How To Be Really Good At Telesales

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

call center
Telesales is still one of the most popular and effective sales strategies for selling products or services, setting appointments, or telemarketing. However, being good at telesales requires practice, determination, a strong understanding of consumer psychology, and an awareness of a whole host of telesales tips and tricks.

What is Telesales?

Telesales is a kind of sales outreach that uses the phone to sell products or services. Many businesses use this method to sell to prospects directly; however, companies can also use telesales to generate leads, set up appointments or perform telemarketing. To be really good at telesales requires several skills and some knowledge of consumer psychology.

There are two main types of telesales:

Inbound Telesales

Inbound telesales involves receiving calls from prospects and selling them a product or service. For example, a business might set up a landing page or advertisement that prompts potential customers to call a number. From here, the telesales executive can attempt to convince them to buy.

Outbound Telesales

Outbound telesales involves calling people on a list. It can be cold calling, i.e. people who haven’t necessarily expressed an interest in a product, or it can be the process of calling pre-qualified leads.

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What Are the Different Types of Roles in Telesales?

Telesales is a broad term that covers various distinct roles. Some of the different types of telesales are:

Direct selling over the phone

Direct selling over the phone is one of the most common telesales roles. It involves speaking to prospects and closing deals directly over the phone. If possible, they will try to ask for the sale there and then and close the deal. If not, they will follow up.

Setting appointments

Another type of telesales involves setting up meetings or sales appointments. This type of telesales is widespread in high-ticket sales and mostly includes business to business sales.


Telemarketing is often confused with telesales; however, they are distinct practices. Telemarketing is direct marketing performed over the phone. For example, telemarketing executives phone prospects and offer them information on products, generating interest and obtaining customer feedback.

The result of this process is a list of prospects or leads that telesales executives can use. Telemarketing is an essential tool for creating opportunities for telesales executives.

450 sales questions free report

What Are The Key Skills Needed For Telesales Success?

To succeed at telesales, you’ll need a good amount of confidence and charisma. If you don’t believe in yourself, why will anyone else? People who are shy, retiring, or easily dissuaded will struggle to make it in the sales world without overcoming their fears. So, your sales mindset needs to be on point. You also cannot have a fear of cold calling or you will be defeated before you even start!

Aside from those qualities, there are several other skills you’ll need to be an effective telesales executive.

#1. Listening

While you’ll obviously have a lot to say when selling a product or service, listening is a hugely necessary skill. Sales is a two-way conversation, and it’s crucial that you understand what your prospect is saying. They’ll often give you helpful indications about who they are and what their sales objections are.

Remember, don’t interrupt them, and make sure to leave a couple of seconds of silence when they stop talking. Otherwise, you could miss out on a crucial piece of information that will help you close a deal. So, improving your listening skills will go a long way to improving your sales performance.

#2. Questioning

Asking probing sales questions are an excellent way to engage your prospects. Getting people talking will help build rapport and help you unearth information that will be useful for making a sale.

#3. Rapport Building

Sales is about establishing good relationships. Building rapport helps to create trust, which is vital for closing deals. There are several ways to build a relationship with a client, such as understanding their problems and being empathetic.

#4. Sales Ability

Establishing a relationship with your prospects means nothing if you don’t close deals. Telesales executives need to be able to sell, which requires active listening, persuasion, and a strong understanding of consumer psychology, among other skills.

#5. An Ability to Improvise

While telesales scripts and plans cover most eventualities, a great telesales executive can go “off-road”. Again, listening out for opportunities allows you to ask the right questions or highlight the characteristics of a product or service that are relevant to a particular prospect. Additionally, improvisation is about problem-solving and thinking on your feet.

#6. Consistency

Consistency is a crucial telesales skill for two reasons. Firstly, if you have a tried and tested approach, you need to stick with it, even when it’s going wrong. Telesales is a numbers game.

Secondly, consistency is also about setting sales targets and working to them, whether that’s calls, sales, or contacts, per day. A consistent regular approach is required for success.

#7. Determination & Motivation

Motivation and self-belief are excellent skills for any telesales executive. You need to keep going in the face of adversity or multiple rejections. Each call is a new opportunity. There are plenty of alternatives to cold calling but if your way works stick with it and have the confidence to do so.

#8. Time-Management

Time is the most important resource you’ll have as a telesales executive. So, use it well and ensure you allow enough time to be on the phone and make sales. Getting distracted by secondary tasks will cost you time, and as a result, sales. Make every hour count.

