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7 Tips to Turning Incoming Calls into Sales

7 Tips to Turning Incoming Calls into Sales

Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes, but when it comes to answering your incoming calls, you really only have 3-5 rings to make a great first impression. Follow these 7 tips and turn your incoming calls into sales opportunities.

Answer your Calls within 3 Rings

67% of potential customers will hang up if they can’t speak to a real person.  Raise the standards of your customer service by ensuring your customers reach a person within 3 rings.  Test your phone system each month and rate your employees on their performance.

Rate your Phone Performance

  • 1 ring – Excellent
  • 2 rings – Good
  • 3 rings – Average
  • 4 rings – Needs improvement
  • 5 rings – Poor
  • 6 rings and over – Unsatisfactory

Begin with an introduction

Let your potential customers know they’ve dialed the right number by beginning each call with an introduction.  Ensure everyone in your company answers the phone in the same way by providing them with a brief script.  It should include your company name, employee name, department and greeting.  Consider personalizing your greeting by adding your company tagline.


“Thank you for calling TheHomeMag, this is Heather in Marketing.  How can I help you?”

“Thank you for calling TheHomeMag, America’s #1 Home Improvement Magazine, this is Heather in Marketing, how can I help you?”

Program your Voicemail to Pick up Calls within 5 Rings

On average a potential customer will only wait 5 rings before hanging up, if your voicemail isn’t programed to pick up unanswered calls by the 5th ring, you risk losing customers.  Include a version of your standard prompt in your message as well as the information you would like to hear from callers.  End your message with a commitment to when they can expect to receive a return call.  Consider directing the caller to your company website but only it has been designed to answer common customer questions.  Learn more about the 7 Reasons to Update your Website.


“Thank you for calling TheHomeMag, we are busy assisting another customer, please leave your name, number, and best time to reach you, and we will return your call within 1 business day.  You can also learn more about our services at”

Ask for your Customer’s Contact Information at Beginning of Call

Don’t wait till the end of a call to ask a customer for their contact information; You may forget!  One of the best ways to get the contact information of a potential customer, who might be hesitant to give it, is to let them how you will use this information to improve their experience.  I also remind my customers we don’t share this information, nor will we use it to send unsolicited emails.


  • “In case our call is disconnected, what is the best number to reach you at today?”
  • “Can I get the proper spelling of your name?”
  • “After our call, I’d like to send you my contact information to make it easier for you to reach me again if you have more questions. What email address should use?

TIP:  Add a vCard to your outgoing email messages.  This file allows customers to automatically add your contact information into their digital address book with a single click. Learn more about 5 Easy Ways to Improve your Emails.

WARNING:  Don’t automatically add customers to your email marketing campaign.  Ask them if they would like to receive this information.

Ask the Right Questions

Develop a set of qualifying questions that allow anyone in your company to quickly assess the type of products or services a customer is interested in.


  1. What projects are you currently planning?
  2. Why are you considering getting this work done? (70% of people make purchasing decisions to solve problems; 30% of people make decisions to gain something)
  3. Do you want to complete all the work at one time or in phases?
  4. Knowing your budget will help me give you the best advice; do you have a budget range in mind?
  5. Are you interested in learning about our financing program?

Take Action

Build a relationship of mutual trust and understanding from be beginning by sharing accurate information that helps them make the best purchasing decisions.  Send requested information immediately, and follow up the next day to ensure they received it.  Ask what other questions you can answer for them, and what is the best day and time to schedule your next call or in-home estimate.

Follow Up

44% of businesses stop with one follow up call, but on average 80% of sales require 5 follow ups or more.  Use your database to keep track of the number of follow up calls you have made to customers.  Once you reach the 5th call, consider asking if they decided to go with another company, and why?


“Thanks for giving us the opportunity to earn your business.  I know you were hoping to start you home improvement project this month.  Have you decided to go with another company? If so, would you be willing to share with me why?  Knowing this helps us provide better customer service in the future.”


“And when your phone rings, pick it up. Open yourself up to the possibility a phone call offers. Discover this remarkable device called the telephone. It will give you a serious competitive advantage.”

Dan Pallotta