The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

cold calling

Creating a Cold Call that Works

By Mary Jane Copps | May 11, 2024
business woman talking on the phone

Late on Wednesday afternoon, my business phone rang. Being “The Phone Lady”, I answered it. The person at the other end gave me their name, their company (one of Canada’s large telecoms), and verified my identity. My reply was immediate: “I’ll let you know right away that I’m … Read more

Ignorance Shatters Sales Skills

By Mary Jane Copps | May 13, 2023
woman talking on the phone

In case you’d like to listen to this blog post, you can enjoy my audio version (I start at the 14 second mark.). – listen here. This past week I answered a call from an unfamiliar number in Ontario. There was a cheerful woman at the other end … Read more

The Importance of Pause

By Mary Jane Copps | December 18, 2022
woman having a phone conversation

It was January 2006 when I officially launched “The Phone Lady” brand. At that time, about 80% of my work was with sales teams, giving them the skills and confidence to pick up the phone and inspire great conversations. This work soon began to include customer service skills, … Read more

Who’s On What?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 23, 2020
texting

My dad was a great lover of comedy. Born in 1920, he grew up in the era of vaudeville and silent movies (where the piano player sat below the screen at the theatre and played the soundtrack!). I loved it when he shared these memories with me. When … Read more

The Four Factors That #InspireConversation

By Mary Jane Copps | February 24, 2019
man having a phone call

A factor is an “influence that contributes to a result or outcome”. With our prospects and customers, we want our conversations to move everyone forward into decision making and deeper relationships. There are four factors we need to work with to make this happen. Understanding the back story, … Read more

What Are Your “Details”?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 11, 2018

This oft-asked question came up in a workshop earlier this week when discussing how to leave effective voicemail messages: What should we say when the person’s instruction is to “leave a detailed message”? What is a detailed message today? What details should you leave to inspire a return … Read more

When Does The Meeting Start?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 18, 2018

This past week, one of my coaching clients had an “aha moment” that will forever change her attitude to the phone calls she is required to make. She spoke to me about this revelation with such clarity that I need to share it with you … and you … Read more

It’s 2018 – Stop Selling Like It’s 1989!

By Mary Jane Copps | January 28, 2018

Miserable winter weather recently had me juggling my schedule, allowing me to spend the day in my office. It turned into one of those awesome days of zipping through email, checking items off a to-do list, and generally feeling fabulously efficient. So when my phone rang, I didn’t … Read more

7 Ways to Reach Potential Sponsors With A New Idea

By Mary Jane Copps | January 7, 2018

On June 22, for the first time, Halifax will join a world-wide community in celebrating Social Media Day (originally launched in 2010 by Mashable to recognize and honour the impact of social media on global communication) with a full-day conference focused on learning, sharing and growing. Organizers of … Read more

How to Respond to a Dreadful Sales Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 2, 2017

My friend and colleague Anita Kirkbride of Twirp Communications sent me a midday email last week with this subject line: I just received the worst cold call ever.  I shudder when I hear this because shoddy salespeople allow long-held negative stereotypes to persist. Sales is a craft to … Read more

Case Study: Lessons from a Cold Call to The Phone Lady

By Mary Jane Copps | July 23, 2017

One thing I tell everyone: “If you want to get better on the phone, use the phone more often and learn from each conversation.” How did that cold call make you feel? What were your reactions during that customer service experience? There’s something to be learned from every interaction, … Read more

“Who” Will You Reach?

By Mary Jane Copps | May 20, 2017

Anxiety or fear of phone calls is not new, but is more pervasive as we spend less and less time using our phones to talk to people. One of the main reasons for this anxiety is: “How will the person I’m calling react when they pick up the … Read more

6 Steps to Get You On The Phone!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 23, 2017

We all procrastinate about something. Whether it relates to our finances, home repairs, writing projects or exercise, each of us has at least one thing we know we must do … but we don’t. (Housework tops my list!) While procrastination may simply be a natural human characteristic, it’s important to … Read more

Are You A Reluctant Salesperson? Own Your Value!

