The Phone Lady's Blog

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Do You Need A Stop Sign?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 28, 2020
woman at desk holding stop sign

Over the past few months, I’ve experienced an amazing increase in requests for front desk and customer service phone skills training. I’m delighted, of course. This is where my interest in phone skills began, way back in 1979. I was working part-time at a real … Read more

What Are Your Missed Opportunities?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 21, 2020
conversation over coffee

Earlier this week I spent the morning with a group of brand new, energetic business owners. In one of the exercises we did together, they each estimated the average annual worth of their average customer. This is not an easy number to figure out when … Read more

Are You Talking Too Much?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 15, 2020

“Our job isn’t to tell customers everything all at once. It’s to make them curious to learn more.” – Bernadette Jiwa It isn’t easy to admit we talk too much. Sometimes we are unaware this is our challenge. Perhaps we’ve been taught, or assumed, that … Read more

Ring Ring … Opportunity Calling!

By Mary Jane Copps | November 7, 2020
man on phone call in store

Receiving and making phone calls has always been an essential ingredient in the success of any business. Contrary to popular behaviour – websites with no phone number listed, businesses that don’t accept or pick up their voicemail messages – revenue opportunities still arrive by phone. … Read more

4 Ways to Help Others Hear You

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2020
man listening

“Communication is not saying something; communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein We’ve all had the experience of speaking to someone and, much to our surprise and/or frustration, they don’t hear us at all. Even in a quiet setting, when we’ve chosen our words carefully, … Read more

Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Customers’ Experience

By Mary Jane Copps | October 24, 2020
reception desk

This past week I’ve had two customer experiences that left me frustrated, sad and … briefly considering taking my business elsewhere. One was with my optician. This past August marked my 23rd year as their customer. In person, all of the staff are energetic. They … Read more

Practical Advice for 4 Common Communication Challenges

By Mary Jane Copps | October 17, 2020

One of the things I love about my work is its diversity. This past week I delivered webinars to global, North American, national and local audiences. Fun, right? What stood out for me was the similarity in the feedback on all of these presentations. The … Read more

One Word or Two?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 10, 2020
woman buying coffee

In Canada this is Thanksgiving weekend, a  holiday also celebrated by our US neighbours (in just over 6 weeks) as well as in Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, Leiden in South Holland, Norfolk Island and Puerto Rico. It stems from a tradition of celebrating and … Read more

The Value of “Failing Spectacularly”

By Mary Jane Copps | October 4, 2020
microphone

This past week I had the great privilege of spending six hours with five new business owners determined to increase their sales. At the end of our time together, they were prepared to connect with prospects and explore possibilities by inspiring great conversations. They were … Read more

Are We Excluding By Not Including?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2020
woman using cell phone

A few years ago I sat with two trusted colleagues and made numerous decisions about my company’s social media and marketing strategy. There were a few things that got added to the activities already in play. One of them, even though I was hesitant, was … Read more

What’s In A Name? Everything!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 19, 2020
nametags

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve called somewhere, perhaps a customer service centre, or a government department, or a company we are thinking about hiring. A person answers, or we reach their voicemail, and their name is so muffled, said so quickly, that we … Read more

Have You Done Your Year-End Math?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 12, 2020
doing sales calculations

There’s no doubt it has been a strange and challenging year. Some of us have had to press “reset” when it comes to our original 2020 financial goals, while others have thrived beyond their expectations. No matter your experience, you want to take full advantage … Read more

Questions That Will Improve Year’s End

By Mary Jane Copps | September 5, 2020
gear shift

Imagine that one morning next week you leave your home to go somewhere and find that your bicycle has been replaced with a motorcycle. Or your automatic car has been replaced with a standard. Or your SUV has been replaced with an 18-wheel tractor trailer. … Read more

Fear and Discomfort? You’re Learning Something!

By Mary Jane Copps | August 30, 2020
man with headset

About five years ago, I connected with Donald O’Connor on Twitter. Since then we have created a friendship founded on our shared interest and passion in sales and communication. Earlier this month, when he attended my monthly webinar, I discovered his wealth of great sales … Read more

What Are Your Great Questions?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 21, 2020
man and woman talking

Interesting and valuable conversations are often easily created with family, friends and colleagues. Can we create this same level of communication with prospects and clients? How do we inspire conversations that build trust and relationships, and deliver value to everyone? The answer is in the … Read more

Lack of Confidence = Miscommunication

By Mary Jane Copps | August 16, 2020
woman talking on the phone

“Communication is not saying something. Communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein – Many of you already know my “just” story.  At the age of 28, building my first business and making outbound calls across the country, I was shocked to discover that turning a … Read more

Practice Patience with Your Persistence

By Mary Jane Copps | August 7, 2020
woman talking on the phone

There’s a struggle going on. No matter what industry my clients represent, or how smoothly they managed the initial COVID-19 lockdown, or how quickly they created a re-opening process … they are all still struggling on some level. The demands on their time seem to … Read more

Service Excellence … By Text!

