I hate making sales calls. Can I really be successful?

For a guy who depends on sales calls for his living, you think I’d be more disciplined about doing them. I actually hate them. Or, I used to.

I remember my first Monday on the phone. My hand was shaking as I dialed – I was that nervous.

I used to worry that the fact that I despised the phone meant I couldn’t be successful at my job, but as I asked around I found that many successful business owners have some routine activity they have to do, that they hate. But they all find a way to get through them, even thrive on the activity. I realized that success is not about finding that mythical business opportunity that fits you like a glove – instead, it’s about finding a way to push through the one or two hard parts of your job and doing them anyway.

Over the last two years I’ve found that not only can I become good at cold calls, but I can learn to be disciplined about them as well. I have since turned a corner in my business and it’s an immense relief not to hate them anymore.

Here is the routine I’ve developed:

  1. Have everything prepared beforehand. If I want to have a successful phoning session on Monday, I have to research and prepare my leads list on Friday. It’s printed out on my desk, so when Monday morning rolls around I have a list, a pen, and my phone on my otherwise clear desk. No distractions or excuses, and NO TECHNOLOGY. Just my piece of paper and phone.
  2. Have a set time to get it done. I make my sales calls every Monday between 11am and noon. I treat it as an appointment, and I know by noon that it will be over. As soon as 11:00 hits, I start dialing without even allowing myself to think whether I want to do this or not.
  3. Get out of the house. There are a thousand potential distractions at home. I take my leads list to the park or a quiet corner of a hotel lobby. Or if the weather is nice, I just walk around the neighborhood and call while I burn a few calories. Being away from the familiar distractions allows me to focus on the one thing I need to do, and get it done so I can move on to things I enjoy.
  4. After the work is done, reward yourself. I love gelato, and there’s this wonderful gelato shop around the corner from my house. After a successful phoning session, I’ll treat myself to a $2.50 scoop, sit back, and envision the successful future I just made possible.

These are the tactical tips that have made things easier for me. Next, I’d like to discuss the mental game of sales calls.