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The Phone Lady's Blog

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answering the phone

A Dog, a Kayak and a Phone Lesson

By Mary Jane Copps | January 27, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado and a regular reader of this blog. She recently had a “light bulb moment” while enjoying an outdoor adventure with her dog … something that’s valuable for all of us to consider when our phone rings. What did … Read more

Sorry … Wrong Number

By Mary Jane Copps | November 17, 2018

My business phone rang one Saturday afternoon while I was at my desk. I quickly checked the number and, while it was local, it wasn’t one I recognized. I made the choice most of us do these days – I didn’t answer. When I eventually … Read more

The Death of Spontaneity

By Mary Jane Copps | October 28, 2018

If you’re not reaching clients or prospects on the phone, don’t take it personally. It’s part of a larger societal shift that is phasing out our relationship with spontaneous phone calls. This was clarified for me recently in a conversation with Jeff Brookhouser, President & … Read more

In The Beginning: 5 Lessons From Recent Phone Calls

By Mary Jane Copps | June 24, 2018

Wednesday was a good day. For the first time in long while, I wasn’t rushing anywhere. I had time to focus on the three “P’s” – projects, paperwork and phone calls. And while the first two went fairly well (apparently there’s additional paperwork needed to … Read more

5 Steps to Answering Your Business Phone

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2018

Recently The Casper Agency of Saint John, NB sent me a question via Twitter. Much to my surprise it turned out to be a subject I haven’t featured in this blog. So, without further delay, here’s my best advice for how to answer your business phone. … Read more

Customers That Do This … Want to Work With You!

By Mary Jane Copps | February 4, 2018

Andrea Kaye, owner of Alta-Sask Wellness, reminded me earlier this week of a very basic change in phone communication that has a big impact on her business. In her busy clinic she encounters this phone behaviour daily, and it’s possible you do, as well. Here’s … Read more

Are You a Work “Protectionist”?

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2018

Admittedly I’m being very liberal in my use of the word “protectionist”, which means “someone who upholds the economic policy of restraining trade between states”. But for the past few years, a similar philosophy has surfaced in our daily business lives. In an effort to … Read more

The Phone Lady’s Best Advice in 2017

By Mary Jane Copps | December 17, 2017

If all goes according to plan, as this blog post is published I’ll be hanging out with my grandchildren in California. Lucky me! In fact I’ve had very little to do with the creation of this post because, for quite some time, I’ve had an … Read more

A Telephone Truth

By Mary Jane Copps | February 18, 2017

It is true that every phone call is an interruption. This is not new; it has been the case since Alexander Graham Bell invented the technology. We are always doing something else when our phone rings and this makes the caller responsible for grabbing our … Read more

Who’s On Your “Hot List”?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 24, 2016

Whether you are an entrepreneur building your business or a salesperson working towards making (or exceeding) budget, maintaining a “hot list” is essential to success. Simply put, a hot list contains the names of prospects that you believe are going to become customers, and it … Read more

The Language of Grief

By Mary Jane Copps | September 18, 2016

At a conference in mid-August I had the priviledge of attending a presentation by Amy Florian, CEO of Corgenius. A powerful, engaging speaker she provided everyone in the audience with a new and invaluable understanding of the language of death. I’m honoured that she has … Read more

Fewer Conversations = More Sales?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 11, 2016

“Opening is the new closing.”  Anthony Iannarino When this quote appeared on my computer screen last week … well, I wasn’t sure what to do first. I recognized the truth of these five words instantly and can’t deny that I fought back a wee bit … Read more

Ready, Set, Crunch … The Numbers You Need for Year-End Success

By Mary Jane Copps | September 4, 2016

Wow … what a crazy August it’s been for The Phone Lady. I’ve had the honour of attending a conference in Iowa, working with very energetic sales and customer service teams in Toronto and travelling to all  four Atlantic provinces in four days to share phone communication … Read more

The Second Call

By Mary Jane Copps | August 21, 2016

  This week I’m honoured to introduce you to Dimitra Chronopoulos. She and I have connected through this blog, Twitter and LinkedIn and she has generously offered to share with us one of her own “phone stories”.   Are you reluctant to make a second … Read more

Show, Don’t Tell

By Mary Jane Copps | August 14, 2016

My mother’s name was Mercy Stone Goodwill. She was only thirty years old when she took sick, a boiling hot day, standing there in her back kitchen, making a Malvern pudding for her husband’s supper. A cookery book lay open on the table: “Take some … Read more

Whose Time Are You Wasting?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 7, 2016

  This summer I’ve had the honour of working with smart, dedicated, enthusiastic sales teams. While each group was unique, they all shared a passion for their work, for learning and  for understanding  the “why” of today’s effective phone communication. This resulted in training sessions so … Read more

Expectations: Yours or Theirs?

