How to answer the phone: a guide for millennials – and the rest of us


Customers and prospects contact your business by phone or call in to make enquiries about your products and services. That’s why it’s so important to know how to answer the phone.

They expect to be acknowledged, greeted and treated like VIPs when they make contact with you.

No matter what size company we work with, our best advice for business owners and sales team members is: “The reason you exist is to be 100% focused when a client or prospects makes contact with you” In fact, nothing else matters when you are engaging with a client or prospect.


Here are some tips to shed some light on how to implement our philosophy:

  1. When a customer makes contact, put everything aside and focus on the person making the enquiry. Have a pen and note pad handy and make notes whilst they are talking. Make sure you are not distracted by background noise or other conversations in your office.
  2. If the caller has to wait for more than a minute then have someone take a message, and ensure that you call them back with some urgency. If your clients and prospects call into your business and you cannot serve them immediately; the best response is to acknowledge them and tell them you will be with them shortly.
  3. Start the conversation by building some rapport – don’t get right into business, schmooze your caller, talk about the weather, or something of interest that happened in the news, whatever the conversation is, ensure it is pleasant and positive. The reason for building rapport is that it makes the client or prospect feel more comfortable with you and is the first step towards building some trust.
  4. Take note of their name, write it down, also ask for their contact number, and even their email address – this is appropriate behaviour in many sales conversations. If their name is hard to pronounce ask them to spell it.
  5. Use their name at least three times during the conversation – you can keep someone engaged in a conversation when you are using their name and taking interest in them.
  6. Take a genuine interest in their enquiry, ask open ended questions. Try and establish their pain – the sales people that establish the clients or prospects pain are the ones that win most of the business. When you establish the clients’ pain, you can then increase your enquiries to wins ratios, but more importantly you can often sell your premium high margin product and can stand a better chance of selling more “duty of care” items. Duty of Care items are what we describe as “add-ons”. It’s the add-on sales that help you gain more turnover and more profit in your business.
  7. If the clients call into your business, show them the product first hand, let them touch and feel, (or experience) the product. Don’t just give them a price. Total engagement with a client or prospect means they are getting to know how much you care – this builds even more trust.
  8. Explain the benefits of the product – too many sales people talk about the materials that a product is made from rather than explain what the benefits of these materials will mean to the customer. Really when you think about it, it’s all about the client or prospect and what’s in it for them.


At some point you need to ask the client if they would like any more information, and if not, then it is time to ask them for the order. This is a topic of another conversation, but remember the eight tips above will certainly have the client in a better position of trusting you and will give more of a chance of winning the deal.

The next time the phone rings or a customer calls in remember “the reason you exist is to be 100% focused when a client or prospects makes contact with you”.


Would your team benefit from learning more about asking questions that close sales?

Learn more about crafting a powerful sales process at Sales Training Program, B2B proven program used by National & Global Corporations on August 16-17 – perfect for any team seeking to level up in sales.