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Fear of the Phone

SoireeGuruSoireeGuru subscriber Posts: 1
edited January 2007 in Marketing
Greetings all!
This is my first posting of a plea for help!  I own a business which supplies "best-in-class" vendors for various types of events (ex. weddings, corporate meetings, galas, etc.). For instance, if you are an event organizer and need such services as a caterer, dj, photogrpaher, A/V, etc., you would give me a call.  We don`t plan the events, but we do provide the services providers.
I am naturally chatty by nature and LOVE talking to people.  But for some reason, I have a fear of picking up the phone to call potential vendors of interest that I would love to add to my roster.  I have a great pipeline of customers and need to beef up my supply capabilities, but for some silly reason, I have a fear of approaching potential vendors.
Any tips for approaching folks you don`t know?  Getting over the fear of cold-calling?


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    cjpeepscjpeeps subscriber Posts: 5
    Hi Karan,
    I am not a real phone talker either, but I overcame some of my fear of talking on the phone by recording messages.  You might feel silly doing it at first, but call your own answering machine and talk to it like you are talking with a client.
    You could also solicit the help of some of your family and friends by role playing with them.  Don`t do this face to face, though.  Use your office phone, or whatever phone you will use to call prospective clients, to call and walk through the information you will be relaying to prospective clients.
    The more practice you get, either with your answering machine or with friends, the more confident and natural you will become in live situations.
    I am sure with practice you will be a pro at this before long.cjpeeps2007-1-11 20:21:54
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    SoireeGuruSoireeGuru subscriber Posts: 1
    Awesome suggestions!  Thanks.
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    keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    I suggest joining Toastmasters. The CTM program, the first program, Competent Toast Master (a series of 10 speeches), will get you over your fears. I have never seen it fail. I did it many years ago and was one of the best business decisions I ever made. After the CTM program, you may decide to continue into more advanced programs. A wonderful, supportive, and positive organization with a super reputation. Worth looking into. Not expensive ... and a great networking source, too.
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    Tangent1Tangent1 subscriber Posts: 0

    Just remember you are talking to vendors that you will be giving business to.
    They will be excited that you called them. You are a blessing to them.
    As soon as you state you reason for calling they will take it from there-or
    should. Just think your going to make someones day when you call. You
    have the customers and thats the hard part. Good luck

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    SoireeGuruSoireeGuru subscriber Posts: 1
    Richard & Tangent1, excellent suggestions.  I took Dale Carnegie training years ago, but have heard Toastmasters is an excellent group.  It does really help to position my call in a power-perspecitive in the sense that I will be benefiting them vs me just asking for something.
    Cartess3, thanks for the website.  I will check into it next week.  Great to meet a fellow Hotlantian!  Thanks everyone.
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    keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Borned, raised and still live in west midtown ATL off Howell Mill.
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    keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    EXCELLENT Suggestion on the classroom idea. I`m stealing it . It is officially in my bag.
    On a side note ... woodworking (read your profile again) ... I was a partner in an antique replica furniture building business for a couple of years. Learned a lot about old-style woodworking. Would love a shop big enough where I could get back into it. I will, one day.
    Later - R@ 
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    SoireeGuruSoireeGuru subscriber Posts: 1
    I truly appreciate the feedback and insights.    I have a 9 year old daughter and may try to test out the exercise on her class. If I am able to do it, I will definitely share the experience with the SuN community.
    One thing I have done recently is that I found a former head of a toastmaster`s club through a friend of mine. (Thanks again Cartess for jogging my memory regarding Toastmasters).  I invited him to dinner and practiced my speil on him, which was an awesome opportunity and learning.  As luck would have it, he offered to work with me 1:1 as a coach for FREE.
    I do have a script with bullet points and of course the more you practice, the more you feel comfortable.  Thanks everyone for your support.
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    cjpeepscjpeeps subscriber Posts: 5
    Good luck.  I`ll be anxious to hear how it goes.
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    JMAXMarketingJMAXMarketing subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    Sounds like you have a great business going. Have you ever considered hirering a profession to make your cold calls on your behalf? As humans we are not all good at everything!
    My company provides Telephone Communication Associates who call prospects on behalf of business owners. We do a great job. We have no problem striking up a conversation with a cold call prospect. Need more clients, customers, appointment, or what ever we can get them for you. Our clients decide what they want to spend on marketing. There is a short time committment of 90 days of marketing. The hours of marketing in the 90 days can be many or few depending on your need. We call Nation wide. We have a New Years special at 10% off and a Free Script Developement at this time.
    See our web site or give us a call at 702-982-3635.
    J Max Marketing
    Director of Sales and Marketing
    Gail Austin
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    akcelakcel subscriber Posts: 1
     We are creatures of habit. The more we do something the better we get at doing it.  A child of 4 or 5 will tell you they can do anything but ask a teenager and they start having doubts about themselves and who they are. And it lasts the rest of their lives, that is until.......?  You have what it takes. Take some baby steps and b4 ya know it you`re off and running.  Don`t hold back. Like the Nike ad says = Just Do It !!! Akcel
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    TSommTSomm subscriber Posts: 1
    While reading the great ideas generated in this topic, I came up with another question.If you are cold-calling and someone isn`t insterested at the moment, how long do you typically wait before trying again?  A month seems too short to me...Maybe 3 months?
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    enlightDanenlightDan subscriber Posts: 0

    These are all great suggestions. I think zzzagman has a great point -
    if you have some cashflow - hire a coach. A sales trainer can really
    boost your confidence and your ability to get leads. I`m planning on
    contracting one in the near future - they can actually do a mock sales
    call with you and critique how you handled it.

    If you don`t have the cash or you don`t want to ask a stranger, go to a
    family and friend and ask if they can act out the scenario. It will
    help eliminate alot of the anxiety because it will be like you`ve
    already done it before. Play all the angles and ask your counterpart to
    purposefully keep you thinking. This will all help you prep and will
    keep you on your toes for the actual call.

    Luckily, my girlfriend works for free and she absolutely LOVES to give me a hard time with this stuff. Give it a shot!

    Hope that helps! Good luck!
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    SoireeGuruSoireeGuru subscriber Posts: 1
    zzzagman, your testamonial was invaluable!  I do have a script that I put together, but it may be too fluffy by overemphasizing me and my company versus zoning in on what we do and how we can address pain points.
    Dan, awesome feedback as well.  Actually, I could afford a coach.  I have my friend from Toastmasters, but true business coach may also be helpful.  I think I`ll put an RFP out to the International Coaching Federation or does anyone have any coach recommendations?
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    CoppermanCopperman subscriber Posts: 2
    Here is my 2cents.
    I`d like to calrify if your fear of the phone is really a fear of the phone or a fear of rejection (rejection of what you have to offer). A lot of great suggestions have been made here but if the problem is that you don`t like hearing "No, I am not interested, then you have to deal with this first. Because despite the coaching and the scripts, you will be back to square one after 3 back-to-back Nos! The answer to this is a belief in your products and services. Think of it like you have the best service in the entire world and the person you are phoning is being offered "gold dust".
    The other things I`d like to add is that if it is a cold call, you should ask if you caught them at an appropriate time to speak.......they may be having lunch, at a meeting etc. It is polite to ask for permission to intrude.
    On the issue of "No, I am not interested" ask if you can follow up in a specified time frame (3 months has been suggested). Also, don`t forget to ask for a referral. They may not have a need for your service, but may know someone who does.
    Your posting and the responses herein have been very educational. Great post. Thank you. 
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