#9. Positivity

Positivity is a crucial telesales skill. You need to radiate an upbeat, positive attitude to your prospects. That sort of attitude is infectious and will help with sales and relationship building.

Additionally, even when times are hard, you need to keep your spirits high. That will keep you making the calls that can turn your day around.

#10. Thick Skin

Being a telesales executive opens you up to a lot of rejection. Every day, people will say no or brush you off multiple times an hour. Rejection never feels nice, and almost no one is immune to it. But it’s how you deal with it that is important.

Understand that it’s the nature of the game and that each rejection brings you closer to a sale. Additionally, a no today doesn’t always mean a no tomorrow.

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What Are the Best Telesales Tips?

Telesales is a difficult job. But good opportunities and commissions are waiting for skilled operators. Here are a collection of telesales tips and tricks that you can use to improve your sales, lead generation, or appointment setting.

#1. Be Confident

It’s challenging to be really good at telesales if you aren’t sure of yourself. A confident, assured manner breeds assurance in the listener. When you open a call, you need to exude secure confidence in both yourself and the product or service you are selling. Anything less, and the prospect will find it hard to take you or your offering seriously.

Don’t necessarily worry if you weren’t born with natural confidence. Most people aren’t. However, you can build your faith and belief in yourself by confronting your fears and by knowing your product or service inside out. Additionally, the more practice you do, the more comfortable you’ll get.

#2. Listen and Empathise

As mentioned above, listening is probably the number one skill you need to have as a telesales executive. Being attentive to your prospects’ thoughts, needs, and objections of your potential customers is essential for establishing rapport. Additionally, the words, phrases, and sentiments that your prospects use can help guide your approach to closing a sale.

By listening to your prospect, you can get a feeling for what motivates them as a consumer. Understanding their pain points is crucial. It will help you present your solution as a remedy. By taking the time to find out what your prospect’s wants and needs are, you can position your product or service as the most viable solution.

For example, they may have a current solution they are unhappy with. Prospect’s unhappiness could stem from them wanting a solution that is cheaper, faster, or better. Giving them a chance to talk about their current setup allows you to note their specific pain points. From there, you can use this knowledge to shepherd them towards your solution.

#3. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice is everything. Rehearsing what you say is important for developing a natural, confident flow. So, make sure that you practice new techniques to yourself, and most importantly, on live calls.

Live calls are the best environment to test out new approaches. Record how different methods perform and tweak and change them based on your feedback. Do different buyer types prefer it if you’re upfront and dive right in? Or do they respond better to a few pleasantries? If you can, experiment with different approaches and record the result. Soon, you’ll have nailed down the right strategy.

#4. Learn To Get Past the Gatekeeper

You could be an unbelievable salesperson, but if you can’t find your way past a gatekeeper, you’ll never be able to prove it.

Gatekeepers — such as secretaries, assistants, or reception staff — fulfil an important role in many companies. While they can be frustrating, most of them aren’t trying to make your life difficult. They just don’t want to patch calls through to their boss and get an earful about it afterwards!

So, how can you get past the gatekeeper and get to the decision-makers?

Here are a few tips.

a) Project a confident, senior tone. This sort of presence can make gatekeepers believe you are a manager or an executive. Of course, never mislead them explicitly if they ask.

b) Don’t try to sneak past the gatekeeper. While this might work, they are usually wise to these tricks. Instead, if you can’t get through to the decision-maker, engage the gatekeeper and establish some goodwill. This process might pay off when you call back.

c) Don’t sell to the gatekeeper—the gatekeepers aren’t the decision-maker. While many of them will ask questions like “can I tell them what it’s in relation to?” but don’t see this as an opportunity to pitch your product. They are busy; it’s not their job to evaluate sales opportunities.

d) Present a calm aura. Sales can be stressful. You have targets, you’re under pressure, and sometimes you’ll feel a bit anxious or hopeless if your day isn’t going to plan. But this nervousness, frustration, or desperation will be transmitted in your voice when you speak to a gatekeeper.

Instead, take a deep breath, smile, and start engaging them confidently and surely.

e) Have a plan. While there are scripts that people use to get past a gatekeeper, many of them are destined to fail. Instead, it’s best to formulate a plan. Think of your initial approach and have a set of directions you can take based on their responses. A script might be too stiff and rigid; it’s best to try and think of your feet.

f) One of the surest responses you’ll get from a gatekeeper is, “are they expecting your call?” These can create a bit of a dilemma. You don’t want to lie and say they are, but if you say they’re not, it’s essentially an admission that it’s a cold call.

