Great article by Art Sobczak on cold calling from http://www.salesdog.com/newsletter/2015/sales_training_nl0689.htm
Ever have one of those days when your phone weighs 2,000 pounds? You know what I’m talking about. You’ve got your list, you’ve set aside some quality time for cold calling, and you know you need to get your pipeline flowing again. But for some reason, you just can’t bring yourself to pick up the phone and make those calls. Maybe you’re in a bit of a slump, and you feel like nothing is working. Maybe the last few prospects were rude to you on the phone. Or perhaps the fear of rejection has reared its ugly head, and drained you of all motivation. Whatever the reason, you find all kinds of excuses for doing anything except the one thing you need to be doing: making the cold calls that are essential to an ongoing flow of business.
Don’t feel badly. At some point in their careers, even the best sales reps experience “phone phobia,” the sudden and inexplicable inability to pick up the phone and engage in cold calling. It’s nothing to be worried about; it only becomes a problem if it starts to happen on a regular basis. The real issue, then, is not so much that we occasionally fear picking up the phone. It’s what we do to rectify the situation when it occurs. Here are some good strategies I’ve learned for overcoming occasional “fear of the phone”, and jumping back into the fray with energy and enthusiasm.
- Do things differently. Food doesn’t taste good when it’s stale. Walking down the same grassy path over and over will kill the grass and create a rut. The same holds true for sales. Approach each and every sale in the same manner, and after a while things begin to go stale, to die. To recharge your batteries, make a list of all the ways you do your job, then write down how you could improve your work. It’s amazing how changing your perspective freshens things up, and helps you dig out of a rut.
- Trade tapes of your sales calls with other reps and managers. The best sales reps are never satisfied with their level of expertise; they’re always working to improve themselves. One way they improve is by taping themselves in action. Listening to your own tapes is a great way to improve your phone skills. To get the most leverage out of this technique, open yourself to being evaluated by others. A lot of salespeople will dismiss this idea. But they’re the ones who aren’t even close to reaching their full earning potential.
- Refuse to be rejected. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Likewise, no one can reject you without your consent. When you approach every call with the minimal objective of learning something from the call, you will accomplish at least one important goal, regardless of the outcome. Keep in mind that if you did not have a “yes” going into the call, you will not lose anything if you get a “no.”
- Don’t make it hard on yourself. It never ceases to amaze me how many salespeople create prospect resistance every time they pick up the phone. If you continue to mutter the same guaranteed resistance-inducing openings and go-nowhere questions, you’ll keep getting the same results, and will find it harder and harder to pick up the phone to make the next call. Stop saying the wrong things, and repeating unproductive behaviors. Even lab rats quit pressing the buzzer when they get zapped repeatedly.
- Think larger. The biggest obstacles to sales success are the limitations we put on ourselves. In reality, there is very little you are not capable of, as long as you really try. Set a larger target for yourself and say, “Why not?” You’ll realize what you’ve been missing, and be more motivated to pursue your goal.
- Feed your mind. When reps feel depressed, they can be especially reluctant to place sales calls. What causes the depression? The same old negative thoughts running through your mind, like a tape loop. Breaking out is not that hard to do. You need to put yourself in a more positive mood. Buy some self-improvement books, take them home, and get to work on your attitude. After reading a few pages, start creating an action plan. When you focus on positive action, it’s impossible to stay preoccupied with negative thoughts.
- Hang with achievers. You’ve probably heard the quote, “It’s tough to soar with eagles when you hang around with turkeys.” Think of some of the most successful people you know, whom you really admire, and model your behavior after them. High achievers do not blame others or circumstances for things that go wrong. Instead, they exude a positive attitude, which is highly infectious. Go catch it!
- Do your very best! To paraphrase Brian Tracy, “If you’re going to do something anyway, why not commit to doing it the best way you possibly can?” I was astounded by the stories of people spending 14 hours or more staking out McDonald’s the day Teeny Beanie Babies became available. Some of these people worked in teams using cell phones, and created sophisticated trading networks to collect complete sets. Think about what you could accomplish if you applied a fraction of that same passion and energy to your career!
If your phone suddenly weighs 2,000 pounds, and you can’t pick it up no matter how hard you try, don’t despair. Grab hold of these proven techniques—and in no time at all you’ll be calling on clients again, with a smile on your face and a renewed zest for selling.
Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating “rejection.” He presents public seminars and customizes programs for companies. Visit his website at http://businessbyphone.com/