The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

phone sales techniques

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

10 Words To Change How You Think About Sales

By Mary Jane Copps | September 30, 2023
woman talking on the phone while looking at her tablet

“So well said! That just blew my mind…” This appeared in Chat recently while delivering the final webinar in my seven-part proactive calling series. It definitely caught me off guard. I get a lot of positive reactions to the skills I share but I think this was the … Read more

One Simple Skill To Improve Every Outbound Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 9, 2023
business man talking on the phone

In the summer before my last year of high school, I landed my first job that involved answering a telephone. It was in the administrative offices of an iron ore mine in Northern Ontario. This was 48 years ago, in 1975. It was a time when there were … Read more

Creating a Great Impression, Miscommunication & Getting Answers

By Mary Jane Copps | July 9, 2023
young man talking on the phone

Whether it’s part of your work in sales or customer service, or phone conversations are part of your job search strategy, you want to continually practice the skills for creating a great impression. You also want to know ways to deal with a wide variety of communication hazards, … Read more

Summer School is Now in Session!

By Mary Jane Copps | June 23, 2023
woman using cell phone

Summer officially started this past Wednesday. There are very few places in the world as delightful as Atlantic Canada in the summer and I’m aiming to take full advantage. As I was thinking about the time I will spend with family and friends over the next two months, … 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

Is This Missing From Your Conversations?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 25, 2022
man talking on the phone

Recently, while working with a team of experienced salespeople on a new outbound campaign to CEOs, I realized something was missing. But I struggled to find the right words to describe this “something”. By listening to the calls, I knew that everyone was including all the pertinent details. … Read more

Sales Tip #1 – Follow the Calendar

By Mary Jane Copps | July 15, 2022
man talking on the phone while using his laptop

Forty years ago this month I made the decision to launch my own business. As a naïve 20-something there was so much I had to learn. The biggest lesson, and the most life-changing, was that I had to learn how to sell. When I look back on the … Read more

Sales Communication That Inspires Conversation

By Mary Jane Copps | August 14, 2021
woman working at desk

When you make sales calls, to prospects, referrals or existing customers, you likely have an outcome in mind. Perhaps you believe it will be an immediate sale. Or maybe you are aiming to strengthen and expand an existing relationship. Or maybe you want to begin what you know … Read more

Top Three Sales Skills and How To Practice Them

By Mary Jane Copps | April 24, 2021
woman talking on the phone

How do we become really good at something? Whether it is baking or golf or Minecraft, we all improve our skills by doing, by practicing. The same is true of sales. And we don’t need a special time or place to practice our sales skills. We can do … 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 me with information. … 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

How Persistence Builds Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | January 11, 2020
sales manager speaking on the phone

Persistence remains a challenging topic for the business owners, entrepreneurs and salespeople who work with me. For some reason, persistence and pestering get intertwined and while the two words may start with the same letter, they are not at all alike. The word persistence comes to us from … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part VI

By Mary Jane Copps | June 16, 2018

While sitting with a small group of committed, engaged and effective salespeople enjoying a lively discussion about how to inspire conversations, someone shared: “But it’s so hard when no matter what question you ask, they give you a one-word answer.” Someone else quickly added, “Yeah, I ask lots of … Read more

Silence on the Phone Doesn’t Have To Be Awkward

By Mary Jane Copps | October 14, 2017

“The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.”  Debussy In a workshop this past week Melissa of House of Auto Details wanted to know more about dealing with silence on the phone. It can be a challenge for many of us, yet it is an essential … 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

Top 5 Ways to Create an Excellent ‘On Hold’ Experience

By Mary Jane Copps | April 16, 2017

The first time I put someone on hold was 40 years ago. It was a summer job in the offices of an iron ore mine in Northern Ontario and there were very specific guidelines I had to follow. The etiquette of how to put someone on hold has … Read more

Creating Tomorrow’s Revenue

By Mary Jane Copps | November 16, 2014

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson In seven weeks The Phone Lady will enter its ninth year of business – which both astonishes and delights me. All these years of teaching, coaching, networking and consulting allow me to … Read more

Bosses and employees are wrestling over whether voice calls have a place in the hybrid era. The Wall Street Journal recently spoke to Mary Jane. Find out more here.
Overwhelmed by alerts? Avoid calling people? Here's what phone anxiety looks like — and why it happens.
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 >
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.