Top Tips for Selling Over the Phone


In this article, Andy Preston gives some ‘top tips’ on how call centre agents can increase their effectiveness in selling over the phone …

1. Be Confident

Confidence is vital when making an outbound call. For anyone to buy from you or take the action you want, they have to see you as someone who knows what they’re doing! Far too many people make outbound calls with fear or hesitation in their voice – resulting in a poor impression of themselves, their company and their product/service.

In order to be confident you need to ensure that you understand the basics of the product or service you’re selling, be composed at the start of the call and make sure you deliver your script with a strong voice tone! One of the biggest mistakes I hear people make on the phone is to sound too ‘weak and wimpy’ – meaning that the people on the other end of the phone don’t take them seriously.

2. Be Natural

I’ve lost count of how many calls I’ve heard made where the person making it sounds ‘false’. They’re either reading a script given to them by someone else that they don’t believe in, or they don’t take the time to learn what they need to say well enough (so it doesn’t sound like them).

If you’re working on a new product/service or a new area, you’ve got to take the time to learn what you’re saying. Most people don’t bother to do this well enough, but if you do, you’ll find that it starts to sound more natural as once you’ve mastered the words you naturally start to put your own voice inflections and tonality onto the script, so it sounds more like you – therefore more natural!

Customers want people who sound ‘natural’ and able to have a conversation – can you do that, or do you sound more ‘robotic’?

3. Listen More

This is something that should come naturally to everybody, yet most people fail to do it anywhere near well enough! I’m always saying that there is a difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’. True listening involves things like ‘verbal nods’ like ‘uh-huh’, and ‘I see’, paraphrasing back what someone has just said to you and asking further questions about a piece of information the customer has just given to you.

This is very common in everyday social situations, yet I’m often amazed how many people can’t do it when it comes to a sales situation! In order to be able to do this more effectively you have to take a genuine interest in the person you’re speaking to – again, something that most people don’t bother to do.

The key here is to get the person on the other end of the phone into a conversation, not an interrogation!

4. Don’t Assume

Yes, I know. You’ve heard this before. But if people did anything about it then people like me wouldn’t need to keep saying it! I’ve lost count of the number of calls I’ve heard where the person making the call thinks they know what the customer is about to say, therefore they ‘switch off’!

One of the most common examples of this is when the person making the call starts finishing off the sentences of the other person! What’s that about? This only serves to irritate the customer and sometimes results in them putting the phone down – not the sort of result the caller was looking for!

In most cases, whenever the caller finishes off the customer’s sentence, they get it wrong – leading to the other person having to correct them and a loss of rapport. Again, not the result we were looking for!

5. Make It Interesting!

This is something that has affected every person who has made an outbound call at some point in their career – and it affects some people every day! If you’re the sort of person that has to make a large number of outbound calls in which you’re saying the same or similar things on each call, this is probably affecting you right now!

Think about it… you’ve delivered your script probably 70 times today already. You get through to the next person and, guess what – you sound like it’s the 70th time you’ve delivered it today! The problem is, it’s the first time this particular person has heard it! Don’t they deserve your best effort, rather than the tired, bored, ‘I’d rather be at home than making this call’ way in which you’ve just delivered it?!!

Let’s be selfish here and look at your commission and your targets – fixing the ‘interesting’ issue will go a long way towards hitting those – isn’t it worth it?

Andy Preston

Andy Preston

Andy Preston specialises in sales and selling for small businesses. You can see more about Andy and get more sales help at

Published On: 10th Feb 2010 - Last modified: 23rd Aug 2016

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Call Centre Management,Hints and Tips , , ,

  1. i would like to downloan some video or somtime like that because you are very, very, very exllent helping us, so thank you very much.

    gerardo 15 Feb at 5:07 pm
  2. I would like to thank from my inner core of heart for this information. Its really good article. i know all those things well but also sometimes we have to remind ourself what the facts and figures are involved.
    Thank you very much once more

    David 7 Aug at 7:52 pm
  3. really nice article
    thank you

    David 7 Aug at 7:52 pm
  4. I like to thank you with this fantastic and straight forward information about outbound. I agree with you in point that, is something we do in social situation however we fail to it over the phone.

    Thanks million times

    Sphelele Mthethwa 13 Aug at 8:30 am
  5. The article is very great it helps us to improves our selves.Thank, you keep up the good work.

    Pearl Chamane 13 Aug at 9:17 am
  6. i love this article, this will definitely help my team people on outbound calls to work effectively and also meet their targets. thumbs up for a job well done.

    fatimah 26 Aug at 4:54 pm
  7. I like the way you have explained. It helped me to understand where i stand now! Well my question is: I am working in an inbound sales process (‘intangible’ sales like technical services), how good that these tips help me? Is there any difference between outbound and inbound as far as your explanation is concerned?

