The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

sales skills

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

What Do We Undervalue?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2024

Following through on an idea, especially one that involves using unfamiliar skills or putting ourselves in the spotlight, is a tremendous challenge. The possibilities of failure, appearing foolish or wasting one’s time all conspire to create doubt and, perhaps, a bit of procrastination. I’m well acquainted with this … 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

Adventures in Sales: Reaching an Important Milestone

By Tegan Samija | November 26, 2023
woman at desk on video call with man

In my previous update on adventures in sales, I shared that I was having lots of positive first conversations with prospects, but was struggling to book follow-up calls for my team. Today I’m excited to share that I’ve now successfully booked my first follow-up calls! These secondary conversations have … Read more

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 most urgent problems … Read more

Adventures in Sales #4: Even When You’re “Weirdly Lucky” There’s More to Learn

By Tegan Samija | October 13, 2023
woman talking on the phone while looking at computer screen

This week I’m just over four months into my new sales role and it’s been quite an exciting journey. Of course, not without some bumps along the way! A quick refresher for anyone new to my adventures in sales – I started making my first calls in July … 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

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 and had a … 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 reading his book, … 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

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 Clear, author of … 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

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 feedback and hearing … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Phobia

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2023
young woman working at desk looking at phone

Picking up the phone to contact and speak with customers or prospects is not “old-fashioned”. There are teams dedicated to this activity in industries that range from pharmaceuticals to finance, and from janitorial to consulting. Managing these teams, and producing the desired results (or exceeding them), can be … 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 thoughtfully saved. Not … Read more

Phone Coach Tip #1 – Use Your Voice

By Mary Jane Copps | May 7, 2022

This spring has been busy. Steady demand for business communication skills has found me clicking from webinar to webinar, delivering 30-minute, one-hour and sometimes half-day sessions on both sales and customer service. In addition, I’ve enjoyed enlightening, inspiring and productive hours as a coach to both loyal teams … Read more

Exploring Expectations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 25, 2022

Creating excellence demands that we explore expectations – our own and those of our prospects, clients and customers. We come to every conversation and meeting with some level of expectation. Recognizing this – and setting these aside – is a life-long, necessary practice. Without this ability, our expectations … Read more

Tales About Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | March 13, 2022

Inspiring the trust of others is not a small task. It’s something quite … monumental, that moment when another human being gifts you their trust. Trust is essential to the successful growth and longevity of our businesses and yet most of us don’t give this much thought or … Read more

Park Your Intent and Find the Story

By Mary Jane Copps | January 30, 2022

Recognizing and working with the dual nature of intent is vital for us to become great storyfinders – and inspire amazing conversations. Yes, we do need to prepare and have an intention, goal, purpose for our business conversations. When speaking with both customers/clients and prospects, we want to … 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

The Impact of Empathy

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2021

Empathy is not only the champion of storyfinding but also the no-fail creator of trust, loyalty and clear communication. Why? Because recognizing and honouring the emotional content of any situation allows us to provide solutions that go far beyond the surface problems or challenges. Empathy is not about … Read more

The Logic of Employing Empathy

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

The details we can uncover about an individual or an organization through a website, a Google search or reviewing an internal file are all extremely valuable and they do support our ability to be a storyfinder. But often, they are only the tip of the iceberg. The deeper … 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: 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 to a prospect’s … 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

Fear and Discomfort? You’re Learning Something!

By Mary Jane Copps | August 30, 2020
man with headset

About five years ago, I connected with Donald O’Connor on Twitter. Since then we have created a friendship founded on our shared interest and passion in sales and communication. Earlier this month, when he attended my monthly webinar, I discovered his wealth of great sales and communication stories. … 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

“I’m Absolutely Loving This Conversation …”

By Mary Jane Copps | April 22, 2018

Conversation is how we continually increase our sales, retain our customers and reveal opportunities. It is the key to exceeding expectations and creating consistent business growth, yet many of us have developed the habit of avoiding conversation. We default to text communication where we can edit our words, … 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.