'The Queen of Cold Calling' and Call Reluctance
I always tell my clients to prospect every day, no matter what. I tell them that no matter what is going on with their business (or their life), they should find the time, even if it's only 15 minutes or half an hour, every single day to make prospecting phone calls. Recently, however, I have been guilty of not practicing what I preach.
You see, my business has been changing. I am doing more and more business over the Internet. We expanded the e-mail newsletter from once a month to twice a month. We've developed several new products over the past year and sold them primarily through Internet marketing campaigns. I've been working on the web site, trying to get ranked higher and higher in the search engines.
And so, I let my daily prospecting slip. Sure, I still made calls from time to time, stayed in touch with clients, followed-up with prospects and called referrals I'd received, but I wasn't doing the hour a day that I used do. Hadn't done it, well really, for close to six months.
In beginning to make plans for 2007, I realized it was time to start prospecting again. So, last month I put together a list and got ready to make some calls. And then a really strange thing happened: I found that I was anxious. Yes, 'The Queen of Cold Calling' was feeling nervous and anxious and experiencing call reluctance. I found myself worrying: 'What should I say?' 'What if they're not receptive?' 'How should I ask for what I want?' 'What exactly, was the goal of my calls?'
I had never experienced this before. I've been prospecting for close to 20 years - first for my clients, making all of the cold calls and setting appointments for them, and then later as a sales trainer for my own business. I have certainly been very aware that call reluctance is something experienced by most people in sales. I've even developed tools to help my clients through it. I've simply never experienced call reluctance myself. What a surprise.
Once I realized that 'The Queen of Cold Calling' was experiencing call reluctance, I did what I tell my clients to do: First, I wrote a script heavy on value and benefits. I wrote down every objection I thought I might hear and came up with answers. I practiced out loud so that I was comfortable with what I was going to say. Then I picked out a few leads that I thought were not as important and I called them first as a warm up.
After a couple of calls, I was fine again. It's like riding a bike.
I have always advised my clients to prospect every day no matter what, because this is how you build your sales funnel and avoid the 'boom and bust' cycles that so many entrepreneurs and sales professionals experience. I now have another reason to advise clients to prospect every day no matter what: Prospect every day so that you keep your skills sharp and so that you keep the calm and confidence you've developed over time.
And I've also learned my lesson. You can be sure I won't be taking another six-month vacation from prospecting. No more call reluctance for 'The Queen of Cold Calling.'
© 2007 Wendy Weiss