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Enhance Your Phone Skills

Image of Michelle Farnsworth
Michelle Farnsworth

We live in a world of indirect, text-based communication. As a result, many of us may feel less confident on the phone or feel that our interpersonal conversational skills are lacking. However, telephone connection is still a critical business tool. It can be a prospect’sfirst impression of you and your company. 

In this blog, you’ll learn 6 expert tips for how to improve your phone skills.

Phone skills allow us to effectively communicate with customers, clients, and team members, especially when we are unable to meet in person. 

Albert Mehrabian, a  body language researcher, broke down the components of face-to-face conversations and found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal (tone and inflection), and only 7% dependent upon the words that were actually spoken. So how do we positively interact with someone on the other end of a telephone call without the use of nonverbal communication? The following are 6 simple ways to instantly improve your phone skills:

Use the contact’s name

People enjoy being called by their first name, because it not only releases happy hormones but demonstrates to them that you know who they are. You have taken the time to learn their name, which helps to build or re-establish a connection with you. It shows that you care about them and their situation. Remember to also enthusiastically introduce who you are and the role that you play with the company -  after all, you only have a few seconds to make an excellent first impression.

Speak clearly

Because you no longer have nonverbal communication to rely upon, being clearly heard and understood is extremely important. Make sure to clearly enunciate your words when talking on the phone. Speak at a slow yet steady pace while maintaining a genuine and sincere tone. 

Take a few pauses when you are speaking. This not only gives you time to think about what to say, but also  to give the person on the other end of the line time to process what has been said. This also allows the person a chance to ask questions or seek further clarification. 

Put a smile in your voice

At Calldrip, we like to say “Put a smile in your voice!” This means be friendly and approachable throughout the duration of the interaction, especially as you work to solve any challenging problems. A positive tone helps to set the tone, reassure the caller, and may also calm them down if they are expressing confusion or frustration with a product or service that you offer.

According to Mehrabian’s 55/38/7 formula mentioned above, nearly 40% of a person’s message is conveyed vocally through tone and inflection. Try to make sure your tone sounds positive and capable, and matches whatever message you are trying to convey. The person you are speaking with should be able to ‘hear your smile’ over the phone!

Being engaging and personable can help build and maintain a strong connection. 

Practice active listening

Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. It goes beyond simply hearing the words another person is saying by seeking to understand more fully the meaning and intent behind those words. You are listening to understand, rather than respond.

You can practice active listening by putting everything down and being fully present. Like most people, customers do not like to be ignored or half-heard by someone who is multitasking and not fully focused on the conversation. You can take notes to help you pay better attention and remain engaged by asking open-ended questions. 

When practicing active listening, remember to withhold any judgment and allow the other person to speak without interruptions. This can help build trust (and diffuse any negative situations), and help you find solutions that may arise.

Be prepared

No matter who you’re calling, make sure you do all of your research prior to picking up the phone. Prepare any questions you may have and gather all necessary documents to ensure that you are knowledgeable, competent, and resourceful. 

Taking notes will help you keep track of any additional information you receive and can help keep your discussion on task. 

We also recommend you prepare an agenda to keep the conversation flowing, positive, and on topic. 

A few questions you may want to ask yourself prior to your call are: What are you trying to accomplish during this call? What does the customer want to know? and What do I need to learn on this call in order to get what I need accomplished? 

By preparing ahead of time you show respect to your client and let them know that their time is valuable.

Express gratitude

According to Harvard Health, “gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships”. Time is a person’s most valuable resource. It is not always easy to set aside a portion of your busy work day to speak to someone, so thanking the person on the other end of the line for taking that time shows that you respect them and the time they sacrificed. 

Your expression of gratitude for them can also help them develop more positive emotions toward you and your company, as well as aid you in building a stronger relationship with them. Simply end on a positive note by thanking them for talking with you.

After you end any call, make sure that you take an inventory of what was said, what went well, and what could be improved. As you keep track of your strengths and weaknesses, your phone skills will undoubtedly continue to improve.

We really believe in the power of sales coaching. With effective coaching, your sales team can continuously keep improving.

Interested in learning more? Check out Calldrip’s all-in-one, hassle-free conversational sales solution, which includes our award-winning sales coaching technology.

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