By Mary Jane Copps | August 1, 2020
plumber texting

Sunday evening and the problem could not be ignored. No matter how hard I tried, or in what order I adjusted the shower and bathtub faucets, the steady drip, drip, drip remained. I could hear the hot water still running through the pipe even though … Read more

Please … Don’t Forget Your “Receptionist”

By Mary Jane Copps | July 25, 2020
receptionist speaking on phone behind desk

For many, many years receptionists were an exclusive perk of the upper echelon of the business world. As an employee moved up the “corporate ladder”, they reached a point where someone else started answering their phone. You can witness this in television series and movies … Read more

Be Interested or Be Forgotten

By Mary Jane Copps | July 18, 2020
woman talking on the phone

This past week I had a lot of opportunities to be a customer. I was on the phone frequently, gathering information on a wide variety of products and services. Each company had a slightly different approach to receiving my call. Everyone was polite and provided … Read more

The Phone Lady’s Best Quotes

By Linda Daley | July 11, 2020
woman speaking into a microphone

For over 10 years now, I’ve been admiring Mary Jane’s pithy advice and marvelling at the way she shares stories of both success and failure with insight and compassion. So, when I realized how busy she has been this week with developing new learning experiences … Read more

Follow-Up: Talking Yourself Into An Opportunity

By Mary Jane Copps | July 4, 2020

Disciplined follow-up with potential clients is a challenge for most of us. For some reason, our negative self-talk gets a bit louder and more assertive when it comes to this task. Some of the things we tell ourselves include: “If they’re interested, they’ll call me.” … Read more

Identifying Ideal Clients – A Case Study

By Mary Jane Copps | June 27, 2020
woman latking on the phone

One of the biggest challenges for small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers and independent service providers is … creating consistent revenue. Accomplishing this requires making “business development” a consistent priority. But what does this involve? What are the actions we need to take each day or … Read more

What’s Best When: Phone or Video Conversation?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 20, 2020
WOMAN ON VIDEO CALL

My initial reaction to the notion that phone calls would one day include cameras is very clear in my mind. I remember exactly where I was when someone shared this news item with me. It was sometime in the mid ’90s. I was standing outside … Read more

Maintaining Excellence: What’s Your Customers’ Experience?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 13, 2020
man talking on the phone

It is a whole new world when it comes to customer service. The pandemic has given every business a myriad of things to think about, implement and change in order to keep both staff and customers safe. It’s a huge responsibility. Despite all of this, … Read more

How Will Allison Inspire Conversation? Case Study Part II

By Mary Jane Copps | June 6, 2020
woman speaking on the phone

Several weeks ago Allison Smith of Dandelion Digital approached me with this question: Do you have resources on how to do this diligent research of ideal prospects? Since I did not have a downloadable resource to share with her (yes, this is now on the “to … Read more

Reopening: Patience and Compassion Required

By Mary Jane Copps | May 31, 2020
hair dresser booking appointments by phone

Reopening is not a return to things as they were earlier this year. We remain a world impacted by COVID-19. Yet this past week, several colleagues shared stories with me of their clients’ high expectations. There was someone who was surprised by a wait of … Read more

Researching Ideal Prospects: A Case Study

By Mary Jane Copps | May 23, 2020
woman working at desk

Last week Allison Smith read my post very carefully and responded with this question: Do you have resources on how to do this diligent research of ideal prospects? So … she’s become our first case study on how to reach your ideal target market. Allison owns Dandelion … Read more

7 Steps to Rejuvenate Your Sales Plan

By Mary Jane Copps | May 16, 2020
using calculator

For many businesses and individuals, the plan they created earlier this year to reach their financial goals is now obsolete. And with so many unknowns still in play, likely for some time to come, it can be difficult to create a new plan that delivers … Read more

Own Your Distractions

By Mary Jane Copps | May 9, 2020
dog at desk

Twenty-eight years ago, on May 15, my then business partner gave birth to her first child. We were in our fourth year of growing our company and while we did manage to organize a (sort of) maternity leave for her, once that time was up, … Read more

We can now curate who we talk to in a way that wasn’t thinkable when a bulky landline phone rang with anonymous urgency. Listen in here.
CBCs-The-Current
CRTC has recently taken new steps to fight fraud calls and phone scams. Read (and listen) to what Mary Jane has to say about this problem.
Cold Calls: The Psychology Behind the Human Voice - listen to this podcast featuring The Phone Lady.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
Episode featuring The Phone Lady - watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.
The Wall Street Journal.
Some on Wall Street are hanging up on voicemail. See what The Phone Lady has to say.