As a professional selling your own services, you may believe that your discomfort about calling prospective clients on the phone is because you’re not a “real” salesperson. But studies reveal that up to 40% of full-time salespeople experience episodes of call reluctance that are serious enough to threaten their careers.
We humans are endlessly creative at finding paths to get in our own way. Even the most well-adjusted, self-aware people struggle with internal obstacles that keep them from being as effective or productive as they would like.
Last year was quite a year, and it’s left me with the question of what holds me back -– beyond a pandemic, of course.
As a long-time business owner, there are plenty of things I could list: negative self-talk, faulty assumptions, out-of-date self-image…
It seems that a considerable amount of marketing and sales advice to self-employed professionals is aimed at extroverts. “Go to networking events and meet new people,” the authorities say. “Speak in front of groups.” “Call people up and chat with them.”
If you are an introvert, these experts might as well be telling you to fly to the moon. What if you don’t enjoy public gatherings, dislike being the center of attention, and hate to call strangers on the phone? Can you still do well at personal marketing?
When it comes to getting your marketing done, you may have the best of intentions. You’ve set aside time on your calendar, outlined the actions you want to take, and called an accountability buddy who’ll check in with you in a few hours. And yet, here you are, stopped in the face of getting things done, wondering what the heck happened.
It’s likely your old friends fear, resistance, and procrastination have come to visit.
When this trifecta hits, it can be unsettling. You’re an accomplished person, running a business and taking care of those you serve. How can it possibly be that you’re finding it hard to do the marketing you said you were going to do? Especially when you actually want to do it?
The fear of hearing those words when marketing your professional services can stop you in your tracks. It’s the response you may most dread hearing when you make a sales pitch: “You? You think I should hire you? Well, who do you think you are?”
In reality, potential clients rarely say anything quite so confronting. Most people are polite and considerate when they decline to do business with you. But the real replies you hear from prospects are often a lesser obstacle to your success than the responses you imagine in advance. The negative reactions you think you might get can prevent you from saying anything at all.
They lie in wait for you when you least expect them — the marketing dragons of fear, resistance and procrastination. Just when you think you’ve defeated them at last, they rear their ugly heads again. What’s a self-employed professional to do?
First of all, don’t panic, despair, or beat yourself up. It’s completely normal to have elements of fear and resistance show up around sales and marketing. Even if it seems like you’re the only one who has these feelings, trust me, you’re not.
Is there really a secret formula for marketing? Yes.
The secret formula is this:
Find a marketing strategy that you like, that you’ll use, that’s enjoyable for you, that you know how to do, that reaches your ideal client, and that produces results. Then do it over and over until you have the amount of business you want.
Pretty simple when you look at it that way.
Fear may start to creep in, though, when you break that sentence down.
What if I don’t like any marketing strategies?
What if I don’t know how to “do” marketing?
What if I don’t like doing any kind of marketing?
What if what I do doesn’t reach my ideal client?
What if what I like doesn’t produce results?
We self-employed professionals are constantly faced with difficult choices about how to best grow our businesses. Should I pursue this line of business or that one? Would it serve me better to choose Niche A or Niche B? Shall I spend my time building a relationship with Client X or Client Y?
Often, these questions hinge on what we perceive as the most desirable result. If we value potential earnings more highly, we select a course of action that will lead to more money. If we are more concerned with our personal fulfillment, we follow a path that we believe will be more satisfying.
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.