Telephone Skills: Would You Want to Call You?

Learn how to capture the power of the telephone as a sales tool, bringing you the big sale or contact you’ve been dreaming of.

What is your attitude towards a ringing telephone? Do you consider it an interruption of your busy day or the source of potential business? When the telephone rings do you think, “What do they want now?” or “I wonder what awesome opportunity awaits me at the other end of the line?”

For most of us our initial contact with prospective customers is via telephone. And it seems increasingly that we are answering our own phones – at all times of the day and night. So what message are you communicating when you answer the phone? Is the tone of your voice telling customers and prospective customers that they are the most important thing in your life at that moment? Or are you telling them – simply by your tone – that they are an unimportant interruption to your busy day? Does the way you answer the phone – and I’m not talking about what you say but how you say it – make people glad they called and cause them to want to develop an ongoing relationship with you and your business?

One of my college roommates used to insist that we let the phone ring twice before we answered it. After all, we didn’t want the guys to think we were sitting by the phone waiting for them to call. And this is good advice when answering your business phone as well. Not because you don’t want prospective customers to think you are sitting by the phone waiting for them to call – but because it will give you a moment to change your frame of mind – to shift your attention from what you are currently doing to the incredible opportunity that may be awaiting you when you pick-up the telephone.


Pausing a few seconds before you answer the phone will give you the opportunity to give the ringing phone your undivided attention and change your frame of mind from “What do they want now?” to “What fabulous opportunity awaits me?” If you can’t give the call your undivided attention, if you can’t muster the enthusiasm to greet the person on the other end of the line – regardless of who it is — like you have just been waiting to talk to them, then don’t take the call. The caller doesn’t know they are intruding on your lunch meeting or that you have just started an important meeting, so if you choose to answer the call, be careful not to make them feel like an interruption.

Do you want to capture the power of the telephone as a sales tool? It doesn’t require hours of dreaded cold calling. It simply requires answering your phone each and every time regardless of what you are doing and regardless of what may appear on your caller ID like there is an amazing opportunity awaiting you on the other end of the line.

Next time your telephone rings stop what you are doing, say to yourself, “I wonder what tremendous opportunity this call is going to bring”, and answer the phone like you are expecting this to be the call that brings you the that big break – the big sale you’ve been dreaming of, or that contact who can put you in touch with the CEO you’ve been wanting to meet. Put a note on your phone if it helps that says “This call is bringing me a remarkable opportunity” and harness the power of the telephone as a sales tool.


Julie Chance is president of Strategies-by-Design, a Dallas-based marketing consulting firm specializing in marketing programs including marketing coaching for professional service providers and specialty retailers. Visit her web site at  to sign up for her free marketing tips newsletter.

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