Sales training by phone; some useful phrases ESL/EFL

by Louisa / 05 July 2013 / No Comments

Recently, we’ve been helping a company develop their sales training. In this competitive age, good sales training can make the difference between the customer saying ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Of course English intonation and language has to be good (and we help with this) but we have also been working with sales and customer service personnel on improving their sales techniques.

Firstly, we addressed the mind-set; the psychology of buying and we saw that:

  • People buy from people
  • A cheap price is not the only reason people buy
  • Customers don’t like to be ‘sold to’ and hate when an employee reads a sales script
  • Customers generally like to talk about themselves and their business

It takes the pressure off  when we realise ‘selling’ is not required –  but finding out what the customer needs and then meeting that need is the main concern.

So, I’ve summarised below some of the ideas and phrases we’ve been developing in lessons for effective sales calls.

Develop a relationship and discover needs first
Don’t sell, listen. Be interested in your customer and their business first and try to solve problems.

Ask open questions: E.g. ‘Tell me about your business’
Ask: ‘so why have you come to us? ’

Summarise and respond to show you are listening and to check understanding
In conversation we like to know that someone really understands and is listening. This is also true in sales calls. Nobody wants to talk to a robot. Use phrases like:

‘thanks – that gives me a good understanding of what you do  – so how can we help?’
‘so what you’re saying is….’
‘that sounds like a challenge/an exciting time for your business’

Take responsibility
It makes a real difference when a customer knows they have a point of contact who will then take action for them. Give the customer that reassurance.  Use phrases like:

‘So what I‘m going to do next is….’
‘I’ll send you an email within the next hour with a quote’
‘I’ll be your point of contact here – as mentioned, I’m John’

What next?
You don’t want the end of the call to be the end of the relationship. It’s important  you get their contact information and then say something like:

‘So once I’ve sent you the quote, what’s your next step?’
‘So, I’ve described all we can offer; how does that sound to you?’
‘When’s a good time to call you about this?’

Knowing all of this information is one thing but practise is key. We’ve been role-playing and refining sales calls so representatives can use these great new phrases in a natural way.

Find out how we can help you practise your sales English 1-1 with a qualified English trainer.
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About the author:

Louisa is Course Director at Phone English. She helped start Phone English after many years of teacher training and materials development at

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