After working with thousands of sales professionals over the years, you tend to pick up on what they like and don’t like to do. For example, a consistent trend we notice about salespeople that are successful in their role is a love to learn - wheather it is about their products, services, industry, or understanding their customers better; they are always learning to have a "growth mindset." However, when it comes to making outbound calls to new prospects, we notice that many salespeople, rookies, and seasoned pros alike, often don’t carry the confidence or desire to engage in the activity.
There is a palpable sense of reluctance to engage in outbound calling once an internal roadblock is formed, which often metastasizes into negative and fearful thoughts. The latter can become a critical barrier to success as it often spawns feelings of anxiety and other negative emotions that will prevent the sales rep from engaging in activities crucial to building their pipeline. Outbound calling remains one of the most important methods of prospecting and business development, but it takes grit for a sales rep to pick up the phone and start reaching out to potential customers and referral sources.
With this post, we want to provide some tips and tricks on how to fight and overcome call reluctance.
1) Speed is your secret weapon
Sometimes, getting started on the right foot is the biggest hurdle. Think about jumping into a swimming pool at the start of the summer. Deep down, you know the best possible course of action is to jump in... without overthinking it. Yes, the water may be cold, but jumping in quickly will help you acclimate that much faster.
However, if you dip your toe in and continue to contemplate the best course of action, your thoughts will eventually paralyze you. This is a situation analogous to making outbound calls as a sales rep. You know you should be dialing out and starting a conversation, but continue to procrastinate.
In this situation, don’t give yourself an opportunity for doubt. Set up a task reminder and make it a habit to turn on your auto dialer and dive in. Set up goals, such as making a dozen or so calls before allowing yourself a coffee refill.
2) Utilize a Talk Track
A well-written (and well-rehearsed) talk track is another tool to help overcome call reluctance. Having one ready will be immensely helpful in reducing the jitters, and getting yourself in the right frame of mind. Keep in mind that it should be well-rehearsed but not completely memorized. Allow yourself some spontaneity, rather than reading off a word-for-word script to your prospects.
The talk track should exist as a fallback tool for when you become tongue-tied since it gives you a sense of security. It is there to give you peace of mind, but again, always be prepared -- use the script during role-playing exercises to understand how it comes off across the phone receiver, and if it conveys what you want.
3) Know your elevator pitch
It might sound redundant, but it is crucial to success. It is absolutely essential that sales reps build and grow on a foundation of genuine pride and understanding of the products and services being offered. A good start is to examine how your products and services have benefited existing customers. Use that intel - the cost savings, the time savings, the problem solvers - to develop a short, powerful, and concise elevator pitch based on the prospect you are reaching out to.
During its delivery, ensure that you are confident in what you have to offer the customers. Ultimately, your aim is to convey that you are a Trusted Advisor and that must come through during your prospecting calls.
4) Recall past accomplishments
For those of you that tend to be a glass half empty type of person, your self-confidence is likely not where it should be. This attitude permeates through other aspects though, and may make approaching a prospect difficult. It may also mean that you approach prospects “knowing” that you’ll meet failure.
The result? For better or for worse, you will likely prove yourself right every time. However, if you focus on your past successes and what created that success, your confidence will rise. Having these past experiences in the forefront of your memory will trickle into your calls, and will lessen the sense of dread in making them.
Replay these successes inside your mind a sufficient number of times and you’ll start feeling confident and successful. This sense of confidence will most certainly help you overcome call reluctance, as well as avoidance in other areas of your life.
5) Set small goals
Accomplishing small goals will help you jump over initial discomfort. For starters, set a small and specific goal each day. Reaching these goals will help build your confidence, as well as make you more comfortable moving forward. Success will build on itself, and it will eventually become easier and more effortless to make prospecting contacts.
Stress and anxiety is often palpable and may color the prospect's natural reaction to you. This leads to more resistance on the prospect's part and mars the experience. If you are not able to tame your own tension, how will you put your prospects at ease? Think of how you feel when you call or visit a friend. There’s no tension, no fear, or dread involved. Then consider how successful your sales calls could be if you approach every prospect with the comfort and ease that you approach a friend.