Making It Work!

Lots of response to last week’s post – many thanks!

Before I introduce our cold call “guinea pig”, I’ll respond to two much-asked questions: “Is it still viable to sell over the phone?”

The short answer is an emphatic YES. Through The Phone Lady I’m closing sales on the phone constantly. It is both cost and time-effective for me and my customers, but …

“Can every product or service be sold on the phone?” No, absolutely not. Depending on complexity, number of decision makers and cost (just to name a few factors) face-to-face meetings are essential, but …

The first phone call – the dreaded cold call – is never about selling anyway. And this is where some people go astray. The one-phone-call sale is what we try to avoid at home, when we don’t answer because we don’t recognize the number – or the number shows up as toll free. The one-call sell is designed to get us to act emotionally and quickly, without a lot of thought or consideration. That’s not how any of us want to approach our potential clients.

The first phone call is about introducing yourself – similar to extending your hand when at a networking event. The call provides information about you and your service, and allows a potential customer to get a sense of what it might be like to work with you. If there’s interest, they’ll ask (and you must be ready to send) additional information, usually by email. Then, in subsequent follow-up calls, the opportunity to close a sale will occur.

This is not to say that one-call sales don’t happen. They certainly do and they are part of what makes sales so exciting – you just never know what a day’s going to bring! But as a rule, put selling aside when you are making a cold call and focus only on introducing yourself and your product/service.

Over the next few weeks I’ll provide some specific details of how this works with the help of Claudina Whisken, Director of Business Development, Thomas International Maritimes. She contacted me ready and willing to let me use her challenges for demonstration purposes. Here’s what she has to say:

Dear Mary Jane I am really enjoying your blogs and find your info rather interesting. As a new Canadian from South Africa I must say the culture of cold calls is vastly different. I have been selling assessments for 10 years and …I have been trying to break into this environment for a year, which I thought would be a challenge but did not realize it would be this difficult. …If you would like to include me as a guinea pig I would be most grateful. My product is very conceptual and I seem to be saying the wrong thing. Coupled with my accent, I am finding the challenge exciting but frustrating at the same time. Thanks

Claudina’s company, Thomas International is a leading global provider of on-demand behavioral and aptitude assessment applications used in measuring people’s behavioral style at work.

What Claudina provides, regardless of a company’s size, is the ability to put the right people in the right jobs and keep them there. By utilizing Thomas International’s assessments company’s save on two of their most valuable commodities – time and money. <p.< p=””>

Sounds straightforward, but how do you communicate it properly over the phone? And what should happen after the first phone call? What should Claudina’s goals be for her cold call?

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and ideas with all of you in the form of pitches and possible scenarios, but I’d like to hear from you as well. What advice do you have for Claudina? What experiences can you share with us that can inform Claudina’s new approach.

Happy Phonework everyone!

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What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.