Guest Post by Brad Shorr
Image © Zsolt Biczó | Dreamstime.com
Fear Number One – Fear of Initiating Contact
Fear of rejection is bad enough (we’ll get to it soon), but way before that comes into play, we must deal with the challenge of being the initiator. I’m one of those people who prefers to respond and react. I’m uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers and introducing myself. I’d rather have people come to me. Does that sound familiar? If so, here are a few ways to get comfortable initiating contact.
First, remember that you are talking business. You know what you are talking about. You are familiar with objections a prospect might raise, so you can anticipate them and be ready. In short, unlike at a social gathering where the topic of conversation might be anything from farming techniques to fine art, in the sales setting you are on familiar ground.
Second, performing, being on stage, wowing the prospect –these are secondary issues anyway. In sales, it is far more important to listen than talk. By asking questions you remove the pressure of having to say something significant.
Third, never forget: practice makes perfect. When you practice, fear melts away. Skydivers are afraid the first time they jump out of a plane. Public speakers are afraid the first time they take the podium. Why should sales be any different? When I started selling, I had to spend entire days making cold calls on the phone. To be honest, the first few days really stunk. Some of the prospects were rude. Some of them made me feel insignificant. On every call I hoped the prospect wouldn’t be available, and my stomach churned whenever a prospect actually answered the phone and said “Hello.” But do you know what happened? By the fourth or fifth day none of it bothered me any more. I got used to the routine. That’s when I started to enjoy cold calling. It became a sort of game, and I began looking forward to getting a tough cookie on the line just to see if I could make any headway.
Have you ever struggled with this fear? How did you overcome? Please share your comments, experiences and questions in the comments.
This is Part II in a four part guest series by Brad Shorr. Tune in tomorrow for Fear Number Two.
Brad is a sales and marketing consultant who lives near Chicago, Illinois. His company, Word Sell, Inc., provides strategic consulting, sales training and coaching, and business blog and other online marketing services. Brad is a prolific reader and writer who is masterful at communicating even complex subjects with warth and humor.