Have you ever called a friend and they answered with that unmistakably groggy "Hello?" and you knew immediately that you had interrupted nap-time? Our voices say a lot about our state of mind, disposition and mood, and that’s why it is important to remember this when working in sales. When you make the first phone call to a lead, the person on the other end of the line is going to make some immediate judgments about you, based not only on what you say, but how you say it. Remember these 3 tips for acing that first phone call, and you’ll have a better chance of making a great first impression:


Borrow a technique from actors, singers and orators and warm up your voice before you pick up the phone. If your work environment isn’t conducive to humming at your desk, then just concentrate on slow, relaxed breathing before making an important call. A good vocal warm-up will improve your overall tone and clarity when speaking, and help you sound more relaxed.


You may think smiling is unimportant if you’re not standing face-to-face with a prospect, but people can detect by sound alone when a speaker is smiling – and whether that smile is genuine. In 2008, NPR hosted an interview with Amy Drahota, a research fellow in the United Kingdom, about a study she conducted. Her research tested whether smiles could be audibly detected. Test subjects did well at hearing a smile in someone’s voice, especially a “Duchenne smile” – the genuine smile that’s accompanied by involuntary muscle contractions producing crow’s feet around the eyes. The takeaway here is: Be in a good mood, and be genuinely happy when you make a phone call, so your smile – and the sound of your voice – will be genuine.


When you make a phone call, speak slowly and enunciate, so you don’t come across as impatient. A cell phone conversation has a lag time that often leads to awkward moments when people are talking over one another, to avoid this, allow a few seconds before you begin the conversation. Always remember to use basic phone etiquette when talking to a prospect. In a blog for SalesGravy.com, Monika D’Agostino, chief sales officer for the Consultative Sales Academy, said, “Asking your prospect if it’s a good time to speak and giving the person an option will not only leave a good impression, it will lead to a good conversation.”