The best 25 tips on ‘PHONE SELLING’

Over the years I have read extensively on business and selling. I am always curious on how to get ‘NEW’ business. If you are a business owner, you probably receive several cold calls a week with someone trying to sell you a product or a service.

You probably hang up while muttering under your breath.

Stop and think! The only reason these calls persist is because they work! Go through the list below and then consider why phone selling actually works.

If you need assistance in tailoring your phone selling campaign to suit your business, drop me a line at or call me at 416.488.1801.

Now….read the list below and think why many firms use phone selling.




These tips are simple to apply and easy to use. And best of all, they work!

1. Call earlier. If you’re calling mid-level executives and above, call earlier, around 7:00 a.m. You’ll reach more decision makers between 7:00- 8:30 than you will the rest of the day.

2. Call later. Same as above, except call between 5:00-7:00. Seriously! Gatekeepers are gone and decision makers are curious about calls that come after hours.

3. Create a master list of prospects. On a yellow legal pad or an Excel spreadsheet, create a list of 25-30 prospect names, their companies and their phone numbers. Whenever you have some time you can quickly grab it and make calls without having to log in, find names etc. This gives you speed and efficiency.

4. Cycle your master list. Start at the top of the list and dial. No answer? Don’t leave a message, hang up. Call the next number, then the next, and so on. It’s fast and easy. Finished the list? Start at the top and quickly go through it again. You’ll get decision maker contacts here and there.

5. Don’t go overboard with research. Unless you have a highly complex product, minimize your research time. Glance at the web site and get a feel for the company, then make the call. The answers you seek lie in your prospect’s mind.

6. Get insider information.  Here’s a great tip: call your prospect’s sales department. Tell the rep what you’re trying to do and ask if they can help. Get decision maker names, direct phone numbers, best time to call…and e-mail addresses…anything. Sales reps understand your plight and most will help you out.

7. Create a call guide for prospecting. On paper, prepare an opening statement, list the questions you want to ask, have your offer developed, create an objection chart, and be ready to close. Use bullet points, highlight key information, create a road map for your call, post it somewhere visible, and glance at it to keep you on track (or to get back on track).

8. Use your client’s or prospect’s name in an e-mail subject line. It gets their attention and increases the odds of the e-mail being opened and scanned.

9. Make a follow up call to your e-mails within one day. Use the one-two punch of visual and audio prospecting. Use them in harmony to increase awareness.

10. Script your opening statement word for word. Yes…script it. If your target market is more or less the same, why change your opener? Your opening statement is the most important element of the call. Don’t wing it. State your name, your company, the reason for your call, and above all, a benefit that you can offer your prospect. Get this down pat.

11. Don’t ask “Is this a good time?” It never is and you give your prospect an easy out.  Instead, say “If I have caught you at a good time, I’d like to ask you a few questions, get a better understanding of your situation and determine how (your product or service) might be of value.” Then ask your first question.

12. Pay close attention to the tone of your voice. Over 80% of your message is based on the emotional quality of your message. Be upbeat. Have conviction. Above all, avoid being monotone.

13. Don’t leave voice mail messages when prospecting. Make at least three or four call attempts to reach your prospect live before you ever leave a message.  Leaving messages is not a high yield activity; speaking to a live decision maker is.

14.Don’t spill your guts to the gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are not decision makers and they use your pitch to screen your call. ‘Confessing’ who you are, what you do and why you’re calling is an invitation for rejection.

15. Never use, “How are you today?” with prospects. It’s like a neon sign that says, “sales pitch coming.” It’s trite. Over 90% of prospects say that it does nothing to build rapport; in fact, it does just the opposite.

16. Master your opening. Practice it, rehearse it. Drill it over and over so that words flow easily and naturally and so you DON’T sound scripted.

17. Be prepared for initial, brush-off objections (e.g., I have a vendor; we’re okay right now; I’m in a meeting etc.) Begin by empathizing (I understand), then completely ignore the objection (because over 95% of the time, it’s false), then ask, “One quick question before I let you go…”  This often gets the prospect to relax and open up. Chances are you’ll get something of value.

18. Prepare at least three compelling questions to ask your prospect that probe for pain or gain. Ponder this long and hard.  A good question engages the client and gets them thinking.

19. Listen with a pen in hand. Take notes. Focus. Assess their tone of voice. Let them finish their thoughts. Don’t interrupt. Clarify what you don’t understand. Probe deeper using your notes as a guide.

20. Clarify objections before responding. Ask questions to make certain if the objection is legitimate or a smoke screen.

21. Close more casually. Ask the client or prospect if they’d like “to give it a shot” or “give it a try.” This informal close eases the tension and makes the person feel less pressured. It makes it easier for them to say yes.

22. Get commitment to the next step. For longer sales cycles, get commitment to the next step by asking for a follow up date and time (e.g. if they want a proposal, agree to this action but then ask for a specific date and time for the next call).  This increases your odds of contact on the next call.

23. Be more persistent.  Don’t quit so easily. Make at least four follow up attempts to clients and prospects that go silent. Use a combination of voice messages and e-mails. Space them 2-3 days apart. Be polite, but be persistent.

24. Send a handwritten thank you note to clients who buy. Handwrite the envelope. Use a real stamp. Show your client you took the time and effort.  It goes a heck of a lot further than a quick e-mail. Do the extras.

