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Smile and Dial

. . . but watch out for phrases that put a glitch in your across-the-wire sales pitch.

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This story appears in the August 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Since sitting down to write this article, I've already received two phone calls from telemarketers. One asked if she was speaking to the owner of the house ("Yes," I thought, "but you won't be speaking to him for long"). The other assured me he wasn't trying to sell me anything--which, of course, he was. Although I'm not a particularly tough sell, neither salesperson got the order.

With a rejection rate of close to 85 percent, it's no wonder that even sales pros hate selling over the phone. Still, telemarketers and others required to sell by phone can make it easier on themselves--and those they're calling--if they carefully choose their words. "Selecting the right phrase can mean the difference between coming across as helpful or obnoxious--even if you're basically saying the same thing," says Sandy Herman, director of marketing at Transcom USA Inc., a Carmel, Indiana, teleservices company. "And a lot of it is common sense."

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