I can remember that moment like it was yesterday, but it was over 30 years ago. I sat in my car and parked in front of a view where I wanted to make a cold call. Instead of opening the car door and going into the lobby, I sat motionless.
Was I in danger? Of course not! But I was too scared to move. And this is exactly what sales call reluctance, also known as sales call jitter, can do to you.
If you have just started your new career in sales or have been selling for a while but still suffer from cold call jitter from time to time, here's how you can overcome your reluctance to make a sales call and close the sale
I think most salespeople have a very unrealistic idea of what can happen to a cold call. These unrealistic perceptions render them immobile; They forecast "Doom and Gloom" scenarios. Think about it. What could scare someone so bad that they can't pick up the phone or get out of the car? Fright comes from the thought that if a call goes bad, you are forever doomed – "I'll never make a sale with that customer."
Now consider whether the fate you foresee will actually happen. So what? Do you think the customer you don't want to call is the only prospect you will ever have? Of course not. So why be scared? Instead, the next time you feel immobile, tell yourself that no matter what happens, it's okay. Repeat this message as many times as necessary until you can act.
Prepare for cold calls or sales meetings that are scary and focus on the process of preparing the meeting rather than worrying about the outcome. Think about how to start the sales call, what questions to ask, and what materials to bring with you to support your sales pitch.
There can also be the problem of spending too much time preparing for a meeting. Over-preparation can be a kind of procrastination that allows you to delay. Avoid it by being ready to act when you have 80% prepared of what you may need. Think about 10 things you need to do. You are ready to act when you have completed eight.
How you rate the success of a sales pitch can add to your overall confidence. To do this, set goals that you can control and that drive the sales process. Note: Final sales results are not a goal that you can control.
And let me be clear – I'm not suggesting that you say no when a customer wants to buy! I suggest that you should only judge yourself based on things that you can control. For example, a goal could be to get new information about a company. You can ask a prospect about their buying process, find out who their current supplier is, or inquire about potential problems or needs. As you get new information, move your sales process forward and you will feel like you have achieved something.
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Sure, it would be great if you walked in on a prospect and the customer says they are ready to buy. But that is unrealistic. And too big a sales target could end up immobilizing you.
Overcome call reluctance by setting small but realistic goals – situations that you can control. And make sure that whatever goals you set drive the sales process forward. For example, if you leave a sales call with more information than when you entered, you will advance your sales process.
Reticence in sales calls is a very real problem for both new and experienced sales professionals. Just so you know, I got out of the car that day. I ended up saying to myself that if I didn't go to the door I would never make it in sales. Yes, that sounds harsh, but it moved me – hard love works sometimes.
I didn't make the sale that day, but I got over my reluctance and made a lot more sales. You can also overcome your reluctance to engage in sales calls.
RELATED: Cold Calls: Learning to Master the "Necessary Evil" of Sales