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Sales Therapy 101: Breaking Your Fear of Cold Calling

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Almost every day, visitors to my Unlock The Game™ website click on my live instant-messenger chat button, which invites them to "Ask Ari a selling question."

And do you know what their most common question is?

Yes, you guessed it: "Is there any way I can break through or overcome my fear of cold calling?"

Most of us have at least some resistance to cold calling, and some people I talk with have such a paralyzing visceral and emotional fear of cold calling that they can't even consider doing it.

In some ways, the fear of cold calling is practically an epidemic -- but not the kind of epidemic that gets publicized on TV or in newspapers.

It's a silent and personal one, a psychological struggle that happens in our own hearts and minds.

The fear of cold calling is a painful, daily struggle for many entrepreneurs and salespeople who have been trained in traditional selling techniques.

Traditional sales trainers answer questions about cold calling this way:

"All you have to do is make more phone calls."

"All you have to do is think more positive thoughts."

"Just learn to accept rejection as a normal part of selling."

In other words, "It's your fault that you aren't succeeding in sales."

This is like telling someone who's terrified of jumping off a diving board, "Don't be a wimp! Just jump!"

In my experience, very few people are able to overcome their fears that way, because the underlying message is that, if you force yourself to do something uncomfortable, "just doing it" will magically solve the problem.

But this is a response that shows no understanding at all of the psychological barriers that underlie the fear of cold calling.

So, how do you overcome your fear of cold calling?

In my opinion, the solution actually is simple, and is based on understanding three simple concepts:

  • It's Not Your Fault

    We can't help thinking there's something wrong with us if other people keep telling us that something shouldn't be a problem, but our own inner feelings tell us that we aren't comfortable doing it.

    There's a sort of "old boys' club" sales-conditioning mentality prevalent in English-speaking countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, that says, "I had to suffer to succeed in sales success, so you need to, too!"

    This thinking comes from traditional sales programs that continue to be the accepted approach to selling.

    What you need to understand, though, is that you may fear cold calling because you have probably been exposed only to traditional selling approaches, which triggers rejection.

    These approaches teach us to make cold calls this way: introduce yourself, explain what you do, suggest a benefit to the potential client...and then close your eyes and pray that they won't reply with "Sorry, not interested" or "Sorry, I'm busy."

    If you're still using this traditional approach, you probably hear responses like these the moment you stop talking.

    They're rejections, and what they do us make you feel rejected -- and that's reason enough to make you dislike, fear, and avoid cold calling.

    How can cold calling be a positive experience if rejection is the most common response you get?

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