No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Assertiveness for vulnerable adults


I've been asked to facilitate a session for vulnerable people to become more assertive with door to door callers. While we run a really good assertiveness course, this session would be for about 50 people comprised mainly of pensioners. The exercises we use seem unworkable for this audience. Does anybody have any suggestions?
Rob Booth

5 Responses

  1. anecdotal but…..
    Hi Rob
    This is anecdotal rather than statistically proven but is based on my experience of
    a) having been taught the kind of selling techniques used door to door and
    b)having a pensioner living in the same house.

    Many folk of pensionable age were brought up with different notions of “politeness” than are generally concurrent today. Many believe that it is rude to say “No” so instead they raise objections…for example; “I haven’t any cash at the moment”, “You’ll have to speak to my daughter” or “I’m just sitting down to my tea”.

    Door to door salespeople are taught how to “overcome” or “handle” such objections but most WILL actually take “No” for an answer, if “No” is actually said.

    If you point out that a polite, but firm, “No, thank you”, accompanied by shutting the door is not “rude” but an acceptable response to the unsolicited caller then I think you may have cracked it.
    I hope this helps

  2. Possible training materials
    There is an organisation in Leeds dealing with Distraction Burglary for Older People who created a trainng course about 3 years ago, which would probably have all the elements you are looking for. You should be able to contact them via

  3. Broken record technique
    The broken record technique is really easy to remeber and do. All they have to say is the same response to everything the door to door person says. The salesman soon realises that they’re going to get the same response regardless of what they say so they give up very quickly. “I’m not interested thankyou, please dont call again”. Is the perfect response. Its an easy exercise to practise and can be really funny to roleplay depending on the scenarios, building their confidence gently. It’s a good one to use on the phone or any confrontational experience. I use it with people with low self esteem who can’t say no to things they don’t want to do. They say it feels wierd the first two or three times when people barrage them with questions as to why they can’t but then simply give up. “I’m sorry it’s not convenient for me” is the most useful phrase they’ve ever learned.

  4. Assertiveness
    We have worked with a company called Arts and Business for our assertiveness training. They are very professional and have provided an excellent course structure which includes things like a catwalk, facilitated sessions with actors, craeting a confident impression etc. Here are their details, it would be well worth while giving them a call to see if they can help.

    Arts & Business Yorkshire
    Dean Clough
    West Yorkshire
    HX3 5AX

    01422 367860

    EMail – [email protected]

  5. Just say no!
    Hi Rob,

    I was a sales trainer at a gas + electricity company. I trained the door to door salespeople to overcome many of the usual objections, but, picking up on what Rus said, a polite “no thanks” and a closed door always works.
    Good Luck


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!