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Phone Phobia: The Top Three Reasons You’re Not Making Calls – And What To Do About It

One of the biggest issues most direct sales consultants face is picking up the phone. Oh, those dreaded, 800-pound monstrosities that lurk in our homes, our pockets and in our handbags can really take a toll on our confidence as business owners – even if they only weight a couple of ounces. If you don’t have problems calling your friends, you shouldn’t have any issues connecting with your clients. All you need is a little confidence. Here are the top three phone phobias I heard in a recent poll of my readers, along with a quick suggestion to get over yourself, get confident, and get back on track in your direct sales business.

  1. “I don’t know what to say!” – This one is actually easier to solve than you might think. Pick up your catalog. Spend time looking through it and actually find a product or two that would actually benefit your client that maybe they’ve not yet picked up (or may need to re-order). Then, when your client answers the phone, you can say “Hey! I was just flipping through the catalog and saw something  that made me think of you. Do you have five minutes to connect?” Then keep it brief, reconnect, and get off the phone. Remember to ASK for the sale/booking/referral.
  2. “I freeze up!” – This one is more difficult to solve, because it means you have to practice. Buck up! I know actors that practice their lines on the telemarketers that call their homes. While you don’t need to take that track, rehearsing what you’re going to say is always a good idea. Scripts shouldn’t be used as a crutch, though, and you should practice a few different responses to people, so that you don’t sound mechanical. One of my favorite fall back responses is “Oh wow!” because regardless of what they’ve said, in most cases a “wow” can be appropriate. It also buys you time to think on your feet. When all else fails, ask THEM a question about themselves. That gets them talking, opens your client up to conversation AND to you.
  3. “I never seem to call at the right time!” – Busy signals, no answer, voice mail, and the like can all be incredibly frustrating, no? It almost makes you want to throw the phone through the wall! One alternative would be to ask your customers the best way (and times) to reach them. The other would be to let them KNOW you plan on calling them. When I’m taking an order, I always say “Part of my commitment to ongoing customer services is to call and follow up with you about 30 days after your products arrive. What’s the best way for me to reach you then – and if there should be an issue with your order?” Don’t be surprised if they tell you to text them of connect via facebook. Those are much more common options now than in the past.

A word of caution about social media contact: please don’t post a private message on a public space. There’s nothing tackier than seeing “Hey Annie, I’m following up with your XYZ product order. Give me a call.” on someone’s facebook wall. It comes across as very promotional instead of compassionate. Instead, send a PRIVATE message, and let them know you’ll be calling THEM if you don’t hear from them within a day or two. That way, you don’t leave the ball in their court, and they don’t leave you hanging.

When you learn to take control of your phone conversations, by setting out expectations and honoring them, you make it easier for your customers to not only take your call, but look forward to hearing from you as well. A little practice makes the fear subside, because confidence is a powerful ally in your quest to grow a profitable direct sales business.

If you’re struggling with a chronic case of phone phobia, and it’s not a clinical condition, consider registering for my Overcoming Phone Phobia teleclass. You’ll hear my own story of how I not only overcame a true fear of the phone, I also built an entire business around it! You’ll learn specific techniques and words to say to help you get over the fear of calling the very people that want to hear from you!

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