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June 21, 2010

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Overcome Fear of Cold Calling with These 5 Tips From Sales Experts

Hate cold calling? So do 95 percent of sales professionals. “Only 3 to 5 percent of all sales pros don’t have any problems doing it,” says Bill Grimes, president of Grimes Associates.

You heard right! They hate cold calling so much that, according to BSRP, the average sales person sells only 1.5 hours per day, and doesn't make a call until 11:00 am. Many sales professionals won't even call a prospect back a second time.

Yet, we all understand that prospecting is absolutely necessary to build any business. So why is it that this basic task becomes so overwhelming? And how can you overcome fear of cold calling?

Sales coaches will tell you that this fear goes back to common childhood fears of not fitting in, fear of rejection, and other deep rooted anxiety. Unfortunately, and by definition, prospecting has a crazy way of throwing all those fears and hurts you thought you had overcome, back in your face. And, the more “no’s” you hear, the more you develop further fear of rejection and dread of prospecting in general.

Here is great advice on conquering your fear of cold calling, from five of the wisest Sales gurus I follow everyday on Twitter:

1) Get Good Sales Training; and Keep Up the Personal Development. Starting out with great skills can help build your competence and your confidence, removing any fear of failure, any shred of doubt that you can succeed for yourself, for your company, and for your client. Personal development is the key to unlocking the confidence and the courage to succeed in sales. Your prospects and your dream clients will recognize these attributes and skills in you, because you recognize them in yourself. [Anthony Iannarino]

2) Start Out Expecting the "No". Sales is a world of "no" - 98% of your calls will result in "no". Get used to it; expect it; don't take it personally. Prospecting is simply discarding all the unqualified leads and retaining the "gold". [Steve Harper]

3) Prepare Better. Have a compelling reason for the call. Reference something relevant to your prospect's business, their industry. Use personalized, customized information in your openings and voice mail, coupled with on-target value statements. Practice your phone presentation. Tape yourself, and call others who will give you honest feedback. "Having a compelling reason and a compelling message can help reduce your fear big time!" [Paul Castain]

4) Break Your Call Blocks Into Small Chunks and Set Goals for Those Chunks. It is much easier to set a goal to make 10 calls than 100, or to dial for 15 minutes rather than an hour. It is much easier overcome your initial fears and trepidations a few calls at time. You can get your mind around these small chunks. [Jeb Blount]

5) Accept That You are Dealing With Their Reality, Not Yours, and you can get over your hang ups about rejection and objections. Prospects are not rejecting you, they rejecting what you represent, an unwanted interruption. The objection is not to your “value proposition”, but to being taken off track. Their response is intuitive, not intellectual, so it is up to you to deal with it on that level, rather than worry yourself about it and get hung up. The question becomes not how you can avoid it, but how do you use it to your advantage to get what you want, namely their attention long enough to get them engaged. [Tibor Shanto]

If you're one of the 5% of Sales Pros who are comfortable with cold calling, or you've figured out how overcome the fear, comment on our blog, drop me an email (marketing@glance.net), or tweet us @GlanceNetworks, and let me know how you do it!

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

Follow Glance Networks on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on Sales 2.0.

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Thank you for including my thoughts in your awesome blog!

Much appreciation!

Paul Castain

I was among the few people who got retrenched, I got into the distributorship business just to give it a try. I know I have to face rejection so many times, I prepared myself for it. I said to myself that for each customer that would say yes, I had to get past about 20 people who would say no. Off I went to industrial estates, company after company I introduced my product and after all the rejections I got, I did get a handful of customers. I am happy. Friends from the Mentor club could really help with coaching and guidance.

Thank you for this clear and well thoughtout article on fear of cold calling. I always felt nervous, and sometimes still do, when making a cold calll or any business call for that matter.

As the person on the other end of the line holds the power, I used to fear rejection just as stated above. And truly the only way to overcome this kind of fear is to get on with it and make those calls.

It really is a matter of practice and accepting that you will not always get the answer or result you desire. You just have to be persistant and refine your communication skills, especially as there is no actual contact, the other person only has your incoming voice and the charactar it promotes.