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2017

In the winter of 1988 I had to find a solution to a big problem. The previous Fall, I had put a mortgage on our family home to start my first business and the revenue being generated was, optimistically, unreliable. In reality it was … non-existent. My husband … Read more

Fewer Words, More Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | March 5, 2017

The most important outcome of speaking with a prospect – or existing client – is learning more about them. Our ability to serve is directly connected to how much we understand their needs, challenges and goals. Yet many times we end a phone conversation without learning anything new. … Read more

Focused Calls: As Easy As 1-2-3-4

By Mary Jane Copps | February 26, 2017

Losing control of a phone conversation is a challenge that often comes up in my coaching sessions and workshops. As a conversation expands, one or both parties bounce from topic to topic and the call ends without essential information being shared or the most crucial questions being asked. … 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 attention and inspiring … Read more

The Simplest Way to Increase Sales

By Mary Jane Copps | December 4, 2016

Since attending Dreamforce in October, I’ve received dozens of sales calls and even more prospecting emails … and I’m grateful. Each of these has provided me with valuable insight into why some companies, both large and small, are struggling to meet their sales goals. Here is an analysis … Read more

Crowded Marketplace? Share Your Truth!

By Mary Jane Copps | November 20, 2016

Massive competition is something many entrepreneurs and salespeople face every day. Those in real estate or insurance are good examples, but it also applies to those in software, selling customer relationship management or accounting systems. When you know you are one of many, how do you get your prospect’s … Read more

Reframe the Challenge; Create the Best Question

By Mary Jane Copps | November 13, 2016

There’s a direct relationship between the words we use on the phone and our ability to uncover new opportunities and increase our revenue. When your prospecting calls aren’t having the desired impact, examine the language you’re using. A quick edit can make a big difference. My friend and colleague, Peggy … Read more

Ignorant Sales Calls Alienate Potential Customers

By Mary Jane Copps | November 6, 2016

One of the first salary cheques I ever signed (back in 1988) was for an employee whose job seems a bit ridiculous today. She read magazines and newspapers, listened to specific radio and television programs, and provided me with detailed information on individuals I could cold call. Every … Read more

Here’s Why Your Sales Calls Aren’t Working

By Mary Jane Copps | October 28, 2016

Attending Dreamforce 2016 in early October continues to provide me with unexpected – and incredibly valuable – business lessons, including new knowledge about today’s sales calls and why so many people think the “cold call is dead”. Whether you are in sales or customer service, creating results-oriented follow-up … Read more

Categories of Cold Calls

By Mary Jane Copps | October 16, 2016

Before you get completely overwhelmed by even the thought of making a cold call, one of the things you need to do is take a few moments to determine what type of cold call suits your service or product. The task may be much less intimidating that you … 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 includes an estimate … 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 agreed to provide … Read more

Fewer Conversations = More Sales?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 11, 2016
woman talking on the phone

“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 of “I wish … 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 skills with startups. … 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 phone call when … 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 slices of stale … 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 full of ideas … Read more

CBC Radio
Maritime Noon with Bob Murphy - On the phone-in: Mary Jane Copps has advice on making phone calls to people who are phone-averse. Listen in >
Radio New Zealand logo
How to tackle your telephone hang-ups. People with bad cases of telephone anxiety can experience nausea, increased heart rate and shortness of breath at the sound of a ringtone. Listen in...

Phone Phobia Hits the News

Phone phobia, or telephobia, has been getting a lot of attention in the news recently. See what Mary Jane has to say about it...
Margins of Error with Harry Enten
CNN's Harry Enten asks why we’re avoiding phone calls and whether we can be coached through our telephone-related nerves in this Margins of Error podcast featuring Mary Jane.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
22 Minutes correspondent, Brandon Hackett, figures out which end is up on this thing called a telephone, with help from The Phone Lady. Watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.