Overcome the fear of making calls

Making calls for business is terrifying to many people – What if I stutter? Or if I say the wrong word? What if I don’t get the answer I want? What if I don’t make a good first impression? etc. are questions that most of the people faced with making calls have. So they just don’t want to do it…

A female customer service agent shows her frustration with the telephone and computer.

Now, the first photo I found on Google was the most relevant one so I had to pick this one (which you can find here). I suspect most of the people having to make phone calls look like this. Or at least, they would look like this if we didn’t have cordless phones 🙂 Hey, I once looked like that!

It takes a lot of work with yourself, but you can also practice some tricks to help you get more relaxed.  These bits of information will help you before making the call, during the call and after you finished it. It’s no rocket science, just basic common sense. You will be talking to people just like you, with two eyes, two arms, one nose.

First of all, before the call, you should:

  • Do a bit of research about the person/company you’re calling. After all, you don’t want to seem like you randomly picked them to call, even if you did. But showing a bit of interest beforehand looks really nice!
  • Set your mind to show the value your product/service add to their life. It’s about them so make them feel the can’t live without what you’re offering or that they need it so bad that don’t know how they lived before finding out about you.
  • Detach from expectations. Just set your mind to expect any response and be prepared to answer afterwards. Do not set high or low expectations, do not set them at all! Treat your conversation partner as you’d treat a friend.

Second, when you’re actually on the phone with someone, you might want to try the following during the call:

  • SMILE! Just wear a smile on your lips while talking to them. From ‘Hello!’ to ‘Thank you, goodbye!’, people can sense your mood and if you’re smiling to them, even on the phone.
  • Make sure you are brief. People are busy and do not have patience to hear stories. Just get to the point quickly. Who, what, when, why, where – the wh-questions are the golden rule!
  • Ask questions and listen to the answers. Find out what they need by asking just a few questions to help you get their idea. Also, if they are big talkers, just listen to them, do not interrupt. After all, you called to have a conversation and would be a two-way communication.
  • Be passionate. Even when presenting yourself and the company, make sure you speak from the heart, like you really believe what you’re saying. Actually, you should really believe in what you’re saying, because then why-the-heck are you doing it?!
  • Close on a positive note. Okay, maybe you didn’t get the answer you wanted, but that might be just for the now. Ask if you can call them again after some time. Ask for recommendations, maybe their friends are potential clients. Also, you can ask for an email address, so they keep updated about future news.

And last but not least, after the call make sure you got everything right. Maybe you wrote it down while talking to them. Do not call them again because you did not write down their friend’s name or just to double-check the phone number. And if you promised to call back in three month, then do that then. Not earlier! Maybe a bit later, like after three months and a week. Also, if they gave you their email address and you said you’re going to send them an email, make sure you don’t forget. So just do it right after you hung up the phone.

You get nervous and anxious when you concentrate on yourself, your emotions and what can happen to you. Instead, think of the person you are talking to, treat them as a friend whom you’re trying to make life better. They will perceive you less as a stranger and more like a person who treats them like human being, not a buyer.

My advice to you is that you make that call you hate between two phone calls with friends or family. Call your best friend or mother, talk about life things, going out or having dinner together. Then, right after you finished talking to them call the person you’re supposed to immediately, while you are still in the happy and relaxed mood. Keep it short with them – for you and for them both. This way, you haven’t got time to start panicking. After the call, call another friend or member of the family to keep your mind from going crazy and start analyzing what you did wrong. And so on.

Tip: it gets easier in time! Good luck on the practice!

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