Disconnect from Reluctance to Make Calls


By Bill Robinson, IJ guest columnist


As a marketer, I make my living closing six- and seven-figure deals over the telephone, but I sometimes hesitate to make a phone call. That's perfectly natural. As a human, I fear the unknown.

Yet this reluctance to pick up the phone and make that contact can mean that a business will not achieve anything close to its real potential. It can mean stagnation, which in today's fluid business world is equivalent to failure.

I make 50 to 100 calls per day, so this "call reluctance" occurs relatively infrequently. When I get the feeling that "I really don't want to make this call," or that "I don't want to speak to that person," I now recognize that the fear is unjustified - and that, quite often, the call is precisely the kind that I really need to make for my business. I've found the more reluctant I am to make a call, the more positive the outcome may be.

So now, I ignore that gnawing feeling and forge ahead more confident than ever - and produce some amazing results.

Last year, I had just such a feeling about a call I needed to make to the East Coast. My initial call had not met with success, to put it mildly.

But I told myself that timing was everything, a "no" could sometimes be turned into a "yes," and I shook off my negative feelings. I succeeded in getting the executive vice president of a $2 billion corporation on the phone!

What's more, my self-confidence impressed him to the extent that we signed an agreement to produce a 13-show pilot series later last year.

I'm not writing this to toot my company's horn. Quite the contrary, I'm certain that if I can do it, anybody can do it.

It's a "psychology of business," a mind-set, a way of thinking. If you are passionate enough about a client, project or activity, no one can prevent you from succeeding.

Call reluctance is by no means limited to marketing or sales-related business. All business people who use the phone to any extent need to be mindful of fear-of-telephone.

Whether you're in finance (accounts receivable and collections, particularly), operations, customer service or management, overcoming call reluctance will result in more productive, profitable and healthier businesses.

If you understand that the biggest successes in business can come from contacts that originally yielded a negative response, you'll experience the complete satisfaction that comes with persevering through the rejection and disappointment it frequently takes to succeed.

Along with perseverance, pay attention to the parallel disciplines of "follow up" and "follow through."

Attention to detail is the key difference between a good business person and a true professional. Of course, following through is a complete - and an important - topic unto itself.