemarketer?

      Shrewd.


      Originally Posted by Glenn7Harris View Post

      I know phone canvassers do a job, just wish that there was a word that could be used instead of the word no, as they do not seem to understand i am not the slightest bit interested
      Did you know that you are allowed to hang up? I do it maybe 30 times a day. I don't argue, debate, or try to think of an objection. Maybe I say "No thank you" before I hang up...but sometimes I just hang up. It's easy.

      Did you guys know that there is no law that requires you to listen to a telemarketer? It's true.
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  • Profile picture of the author bsummers
    Tonality is like color to a phone call. This helps callers emphasize the main key points.
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