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5 Classic Types of Sales Calls Gone Wrong (and How to Save Them)

Every time a potential customer picks up the phone and calls your business, you have an opportunity as a business owner. In this critical moment you can either sink or swim. Below are a few classic examples of calls gone wrong that business owners can learn valuable lessons from, based on thousands of real calls.

5 classics type of sales calls

The No Show

While many small businesses are on the road or often busy servicing customers, when the phone rings it’s so important that someone is there to answer it. According to our data, new customers calling for the first time tend to hang up when they get the answering machine. Many callers won’t even listen to your voicemail message before hanging up.

Make sure you answer the phone as often as possible. You could even hire a reception person to answer the phone while you’re away if budget permits. But if you can’t answer the phone yourself or hire someone to do so, It’s critical to have an answering machine to make sure that you can can call that person back. Create a professional message on your answering machine that isn’t too long.

The Missed Connection

When you pick up the phone, promptly say “hello” and/or your business name immediately using a friendly tone. When a new person is calling a new business for the first time and there is a delay between the connection and the dialogue, the caller usually hangs up.

The Illegitimate

When someone calls a business, they expect it to feel like a professional experience, as opposed to a personal experience. Business calls that start with just a “Hello” or even worse a “Yeah” can turn off new customers and make them feel as if your business isn’t legitimate.

Answering the phone and saying your business name is an important and reassuring indicator to new callers that they’ve reached the correct business they called. Similarly, leaving your business information on your voicemail is extremely important for the same indicators, but also because new leads are more likely to leave a message when they know they’ve connected with a real business.

The Drop-Off

In the digital economy a lot of our telephone communications happen with mobile phones. When new customers call and you get into a conversation with them, it’s important to keep it going as long as it needs to. Make sure your phone is charged! Keep a phone charger in your car for the road, next to your computer in your office and at home.

Similarly if you’re in an area with bad reception try to get out of it to take the call. Let your customer know that you are experiencing difficulties so they don’t think you’re ignoring them or worse hanging up on them. If you do lose the call, make sure you promptly call back.

The Need You Now

Depending on the business you own, you could have customers that call you looking for immediate service. Make sure you’re ready for these types of situations. Stay calm and guide them to your location or help them through their situation. If you’re easily stressed out by incoming urgent callers, you could consider keeping a bullet point list near the phone or rehearse your advice with a colleague or friend.


As our classic types of sales calls document demonstrates, there are many ways that these calls go wrong before they’ve even started. New customers are weary, impatient and easily put off if there are other businesses available in the area offering the same service as yours. If you’re not selling exclusively in your area, you’re going to have to rely on good ol’ fashioned customer service to make sales. The classic sales call examples above help demonstrate that answering the phone in a prompt, professional and polite manner is ultimately the most important thing you can do. If you simply cannot get the phone or hire a person who can, you have to make sure that your answering machine does the next best thing, by including a short and professional message personalized to your business. You can make sales calls go more smoothly by keeping notes near the phone, keeping a business card near by and also by being prepared for technical difficulties – be weary of areas with bad reception and keep your phone charged!

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