How to Be Successful Making Telephone Sales

Three Parts:Creating a Productive EnvironmentMaking Your PitchEnsuring Success

Sales calls, and especially cold calls, can be a stressful experience for any salesman, even those who have been doing it for years. However, making successful calls that draw in new customers and convince old ones to come back is a absolutely crucial skill. Doing so requires preparation, persistence, and, most of all, substantial amounts of practice. With proper training, anyone can be on their way to becoming a sales call expert.

Part 1
Creating a Productive Environment

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    Be focused before you start calling. Put all of your information, including a script if you have one, in front of you in a neat and organized way. Read through it before you start; the time spent learning what is in it will pay off when you can answer questions easily and quickly. Make sure your immediate environment is free of distractions and that you are comfortable in your chair.
    • Some people find that they are more comfortable making sales calls while standing. If you choose to sit, make sure your chair is comfortable and ergonomic.[1]
    • Consider placing reminders for yourself around your workspace, like a note that says "focus on the customer" or "it's not about me." This can help remind you of your goals during the call.[2]
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    Psyche yourself. Find what works best for you to help build up your belief that you can succeed in as many calls as possible. Perhaps you can use a mantra, repeating over and over the words "sell, sell, sell." Or perhaps you need total calm and just go to that place where you can home in on your confidence. Perhaps you can play a game with yourself and pretend that the fate of the world depends on your hitting the sales targets.
    • Try visualizing how you want the recipients of your calls to hear and imagine you. Work towards living up to that goal. Try to cultivate trustworthiness, confidence, and intelligence in your voice.[3]
    • It may help you to emulate a role model of yours when you make calls. That is, try to take on the confidence of a famous personality or business leader, specifically those who are convincing and always cool-headed.[4]
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    Keep yourself fresh. Keep water or energy drinks within reaching distance. That way, you will be able to keep your voice in great shape even though you are doing a lot of talking. In addition, you should take breaks regularly to keep your mind and voice fresh.[5]
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    Create a group contest. In your team, prepare a chart that notes who has made the most calls (or sales). Everyone can chip in some money and the winner gets movie tickets, a night at the pub, whatever. If the supervisor or manager can pitch in something additional, such as a night on the town, that would be a huge incentive. Talk to your boss about the possibility.
    • Try to create your own targets for yourself even if no group contest exists. Set this goal above and beyond any goals the company has set for you.[6]

Part 2
Making Your Pitch

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    Have a standard, professional greeting. Rather than just saying "hello" or immediately starting on your pitch, start your call by greeting the recipient professionally. Use the recipients name in your greeting, trying to remain as formal as possible. For example, try "Good morning/evening, mr./mrs./ms. ____." Afterwards, immediately introduce yourself by name and introduce your business.
    • Use only your first name, unless you are the owner of the business.
    • Say briefly what your business can do for them, but not exactly what you offer. For example, say "we save local businesses money" instead of "we offer cheap accounting services."
    • This makes the recipient curious about exactly how you can save them money.[7]
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    Follow a guide. In many cases, you will have a standard script to follow. However, it can be difficult to read off the script directly with any real fluidity, and you may lose your place if you are interrupted. To remedy this problem, memorize your script but only keep a list of key points in front of you. This will help you pick up your place and make your speech more natural.[8]
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    Thank the recipient for their time. Thank them for taking your call. Promise that you won't waste their precious time and that you will soon let them get back to their busy schedule.[9]
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    Identify the prospect's needs. Bring up the reason for your call as a question, like "would you be interested in a product that you could lower your accounting costs while maintaining the same quality?" Focus on what your product can do for them, not the product itself.[10]
    • If you're not talking to someone who can make business decisions, keep working until you get to them.
    • Use questions to assess the prospect's needs and identify how your product or service can remedy them.[11]
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    Pitch your product. When pitching your product or service, focus on the benefits you can provide your customer. Tell them how it can save them time or money, increase profits, or improve their lives and happiness. It may help to explain what your product has done for others, with numbers to back this up.
    • If possible, describe your benefits in the same language (the same terms) in which your prospect described their problems. This builds trust between you.[12]
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    Make them commit. Have your prospect commit to a meeting for more information or to see your product or service in action. Ideally, you'd close the sale over the phone, but in many cases this is just not possible. If nothing else, encourage them to consider your proposition and give them contact information so that they can reach you if they decide they want to know more.[13]

Part 3
Ensuring Success

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    Practice your arguments. Practice your speech and arguments with a coworker, your boss, or with anyone who will practice with you. Tell them how to act, for example as a cold call recipient or current customer. After your conversation, ask about anything you can improve on. Take this criticism to heart and make an effort to make changes. For example, rewrite your script if some parts don't flow well or are phrased in strange ways.[14]
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    Make calls at the right times. Prospects will be irritated, or at least less willing to listen, if you call at the wrong times. For example, never call on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons. However, most people will answer if you call before 8:30 a.m. In addition, calls on days with inclement weather are more likely to be successful. Experiment with different times yourself; you may find that some times of day result in more successful calls than others.[15]
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    Know about your prospects. Even the best product will not be attractive to someone who doesn't need it. Focus your calls at prospects who may actually be interested in your business. Take it a step further and research your prospects before calling. Explore how your service or product might be of particular use to them. Write down ways you can connect your offerings to your prospect's needs.[16]
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    Follow up. Create a system to keep track of prospective customers you have already called and spoken to. Make a note of any meetings you have set up with these customers. Send a short and sweet confirmation email the day before the meeting. For those customers who said they would consider your offer or get back to you, keep a record of the date of your first call and call them again a week or so later. Maintain a list either on paper or in a spreadsheet program so that this information is easily accessible.[17]
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    Build relationships. It is unlikely you will seal the sale after one call. Instead, you should focus on creating a relationship between you and the prospect. Fulfill promises that you make, like with meetings or return calls. Make the potential customer see you as friendly and trustworthy. This will improve your chances of eventually making a sale.[18]
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    Don't get discouraged. You will get a lot of no's, excuses and even hang-ups. Quantity is the key; it is all a numbers game. It doesn't feel good when you get rejected, but it feels great when you get the appointment or sale! Think of how you want to be approached over the phone as well. Try to say things you would want to hear as a consumer at the other end of the phone.
    • Some prospects may need to be called many times before they will bite. Don't give up!
    • Don't worry about unreasonable or rude people on the other end of the phone, just clear it from your mind and move on.[19]


  • Speak slowly and steadily. Rushing will make you sound inexperienced and incompetent.[20]
  • You should identify the level in the prospective business organization you think you should call, then call someone one level higher.[21]

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Categories: Sales