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Barriers to Calling and How to Overcome Them
By Mark Sanford, PhD

Sometimes we can get stuck making cold calls and don't want to make anymore because making those calls gives us such an uncomfortable feeling in our gut.

Such call reluctance can be a dreadful experience for people new to cold calling, and an all too familiar drama for veteran callers. But it doesn't have to be!

We are often kept stuck at such impasses by what I call "catastrophic expectations." For example, we might think to ourselves--- "If I call this prospect, he'll just be offended if I interrupt him"; or, "If I call this contact at the dinner hour, he will just hang up on me and make me feel humiliated"; or, "This prospect has probably been called a hundred times on the same deal and will be upset with me." We seem to be willing to almost always fabricate a worse case scenario than is really true and thereby create our own fears.

Beneath these catastrophic fears lies the IMPASSE. This is the sticking point where we are convinced that we don't have the resources to move forward without some kind of external support. Perhaps we feel we should send something first, or warm up the call by having a better pretext, like an email or the cover of still one more survey. (I received a survey approach the other day; it was really just a thinly disguised attempt to get me to divulge my financial situation so the caller could zero in for an appointment. Avoid this!--- Once I realized I was being tricked, there was no way I would agree).

Here are some better ideas for getting unstuck.

Ignore what others think--- your version is probably wrong anyway. Disidentify from that part of yourself that thinks cold calling is a dysfunctional way to find new business. (Or whatever you inner voice tells you is what you think and feel ). Resist hiding out in the mistaken belief that some alternative business development strategy is better suited to your personality--- like mass media, email, and mail outs.

Use an action system approach. Define your call reluctance as an instance of the impasses I have been talking about. Decide that they can be managed successfully. Act to gain feedback from your calls that hopefully shows most of your fears are unfounded.

Finally, my experience is that most of my impasses are based on projections, and not the objective situation. It's sometimes hard to tell the difference. But in general, I always assume it's projections, that one part of my personality is trying to protect the other from PRESUMED harm. Don't let that happen to you. You CAN make those calls and when you do, more business will come your way!

Mark Sanford, of Sanford Associates, is a business development coach and trainer with 30+ years of business experience. More free articles and training materials on cold calling. Mark can be reached at 925.253.0646.

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