25.Become a resource to your clients. Send articles, links, special reports … anything that builds value and helps you stay in touch. Be more than a source of product. Attach a note that says, “I thought of you when I saw this…”  It flatters.  They remember. It brands you.

There you have it. You probably know many of them. You probably forgot some of them. And there might be a few of them that are brand new. Whatever the case, apply them. Use them, and improve your sales game.


The Four Ways to Grow Your Business (4 of 4)

4. Increase the Effectiveness of each Process in your Business

The fourth way to grow your business is more of an all-encompassing strategy. Increasing the effectiveness of the way you do business is central to everything. The quality of the processes defines and determines the quality of the outcome.

Ageing is an efficiency indicator that should be applied to all areas of the business. For example—
•    An aging and less efficient plant facility
•    Old and dilapidated premises
•    Product profile – no new products in years
•    An outdated attitude to employees
•    Obsolete office equipment and systems
•    Over-used advertising or marketing procedures

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is not going to happen!”

Develop functions, systems and manuals. Build your business on functions rather than the people in the roles. Good systems clearly spell out how each single business task is carried out and will ensure easy handovers, training and delegation (e.g. ensuring all deliveries are invoiced and accurate.) Many businesses are built around specific people rather than jobs or functions those people perform. Changing your business to one that identifies functions first then slots the right people into those functions will help your business grow.

Training is another pivotal area for improving the processes within your business. Regardless of whether its customer service, phone answering techniques or computer skills, training your team members properly is extremely important to ongoing development of your business. Systems clearly spell out how to do every single business task and make it easy to train team members and delegate work, leaving you more time to develop your business.

REMEMBER —”There is no letter ‘I’ in Team”!
“Work ON your business not IN it”!

The business owner stuck handling day to day tasks will only achieve slow growth if at all. You need to step outside these activities and look at the business objectively. This is where All Year Taxation Ltd. can help.

Measure your current performance. You must have an understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to grow your business. Go back and look at the BLOG written on November 8, 2012 – ‘Key Performance Indicators’, this will help you measure your performance. As well have your Financial Statements completed right after the end of the financial period. This will allow you to look at current and not outdated numbers.

Potential Sales Increase Worksheet

To illustrate the compounding effect of these 4 profit drivers (the 4 ways to grow your business) let’s assume you have 1,000 customers and look to increase that by 10% to 1,100. Next, increase the number of times your customers come back to you by 10% (1 time per year to 1.1 times per year). Then, increase your average sale to that customer by 10%.

Numb. of cust. x Number of Dealings x Ave. $ Sale = Total Sales
NOW:   1,000 x 1 x $250 = $250,000
PLAN:   1,100 x 1.1 x $275 = $332,750

Sales have grown by 33%. If your profit margin is just 30% your additional profit has increased by $24,825 and the value of your business has also grown.
All Year Taxation Ltd has been helping small businesses achieve these results and more for over 41 years. Contact us at 416.488.1801 and see what we can do to help you achieve your goals.

Small Business is Our Passion
and our goal is to help you build a better, more profitable and valuable business by combining the knowledge of your business with our consulting tools and expertise.

The Four Ways to Grow Your Business (3 of 4)

3. Increase the Average Value of Each Sale


Increasing your average sale value makes every transaction more profitable. Since the cost of winning a new customer is already covered in the original purchase, additional sales are a plus – profit for you. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Cross Selling – Look at your major product or service and ask what else could you offer that would go with that item that would add value and help the customer make the most of their purchase. Remember the line….’Would you like fries with that?’
  • Up-Selling – Educate and make suggestions. Customers often do not know about other items or services that might add to their original purchase. You need to tell them! After all, customers come to you for help and guidance. Every time you fail to explain all their options, you can be missing opportunities. Offer your product or services in three or more tiers. You can explain that one level is good, the next level is better and the third level is the best. Statistics show that most people will select the second tier item but many will also be happy to spend more for more value.
  • Bundling – Packaged items or services together add value to the customer. Take a look at your full range of products and services and see if they can be packaged together. For example, a beautician might offer a discounted manicure with a facial. This practice makes purchases more attractive to customers and can increase average sales.
  • Smart Merchandising – Signage, ticketing, presentation and packaging can all increase your average sale. Testimonials and brochures can help educate customers and build confidence in your business.
  • Work your margins and pricing – We can assist you with looking at the direct relationship between the 4 key variables in your business – PRICE, VOLUME, FIXED COSTS and VARIABLE COSTS. If you are tempted to cut prices, think again! Sure you will probably sell more product but you will cut your profit margins and potentially dilute your brand in the process. Discounting now sends the message to your customers that they can expect even greater future discounts.
  • Maximize your On-Hold Message – Your phone’s on-hold message can spark a customer’s interest in more products or services, especially if it is useful and educational. An effective message can turn down time into profits.
  • Consider Raising your Prices – To increase your average sale, you must have a full understanding of your margins and what they really mean to your bottom line. Avoiding discounts and price wars is critical to maintaining and increasing your average sale. Oddly enough, sales can sometimes increase with a price increase. Your products or services may seem more valuable. This is particularly true if you create sales and marketing tools to educate customers about the value they will receive.

This completes Stage 3 of ‘ Four Ways to Grow Your Business’. Each of the above items can be substantially widened to help your business grow. We can work with you and make a plan so that it works. Call me at 416.488.1801 or drop me a line at I would be happy to show you how we can help.

As well, if you can’t wait for Stage 4 over the next month in a new blog, I would be pleased to give you a private preview addressed specifically for your business.