If it were easy to find prospects and get them to buy, there would be no need for sales professionals; thus, it stands to reason that the primary need for sales people within a company is to contact prospects and convert them into clients. The problem? Most sales professionals fear making sales calls, which ultimately leads to several or all of seven costly stalling methods.
There are plenty of programs designed to assist sales professionals overcome their sales call anxiety with better sales approaches and scripts, but few get to the heart of the problem — showing how to get past a little inner critic that continually tricks one into any of the following stalling tactics:
1. Waiting for the right time to call
Sales professionals constantly find reasons why now isn’t a good time to call — it’s too early in the morning, it’s too close to lunch, it’s too close to closing time, it’s the day before a holiday, it’s a holiday, it’s the day after a holiday. They even convince themselves that there’s no use calling prospects, when it's 20-30 minutes before an event or meeting. They justify that they'll just get into the swing of things, when it will be time to go.
2. Preparing the perfect script
It’s hard to argue that carefully chosen words don’t stand a better chance than “shooting from the hip. ” However, too often sales professionals spend their time crafting and re-crafting a script, instead of using their telephone to connect with and listen to their prospects, as a means to develop the most effective script.
Sales professionals are often found cleaning their desks, devising the perfect calling regimen, and arranging a superb filing system, convincing themselves that they need to be really organized to handle all the new business that prospecting will generate. Instead of using their prime time to make prospecting calls, they spend time getting ready to make prospecting calls.
4. Becoming a training junkie
“The trained will always do more than the untrained” is a great philosophy to hide behind, when one feels too uncomfortable to make prospecting calls. In lieu of making prospecting calls, sales professionals attend the newest sales seminar or read the latest sales book on prospecting, with the hope of discovering how to end the sales call anxiety they feel.
5. Finding more important things to do
Sales professionals almost always justify doing any other task before making those prospecting calls — checking email, brainstorming with coworkers, keeping in touch with current customers, attending networking meetings, etc.
6. Waiting for the prospect to call back
If it only required one call to get prospects calling back to become clients, many companies wouldn’t bother hiring a sales force. Waiting for a prospect to call back, after leaving a message or two is simply an excuse not to call, which only prevents the selling process from advancing.
7. Affirming that everyone hates pushy sales people
Many sales professionals will do anything to avoid being considered just another pushy sales person, even if it means never picking up the telephone to call a prospect. In the attempt to escape being “pushy, ” they actually avoid making calls at all.
Making any of the above common stalling mistakes simply means that one experiences what most sales professionals experience. The best way to break free of these costly stalling mistakes is to stop waiting for a magic panacea to end all sales call anxiety.
Placing focus on sales call anxiety only increases it. Almost all sales professionals relate to the little inner critic that nags at them to go get a cup of coffee before making that first prospecting call, or to get better prepared by first attending a sales seminar. They know what it feels like to be busy all day long but never doing what they originally set out to do.
The key is to move the focus from call reluctance to call willingness. Instead of mindlessly obeying the inner critic, sales professionals must learn to counteract it. Then the process to move from call reluctance to call willingness is easier than one thinks.
Tammy Stanley, founder of Carpe Phonum, shows how to seize the phone even without courage. Learn her 5 steps to move from call reluctance to call willingness, available free at http://www.carpephonum.com