How to Sell Over the Phone

cold calling

cold calling

I made a call to a company today to find out about their legal services. The guy on the phone¬†used the word “like” every few seconds. This made him sound unprofessional, and made me uncomfortable having him handle any legal issues. I would feel equally uncomfortable with a doctor who talked that way, but it really goes for anyone in a business position.

This got me thinking about how people can make slight changes in their voice and etiquette that will help them sell more over the phone.

  • Eliminate the word “like” – We all like to be liked on Facebook, but like, the word is like, totally overused. Nothing screams being unprofessional more than overusing that word. Like anything (used correctly here), you can break yourself of the “like” habit. The next time you start to say the word, pause briefly and continue. The more you practice not using it, the easier it will get. Practice not using it at all and you will eventually become more articulate.
  • Know your subject inside and out – If you’re pitching a product or service, focus on the benefits. Try to use an example from another client and how they benefitted from your offer.
  • Be enthusiastic – If you don’t love your product, nobody else will either. This should come through in your voice and sound authentic. If you have passion for your product you will automatically have natural energy.
  • A good storyteller will vary the pace and pitch. You should do the same. After all, you’re telling the story of your company.
  • Be confident – If you really believe in your product you will know that you’re giving the person on the phone a great opportunity to be involved with it. You’re doing them a favor by letting them in on the secret.
  • Customize your pitch – Do enough research on the other person so that you can tailor your offer to them and only them. Everyone likes to feel special. Show that you went to the trouble to find out a little more about them and what makes them tick.
  • Use humor – Humor alone won’t make the sale, but you’ll have a much better shot if you can make the person laugh.

Selling over the phone is the next best thing to selling in person. Use the same techniques you would use if you were face to face and it will come across on the phone. Most of all, have fun.


  1. Hey,

    Great article and insight about selling your product or services. A great company that covers everything you just mentioned is actually zappos. I’ve learned a lot from them and they always humor you at the end. I recently even bought shoes from there and they ended up telling me jokes while I waited for the rep to find me the right type!

  2. That makes me want to buy some shoes from them! Very cool.

  3. This is a great post. Knowing what you are selling makes the process much, much easier. It adds to trust at the customers end as your are perceived to know what you are talking about. As you said, it helps to be able to tell a story. Something that the customer will remember, even after the phone call.


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