The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

sales calls

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

Is This My #1 Conversation Skill?

By Mary Jane Copps | December 9, 2023

In less than six weeks “The Phone Lady” will be 18 years old. For this, I am both amazed and constantly grateful. In the beginning, the work was all about sales, working with teams and individuals to enhance their phone skills and confidence. Over the years, this expanded … Read more

Is This “Just” Another Blog Post?

By Mary Jane Copps | August 13, 2023
man talking on the phone while looking at laptop screen

Long-standing clients are the best gift I receive from being The Phone Lady. Earlier this month I had the privilege of delivering a workshop with an organization that’s trusted me for more than a decade. So fun! As I was wrapping up the customer-service-focused afternoon, the supervising staff … Read more

Adventures in Sales: Getting Started as a 28-Year-Old Sales Newbie

By Mary Jane Copps | June 11, 2023
young woman working at computer with coffee cup and headset phone

I’m pleased to introduce you to Tegan Samija. With a series of posts, she’s going to share with us, in real-time, how she navigates learning to sell … everything from picking up the phone, speaking with potential clients and booking meetings. I’m joining her on this journey as … 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

Getting Curious About Curiosity

By Mary Jane Copps | April 28, 2023

Did you know that curiosity can help us overcome a fear or anxiety? That it can show us a way to navigate stressful situations? Neither did I … until recently. While scrolling through available audiobooks on business topics at my local library, a particular title caught my attention. … 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

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

How to “Own Your Tone”

By Mary Jane Copps | November 28, 2021

Most of us completely ignore the tone of our voice. Of course, we realize when our anger, or sarcasm, or impatience has had an impact on others. But on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis, we remain ignorant about how our tone is impacting our conversations. And the startling truth … Read more

Curiosity Did Not “Kill The Cat”!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2021
woman on video call

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” Sir Ken Robinson Allowing curiosity to guide our conversations is the first step of storyfinding. With both prospects and customers, curiosity helps us clarify and deliver on expectations, reveal additional ways to serve and work together, and continually build on the all-important … 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

Strengthen Your Sales Process: Your Discovery Call

By Mary Jane Copps | February 13, 2021
man talking on the phone

Recently a dear friend and colleague approached me looking for some sales advice. She was concerned about a potential client’s reaction – or lack of reaction – to a proposal she’d sent. She believed it was exactly what the potential client wanted, and needed. So why hadn’t an … Read more

The Value of “Failing Spectacularly”

By Mary Jane Copps | October 4, 2020
microphone

This past week I had the great privilege of spending six hours with five new business owners determined to increase their sales. At the end of our time together, they were prepared to connect with prospects and explore possibilities by inspiring great conversations. They were all a bit … Read more

Powerful Words: The Reason For My Call

By Mary Jane Copps | September 10, 2020
woman making business phone call

One of the most important “tricks” to effective telephone communication lies in acknowledging this simple fact: every phone call is an interruption. While this was true when I began my career on the phone (1987), people still had “space” in their day. They could, and would, find time … 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

7 Ways to Showcase Your Persistence

By Mary Jane Copps | January 18, 2020

To reach your financial goal, build your business and create consistent revenue, you must embrace persistence. In last week’s post, I used a couple of different dictionaries to create a simple comparison between persistence and pestering and shared with you the value of continuing to reach out to your … 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

A Hockey Legend’s Inspiration

By Mary Jane Copps | December 7, 2019
making a sales call

In our house, CBC Radio is on most of the time. Sometimes I listen intently, sometimes bits of information enter my consciousness while I’m focused on other things. This is what happened on November 28. The Current was on and a panel was discussing the latest revelations about … Read more

It’s Time To Be “Camera Ready”

By Mary Jane Copps | November 3, 2019
laptop on desk

There’s a vague image in my mind of standing in the middle of our high-ceilinged, converted-industrial-space office at Adelaide and Spadina in Toronto listening to a news story about future technologies. I’m guessing this was the mid-90s and the newscaster was saying that soon all our phones would … Read more

To Listen and Learn … Press Mute

By Mary Jane Copps | October 5, 2019
phone conversation in office

It doesn’t seem to matter how many projects I do as The Phone Lady, I still get incredibly excited when I’m on a discovery call with a new client. As they start sharing their challenges with me, my brain shifts into high gear and I’m quickly bursting with … Read more

Coaching Yourself Through Setbacks

By Mary Jane Copps | February 17, 2019

In a recent workshop, a participant asked, “How can I stay focused and positive during difficult times, when no one is answering their phones or conversations aren’t resulting in booked appointments?” While I’m by no means an expert on creating optimism and enthusiasm, a recent setback taught me some important lessons. … Read more

What’s With Persistence?

By Mary Jane Copps | December 9, 2018

When I stand in front of a group of entrepreneurs or salespeople and talk about persistence, almost everyone squirms in their seat. The discomfort around following up, making multiple calls and connections, is almost universal. Why? I think it’s about semantics, the words we use and the stories … 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

What Prospects Think When You Don’t Follow Up

By Mary Jane Copps | October 1, 2017
businessman waiting for meeting

My phone rang last Wednesday at 4:08 pm,  just as I was settling in to do some prospecting calls. It was my colleague and friend Steve Foran, CEO of Gratitude at Work. It’s always great to talk with Steve; he’s incredibly energetic, knowledgeable and generous. But this call related … 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

Think BIG for Client Retention

By Mary Jane Copps | August 27, 2017

Recently an entrepreneur I coach was feeling defeated by the loss of a long-time corporate client in Montreal. Persistent phone follow up had resulted in receiving an impersonal email saying the firm’s current focus was working with Quebec-based trainers. But she knew her work was unique and already … 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

You Aren’t Making Enough Calls To Hit Your Quota …

By Mary Jane Copps | August 16, 2015

Welcome to a guest post by Greg Poirier. Greg’s a bit of a rock star in Canada’s startup community and a tireless advocate of picking up the phone and making things happen. In addition … he’s got a wicked sense of humour. Enjoy and share!  … and you don’t have enough touches … Read more

Beware The Enthusiast!

By Mary Jane Copps | January 26, 2014

We’ve all experienced it – a conversation with someone about an idea or product or service and they practically gush with enthusiasm. They ask great questions, add valuable information, want to participate. They lift our spirits and increase our optimism. But there’s a dark side. I encountered it … 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.