The single most reliable predictor of sales success is — (drum roll, please) –prospecting! World-renowned behavioral scientists George Dudley and Shannon Goodson have research to prove salespeople who prospect consistently are far more likely to succeed than those who are sporadic prospectors.
If you experience Sales Call Reluctance, you need not feel embarrassed or ashamed. At the same time, you don’t have to go on living with it. Sales Call Reluctance is learned – which means it can be unlearned. Most cases can be arrested or even eliminated. All can be improved. Did you know when a prospect hears your voice, you are more human to them than when they receive an email from you?
The first, but often the most difficult, step in overcoming call reluctance is admitting that you are not prospecting consistently. Once you’ve admitted that to yourself, you can look at changing your thinking about prospecting. Call reluctance is simply a manifestation of a salesperson’s negative beliefs about prospecting for new business – so overcoming it is all about learning to change your thinking.
Are you willing to drastically change your thinking about prospecting? What if you experienced prospecting in ExperiMentor mode? What if you experienced prospecting as an adventure? What if you were able to discipline your negative intruders and not allow them to throw you down the self-doubt spiral?
Thought realignment is a very effective tool for changing your thinking. Look at it this way: A belief is merely a thought you think repeatedly. What you think determines how you feel, which, in turn, determines what you do (or don’t do). What you do every day becomes your seemingly intractable habit. We live within the feeling of our thinking. If you have success with prospecting, you feel positive. If you make calls and get 10 voicemails in a row, you can choose to feel discouraged. Fall in love with voicemails and make sure that you are leaving effective voicemails with an attention getter, your unique value proposition, your credibility and call to action such as, “please give me a call at your earliest convenience,” all in less than 35 seconds.
To get past the thought habit patterns that bind, we need to go back to their source – our thoughts. A human brain is a meaning-making machine. Before we’ve even reached for the phone to make a prospecting call, we can make up a story about why that person on the other end of the line will not take our call or why they’re not interested. The key is to stop making up stories that only spiral you into self-doubt.
A very effective way to get started is to capture your self-critical inner voice on paper, in your handwriting. Do you recognize this voice, this internal saboteur that must be defused? It says things like, “I don’t want to intrude,” or “They will just say no, or “They love their current leasing person.” When your pattern of thought is negative and stressful, your body is secreting stress hormones (cortisol) to match that thought. Stress hormones trigger stress behaviors: Fight (get angry/resentful), Flee (escape – find something else to do), Freeze (inertia/get stuck) or Appease (cope). Only so much coping can go on before your numbers are noticed within the hierarchy of the sale organization.
Once you capture these negative statements on paper, write catalytic questions to your inner critic’s claims. Engage the internal voice in written dialogue.
“What is the value I provide to prospects?” “Why do my current clients believe in me?” “What if I call them at the right time?” “What problem do I solve for prospects?” “What if they share pertinent information about their industry?” “What if they turn out to be my biggest client ever?” “What if I had an unlimited supply of prospects?” “What if I am able to differentiate myself more effectively?”
In the end, your success or failure as a provider depends on your willingness to meet enough new prospects to achieve your revenue goals. If you want to succeed, you must commit to consistent prospecting activity, and do so with the willingness to overcome any fear surrounding it. If you want to alter what you do, modify what you feel by changing the way you think. Create new thoughts and beliefs about your prospecting success! Retrain your brain and watch your business grow.
We are going through a period of intensive, compressive change. Status quo and complacency are dangerous to sales careers. New dynamics are at work. To move forward you need to operate differently.
How are you going to recapture your enthusiasm for prospecting? Focus on the following tips:
Sales Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about; living with it needlessly is.
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