Cold Call Reluctance

How to overcome your fear of cold calling and build your sales pipeline.

Jeb Blount
March 2, 2009

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For thousands of salespeople picking up the phone and cold calling a prospect is the most stressful part of their day. Many of these reluctant salespeople stifle their earning potential or worse get fired.

We received this question from Dave, a sales rep from North Carolina, Dave writes:

Jeb I need your advice. The first call to a prospect proves very difficult for me and I know it’s all in my head. I'm like that kid in 7th grade who is calling a girl to go to a school dance and then gets scared when her dad answers the phone. I’m normally very confident, comfortable with product knowledge, and I can close business. But, when I'm on the phone with a new prospect, it’s a different story. I know that if I can overcome this my monthly goals will get knocked out quicker than a fixed prizefight. Please help.

Dave, you have an excellent question and one that is very common. What I am impressed with is instead of giving me a line of BS about “how much better you are in person,” you are acknowledging that using the phone is critical to your success and that you need to deal with your call reluctance problem.

You’ve obviously got a lot of talent for sales. You are well educated, articulate, and you can close deals. Your problem is you need to get more prospects in your pipeline and to do that you need to make more calls.

So you get up every day and head into the office with every intention of getting on the phone and finding new prospects. And everything is ok until you start dialing that first number. As you listen to the dial tone your palms sweat, your heart pounds, and you secretly pray that no one will answer. Then, your prospect or a gatekeeper answers and you forget what to say. You stumble over your words. They reject you. You feel embarrassed and little. And you look around hoping that no one over heard your disaster of a call. Your motivation for calling evaporates and you shuffle papers, waste time and do anything but dial again.

Every sales person wants the glory and the big pay check that results from closing big deals. However, before the glory comes the hard work. In other words sales success is paid for in advance with prospecting for new customers.