Call reluctance, selling reluctance, and phone anxiety are different names for the same problem. Social media, email, texts, and other indirect forms of communication often supersede simple conversation. But conversation, either face to face or over the phone, is still the most effective way to close a deal. To build more success, overcome your call reluctance and get back to basics.
Experienced closers and top producers are inclined to believe they’re immune to conversation reluctance. When you’ve already distinguished yourself from your professional peers, your first instinct is to dismiss any vulnerability to common challenges. But denial is a powerful drug. Take a moment to reexamine your routine. Do you avoid sales calls, default to email and other digital platforms, or delegate these tasks to others? If so, you are susceptible to call reluctance.
Luckily, once you’ve identified a problem, you’re in familiar territory. Problem-solving is your game, and the following tips are your starting point for overcoming communication obstacles.
Scripting is a long-standing call technique, but for all its historical success, a lot of callers still get it wrong. Their biggest mistake is using the same script for every call. When you learn something by rote, your approach can come off as unnatural and unfeeling — and not at all conducive to conversation. Getting it right means customizing your script for each prospective client.
First, research your prospects. Find out who they are, what they want, and what they value. From this, you’ll learn what to emphasize, what NOT to say, and what angles of approach have the best chance of building a connection.
Next, figure out what you want to say. It’s impossible to script a conversation word for word or predict exactly how it will play out, so focus on developing your key points and working them into the conversation. Knowing the points you need to make going in eliminates the uncertainty at the heart of call reluctance.
View your script as a guide, not a rule book. Don’t get so attached to the words on the page that you flounder when the prospect goes off script. Flexibility gives your approach a more natural tone. The script is there to help you, not carry you. Don’t force it.
Finally, stand up to make your call. One risk of scripting is losing the energy and emotion in your voice. Standing up puts you in a power position and brings energy back to the conversation.
When you’ve got your prospect on the line, get rid of any remaining anxiety by taking a genuine interest in the conversation and the prospective client. What stood out in your research? What do you want to learn more about? People love to talk about their accomplishments and areas of expertise. Use that to your advantage.
Ask relevant questions. Curiosity demonstrates interest, improves the prospect’s opinion of you, and gives you more insight into their wants and needs. When you ask a question, find further conversational prompts in the prospect’s answer. The goal is to keep a level head and keep the conversation flowing.
Prospective clients are going to be much more receptive to personal communication, but you can’t capitalize on this if you’re hesitant to have a productive conversation. Top producers don’t have time to hesitate. When you acknowledge your reluctance, make a plan, and take a sincere interest, hesitance naturally falls away, and you can do what you do best: Make the connection and close the deal.