    Sharat Chandra 27 Sep at 10:07 pm
  8. I like the way you have explained. It helped me to understand where i stand now! Well my question is: I am working in an inbound sales process (‘intangible’ sales like technical services), how good that these tips help me? Is there any difference between outbound and inbound as far as your explanation is concerned?? Help me.

    Sharat Chandra 27 Sep at 10:08 pm
  9. These are five simple steps which can make a Huge difference in any sales environment. This is great stuff however we must be able to apply it on a daily basis to be more effective. Can you share some ideas that we can use to be creative on the sales floor and help increase the number of sales per agent?

    Jeremy 28 Sep at 11:22 am
  10. most imp tips

    abhishek moktan 28 Sep at 11:30 am
  11. Thanx a lot to Call Center Helper who made me proffessionaly strong in Call Center. Right now i guess that i have build a confidence through your tips so once again thank you very much for making mentally strong.


    Safal Bharati 28 Sep at 11:46 am
  12. as a fresher, I will surely give it a try. thank you

    sebastian rai 28 Sep at 11:51 am
  13. really awesome stuff

    daniel 5 Jan at 5:39 pm
  14. this help thanx

    brad 17 Feb at 7:14 am
  15. really help ful article……

    b. sujata 9 Nov at 12:03 pm
  16. this is a very helpful article. i’m just wondering if you could also give us some tips how to handle customer’s hesitation on geting a certain product ( we are oo INBOUND sales )..

    erwin 17 Jan at 7:50 pm
  17. Gr8 work…. Hats off

    Abbas 5 Jul at 9:28 pm
  18. Says what to do and what not to do but doesn’t tell how to do it. Most know what you should do, they just don’t have an effective way of implementing.

    jim 15 Nov at 7:48 pm
  19. First day at new job today and im so gonna try this out 😉

    Teddy 19 Dec at 1:29 pm
  20. that’s some really helpful information, thanks call center helper, now i guess i can control the moods on the phones now.thanks a million. you’ve really helped me

    Anonymous 14 Jan at 6:45 pm
  21. all Of THE PoInTs WErE QuITE InTEREstinG..anD i hAvE LeArNED A lots of thingS …THANKS ANDY PRESTON

    tehseem 11 Feb at 1:43 pm
  22. I think being assumptive is very important because they called you for a reason. If you assume then that only makes the point that you believe in the product/service and are recommending rather then being pushy. Through out my sales career assumption helped me

    bonjour 26 Mar at 10:47 am
  23. Thank you so much Mr. Peterson for the helpful tips.

    kris perry 13 Jun at 1:36 pm
  24. Great article! Thank you!

    CLC 22 Jun at 3:27 pm
  25. Thanks millions with the straght forward kind advice.

    luthfie ludino 31 Jul at 4:26 am
  26. Very helpful article for those who are doing business over the phone.Thanks so much.

    luthfie ludino 31 Jul at 4:28 am
  27. thanks very much the article is rich and very helpful

    patience 19 Jan at 3:47 pm
  28. It’s very helpful… Thanks!!!

    Liny 12 Aug at 2:42 pm
  29. This article was very helpful to me

    Evangeline 17 Oct at 6:50 pm
  30. your tips are very very helpful to all who dial for tech

    saumyajit 21 Jan at 10:32 am
  31. I come from a manufacturing/general laboring background start my new job as a call centre agent next week so this kind of work is new to me although im confident in my people skills and already know a lot on how to build rapport these tis will no doubt serve me well so thank you very much for taking the time to make your post 🙂

    gaz 10 Mar at 8:47 am
  32. Thanks for the tips. Very usefull. Going to use them for calling tomorrow. Need to get more customers haha.

    Do you have some more psychological advice? Triggers, traps etc.


    Willjan 18 Mar at 11:21 pm
  33. Those were very good pointers. Sure they will help me in my job. Thanks Andy!

    Unnati 12 Aug at 3:55 am
  34. Great Writeup. thanks for sharing wonderful information

    amit 8 Oct at 11:07 am
  35. Being confident AND natural is such a key element of selling of the phone. It is all very well sounding very confident but it needs to be kept in check so you dont sound arrogant or as if you are high pressuring your prospect. The being natural element is crucial to compliment the confidence. The more relaxed you sound to the point you are not necessarily thinking as you talk, you just trust that the right words will come out of you mouth. No “umming or errring”

    Jon Noh 5 Nov at 2:25 pm
  36. Thank you so much, it’s my 4th day at this job and this article helped me a lot !

    Omar Aniis 10 Nov at 2:32 am
  37. hi Thank u for all the information IM Very grateful to saw this 🙂

    Anonymous 9 Feb at 7:59 am
  38. its really nice tips thank u

    anirudh singh 3 May at 7:16 pm
  39. This is so Basic, However it’s Good

    Albinus Alfred 3 Jun at 1:01 am
  40. hi

    can u please help me with tips when selling a cellphone contract over the phone..pls pls

    Dee 24 Nov at 6:26 am
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