At GCS, we staff hundreds of people who love to talk on the phone. They are eager to come to work and genuinely enjoy having conversations with the customers of our satisfied clients all day long. In fact, when you ask many of them why they like what they do, the generally answer by saying “Because I love to talk.”
I, myself, am envious of these people. I can write an email, chat or text all day long but if you ask me to cold call someone, I start to develop this genuine feeling of anxiety. I thought it was just the shy quality I’ve had since a kid but it’s actually something a lot of people experience. Specific phone calls also lend themselves to certain feelings of trepidation like calling to ask for money, calling to find a person you’ve never spoken to or having to deliver bad news.
If you’re in the sales or marketing industries, it’s pretty much imperative you have the ability to engage with others without hesitation. Calling is still the fastest and most effective way to communicate these days (besides face-to-face) and in order to get an answer fast, you have to pick up the phone.
After doing some research, the best technique to combat this feeling of dread is to simply prepare. On fluentself.com, Havi Brooks outlines her best strategy for tackling a phone call:
- Take out a pen and paper and make a list of all the things you have in common with the person you’re calling.
- Even if you don’t know them, you probably know something about them (i.e. the reason you’re calling) so start with that. For example, I’m calling Tom who is a salesman for a promotional products company who offered to give me a great deal on some pens.
- Read it aloud as if it were a conversation (or at least read it in your head so others don’t think you’re crazy).
By the time you finish, you’ll understand some of the anxieties and fears assumed by the person you’re calling. Muster up the energy and dial the number.
This technique is also good for individuals who do make phone calls for a living. You might not stress over it as much as, say me, but it does help you make that connection with the customer. When you’re getting ready to speak to a customer about a particular product, think about what you, the product and your customer all have in common. Making a connection between the three will help you understand where the customer is coming from on a more personal level. You can then shape your presentation around their own personal needs and what benefits them the most about the product.
There are actually anxiety disorders related to making phone calls but in those extreme cases, only professional treatment can help.
But, I’ll try this technique the next time and see how it works. Everyone is different and what works for one might not work for another but it’s worth a shot.
This Halloween, one thing I will vow not to be scared of is making a phone call.
What are your tips?