Picking up the phone to call a sales prospect can cause anxious emotions and rising heart rates faster than many other situations. Even for the most experienced sales reps sometimes. Phone anxiety is not a myth. The line starts ringing and you suddenly hit a wall. You feel like your pitch just went out the window. You are not the only one. According to recent surveys, 50% of sales reps fear making cold calls.
A lot of the fear is often based on feeling like you don’t know what to say once the line stops ringing and someone actually picks up the phone. After all, you are interrupting someone’s day. It’s natural to not want to put yourself in a position where you may get stuck or your pitch may sound irrelevant to your particular prospect at that moment. As a sales rep, you never want to feel inexperienced.
It makes it even more difficult when you are not in person face to face with your client. You can’t always read their emotions. Or tell by the tone of their voice what they are thinking and which way they may be leaning on buying from you or not.
So many factors can make a great phone call to a sales prospect and you shouldn’t let phone anxiety get in the way. Of course, that is easier said than done sometimes. But, the good news is that it is something that can be overcome. At any point in your sales career, whether it is your first day or your 10th year, don’t let phone anxiety equal missed opportunities. By implementing a few strategies and making them daily habits, you’ll be happy to dial the phone. You’ll feel like you are talking to a colleague and not an intimidating foe on the other end that has to be defeated.
You Have To Believe
You know your product, the benefits that are listed out in the product spec sheet, and who the product may serve best. But do you truly believe in it? Do you truly believe that your product or service can actually help and solves problems or pain points? If you don’t believe in your product then you can’t possibly expect to be able to effectively get someone else to believe in it and actually purchase it.
It is time to take a solution-based view of what you are selling. Take the time to truly look at your products or services from the buyer’s perspective and look for what solutions they offer to common pain points your prospects might be encountering. Become confident that the product you are representing is their answer. Once you do, you will radiate confidence and trust and only make recommendations to your prospects when you honestly feel that what you are offering can help them achieve their goals.
That confidence and belief in the product will come across in your voice over the phone on your sales call. It will lessen the chances that your prospect will keep walls up. This will allow them to trust you more and actually open up to the idea that your product could really be their answer. The more you believe in your product the more confident you will be in selling it over the phone. As your belief in your product as a solution continues to rise, so will your ability to close the deal.
Source: AZ Quotes
Dedicate Time Regularly & Stick To It
One of the best ways to overcome phone anxiety, and the habit you may fall into of avoiding it altogether, is to physically go into your calendar whether that be an actual paper desk calendar or an app and block off chunks of time during your day just for phone prospecting. Make it a consistent part of your sales process and stick to it!
As the old adage goes “practice makes perfect”. It is a numbers game. The more calls you make the better you will get at your pitch, the more opportunity you will have to push through the anxiety, and the more chance you will give yourself to close deals.
If you view phone sales prospecting as something that you have to think about squeezing into your day because you really don’t want to do it, it will never happen. Don’t plan your day around everything else and leave calling for last. Start with phone prospecting and plan your day around that.
It is a well-known fact that over 50% of initial sales meetings require at least five touches to set up. Consistency is critical in phone sales prospecting. So, just keep dialing!
Generate Interest Immediately
Your prospect on the other end of the phone is wrapped up in their day when you call. Yes, you are interrupting their day. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is hard for the human brain to switch from one task to another quickly, people will always be eager to talk about the most important thing - themselves. This is your compelling reason to call your prospect.
If you can focus on generating interest from your prospect right off the bat, it will push that anxiety out of your head and give you a boost of confidence from their reaction as you hear their reluctance melt away.
How do you do this? Immediately start the conversation with something extremely relevant to the customer which snaps them out of their trance of what they were doing or looking at before you called. If you’ve spoken to them before this, of course, will be easier. You can say something like “The last time we spoke, you asked me to give you a call if we had a special or promotion which could save you money.” Or “The last time we spoke, you mentioned you have to cut operating expenses by 10% before the start of the fiscal year”. And if you have never spoken to your prospect before, this concept can still apply. Just take a little extra time to do some research to find something relevant to them that you can angle your approach to. Are their recent industry headlines about your prospect merging with another company? Did your contact recently share or post an article on their LinkedIn page? Your line could be “I saw you shared a recent article about how to have a less annoying CRM and I completely agree with…”.
The key to this approach, whether you’ve talked to this prospect before or not, is the word you. If the customer knows or feels immediately that this call is about them, they will take immediate notice. The anxiety will quickly go away if the person on the other end of the line is genuinely interested in talking to you – and talking about themselves of course.
Asking For Money The Easier Way
Money is a very sensitive subject intrinsically for most people. Whether you are having to spend it or trying to make it. So, asking for money, which is the quintessential responsibility of any sales rep, can be very difficult and intimidating. You start to wonder if that part of your pitch sounds and is worded perfectly. But, spending so much time overanalyzing exactly how you are asking for your prospect’s money can actually make things worse. You start to neglect what you should really be focusing on.
A little shift in focus can ease a lot of the anxiety when it gets to the point where you are trying to close the sale and get payment. Instead of looking at it as simply asking for their money and thinking about that whole part in the beginning, again look at it from the perspective of the solutions that you are offering. If you focus on listening to your client, determining the solutions that your product or service would alleviate their pain points, and thoroughly highlighting the benefits of those solutions, the asking for money part will come easy. It will almost flow naturally as close to your conversation. By then, if you have focused on the solutions for your prospect, they have already decided to buy and are waiting for you to take their payment.
Source: Sales And Telesales Solutions
Wrapping It All Up
Phone anxiety can be a tough thing to deal with. It is something that many sales reps fight with. From the brand new rep on their first day to even seasoned veterans sometimes. But with a few shifts in perspective, it can be overcome and will have you “smiling and dialing” in no time.
Phone prospecting is essential in sales. It is critical to lead generation. Even with the rise in technology and the use of email, chat, and text messaging to communicate, calling prospects is still one of the best methods to make a true connection. If you are reluctant to make that call and are dealing with phone anxiety you are definitely not alone.
But if you approach the call with the customer or prospect in mind, make the call about them to generate immediate interest, and show how you can offer them solutions, the reluctance will melt away. You will be able to quickly build rapport and close deals with much more ease. The thought of asking for money won’t scare you and you will have prospects waiting for you to ask them for their payment.