I never want to stray too far from the sales prospecting trenches, so I recently decided to do a re-check of my phone skills. I picked up the phone and called a list of sales prospects. Yes, I was trying to convert them to appointments so I was putting my money where my mouth is!

Here are the results:

Total time spent: 182 minutes

68 prospects dialed

29 connected calls

24 voicemails left

15 bad/wrong numbers

66 minutes spent on voicemails and talking

61 minutes spent entering info/logging calls

55 minutes spent dialing

While I was making these sales prospect calls, I also monitored how I felt, what slowed me down, and other issues that contribute to productivity—or the lack thereof. I came up with some very interesting insights about myself that might impact you as well. Here is what I learned:

Challenge: The best time to connect with a sales prospect (late afternoon) seems to be when I am the most tired.

Solution: Crank through other tasks early in the morning. Create space in the afternoon for making these calls. Pace—don’t push—yourself!


Challenge: When I set the appointment, task switching derails me and slows down my momentum.

Solution: Setting the appointment is one success. Ride this wave of positive action into the next call—and the next one and the next one. Use each appointment is one step on the ladder. You need more to get to the top! So take a note and tell the prospect you will send them the details after you are finished with your next call.


Challenge: Interruptions cut into valuable phone time.

Solution: Block out time for making calls and just say “No!” to distractions and interruptions—planned or unplanned. Stayed focused so I don’t lose my forward momentum.


Challenge: Tasks presented by prospects divert me from making more calls.

Solution: Make a note of what I need to do for follow-up so that I can tackle it after my phone time is completed. Communicate to the prospect when they will receive the information from me and be vigilant about meeting (or beating) that deadline.


Challenge: The administrative task of logging sales calls, entering the leads into my database, and looking up information takes time.

Solution: Stay organized and on point. Make brief notes while I’m on the roll of doing these calls and handle the administrative duties immediately after the blocked-out phone call period has ended. Don’t chase the shiny objects. They’ll only blind you!


It’s a good idea to do this exercise yourself to see how productive your phone calling is. Setting appointments is essential to your ongoing success, so don’t take this skill for granted.

You might be experiencing some of the same phone call challenges as I did. If you have other challenges, solutions, and ideas, please share them here.

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