There is no getting around the fact that telesales professionals need to make an impact very quickly. Sales professionals have approximately 30 seconds – often times less – before a customer has made up their mind whether or not to do business.

Let’s start with a misconception correction: telesales training is not “basically the same” as face-to-face sales training. While there are parallels, there are also considerable differences.

Here are five terrific telesales training tips to keep in mind:

1. The opening becomes even more critical.

There is no getting around the fact that telesales professionals need to make an impact very quickly. In our findings, a sales professional has approximately 30 seconds – often times less – before a customer has made up their mind whether or not to do business.

Maximize this 30-second window by having a well-prepared, value-leading opening statement. Before the customer considers staying on the line, they need a clear understanding of the value to doing so. If the sales rep fails to instantly connect the “value” dots it could cost them the call and the customer.

2. Not just listening, but active listening is required.

The inability to make eye contact, read body language or gauge a customer’s facial expressions can put many sales professionals at a distinct disadvantage. Therefore, active listening, or the ability to recognize and read non-verbals becomes a necessity.

Things like sighs, changes in tone, or lengthy pauses can communicate much more than the customer’s actual spoken words. A high-performing telesales rep has the ability to not only listen for these non-verbals but to quickly alter their pitch accordingly.

3. Must be able to handle apathy.

Although apathy, or general indifference, is a challenge in both face-to-face and phone sales training, studies show that customers are pre-programmed to have a negative reaction to a telesales “pitch.” Part of the challenge is that customers often find it easier to hang up on a salesperson than to slam a door in someone’s face or walk out of an office.

During an outbound call, if a customer tells the sales rep “I’m all set right now” there are specific skills required to turn the call around without the use or aid of visual cues.

Start with empathy: Soften your approach and lower the prospect’s defenses by letting the customer know you understand they are very busy…

Earn the right to continue: Gain permission to move forward and pique interest with a benefit leading statement like “I’d like to tell you how we’ve worked with companies like yours to achieve strong ROI…”

Assess the climate: After earning the right to continue, gain a better understanding of their business by asking probing questions to determine needs.

Confirm needs: Listen closely to understand what the customer is telling you. Once pain points are confirmed, you can proceed with setting an appt. or moving to the next stage of the sales process.

4. Consider your vocal presence.

Just as salespeople who sell face-to-face are instantly judged by their appearance, telesales professionals are instantly judged by their voices. For this reason, it’s important to be hyper-aware of your message delivery. Here are some commonly held perceptions regarding delivery and speaking styles:

A fast talker – This may imply that the speaker is untrustworthy or has something to hide. It also indicates a lack of confidence.

Poor diction – The inability to communicate clearly with appropriate word usage sends the signal that the speaker is uneducated or unintelligent.

Monotone – A lack of intonation can communicate that the speaker is bored, lazy or just generally uninterested.

5. Consistent confirmation is a must.

Again, with the complete absence of visual cues to rely on – like a slight head nod – the sales rep must take it upon themselves to obtain verbal confirmation at various points throughout the conversation. Asking questions like “How does that sound to you” or “Does that work for you” may feel repetitive to the sales rep but it puts the customer at ease and builds confidence in their decision to keep moving forward with the call.

About the author

Nick Kane

Nick Kane is a Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group. He has trained more…

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