Selling by Phone

phone sales coverSelling By Phone: How to Reach and Sell Customers in the Nineties

This was found in a medium-sized public library in the Detroit area. Its title immediately ages it. Yes, the telephone is still an important tool in business, and some of the techniques outlined here are still useful, but the book as a whole is very dated. If they want to teach people how to be really effective with their phone, they need to talk about productivity apps, conference calls, and texting. This is not your mama’s corded, pulse-dialing phone world of 1992. A better book over all would talk about general communication techniques for selling, including social media, video, chat, email, and product webinars.

I’m never a fan of worksheet-style books for libraries, although this one miraculously made it 22 years without being written in. The worksheets included below are ok for thinking about how to make effective phone calls, but if someone relies on them to the point of writing out a script for every call they’re going to make, I can’t see that they’re saving any time. Just send an email if you’re writing that much!

I *hope* this book advises phone sellers not to EVER ask about the weather. So help me Melville Dewey if another vendor calls my library in Michigan in February from Miami or Phoenix or Los Angeles and says, “How’s the weather up there? Heh heh heh.”


phone sales back cover

phone sales front flap

telephone as power tool

overview checklist

call client contact worksheet

call formatting worksheet


  1. I had a vendor call from Texas and (after asking about the weather, jerk) suggest that he should send some of the Cowboys up here to help shelve books for me. They sometimes forget to bring their shirts, he said.

    I found this really invasive, and thought it brought the conversation WAY further towards “sexual” than I wanted to go with a telemarketer.

    Anyway since then I’ve kind of been mean to vendors. :/

  2. I think I’d rather clean a public bathroom than make cold calls (or any calls, for that matter) to try to sell something over the telephone.

  3. What kind of “relationship call” are you making when your conversation goes:

    “How are you doing?”
    “Happy Thanksgiving.”

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