Monday, January 28, 2008

Prospecting - Overcoming the Cold Calling Nightmare!

“Part of the requirement of the job is prospecting,” said my sales manager. “Not a problem,” I thought to myself. “You will be required to spend part of your week cold calling if you are not with a customer,” he went on. “Cold calling,” my inner voice screamed. I decided at that moment that I would always be with a customer so I would not have to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

I was raised to believe that it was rude and intrusive to make sales calls to people in their homes. I had seen over the years how angry my parents were for always being interrupted. This was further complicated by the fact that I absolutely detested being on the phone. I didn’t mind talking to different people; I just didn’t want to do it on the phone. So, I developed a plan. I would go door to door. Being a visual and kinesthetic person, I believed I could be more successful meeting people face to face. Being a writer, I could write letters to people introducing myself and letting them know I would be calling them. That was at least giving them advance notice of my calling. (Advance warning!!!)

My manager, though, was insistent about cold calling. We would have call days and I dreaded them. I attempted to create diversions. I had an appointment, a family commitment, church, anything! Does that sound familiar?

I couldn’t get out of it. So, one night I sat at my desk. Several of us were making calls. The director had a main phone system and could see who was calling in their offices. I hesitantly made a few calls and was met with strong resistance. Then, I thought to myself, I will just dial the numbers while keeping my finger on the receiver. I would even carry on a conversation and I could scratch the number off my list. After all I did call it!!!

I am an honest and ethical person and one of the requirements of the job was to perform it honestly and ethically. What I was doing was being integrous to the belief system that making sales calls to peoples home was an intrusion, but I was not being integrous in the responsibilities of my job. I created for me an ethical dilemma. Not only was I in an ethical quandary, but also I was not making any appointments or any sales. My co-workers were successful at setting appointments. I had an excuse and one that other’s gave me. I recently had moved to the south and did not have a southern accent so people did not want to speak with me. There was truth to it, but I did nothing to change it.

I was sharing my frustration with my sales manager and he gave me a script and said if I stuck with the script I would be setting appointments in no time. He literally sat in my office with me and listened as I made the calls. He gave suggestions to me that made the calling easier and I began setting appointments. I decided I would make calls every day and by repetition and training, I became more comfortable with cold calling. Because of my commitment to overcoming my own objections, I resolved my ethical dilemma and I created a great income for myself!
What is your prospecting nightmare? Could it be that the first objection you need to overcome is your own thoughts and belief system? Do you have the courage to create a great income for yourself?
Author: Mary Auda