Sometimes it’s hard for a salesperson to pick up the telephone and call a prospect. It comes from the “hot-stove” syndrome: A child who has touched a hot stove is doubly reluctant to touch another stove— hot or cold. After enough prospects have been rude, crude and asinine over the telephone, the average salesperson can become phone-shy. A prolonged bad streak, when nobody has a kind word, happens to every salesperson. The trick is to keep those inevitable “bum” times from causing a permanent problem.
The salesperson suffering from call reluctance has a mild fear and/or stress response to the thought of telephoning prospects, which induces the salesperson to avoid making telephone sales calls. He or she has trouble only in using the telephone to sell products or make appointments. Calling friends or family, talking to the boss, even phoning an established client causes no undue stress. If the salesperson has become so phone-shy that he or she can’t use the telephone at all, a more serious problem exists.
The procedure outlined below was designed to help the salesperson who has been experiencing a bout of call reluctance. It isn’t a magic cure—it’s simply the old advice to get back on the horse that threw you, with a little behavioral psychology and self-support to help ease the salesperson back into the saddle. The instructions are written specifically for the sales¬person’s self-study use.
The following prep-steps will get you ready to start making calls again. Do them away from the job.
1. Go through your sales manuals and any sales skills books you have used in the past for tips and tricks, and come up with half a dozen approaches to asking for an appointment that suit you and the way you like to do business.
2. Write each of these six approaches or “mini-scripts” on the face of a three-by-five card.
3. On the back of each card, write at least two of these self-statements:
• “I have a perfect right to offer my product or service to eligible prospects.”
• “I have a valuable product/service that many people need.”
• “People are sometimes hesitant to make appointments over the phone. That doesn’t mean they’re rejecting me.”
• “I have succeeded before and I will succeed again.”
• “I have the skill. I can do it.”
4. Read each card— front and back— six to ten times. The objective is to almost, but not quite, commit them to memory.
5. Do mental rehearsal of a typical telephone sales call.
• Picture yourself on the phone.
• See and hear yourself talking to a prospect.
• Hear yourself using the phrases you researched and wrote down.
• Hear yourself overcoming an objection. (Note: Mental rehearsal should be reality-based. As you mentally re¬hearse, mix successes and failures. Make the mix three successes to one failure.)
• Do eight to ten “scenes” or rehearsal calls every morning for about a week. If your reluctance is really heavy, consider twice-a-day practice sessions.
6. Rehearse with a friend. If you are unsure of your mental rehearsal, you can also rehearse or role play with a friend or colleague.
On the job
Once you find that your mental rehearsal is comfortable and easy to do, you are ready to start calling prospects again. The test of readiness is that you are able to call people, even cold-call prospects, but you are having trouble asking for an appointment.
1. Set a goal.
• Write down your “normal” daily call rate.
• Add two.
• Divide that number in half.
• Your “day-one” goal is the result. Plan on going from this number to your “normal” telephone prospecting rate in five days. On a pad or piece of paper, write down your call goal for each day. Leave room for you to put a stroke count next to each day as you make your calls.
2. Get it together. Gather all the materials you will need for making your calls.
• Names and numbers.
• Note pads and pens.
• Calendars and appointment books.
• Three-by-five note cards with sales statements on one side and coping statements on the other.
3. Get ready.
• Sit down.
• Go through whatever relaxation/ stress-reduction exercise you are familiar with.
• Rehearse your first call in your mind.
• Visualize a positive outcome.
• While dialing and reaching your party, thought stop any negative thoughts and replace them with one of the positive self-statements from your three-by-five cards.
• When you reach your party, use one of the six standard sentences or “mini-scripts” from your cards to present your request for an appointment.
• If you receive an initial turn down, try a different mini-script from your three-by-five cards.
5. If you succeed in making an appointment, celebrate.
• Buy yourself a cup of coffee, or
• Do something positive for yourself, or
• Pay yourself a bonus.
6. If you fail to get an appointment.
• Relieve any tension this causes by using whatever stress-relief technique you have found to be useful.
• Give yourself a “positive failure” pep talk. That is, use one or more of the following self-statements: “No single call can devastate me.” “I’ll get one of the next ones.” “Not getting an appointment can’t hurt me as a person.” “These things happen.” “One more down, to go.”
7. Return to get ready.
• When your stress is again “in check,” go back to step three and go at it again.
• Be sure to check off the last call on your score card, and go after the next
Source : TRAINING MAGAZINE