When answering a business call, remember this:

Most inbound business calls are either new enquiries, further enquiries, follow-ups, or complaints. With this in mind, you need to be properly prepared.

Many of the inbound calls to your company will be first time buyers. They will have certain expectations based on the image your company has portrayed in its marketing messages. It is usually these messages which have led the buyer to make the call.

When you answer the call, the first 5 seconds of what you say and how you say it will determine the caller’s impression of you and your company.

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression!

Differentiate yourself from all the other average “sales reps” that buyers have to deal with every day.

Be someone that buyers WANT to speak to.

  • Be of service. (Willing to help)
  • Be professional.
  • Be enthusiastic.

You reflect your company’s image through your actions.

Your GREETING is the most important part of the call!

Everything else that happens after this will depend on the quality and sincerity of your greeting.

A good greeting creates a good first impression and gives you self-confidence.


Useful tips for taking business telephone calls:


1.  Answer the phone immediately.

When the phone on your desk rings, answer it immediately.

If the phone on the desk next to you or elsewhere close to you rings and there is no one to answer it then it becomes your responsibility to answer it.

Remember: Whoever answers the phone owns the problem.


2.  Answer with a positive greeting.

Always identify yourself at the beginning of all calls.

Your greeting should be positive and CLEAR. Do not rush.

“Good morning / afternoon, this is Rob speaking welcome to …..” Pause.

Give them a chance to respond.

You don’t have to say, “How may I help you?” they will tell you.

Don’t be insincere. “Hi this is Rob, how can I make your day awesome?”


3.  Use their name.

As soon as the buyer gives you their name, use it.

“Hi, this I Beverly, I was wanting a price on the new ……”

“No problem Beverly, I can help you with that ….” (Use their name ASAP)

Get into the habit of writing the buyer’s name down as soon as they give it to you. This will ensure you don’t forget it and won’t be embarrassed later by having to ask them for it again.


4.  Have pen and paper ready.

Before you answer a call, have a pen (one that works) and paper ready to make notes.


5.  Focus on the call.

Do not allow interruptions during telephone conversations and do not carry on side conversations with other people around you.

Don’t read e-mails during the conversation or be distracted in any way. You must be 100% “Present” during the conversation.

The person on the telephone takes precedence over someone who happens to walk into your office or up to the counter. (If you are in retail sales)

If you are on a call and a colleague walks into your office, acknowledge them. Ask the caller to hold on and tell the walk-in colleague how long you will be. Tell them you will call them as soon as you are finished.

If you are in retail and a buyer walks in, acknowledge them. Ask the caller to hold on and tell the walk-in buyer how long you will be. Ask them to look around in the meantime etc.

If you must interrupt the telephone conversation then say, “I’m going to put you on hold for a moment”. When you return, say, “Thank you for holding.”


6.  Stay calm.

If you get someone on the phone that is angry don’t cut in, let them vent their anger, even if it is not justified.

If a buyer complains about your company’s service do what you can to help.

Remember, most of the people you will be talking to will appreciate your help.

If a prospect is rude, don’t take it personally.

They may just be having a bad day. Don’t let these things dampen your enthusiasm.

Remain positive and move on.


7.  Transferring Calls.

Let the buyer know who you are transferring them to and why.


8.  End the call positively.

Make sure the buyer knows what the next steps are and end with:

“Is there anything else I can help you with?”

This lets the buyer know that you were happy to “Be of service” and will do it again in the future if required.


9.  Always call when you say you will call.

If you promise to call a buyer at a certain time on a certain day, then call at that time. If you don’t then you are always on the back foot after that.

There is no excuse for not calling buyers as promised.

There’s nothing worse for a buyer than having a salesperson calling a day or two later than promised and then giving some feeble excuse about how busy they were.

Buyers are not interested in your problems.

When you use feeble excuses for poor performance it tells the buyer that they are not important, and you cannot be trusted to deliver on your promises.

They may lose confidence in you and take their business elsewhere. Calling as promised helps to build trust and is good for business.




Think carefully about how you take business telephone calls at the moment.

(Take your time. Think)

Choose one of the points above that you would like to work on improving over the next two weeks and write down how you will achieve this.

Start working on this NOW.




Be enthusiastic when taking business telephone calls.

Using effective telephone skills is part of being a “Sales professional”.

Learning Technique: (Voice recorder)

Record yourself reading aloud or role paying a telephone call to hear what you sound like to other people.

The voice that you hear inside your head is not the same voice that the buyer hears

Don’t be afraid to answer the telephone, its not a matter of life or death, it’s only a phone call.



© 2020 Ray Patterson. All materials, images and contents contained herein are the intellectual property of Ray Patterson and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, displayed, adapted or modified without Ray Patterson’s express permission. Any unauthorized copying, reproduction, distribution, display, adaptation or modification will amount to copyright infringement.