One way to circumnavigate this is by asking for the contact by name. “Can I speak to Anne?” might appear like a personal call. However, this won’t work in every situation.

#5. Start Strongly

Your opening is vital. You’ve only got a few seconds to make a good impression, so you need to be sure that you open strongly. You need to find a way to capture your prospects’ attention early to buy you the time to get the rest of your message across.

One great way to open a sales call is by engaging the prospect with an intriguing idea or question.

#6. Always Be Engaging

A strong start can turn to nothing if you can’t keep your prospect engaged. There are a whole host of skills that you can learn to keep your prospects entertained and engaged.

At the very least, you need to be an attentive listener. Understanding and acknowledging their objections is vital because it will keep the call focused.

#7. Master the Powers of Persuasion

Mastering the powers of persuasion involves developing a good understanding of consumer and sales psychology. Again, this is all about understanding the wants and needs of your prospect. Do they want to save money? Is there some task that is taking up too much of their time? Do they want to be seen more positively by friends and family?

Whatever the specifics, finding a way to persuade them involves mapping a path from their desire straight to your product. Help them see the link between their pain points and your solution.

#8. Prepare for Objections

Anyone who has done any form of sales will understand that objections are common. They all follow a basic pattern: what friction is stopping your prospect from buying your product or service?

Again, this highlights the importance of listening. Hearing and understanding your prospect’s objections is a crucial part of forming solid, helpful, and convincing responses. It’s essential to really understand your customer so that you can start working on a set of replies that will allow you to keep control of the call.

Here’s a good response to the “I’m not interested” cold call objection.

#9. Different Strategies for Different Clients

Learning to get a sense of the different types of personalities you encounter will help you tailor your approach. Some people are impulsive; others are cautious. Some prospects will react to a more emotional appeal, while with others, you’ll need to convince them with facts and figures.

Being able to identify different personality types will help you close deals with more accuracy.

#10. Don’t Be Afraid to Leave a Voicemail.

If you don’t get to speak to your prospect, you might get a chance of leaving a voicemail. Some people don’t like to leave one, but it can achieve two things if you master the art of leaving a solid voicemail.

a) They may call you back, in which case you know you’re dealing with a warm lead.

b) When you call the prospect back, they may be familiar with your product or service and, therefore, more receptive to your approach.

Here are some tips on how to get your voicemails returned.

working hard

Is Working in Telesales Hard?

Working in telesales is hard. It takes grit, determination, and an ability to face and deal with rejection. Additionally, it requires a knowledge of the various tips and tricks involved with making sales. However, for those who are determined to stay the course, telesales can be a well-paid and satisfying job.

That’s why we always recommend attending our Telesales Training. It will provide you with the skill and the will to improve your sales performance.

What Can You Earn in Telesales?

How much money you can make at telesales depends on a few factors, like geographical location, sector, or which products you sell. For example, selling high-ticket items means more commission.

Additionally, base salaries vary from company to company.

According to PayScale, the average base salary stands at around £18,719. Once bonuses or commissions are added, total compensation is around £17-25K.

Total Jobs suggest a slightly higher average annual wage of £25K.

While put the average telesales wage at far higher, suggesting a mean of £31,691.

Finally, the recruitment and job agency, Randstad, places the average salary at around £25K. However, they also indicate that about 10% of telesales executives take home a salary of more than £36K per year.


Isn’t Telesales Dead Because of Social Selling?

Social sales are growing in popularity. Our Social Selling Training is very popular. Sites like LinkedIn are an effective place to meet and sell to prospects. However, there is plenty of room for telesales and social selling not just to co-exist but to complement each other as part of a robust sales strategy.

In recent years, fewer people are choosing to cold call prospects. However, to a large extent, this is because cold calling is challenging if you’re not equipped with the right skills and techniques.

Sending off an email and not getting a reply is a lot easier to deal with than rejection over the phone. Additionally, telesales isn’t the sort of work you can automate. It requires putting in the hard yards.

But, where some people see difficulty, other people see an opportunity. If fewer people are doing telesales, this means there is less competition. For those of us who are doing telesales in the right way, this means more sales from a less saturated channel.

Want to benchmark your sales skills? Please take one of our Sales Skills Assessment which will audit your telesales skills. Within telesales it’s important to move your prospects through the different sales funnel stages and to progress the sale. If at times you feel you’re in a sales slump then stick it at, refocus and go again. Take heart and comfort that we have all experienced that.

Happy teleselling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

Sales DNA

Updated on: 14 December, 2021

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