Watson, come here. I need you to help me make a sale.

Watson, come here. I need you to help me make a sale.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Take away the telephone and you’d have a tough time doing business. Is this sales tool so vital that you take it for granted? Do you assume that just because it’s there, that you know how to use it? Bad assumption.

Phone control plays a vital role in your sales success. What’s the magic formula? Here it is. Concentrate on the fundamentals. They work.

Here are 14.5 key (magic) elements and techniques to follow that will harness the power of the telephone:

1. Know your objective before the conversation begins and have a basic game plan to achieve it. Know what you want before you pick up the phone. Preparation is the key to getting what you want.

2. Establish and maintain control. There is a secret to this: Ask questions to maintain control. If questions are asked of you, answer and ask back (or lose control). Take control of the phone and keep it by just asking questions.

3. Get to the point fast. Be brief and concise, state your name and purpose immediately. Have a brief script to read from at first. If you don’t know the person, don’t say, “How are you today?” When a cold caller asks me that on the phone, it makes me want to throw up.

4. Qualify the decision maker or customer. Do they have the ability to buy, the need to buy, the money to buy? Find out early on, or you’re wasting your time.

5. Establish rapport. Find something in common with the prospect…an event, a child, a similar customer, a common interest.

6. Establish a leadership position & gain customer confidence. One minute about your company and how they help others…names of other places served…best staff…long term…(present quickly).

7. Create and identify needs through questioning. How can you present anything unless you know they need it. Know how they will use what you sell to their benefit when they buy it.

8. Sell customer solutions not benefits and features. People only want to buy if it solves a problem, or satisfies a need.

9. Use testimonials to support your dialog and eliminate objections on the phone. Testimonials are proof. Often the only proof you’ve got. Email letters if you need to.

10. Use selling phrases. “Fair enough?” or “I need your help.” or “Would you mind if…”

11. Set an appointment. If you’re just wanting to set an appointment, don’t sell the product, just sell a face-to-face meeting.

12. Recognize signals to buy. Listen to the buyer…don’t go past the sale.

  • Look for questions about availability or time frame.
  • Specific questions about prices, statements about useability.
  • Positive questions about your company (how old, who are customers).
  • Wanting something repeated.
  • Questions about features and options (what will you do).
  • Specific product/service questions.
  • Asking about other satisfied customers.
  • Asking for a reference.
  • Statements like… I didn’t know that; Oh really; That’s interesting;

Often the prospect says, “sell me” with the questions he asks. Are you listening?

13. Close or confirm the sale. Selling techniques and tactics must sometimes be employed to achieve your sale. Utilize the strength of the relationship you’ve built first. Take the assumptive position. Don’t use a cliche to close. Don’t say “yes” or “no” to a question – use the question to confirm the sale.

14. Follow up immediately. Take some action as soon as you hang up. Email something or send a note of thanks. It’s an indicator of how you will serve after the sale.

14.5 Smile and be funny. Put a mirror on your desk to see yourself smile. Use humor as often as you can. If the other person laughs, he or she is in a better mood. A mood to buy.

Success Tactics: To be a winner on the phone, utilize winning techniques and employ winning philosophies like these:

  • Sound like you’re speaking extemporaneously.
  • Don’t lose sight of your objective no matter what.
  • Agree, empathize.
  • Determine needs and desires through intelligent questioning.
  • Use the similar situation technique coupled with a solution.
  • Try to gain a confirmation that the customer accepts/buys it.
  • Follow up…follow up…follow up, as promised, promised, promised.
  • Followup to be sure the customer is satisfied.
  • The science of leaving a message boils down to four words get your call returned.
  • You won’t sell or satisfy everyone.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
  • You must believe that you are the best.
  • Always use your best judgment.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Deliver what you promise so you can make or take the next call with pride.
  • Don’t overlook an additional opportunity if presented.
  • You must ask for the sale (assume the sale) or you won’t get it.

There’s one other rule to follow that seems to be the most violated of them all: Be aware of time. When you get what you wanted, say thanks and hang up.


Take the ultimate phone test. A self-evaluation where you can rate your ability in 30 areas of telephone skills. (If you dare!) Just go to www.gitomer.com click Access GitBit in the top right corner, register if you’re a first time user and enter the words Phone Test in the search box.