The Phone Lady's Blog

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phone sales

Stories of Do and Don’t

By Mary Jane Copps | November 24, 2013

Recent work calling into Vancouver has provided a great story of how not to answer the phone: At one association I was greeted by what I’ll call an “unengaged” receptionist. She wasn’t unpleasant, but she wasn’t welcoming either. She did not use her name when she answered the … Read more

Not Only Words, But Nuance

By Mary Jane Copps | November 3, 2013

The most powerful gift of phone communication is – nuance. Coming from the French “nuer”, meaning to shade, nuance is about subtle differences in tone, in colour, in meaning – the differences that, when we hear them, allow us to truly serve our customers and potential customers. While … Read more

Time to Go Retro!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 27, 2013

Telephone communication – the how and why we reach and speak to each other – has changed. Even in the past year subtle shifts have taken place that we must embrace or … we’re going to miss out on opportunities – and so will our customers and prospects. … Read more

Either/Or? Try Both … Or More!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 20, 2013

There’s no doubt we are struggling to communicate with each other. I don’t mean that we are having a hard time understanding each other, although that certainly happens. I mean we are having troubling connecting, knowing which medium to use to reach which audience … and get a … Read more

The Five “Why’s” of Leaving Messages

By Mary Jane Copps | September 29, 2013

“Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.” Paul J. Meyer So pleased this quote landed in my inbox. While it certainly supports my thoughts on persistence last week, it also applies to this week’s topic – leaving messages. Over the past … Read more

Five Reasons to Say “Yes” to Persistence

By Mary Jane Copps | September 22, 2013

Recently my dear friend and often collaborator, Linda Daley of Daley Progress, told me an email/phone story that’s worth sharing: Marketing software is something Linda needs to stay knowledgeable about but when she received an email from Act-On software, she deleted it as “typical marketing stuff”. Then came … Read more

The Sound of Insincerity

By Mary Jane Copps | September 16, 2013

All of us rely on each of our senses to provide us with data, information that helps us make decisions and allows us to communicate effectively with others. It is logical that when one of our senses is unavailable to us, we feel disoriented and even frightened. Hence … Read more

Are You Up For a Challenge?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 8, 2013

If you want to test out, practice or stretch your phone skills, I have a challenge for you this week. I’ve been asked the question “Why the telephone?” a lot in the past few weeks. And while I’ve been contemplating the many different answers, I thought about my … Read more

21 Words of Wisdom

By Mary Jane Copps | August 25, 2013

This quote, by Henry David Thoreau, came across my desk this week: The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer. There’s a lot of wisdom in these 21 words. Asking our customers and potential customers … Read more

Before You Hit “Send”

By Mary Jane Copps | August 5, 2013

Most of us are receiving a lot of email everyday. In fact many of us are receiving too much email everyday. And still some of us, depending on our job or position within a company, are receiving three or four times too much email. And herein lies my … Read more

Help Wanted: Information for Decision Making

By Mary Jane Copps | June 23, 2013

I first encountered the impact of too many choices several years ago. I was in a greeting card store, standing in front of one of the many racks filled with colour and images and words. I had already walked up and down the aisles twice, yet there I … Read more

Talk Less to Listen More

By Mary Jane Copps | June 16, 2013

If I had to choose my #1 Most Irritating Communication Habit it would be … not listening! I’m sure you’ve experienced it. You’ve enthusiastically shared a story or provided information; you finish and wait expectantly for reaction or input. Instead, when the person speaks, their words don’t connect … Read more

Don’t Ask If You Can’t Listen

By Mary Jane Copps | June 2, 2013

Earlier this week I received a phone call from a friend and colleague. We are always both very busy and we usually acknowledge this with quick, graceful phone calls that respect each other’s hectic schedules. But this call arrived moments after I finished a difficult project, when I … Read more

Which One Are You?

