Telephone Skills – Three Stupid Mistakes People Make When Calling (Is This You?)

Telephone Skills – Three Stupid Mistakes People Make When Calling (Is This You?)

Most sales people make their living by making phone calls. They may show up in person to create deeper relationships or for further research but they do most of their work over the phone. And many of them make really stupid mistakes that kill sales, rob them of customers, and hand their prospects over to the competition. Read on to learn about these ridiculous gaffes and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Leaving a Message

If you didn’t leave a compelling message that makes your prospect or customer WANT to call back, you didn’t do your job.

Many telesales people believe that not leaving a message after the first or second try means that you’re not bugging the prospect and protecting the relationship.

Get this straight: your job is to bug them until they tell you to back off. If they don’t call you back, there is no relationship.

Sounds harsh, yet most of your prospects don’t need you… yet. And if you keep calling and leaving a message that is respectful and useful, they’ll call you when they need you.

What to do differently: If you call, leave a message. It’s as simple as that.

Not Giving Them a Reason to Call Back

Sales is about conducting conversations that lead to agreement — and the deal. If you’re selling business-to-business, you won’t be able to reach many of your customers in person unless you first talk with them and set an appointment. Your job is to get the customer to call you back because most won’t pick up the phone if they don’t know who is calling.

Yet most phone messages are weak or useless.

“Hi! Uh, this is Ashley at ABC and I need to talk with you.” This won’t get my attention nor yours, nor your customers. Who cares what the sales person needs?

“I’m Jean from XYZ and I’m calling to touch base.” Why touch base? Is this baseball?

What to do differently: Leave a message that’s valuable to your customer, one that has urgency, and makes them want to call back.

“Hello, Mike, it’s Mark from Do It, your I.T. vendor. I know you need more disk drives and because of our last conversation, and we have a great deal on the big ones this month. I can help you get more out of your budget and make it easy to get them installed. Call me in the next 24 hours to get yours reserved. I want to make sure that you don’t miss out on this deal, Mike.”

Not Leaving an Audible Phone Number

Most sales people rip through their phone number so quickly that they don’t realize that their customer can’t understand the number.

If you’re calling from a cell phone, the odds are good that the cell service will drop out when you are leaving the number (must be some kind of detection circuit for that).

If you rely on caller ID to provide your customer with a number, then you’re leaving it to chance.

In any case, if they can’t get your number, they can’t call you back.

What to do differently: Leave your number at the beginning of the message and at the end of the message, making it convenient for your customer to capture your contact information.

Speak at the speed at which you can write. If you can’t write it, neither can your customer.

Repeat your number twice at the end of the call so that they can double check the accuracy.

Get Customers to Call You

When customers call you, it’s five times easier to make the sale. Watch a video event about how to create your word-of-mouth amplification system, which gets customers calling you.

Now, go call a customer!

Mark S A Smith

P.S. I’ve created an on-line training session that goes much deeper into creating value by automating the customer acquisition process without cold callingSign up here to take the class as my guest.

If you’d like 15 minutes to talk about how to build your customer acquisition system, go to to set up time to meet.

And you’re welcome to publish and share this with others. Just include: “Get more business-boosting ideas like this — sign up at”

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