Why Are We All So Afraid?

What can strike terror into the heart of even the most successful sales professional or entrepreneur?

Cold Calling.

What can crush self-confidence, destroy self-esteem and leave even the most seasoned sales professional quivering with humiliation and defeat?

Cold Calling.

But why?

Every culture has its myths and stereotypes, and one of ours is the stereotype of the manipulative, unscrupulous salesman. The term "sales" conjures images of untrustworthiness and deviousness. We have the stereotypes of the "traveling salesman," the "used car salesman" and, of course, the "telemarketer."

These terms do not literally describe what the person is selling; they take on a larger meaning. For example, our cultural translation of "used car salesman" is not simply someone who is selling used cars, but instead means someone who is unethical, uncaring and will pressure you into a sale that is not necessarily in your best interest. "Telemarketer" has come to mean not just someone who sells over the telephone, but someone who interrupts your dinner, doesn't listen and tries to pressure you into meaningless, valueless purchases. It can also mean someone who is running a scam over the telephone, usually preying on the elderly.

This is not the reality of individual telemarketers or used car salesmen. It is the stereotype. And these stereotypes do a huge disservice to most salespeople. Far too often, salespeople buy into these stereotypes, these images of untrustworthiness, placing themselves, in their own minds, on a lower level than their prospects.

If you buy into these negative images, you are at a disadvantage before you even pick up the telephone to call your prospect. It is imperative to change the way that you think about this process. Examine your intent:

· Is your product or service meaningful?
· Does it provide a benefit?
· Do you believe in the value and benefit of what you are selling?
· Are you doing the best that you know how to insure that your customers get what they need?

If your answers to the above questions are that you have a meaningful product or service, it provides value, you believe in your product or service, you are doing your very best to insure that your customers get what they need-if those are your answers, why then, you don't fit the stereotype. Stop acting as if you do! Stop apologizing. Stop feeling uncomfortable. Proceed with pride and integrity.

But there are some additional reasons that people fear cold calling. When you are face-to-face with someone, you have all of the visual cues to help you through the sales process. How does the person look? How is she dressed? What are her facial expressions? Does she make eye content? Is she smiling? Is she frowning? We instantly and intuitively assess these cues, and they help us determine what is happening in our communication.

On the telephone, you have none of those cues. That's what makes it so scary. It's as though you are suddenly blind, and you cannot tell what is going on. It is important to train yourself to listen very deeply when you are on the telephone-you must hear those cues that you would normally see. And remember-your prospect has no visual cues either! That is why it is imperative to use your voice expressively and have a clear message.

© 2004 Wendy Weiss

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling & Selling Success, is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. She is the author of Cold Calling for Women and the recently released Cold Calling College. Get her free e-zine at http://www.wendyweiss.com.

In The News:

The Gun Sales of June  The Wall Street Journal

Selling -abilities : Part 2

In the last article... Read More

The Importance of Good Sales Leads

An important part of your business plan should be to... Read More

A Little Something Special Goes a Long Way

Keeping the 80/20 rule in mind; that is that 80%... Read More

Store Owners - Five Ideas to Increase Sales

1. Animate your window display.How often do you change your... Read More

To Buy or Not to Buy? Motivating Your Customers to Take Action!

All customers have a choice to make. Sometimes that choice... Read More

Success Reloaded: The Matrix

So the other day I'm watching the movie The Matrix,... Read More

Color Psychology Will Make Or Break Your Sales Success

Color psychology is the biggest question I receive on a... Read More

Nine Keys to Make your Sales Copy Convincing

Would you pay $12,500 to discover the keys to great... Read More

How To Improve Your Voice

VOICEThe Image the customer has of the Salesperson is vital.... Read More

EXHIBITORS - Check Your URL

How many of you have a corporate web site? Everybody... Read More

How To Get Face To Face Over The Phone

One disadvantage of selling by telephone is the lack of... Read More

Qualifying Your Prospect

How do you respond when an absolute stranger calls, at... Read More

How to Write Testimonials that Sell CDs Like Magic

"Which is your best CD?"Ever get that question? My band... Read More

Cracking The Billable Hours Ceiling

How many of you made as much money as you... Read More

Gatekeepers

When I ask salespeople to define what a gatekeeper is,... Read More

Selling with Purpose

Selling With Purpose What is it about selling that makes... Read More

Peddlers, Hucksters, & Empty Suits

Ever feel like you were "just a salesperson"? I think... Read More

Needs Based Selling

I am sure you are familiar with the phrase, "I... Read More

Know What You Are Selling As If You Were Buying It

Recently I wanted a new lawn mower as we have... Read More

An Introduction to Store Fixtures

Everybody is familiar with the old retail chant, "Location, location,... Read More

Schedule Telemarketing Time For More Success

Telephone canvassing, or cold calling, is the practice of sitting... Read More

What Not To Do With Your Leads

Anyone that works in sales knows just how important it... Read More

Talking To A Prospect As If To A Friend

While working with a new coaching client, I asked to... Read More

5 Tips to Choosing a Direct Sales Business

With hundreds of direct sales companies out there, how do... Read More

Obtaining Self-Confidence

A reader recently asked me the following: "I enjoyed the... Read More