Telephone sales prospecting – 10 Golden Rules for success

10 golden rules for successful telephone sales prospecting…

Realise that you can be successful

We regularly hear people say things like ‘I’m no good at telephone prospecting’ or ‘I know I won’t be successful’.

We believe that anyone can be successful at telephone prospecting, provided they think they can.  Success or not is often a self-fulfilling prophecy – and we’d say having a positive, winning attitude is mandatory to success in telephone sales.

Get yourself in the right frame of mind

If you don’t feel in the best frame of mind for making the calls, do something to get your mindset right!  If you’re feeling negative or down in the dumps this will come across in your voice on the phone and greatly affect your chances of success.

So get yourself fired up!  Talk to colleagues, review targets, or practice the skills – whatever it takes to get you in the mood and in the zone!

Be clear on what you want from the call

Are you trying to win business, or get an appointment or something else?  Whatever it is, be clear on what you’re after and prepare a Purpose and Benefit statement so that your prospect knows too.

Commit to making the calls on a regular basis and without fail!

Successful salespeople don’t just make calls when they feel like it or when they have nothing else to do.  High performers make a point of making time to make their calls, calling in batches for which they’ve already completed the research.

It’s a numbers game!

You will be aware of how much activity you need to complete to meet your targets.  So, if you know you need to talk to 10 prospects to get one new client, you will need to talk to 100 prospects to get 10 new clients.  It’s that simple, so get on with it!


When you’re on the phone it can be a trap to not listen to your prospect as closely as you should.  You could be thinking of your next question to ask, or where the conversation is going or something else.

Your prospect will sometimes say something that is a vital piece of information for you, but they’ll only say it once!  Listen intently.

Welcome objections

The more calls you make, you’ll realise that there are only a certain number of objections that you will get.  Welcome these objections as a necessary evil for you to achieve your sales targets.

Don’t go into sales-talk overdrive – ask your prospect great questions, get them talking and focus on their needs.

Persistence and Perseverance

Many people think that flamboyance and extroversion are the keys to success in sales.  We’d say it’s effort and elbow grease that really separate the high performers.  Commit to your minimum telephone sales level of activity and carry it out with skill, enthusiasm and without fail!

Maintain control and follow up!

Don’t leave it to your prospect to call or make contact with you, because they won’t.  Stay in control and make sure, make sure, that you follow up when you say you will and do what you say you will do.

It’s about relationship, not email!

People will do business with people that they know and trust.  We are all different and this can take longer with some people than others.  You need to realise that some people simply take longer and give them that time.

Relationship building takes personal contact, either face-to-face or by phone.  Email is a great tool for passing information but don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ve done your relationship building by sending a few emails.


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Brendan Walsh