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10 Tips to Improve Your Team’s Phone Skills

Image of Aaron Parsons
Aaron Parsons


Phone calls play a critical role in the sales process. Here are 10 tips to improve your team’s phone skills and increase your bottom line. 

1. Establish A Mission

Establishing a well-written mission for your sales team will greatly increase results. Having a straightforward statement of what is expected, and needs to be achieved, will eliminate any grey areas between you and your team. Here are some questions that your sales team should be asking prior to each phone call.  

  • What are you trying to accomplish during this call?
  • What is the purpose of the phone call?
  • What does the prospect need to find out?
  • What do I need to learn on this call?

By reviewing specific guidelines before each call you will save yourself time, and keep the prospect engaged in your offering.

2. Planning

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Columbia University Professor, once said,

“Deciding in advance when, and where you will take specific actions to reach your goals can double, or triple your chances for success.”

Planning also allows you to stay in control of the call. One example you might say is, “Thank you for taking the time today. I’d like to go over a few key pieces of our business and then would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Does that sound alright?”

An essential part of each sales call, is the direction in which it takes. By planning out each sales call, your team will be prepared to take charge, and direct the call in a positive direction. With each call that is correctly planned out, there is a much greater chance of success.

3. Make A Great First Impression 

The first step in a successful phone conversation is a proper greeting. It’s amazing how many times the initial greeting is a disaster. Make sure to enthusiastically introduce yourself, your business, and offer assistance. You can make an excellent first impression on the phone - but you only have a few seconds. 

Your tone of voice is essential when speaking to someone for the first time over the phone. Voice inflection sets the tone as it replaces your facial expressions and body language. The person you are speaking with should immediately feel you are friendly and approachable, they should hear your smile over the phone. 

Delivering a positive first impression is not rocket science, but it requires practice and diligence because you never have a second chance to make a great first impression.

4. Ask, Listen, Act

During the initial sales call, there are three things that each sales agent should do: Ask, Listen, and Act. Finding what the prospect is looking for can sometimes be a struggle. It is important to ask open-ended questions, and gather the proper information. Once the base questions have been asked, it is important to listen to the prospect’s response. Interest in your product or service may be revealed in this step. This will determine how to move forward in the sales process.

5. Be Client-Focused

Throughout the process of gaining new clients, and maintaining relationships with existing ones, it is important to be client-focused. How are you making a positive experience for your clients? Are you respectful of their time? Are the needs of the client being met? What can be done to provide the best service to each of your clients? A service-oriented mindset can make all the difference for your company. We all know of businesses that we frequent because of the great service we receive. Why not strive to be that business in phone conversation as well?

6. Always Schedule the Next Appointment

How often are your sales agents making appointments regarding your product or service? Is it happening on every call? After a great sales call, most prospects are willing to set a next appointment. Whether it’s a product demo, or an in-person meeting, always schedule a next event before hanging up the phone.

7. Leave a Professional Voicemail

Anyone in sales knows the feeling of reaching voicemail after voicemail when trying to contact prospects. Although this may be tedious, there is an art to leaving a quality voicemail. In each message that is left the agent should include an introduction, reason for calling, and a creative close. By using an introduction the prospect is aware of who is calling, and which company they are representing. Next, the sales rep should state their reason for calling the prospect. After stating the reason for calling, the agent may go on to ask questions for the prospect to answer later. Lastly, is the closing of the message. Always ensure to leave contact information and a warm salutation.

8. Practice

A common saying is that “Perfect practice, makes perfect.” By using perfect practice in the workplace, and even outside of the workplace it can yield great results. The following are a few “perfect practice tips” that can work for anybody:

  • Rehearse calls in the morning while getting ready for work
  • Create a list of things that work well for you while on a sales call
  • Create scripts that help you carry out your message

Practice sounding confident when on the phone and before long it will manifest in your calls. 

9. Follow-up

Always follow up! It doesn’t matter if you had a great initial conversation or only left a voicemail. All too often reps forget to follow up with prospects and sales opportunities are lost as a result. Review each prospect individually and determine the necessary follow-up steps. Keep detailed notes from previous conversations and use them to your advantage on future calls. When attempting to make first-contact with a prospect it may be necessary to make 5 or more attempts before contact is made.

10. Experiment

Each sales call is different, and finding the correct process takes practice. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to make a successful call. The important thing is to take inventory after each call and make plans to improve. What works best for one person may not be what works best for you. Experiment with different techniques and styles until you find what what works best.

Looking for more personalized, hands-on sales coaching? Our professional services team provides customized sales coaching. If you're interested, a member of our team will be happy to share more information. Book your intro call here.

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