By Mary Jane Copps | May 12, 2013

I’ve spent much of this past week prospecting for both myself and others and I’ve noted common characteristics among voicemail messages. Does your message match any of these … and what does this mean to your prospects and customers? The Flight Attendant This message has the same intonation … Read more

The First Impression

By Mary Jane Copps | May 5, 2013

All of us need to give more thought to our outbound voicemail message. Why? Because for our clients, customers, donors and prospects our voicemail is our receptionist. It is vital that this “receptionist” welcome our callers and contain our desire to be of service. In a workshop this … Read more

Are you Digging the Well?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 28, 2013

Dig the well before you are thirsty. Chinese Proverb This quote came across my desk on Thursday. I had just returned to my office from prospecting practice  at The Hub (see below, News and Events, May 30), so it was very appropriate. On the large white board we … Read more

Am I Being a Pest? And Kudos to Porter

By Mary Jane Copps | April 21, 2013

“What’s the best time to call?” is one of the questions I get asked frequently and earlier this week I posted my answer to The Lunch Pack’s Burst of Learning group on LinkedIn. (It takes less than a minute to read and can be found here: While writing … Read more

Reasons Not To Call

By Mary Jane Copps | April 14, 2013

During a brainstorming session this week I found myself saying “Phone calls are not the right approach for this project.” What! There was certainly a lot of laughter over The Phone Lady saying this. Yes, I do strongly advocate for everyone to recognize and use the telephone to … Read more

Precision and Silence

By Mary Jane Copps | March 24, 2013

This is an inspired blog … inspired by Brookes Diamond to be exact. I had the pleasure of running into him on Barrington Street on Tuesday – looking very dapper I  might add. (Brookes and Fiona Diamond are amazing entrepreneurs, currently creating heritage entertainment for Canada and the … Read more

Creativity, Logic and Noise

By Mary Jane Copps | March 17, 2013

Phonework contains a unique combination of creativity and logic that has captivated me for 26 years. The writer in me embraces the language challenges – finding the right words and presenting them in the right way to clearly communicate ideas and inspire conversation. Effective phonework is closely related … Read more

Begin . . .

By Mary Jane Copps | March 10, 2013

In the past 6 weeks two entrepreneurs have approached me about making calls to potential clients on their behalf. And in both cases, they picked up the phone themselves and discovered their own “phone power”. There’s freedom in this – a greater confidence in creating a strong bottom … Read more

Another Perspective

By Mary Jane Copps | March 3, 2013

This week I bring you someone else’s thoughts on phone communication, courtesy of colleague Andrew Scollick of Falconer Group Andrew is indeed a voracious reader and I send him my thanks for connecting me with this Harvard Business Review Blog by Dan Pallotta ( Just Call Someone … Read more

Powerful Words: How

By Mary Jane Copps | February 17, 2013

What is the cost in terms of time and lost opportunities when salespeople “chase” unqualified leads? This was the focus of a vibrant discussion I had this week with my colleague Peter Skakum  ( For me, in addition to the cost, the element of disrespect weighs heavily as … Read more

Powerful Words: What

By Mary Jane Copps | February 4, 2013

When we pick up the phone to call a customer or a potential customer, our objective should be to inspire conversation. With our customers, we want to learn more about them, find out how we can provide more or better service. After all, they are the ones that … Read more

Powerful Words: Names

By Mary Jane Copps | January 27, 2013

This past week I immersed myself in phonework for three solid days – a rare occurrence that I welcomed with excitement. (I know, I know, many of you think that is completely bonkers!) But dialing the phone to accomplish a specific goal is the foundation of The Phone … Read more

Powerful Words: Or

By Mary Jane Copps | January 20, 2013

No matter why we pick up a phone – to close a sale, book a meeting, connect with a customer or resolve a service issue  – being able to inspire a conversation holds tremendous value. It is through conversation that we can: *hear opinions, thoughts and feelings; *encourage … Read more

Powerful Words: Comfortable

By Mary Jane Copps | January 13, 2013

One of the best ways to improve communication with others (on the phone, in writing and in person) is to focus on them. In other words, as I’ve shared in previous posts … It’s Not About You! Using the word “comfortable” on the phone helps you make it … Read more

Powerful Words: The Language of Effective Telephone Communication

By Mary Jane Copps | January 6, 2013

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed a peaceful holiday season and that 2013 holds not only prosperity but a few dreams come true for each of us. This quote has been following me around the past few weeks: “I like good strong words that mean something.” Louisa … Read more

It’s All In The Name …

By Mary Jane Copps | November 11, 2012

How you answer your business telephone – be it a land line or a cellphone – tells your customers a lot about you and the service you provide. If you want to deliver “awesome” follow the simple guidelines below: 1)     Express your desire to be of service. Don’t … Read more

Montreal: January 1916

By Mary Jane Copps | October 28, 2012

One of the joys of creating my course for the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) was working with Lise Noel, Archivist, Bell Historical Collection. Everyone in the class has had so much fun looking at both print and television advertising, as well as training pamphlets from past decades. … 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.