No matter how many emails you send out, how much time you spend on social media, or how many networking events you attend, you still need to pick up the phone sometimes and call potential clients.
As a self-employed professional selling your own services, you may believe that you feel uncomfortable about calling prospective clients on the phone because you’re not a “real” salesperson. But studies reveal that 40-90% of experienced, full-time salespeople still have episodes of call reluctance at times.
The good news is that the fear or resistance you experience about making calls doesn’t have to be permanent. Research also indicates that for 95% of people who are reluctant to make sales calls, their fear subsides once they make contact. If you stop avoiding the calls and start making them, there is a very good chance that you will feel better once you start talking to someone.
Here are seven ways to get past your initial reluctance and start making sales calls.
1. Make your first call of the day one that you know will get a good response. For example, call a friend, family member, or familiar colleague. When you end the call, don’t hang up the phone. Disconnect and immediately dial the number of your first prospect, while you are still feeling calm and confident.
2. Visualize the person you are about to call as friendly, smiling, and interested in what you have to say. Hold that picture in your mind as you speak to him or her.
3. Look in the mirror while you place calls, smile, and/or stand up. You will be amazed at the positive impact these physical shifts can have on your attitude.
4. Prepare for your calls by writing out some talking points, but not a word-by-word script. Referring to notes during the call can increase your comfort level, but reading a script will get in the way of natural conversation.
5. Role play sales calls with a friend, colleague, or coach. Instead of asking your partner to raise objections, begin by asking that he or she agree to all your suggestions. Only after you have built your comfort level by acting out several calls where everything goes the way you want, should you raise the stakes and have your partner ask some challenging questions.
6. Instead of focusing on how you can sell yourself in each call, consider how you can best be of service to the person you are calling. If you maintain a generous and helpful attitude, you and your prospect will both be more comfortable.
7. Remember that the people you are calling are human beings, just like you. They have goals, problems, careers, families, and all the other elements that make up a full life. Imagine you are calling someone who might become a close friend one day, and treat them with that level of respect. Picture your prospects doing ordinary things like playing tennis, reading to a toddler, or having coffee with a friend. It will help you relate to them as people instead of phone numbers.
It’s perfectly normal to experience some reluctance to make sales calls, but it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable barrier. Any time you’re having trouble getting started, use some of the tips above to help you get back in the phone.
If a call doesn’t go well, don’t let it stop you from making more. Just tell yourself, “That person wasn’t a good fit for me,” and move on to the next one.