Prospecting is your No. 1 job.
There is no getting around it; to succeed, you must prospect consistently and comfortably. When you are ready to make your appointment setting calls, does your heart rate speed up, your mouth goes dry, and you think, “I hate prospecting.”
This shaky feeling is Sales Call Reluctance™, aka feeling vulnerable, and it makes us hesitant and uncomfortable. We play small so we can escape the potential judgment of others and our fear of the unfamiliar.
What scares us is sometimes actually good for us, and if we can stomach sitting with it, vulnerability has the potential to transform itself into joy. Can you imagine the day when you joyfully prospect? If so, you’re on your road to significant success. But by pushing through, you are doing something far healthier and more transformative.
Why feeling vulnerable is good for us
Feeling vulnerable is the last emotion in the world, salespeople want to experience. Feeling uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure is that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone and prospect. It forces us to loosen control. If you run away the second those shaky feelings arise, you’re just reinforcing the sabotaging voice in your head that says “I’m not cut out for this. I am not good enough.”
How Sales Call Reluctance™ shows up
That insecurity is present in all of us, and it’s so strong that we often go out of our way to avoid prospecting because it makes us feel inadequate. We emotionally “armor up” when we prospect to avoid feeling anxiety, uncertainty, and fear.
The particular armor changes from salesperson to salesperson. Still, it usually revolves around one of three methods:
1) striving for perfection, 2) numbing out, or 3) by “dress rehearsing tragedy” and imagining all the ways that things could go wrong. Do any of these sound familiar? What if the prospect hangs upon me? What if the prospect shuts me down?
All these types of armor can make us feel safe and “in control” at the moment, but they’re doing us more harm than good. “Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield. We think it will protect us, but it keeps us from being seen,” notes Brene Brown. Numbing our emotions is damaging because it has a widespread effect — you can’t numb fear without numbing joy at the same time.
Steps to get comfortable with prospecting
Awareness is an excellent place to start. Adopting a practice of openness and awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and triggers will help you recognize when you’re disengaging because you’re afraid.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you prospect.
It takes confidence and courage to prospect. Make a few prospecting calls every day with the attitude of “come what may” – no matter what happens; you will make your calls.
Let go of the constant worry about what prospects think of you. Most prospects are focused on their internal struggles, not you.
Don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t even consider it. No one is perfect, and the more you hold yourself to an impossible ideal, the more quickly you will give up.
When a prospect tells you a definite “No.” Do not throw yourself down the self-doubt spiral. Immediately ask yourself, “What am I making their “no” mean?
Who is running your show? Your Saboteurs, who are constantly causing you to second-guess yourself? Or the emotionally courageous, confident you that is convinced of your value?
We always have three choices: 1) Succumb to the fear, anxiety, and misery of not getting in front of our ideal prospect; 2) Accept that we experience call reluctance, be at peace and hire an appointment setter or 3) Turn the emotional hesitation into an opportunity to confront it head-on and build the emotional skills to intercept the sabotaging thoughts, learn how to command our brain to shift from negativity and build our mental fitness muscles. The more mentally fit you are the bigger cases you can handle.