Nerves are just a part of playing competitive games. And guess what? Where we sit, we are in one of the most competitive games around – sales. It’s no wonder that sales people – from newbies to senior sellers – sometimes get nerves when placing cold calls.
You can mitigate those nerves by doing a few easy things.
Think positively. Don’t let your insecurity get the best of you. When your Negative Nelly starts talking, let the Positive Peggy speak louder! NN: “The person on the other end of the phone will think you are a loser!” PP: “You have nothing to lose.” NN: “You are interrupting their day and they have nothing to say to you but goodbye!” PP: “Today is their lucky day because I will be able to help them be heroes at their job!” NN: “You won’t know what to say.” PP: “Oh yes, I do! I am prepared!” When you think of something negative before you start your calls, give yourself a pep talk and if that doesn’t work, identify why you are nervous and take steps to eradicate the fear. Being prepared is a step in the right direction.
Know the game field. Do your research. There is not one week that goes by during a season that a sports team doesn’t spend hours upon hours researching what the other team’s plays are, who their strongest teammates are and ways that they can win. They watch past games tapes and figure out where the opportunities are. You can do the same thing by reading a few articles about your prospects, going to their company website, understanding their business model and possible opportunities and challenges. Don’t forget to check out their Facebook page and Twitter feeds. You probably spend part of your day on Facebook and Twitter anyway so spend a minute or two learning a little about what your prospects is doing in real time.
Learn Your Lines. Practice, Practice, Practice. Even amazing actors and public speakers get “stage fright” before their performances. I have an actor friend who gets sick to his stomach every time before he goes on stage. And you know what, he is an award winning actor who channels those nerves into his characters. You can use your nerves to lead you in a positive direction, too. Any of you who have been in a stage play know that practice is key to success. You have to know your lines, know your cues, and know where your mark is so you don’t fall off of the stage during the performance number. (I’m sure you’ve seen that America’s Funniest Videos!) The same is true for cold calling. If you don’t prepare and know your script, you may forget your lines. Prepare some bullets or write an actual script from the research that you have done. It’s ok to write it down and to use it. In fact, if you know what you want to say before you say it, you will sound more confident, and you will be more confident.
Don’t let nerves get in your way. They can be a good thing if you work with them and not against them.
And as a seller, you better enjoy the rush! Enjoy the rush of the cold call, enjoy the rush when they actually spend time to tell you about their business, enjoy bringing them a solution that can help their business grow, enjoy the rush of the close and relish the rush of seeing how you have made a difference in the lives of your clients by exposing their products or services to interested customers!