By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach TM
If you’re like many salespeople, the idea of prospecting or cold calling to generate new business — although effective — may not be the primary revenue-generating activity that excites you.
When salespeople resist cold calling, sales managers often respond by providing additional training, role-play, a revised presentation, or a list of more qualified prospects in order to improve results and productivity. Unfortunately, these tactics don’t always eliminate the anxiety or level of resistance that salespeople experience when cold calling.
However, the real issue may be that the source of reluctance is not examined. To address the symptom (a lack of effective cold calls) without understanding the true source of the problem (the aversion or anxiety) will only result in a temporary solution.
Instead of focusing on strategies that only repair the symptom, and in order to permanently overcome the fear and resistance to cold calling, explore the source of your anxiety: your beliefs surrounding cold calling.
We all have a certain set of beliefs or rules that were formed through our upbringing, education, and experiences, and which influence our decisions and shape our attitude towards life and our career.
Unfortunately, there are old limiting and confining beliefs that often keep us prisoner, stalling our professional growth and preventing us from creating greater selling opportunities.
Your outlook determines your outcome. In other words, what you believe to be true about cold calling is exactly what you’ll manifest in your career. So, if you believe any of the excuses that I have heard throughout the years as a sales coach, that cold calling is “forcing someone to accept something they don’t want” or that it’s “intrusive, annoying, manipulative, a waste of time, intimidating, scary, something I hate being subjected to myself” and so on, then that will be your experience of cold calling every time.
Consider challenging these assumptions and replacing them with healthier ones to better serve you. Reflect instead on these positive truths about cold calling:
- Cold calling is informative. It lets the prospect know where they can locate the product or service that they need.
- Cold calling is a way to educate and serve people. It enables you to become a prospect’s trusted expert or advisor, preventing them from making potentially costly mistakes as a result of purchasing the wrong product or service or by using a company that may not effectively fill their needs.
Notice how these upgraded beliefs make the cold-calling process less about the salesperson and more about the prospect. In other words, either you make the selling process about you — by focusing on how much you can gain, on your fear of rejection, on looking bad, etc. — or you make it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them. In this way, the cold-calling process is no longer focused on the salesperson’s negative assumptions or fears but on the prospect and the benefits available to them.
To eliminate your resistance to cold calling, try this exercise the next time you prospect. Unhook yourself from the outcome and from the possibility of a rejection, and focus solely on uncovering the prospect’s needs, providing solutions, and giving value. You’ll notice that this shift in your mindset will produce the outcome you want with less effort; that you will attract new customers without having to push.
Amend your thoughts and beliefs so that they enhance you without controlling or consuming you. When you can improve your outlook to see cold calls as a means to bettering your service, you’ll find the permanent solution to eliminating your reluctance and accelerating your cold-calling success. Hey, you might even enjoy it!
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach