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Capítulo 8:

 Selling on the phone. Venta telefónica en inglés

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8.1. Outbound calls

Selling on the phone is a tough job.  Most people find these sorts of calls annoying and tiresome.  But by following these steps, you could find that it is still quite a profitable way to make a sale.

Step one: Introducing yourself.

 Introductions are very important, as you are representing you, and your company in a medium without any visual reference.  Make sure you sound friendly and upbeat.

For example: Good Morning! My name is James Murphy and I’m calling from Electronic news, how are you today?

Step two: Find out about the customer.

The best way for you to sell your product is by finding out what is your customer’s position in the company.

For example: Who am I speaking to? What do you do? / What are you in charge of?

Step three: Discover a need or a problem.

Try to find out what your customer is lacking in, then you can offer him your product to him in a suitable way. 

For example: I see your company has a website.  Do you get much revenue from advertising online?

Step four: Introduce features and benefits.

Try to showcase your product, talk about its advantages and features.

For example: We offer a great advertising scheme, with a lot of traffic for your company.  We’re also including a special introductory rate this month, so you can try it before making a long-term commitment.

Step five: Close the call.

If the customer tells you that they need to confer with someone else, try to arrange a time to call back over the next few days to close the sale.  Always end politely.

For example: Can you tell me good time to contact you again over the next few days? Thank you for your time.


Customers can often try to avoid sales calls by coming up with an excuse. However, if this happens, you can always counter with another attack.  For example, if they tell you to send a brochure, then say you’ll bring one over personally.

See below for common excuses made by customers.

  • We’ve has used your company before and we weren’t happy with the service.
  • I don’t have any budget left this year.
  • I would be interested if you offered me a cheaper price.
  • I’m sorry, but we’re not interested at the moment.
  • I’m not the person responsible for that, you’ll need to talk to Sandra in purchasing.
  • Send me a brochure and I’ll take a look.
  • We already have a supplier and we’re very happy with them.

Activity 1.

Re-order these sentences and match them to the five steps above.

  • I’ll just tell you a little about the company. Forbes & Hobbes is an online supply-based company.  With us, you simply set up a profile and then you can log in and place your order at your leisure.  It’s easy and quick, and you have every order saved, so you can refer to it in future too.
  • Good morning, my name is Helena Reed and I represent Forbes & Hobbes, have you heard of us?
  • Thank you very much for your time, would you mind if I gave you a ring in a couple of days?
  • I’m just curious, what kind of company do you run?
  • Do you use a supplier based online?

Activity 2.

Complete these phrases.

1. Good afternoon, my name is………………………………………

2. I’m calling from………………………………………..

3. We are a company which…………………………………………..


Activity 3.

Use these words to complete the following phrases.

productivity        employees          department        type       problems

1. What…………………………………….of company do you work for?

2. Which…………………………………..are you in charge of?

3. How many……………………………………..do you manage?

4. Do you ever have…………………………………………with staff morale?

5. Do you find your……………………………… isn’t as high as it should be?


Activity 4.

Match these sentence halves together.



Activity 5.

Unscramble these sentences.

1. your you Thank time for.

2. few a days I May call in again?

3. week Let check with me back later you the in.


Activity 6.

Match the counter attacks to these excuses below.


8.2. Inbound calls

Inbound calls can be easier than outbound calls, as you’re not interrupting the customer’s day. Follow these rules to use the time on the phone with the customer to the fullest extent.

  1. Efficiency - Answer the telephone quickly; don’t let it ring for more than five times.  If you cannot answer it quickly, then apologise to the customer.
  2. Introduction - Start with stating your name, position and department.
  3. Politeness - Show that you’re listening, and don’t interrupt.
  4. Personal touch - Find out the person’s name early on and use it in the conversation.
  5. Advertising – Find out how the customer heard of you.
  6. Double check – Take notes during the call and read them back to the customer at the end.
  7. Action – Tell the customer what you plan to do as a result of the conversation.


Activity 1.

Match these phrases with the seven points above for effective selling.

1. Could I just take down your name?

2. Ok Mrs Henderson, I’ll send you out a brochure and give you a call in a couple of days.

3. Can I just ask how you heard of us?

4. I’m sorry for the delay.

5. Good afternoon, customer services, you’re speaking with Marta.

6. Ok, so that’s unit A, 44 White Cat road, Northhampshire.

7. I see.


8.3         Planning a call

Before you pick up the phone, it is important that you know what you’re doing.  Look at this checklist below for some pointers.

he fullest extent.

  • What is the name of the person you need to speak to? – If you don’t know the name, then call and ask to speak to ‘ the person in charge of…’
  • When is a good time to call  – Remember to think about time differences for calling overseas, your lunchtime might be someone else’s dinner time etc.
  • Objectives of the call – Make sure you know what you want, be it information, a sale, to arrange something, to confirm something etc.
  • Know your recipient – Try to predict what the person you are calling wants to get out of the phone call.  Try to understand why they wouldn’t accept your offer and be ready with alternatives.
  • What if you don’t get through?– If you cannot reach the person you need to speak with, try to find out when it would be a better time to call, or ask if there is anyone else who can help you.
  • What happens if you are put through to an answer-phone? – You can take two courses of action, one: Say nothing and call back, few people return a sales call. Two: leave a short , friendly message with your number, you never know, they may call, and when you call back, they may remember you.
  • Useful phrases -  Making sales calls can be stressful, especially in another language.  Try to write down key phrases to help you, and repeat them several times before you make the call.

Activity 1.

Think about these questions.  Try to use the answers to improve your next call in English.

Did you plan your last call in English?

Did you know the name of the person you needed to speak to?

Did you speak with anyone else?

Did you call at a good time?

Did you fulfill your objectives?

What were the questions that the other person asked?  Were you able to answer them?

What phrases did you use?

Did you encounter any other problems?  If so, how could you correct them in the future?


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