The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

sales process

How Are You Collaborating?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 28, 2023
business people meeting

This past week the word ‘collaboration’ has been on my mind. It applies to many of the challenges our world is facing today. Where I live, the provincial and municipal governments, which should be vibrant examples of partnership, are tragically miscommunicating about one of our … Read more

Adventures in Sales #3: Gaining Momentum and Staying Curious

By Tegan Samija | August 26, 2023
female sales rep exlpaining to male client

As the long summer days of August come to an end, my new role as a sales development representative with a learning and development company is in full swing. In my previous update, I was excited to have just completed my very first sales call … Read more

Adventures in Sales #2: Losing and Regaining Confidence

By Tegan Samija | July 22, 2023
female sales person on phone call

“You’re trying to sell to Fortune 500 companies?? And you’re doing this all by yourself, with NO experience? WOW, I couldn’t imagine being thrown more into the deep end than that!” I was on a call with a sales professional I had connected with after … 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 … Read more

The Case for Over-Communicating

By Mary Jane Copps | May 28, 2023

Since March 30 I’ve been constantly thinking about an email I received from my dear friend and colleague, Natasha Marchewka. Natasha is definitely one of life’s constant learners and she’ll often send me things she’s discovered. In this case, it was a quote from James … 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 … 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 … Read more

Opportunity Needs You to Get Gritty

By Mary Jane Copps | April 15, 2023
definition of grit

Throughout my 17 years as The Phone Lady, I’ve preached the value of consistent follow up. We do the work of listening to our clients and creating proposals or quotes in a timely manner. We also need to do the work of learning from their … Read more

Wish I’d Said That!

By Mary Jane Copps | October 22, 2022
woman listening on phone call

From time to time, my inbox has been like my kitchen junk drawer. You know what I mean – a destination for things I’m sure I’ll need at some point. Yet, also like that drawer, I rarely take the time to investigate the items I’ve … 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 … Read more

How Are You Selling?

By Mary Jane Copps | April 23, 2022
woman and man talking

One of the biggest privileges I have as The Phone Lady is listening to my clients’ conversations. It’s amazing to be trusted with such an intimate task. This allows me to fully customize my training and coaching, and supports my ability to produce desired results … Read more

Preparation: Less Equals More

By Mary Jane Copps | October 17, 2021

Preparation is an essential element of storyfinding. It allows us to develop and ask great questions. The challenge is finding the right balance between scant and excessive research. The key to successful preparation lies in understanding how it supports our ability to discover more through … Read more

3 Steps to Prepare for Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | October 9, 2021

One specific spring day in 1980 was my biggest teacher in terms of preparation. Along with hundreds of other students, I’m in John P. Robarts Research Library (one of my very favourite places) at the University of Toronto. It’s one of those crunch times – … 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. … Read more

Strengthen Your Sales Process: The Follow-up

By Mary Jane Copps | March 14, 2021
woman talking on the phone

What if I told you that you can increase your revenue this year by 10%, 25% or more? And what if I told you that accessing this additional revenue is easy? Would you at least give it a try? Or would you allow doubt and … Read more

Strengthen Your Sales Process: Effective & Simple Proposals

By Mary Jane Copps | February 28, 2021
woman working onlaptop

In 2006, as I began to build The Phone Lady brand, I encountered a business protocol that really annoyed me. It was the request for a proposal. At the time I believed confirming new business should be possible with a detailed conversation. Once a solution … 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 … Read more

Email Assumptions Revealed by Persistent Follow-up

By Mary Jane Copps | January 17, 2021
woman using laptop

As 2020 ended and 2021 began I found myself in the midst of an unusual communication challenge. In mid-November, the head of a medical team filled out my website Assessment Form, looking for information on phone skills for front desk staff. Through a series of … Read more

Celebrating 500: It’s All About Process

By Mary Jane Copps | December 5, 2020
woman working at table

This post is my 500th blog post! I’m amazed. Blogging sparked my curiosity about 10 years ago. When I began to write the stories and bits of advice, I had no clear vision of where I was going or for how long. In the early … Read more

What Are Your Missed Opportunities?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 21, 2020
conversation over coffee

Earlier this week I spent the morning with a group of brand new, energetic business owners. In one of the exercises we did together, they each estimated the average annual worth of their average customer. This is not an easy number to figure out when … 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 … Read more

Questions That Will Improve Year’s End

By Mary Jane Copps | September 5, 2020
gear shift

Imagine that one morning next week you leave your home to go somewhere and find that your bicycle has been replaced with a motorcycle. Or your automatic car has been replaced with a standard. Or your SUV has been replaced with an 18-wheel tractor trailer. … Read more

Follow-Up: Talking Yourself Into An Opportunity

By Mary Jane Copps | July 4, 2020

Disciplined follow-up with potential clients is a challenge for most of us. For some reason, our negative self-talk gets a bit louder and more assertive when it comes to this task. Some of the things we tell ourselves include: “If they’re interested, they’ll call me.” … Read more

How Will Allison Inspire Conversation? Case Study Part II

By Mary Jane Copps | June 6, 2020
woman speaking on the phone

Several weeks ago Allison Smith of Dandelion Digital approached me with this question: Do you have resources on how to do this diligent research of ideal prospects? Since I did not have a downloadable resource to share with her (yes, this is now on the “to … 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 … Read more

Serious About Creating Consistent Revenue? You Need CRM Software, Not a Spreadsheet!

By Mary Jane Copps | January 31, 2020
man talking on the phone while checking his laptop

Almost every small business owner I’ve worked with starts out keeping track of prospects using a spreadsheet. They carefully choose and set up the columns. Then they add to it weekly, sometimes daily, listing all the people they’ve spoken to and a bit of information … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … Read more

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.
The Wall Street Journal.
Banks Curtail Employee Use of Voice Mail: Voice mail is viewed as an expensive vestige of a bygone era. See what The Phone Lady has to say.