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June 12, 2022

Sales Prospecting Call Reluctance The Cause And Cures To Fearing The Phone When Making Cold Calls

We have all felt it…the hesitancy to pick up the phone and call a cold prospect. At these moments, everything else becomes urgent. You “have to” straighten up your desk…you remember that you need to check your E-Mail…for the 15th time today. Anything to keep from actually making a call.

We all go through it. Sometimes only a few times…and some of us go through it every day. Intellectually, we know nothing bad will happen. Nobody is going to punch you in the nose. Nobody is going to threaten you or hate you….but you have a fear…a dread of making that first call of the day.

To me, it’s the anticipation of rejection that creates fear, not the rejection itself. And the best remedy is speed in prospecting. It’s the time between calls (or before the first one) where the fear builds. Prospect faster. Time invested in the pitch matters. A quick prospecting call, and a “no” doesn’t feel personal. But a 15 minute prospecting call? A “No” feels really personal, because a relationship has been established.

But what about that first call? I have two “cures” that I have found work, at least for me.

The One Push Up Theory.  I call it this, because some of us exercise. But a full workout is exhausting…and you want to put it off. Let’s say you are committed to doing 100 push ups every day.

That’s too big a chunk. So……Just commit to doing one push up. Just one.  Now, why does that work? Because putting off doing a single push up is nonsensical. It only takes a few seconds.

Sooo…you get on the floor, and do your one push up. And then…..you’re already down there ….in position…and that single push up didn’t kill you…so you may as well do a second push up.

And now you’re just doing your push ups. The anticipation of dread is no longer there, because you have already started. But….when you decide you are going to only do one push up, you have to understand that…if you want to…you can really just stop at one. One push up…one phone call….one cold call. It’s all the same. Personally, it’s what I do every day to start my exercises....and when I sit down to cold call. And after that first call, the fear is gone, and you just flow into the next call. But…make sure you make the next call right away, or your brain will reset into “I’m scared to death of cold calling” mode.

The second cure to call reluctance is to have someone with you. They can be someone you are training, a new rep, or anyone you want to “show the ropes” to. I used to hire assistants to carry my equipment (when I sold vacuum cleaners in people’s homes). Partly it was because I have a bad back, but mostly it was to absolutely guarantee that I worked every day and made the calls every day. It’s impossible to give excuses for not working when you are paying a person to go with you. They show up for work…and it’s “Game on”.

I talk about this a little more in my book on Sales Prospecting.