Confidence is a magnetic personal quality that causes prospects to desire to hear what we have to say. It’s one of the most effective traits of top producing sales professionals. But how do we get it? Every sales representative, whether the “newbie” or the seasoned professional, experiences apprehensions from time to time when it comes to prospecting for new business. This nervousness has been commonly known as call reluctance. It’s natural. We all get it. But what separates the top producers from the rest of the sales force is how they get over it and develop call confidence. The following five factors are crucial to develop the confidence required to effectively prospect and schedule quality sales appointments: Factor #1: Be fully prepared It starts with research. We must have enough quality information on the background of the prospect and their purchasing tendencies. Once we have this understanding, we can draft an effective, well thought out, pre-call plan. Successfully scheduling a qualified appointment then becomes a matter of executing the plan. Factor #2: Comprehend the “art” and “science” of appointment scheduling Contacting prospects to schedule appointments an art form. It’s a real life, authentic endeavor to connect with a real person who has very real needs. Appointment scheduling is an art form because it’s a “people-business,” and all people are different. We interpret experiences differently much in the same way that an artist’s painting may be interpreted differently by a viewer. One size does not fit everyone. Appointment scheduling is also a bit of a science, because it can be completed successfully if we break it down into a proven process. If we follow sequential steps that work each time, we can be more assured of reaching our desired outcome. Factor #3: Proven process Driving a car that has a stick-shift transmission involves following a proven, sequential process. If you skip steps, you will either break something or hurt someone. In the same way, successfully scheduling sales appointments follows a proven process. Factor #4: Experience Nothing beats the experience that is developed over the course of time as we practice, practice, practice. The most accomplished and successful professionals in every industry have spent time practicing their craft until they have mastered it. Like any seasoned professional, through trial and error, they know what works and what doesn’t work. These professionals draw on years of experience that has made them what they are today. When it comes to developing confidence, there is nothing quite as effective as the experience that develops the skills we need to perform at our very best. Factor #5: Acknowledgement Who doesn’t like to celebrate success? When sales managers give credit to those on their team who have achieved milestones, they help them to develop greater confidence. I’ve developed sales leadership programs which equip sales managers with the acumen to positively lead their sales teams to greater levels of achievement. Inspirational leaders are those that provide recognition and acknowledgement to their teams when they succeed. Overcoming call-reluctance Even the best in the business experience days when they don’t “feel” like making prospective phone calls. Some days, the phone looks like it weighs 500 pounds. This apprehension to pick up the phone and reach prospects has been referred to as “call-reluctance.” It can be one of the most crippling mindsets in the profession of selling. If we allow call-reluctance to hold us back, we won’t have calendars full of quality appointments and our sales production will suffer poorly. How do we rid ourselves of Call-Reluctance? Let’s start with identifying what causes it in the first place. ►What causes call-reluctance: Start by listing the top three reasons that you personally experience call-reluctance. When I facilitate training workshops, I hear a few of the common reasons that sales professionals experience call-reluctance, including: ►I don’t like the feeling of being rejected. ►I feel like I’m bothering people. ►It feels as though I’m just interrupting them. ►They feel like I’m just calling to “sell” them something. How do we remedy this? How can we overcome every hint of call-reluctance? Five factors for overcoming every hint of call-reluctance ►Factor #1: Prepare and plan Planning is critical in every sales activity. If we go about the call haphazardly, we will not be prepared and the prospect’s responses could catch us off guard. The result is an ineffective appointment scheduling call and a calendar void of meaningful sales meetings. It has been said, “success is where preparation meets opportunity.” ►Factor #2: View the appointment scheduling process as critical to your success Imagine trying to drive a car and “skip” second gear? The engine would stall. If you want to drive it successfully, you have to follow the proven process and move properly through all the gears. Appointment scheduling is a critical step in a successful sales process. If you avoid this step because you are reluctant, your sales will stall. Developing a positive mindset toward sales appointment scheduling is a critical factor in overcoming call-reluctance. ►Factor #3: Proven methods When we follow a successful method, it takes the stress off of us and puts it onto the process. It’s not a matter of whether or not the method works, it’s more a matter of whether or not you “work” the method. ►Factor #4: Partnering Accountability is an incredibly motivating factor in business. Sometimes when we try to “go it alone” we run out of inspiration or may even fall back into old, ineffective habits. If you have a colleague, whose motivation is to see you succeed, he/she can act as a mentor. This person can offer encouragement and feedback when you need it most. That type of edification builds confidence and alleviates the feelings of call-reluctance. ►Factor #5: Practice, practice, practice There is nothing that fosters confidence or dispels fears like the experience that results from practicing. The more time you practice the skill of appointment scheduling, the faster you will master it. Every successful professional spends ample time practicing their skill, over and over and over again. Each exercise of the skill becomes a learning opportunity of what works best or a moment of enlightenment for what “not to do again next time.” We all learn through trial and error. Jeff Krantz of www.JeffKrantz.co LLC trains the techniques that ultra-top sales producers use to fill their calendars with qualified sales appointments. He may be reached by phone at (716) 432-1202 or e-mail [email protected].