By Mary Jane Copps | July 24, 2016

Customer service often finds its way into conversations I have with family, friends and colleagues.  Whether it’s fabulous, good or deplorable, it ‘s something we all notice and we freely share our experiences with others. Good service means doing what the customer expects, and while … Read more

The Power and Beauty of the Human Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | July 17, 2016

In 2003 a friend encouraged me to start a business centred on phone communication skills. I was skeptical.  He insisted. At this point, I’d been working with him part-time for 2 years, and he’d listened to me as I’d grown his software business from 11 clients … Read more

The Automatic “No”

By Mary Jane Copps | July 9, 2016

My husband (David Potter) tells a funny – and embarrassing – story about me and my tendency to say “no”. In our early years together he would often call me at work with an invitation to go somewhere or do something. He’d be all enthused … Read more

Summer’s Ease = Opportunity

By Mary Jane Copps | July 2, 2016

It is tempting. I’m struggling with it a bit myself – a desire to slow down, go to the beach, read on the deck  – basically behave like I did in elementary school and September seemed a very distant possibility. But don’t give in to that temptation … Read more

What’s Your Anthem?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 18, 2016

It is incontestable that music induces in us a sense of the infinite and the contemplation of the invisible. ~Victor de LaPrade The 1931 IBM song “Ever Onward” was one of over 80 musical numbers included in the company songbook. It was performed at company … Read more

4 Steps to a Great Vacation Message

By Mary Jane Copps | June 11, 2016

It’s coming! Even though here on the Atlantic coast we’ve seen more fog and cloud than sun, we know that summer is on it’s way, bringing well-deserved vacation time and …voice mail vacation messages. In the excitement of summer vacation – or really any vacation … Read more

The Forgotten Follow Up – Part Four

By Mary Jane Copps | June 5, 2016

Whether each of us will admit it or not, we have all “dropped the ball” when it comes to following up. Even when we use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system), it is still possible to click past a reminder, telling ourselves we’ll get back to … Read more

Do You Need to Transform?

By Mary Jane Copps | May 8, 2016

  In the past 10 years I’ve worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and salespeople. They have all wanted to  build revenue and create strong relationships with their prospects and customers. I’d like to say that every one of them succeeded at making this happen … … Read more

Cold Calling – The Beginning of Service

By Mary Jane Copps | May 1, 2016

After hearing from clients, friends and colleagues that it was a “must see” for me, I recently took the time to watch The Wolf of Wall Street. While it doesn’t fit my taste in films, it does include some wonderful dialogue on the use of … Read more

What Do Others Hear?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 24, 2016

  In each of my workshops there is at least one person who believes that the sound of their voice prevents them from communicating effectively on the telephone. This is rarely true. But all of us have habits that we’ve woven into our speaking patterns … Read more

Your Presence is Requested

By Mary Jane Copps | March 27, 2016

  Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being, not doing. Debbie Hall Earlier this week I listened again to Debbie Hall’s brief essay “The Power of Presence”, part of the This I Believe collection which I return to often for inspiration and perspective. … Read more

Sound Advice: Creating Your Best Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | February 21, 2016

  In almost every workshop, someone asks me about improving the sound of their voice. While I can share the things that I do (sip water throughout the day, sing, hum), I am not an expert. I rely on the advice of Natasha Marchewka. Over … Read more

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Phone Skills

By Mary Jane Copps | February 14, 2016

There’s no doubt that the value of phone conversations is steadily gaining recognition by CEOs, managers and entrepreneurs. Companies large and small are realizing that talking to customers and prospects on the phone builds stronger relationships, reveals opportunities and  directly supports increased revenue. So, if email … Read more

Thoughtful or Nostalgic?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 7, 2016

Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow. – Rowan Williams In planning a trip to Toronto last month, I took on the challenge of setting up meetings with senior decision makers at a large multi-national organization. I’ve done a fair bit of work for the company … 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.