Sales Tips for Brokers: Fight "Call Reluctance"

Guest blogger Jeff Schneider is president of Schneider Training Solutions in Portland, OR. This article is adapted from “Call Reluctance.”

A lot of sellers struggle with call reluctance. You know the feeling. Suddenly the phone is so heavy, you’d think it weighs as much as a truckload of bricks.

While everyone would prefer to call those pre-qualified “warm” leads that I discussed last month, that narrow focus excludes too many prospects. Some can be reached only with cold calls. But cold calling is hard for many people. The biggest struggle is not that they fail at cold calling. It is that they fail to cold call, period.

The struggle with cold calling takes place in between the salesperson’s two ears. I call it “head trash.” Even the most successful salespeople have beliefs that limit their ability to pick up the phone — or walk in the door, or ask for the referral. Beliefs like “cold calling doesn’t really work anymore.”

While cold calling should not be the only prospecting behavior you engage in, it is still a viable and often extremely efficient method of growing your business.

I do cold calls myself. I don’t always look forward to doing them. I sometimes get dragged down by the gatekeeper who screens me out, or the prospect who blows me up for no good reason. But I have found that if I spend two hours on the phone, I will usually set up two or three highly qualified appointments with decision-makers who really want to meet with me and learn whether or not I can help fix their problems. And “no” is a great answer, too. If prospects really do not want to do business with me, I can cross those companies off my call list and stop wasting valuable time for me and for them.

I know that cold calling still works, and it is an efficient and effective part of prospecting. Most of my clients resulted from a cold call.

To be successful at cold calling, harness these three key factors:

Attitude: Do you have “head trash” regarding cold calling? Do you believe that cold calling no longer works? Or do you have a confident attitude based on the reality that some of the people you are calling really do need to speak with you in order to solve their problems?

Behavior: Do you have a prospecting plan that clearly spells out what prospecting activities you will be engaged in, how often you will perform these prospecting activities, and the results you expect to see from these activities? And do you track your results?

Technique: Do you have a well-thought out prospecting approach (script) that you use consistently? Does it produce predictable results for you? Does it help you to feel in command of the call?

If you feel that Call Reluctance is a problem for you, don’t be too hard on yourself. Millions of others share your plight. But don’t give up hope. You can overcome it.