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Phobic about Cold Calling? You're Not Alone

January 12, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

There are a lot of things to be phobic about in the world today: speaking in public and flying on airplanes are two of the more common. The business world has its own phobic activities, and for many people, cold-calling is one of them.

Cold-calling, of course, involves picking up the phone and calling a qualified stranger in order to begin a relationship with that person. The individual is not expecting the call – and may not even know that he wants or needs your products and services. As a result, he may be impatient, abrupt or even hostile initially. It’s the trick of a skilled sales person to begin with a compelling hook, get the tone right, and hang up having turned the cold call into a warm lead. It’s not for everyone, particularly for individuals with a more introverted outlook on life.

If you work in sales or even near sales, however, it’s a skill that needs to be acquired. Introverts who can’t rely on bluster or the sheer force of their personalities need to learn the products and services they’re selling particularly well. In the long run, this may make them better sales people, according to David Samuel, the managing director and founder of telecoms business and mobile virtual network operator 24 Seven, in a recent interview with the UK newspaper The Guardian.

“Being an introvert, of course, doesn’t mean you know your product any less well. In fact, I think the opposite is true,” said Samuel. “When in a sales situation or meeting a new client, rather than giving the 30-minute [sales pitch] into why they ought to work with us, I’m able to offer them the facts and the details about why they should want to work with us and how this will help achieve their objectives.”

While a one-on-one approach may work for an introvert later in the sales process, however, it’s an inefficient way to get business into the sales pipeline, so in some cases, introverts will need to override their fear of speaking in public or picking up the phone. It helps to practice, and to approach people when you have something concrete to talk about.

Lyndsey Haskell, founder of online garden gift shop What You Sow, told The Guardian she recommends going to talks or presentations that are followed by networking sessions.

“It means you have something to talk about following the presentation and your first interaction will often be to ask if a seat is free,” she says. “This can then lead on to the next conversation – such as ‘Have you been to one of these events before?’ or other similar questions that invite a dialogue. If I stay for two hours and have really good memorable conversations with two other people, I see it as a success.”

So now to the most painful point of being an introvert in the world of sales: cold-calling. Experts recommend that sales personnel “warm up” the prospect a little before picking up the phone by commenting on a social media or blog post by the individual, or making an appointment with the prospect via email in advance.

“It puts you on their radar and acquaints you more; so you could start the call by saying you liked that Facebook (News - Alert) post they wrote – it shows it’s not such a cold call on your end,” Haskell told The Guardian.

If this isn’t possible, ensure you know you material very well, you design an opening greeting and a closing greeting, and practice with friends or family. After time, sheer repetition will take the “scary” out of cold-calling, and even an introvert will become an old pro.