Mathis: What Are Your Hang Ups? Dealing with the Stress of Making Sales Calls

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Jim MathisBy: Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, MDiv
J&L Mathis Group, Inc.
www.jimmathis.com

“In sales you can make A LOT of money!”
-Jim Mathis

When I am not on the road (and many times when I am), I make outbound calls for my business. On the average day in my office, I will make over 30 calls to people… both cold and “warm.” Most of the people I call are appreciative and courteous. I can talk to most people I have spoken with previously on a friendly, first name basis.

Your fears of rejection and anger are not based on experience.

When I hired my first assistant years ago, she wanted to hear me make some calls to get an idea of my approach and how to sell my business. I said, “Let’s call Mike.” “Mike who?” she asked. I gave her
his last name and she said, “You act like you know him!” “Yeah, I guess I do,” I answered her. Mike and I had spoken on the phone several times over the period of a year. We knew each other.

After doing this for over 13 years, I don’t hear anything new when I make a call. I reached out to Dave last month. He had caller ID and laughed when he picked up the phone. “You are not the first
sales call I’ve had today,” he said jokingly. “Really?” I said. “Which one am I?”

Dave said, “I’ve already spoken with three today.”

“Well, then number four will be the one you remember.” I started laughing. He did and hired me later that month. Don’t take yourself too seriously and it will put people at ease.

Number One Fear:  Most people who don’t make sales are afraid of calling. They fear being seen as pushy to others and their greatest fear is being hung up on. They can’t take the rejection or feeling of
conflict. It is a bad feeling you get in your chest when this happens. I completely understand.

How do I know?

The first week I started making cold calls on the phone I was hung up on by an angry lady. It really, really bothered me. I had never been hung up on in my life. I was hurt and angry all at the same time. I wanted to “get even,” or show her the error of her ways. I didn’t like being misunderstood or rejected. At that moment I realized that I was giving her power over me. I was putting her in control of my emotions and feelings.

I also realized that nothing I did in return was going to convince her to listen to me, or even buy from me, if I called her back. Maybe she was having a bad day. Maybe I was not the first person to call and
try to talk to her about buying from me that day. Maybe the last person who called had been rude to her. An argument wasn’t the best strategy and neither was getting even. I had to own my feelings. I had to make a choice. I chose to get over it and move on.

What do you do when someone angrily hangs up on you?

Hang up reaction:  Fight or flight! Make another call or run away! Sometimes I get so mad, I get back on the phone. Sometimes I take a break. My wife is a good support and helps me by sharing a different perspective.

Make better calls. Learn from your mistakes and come back stronger. Remember, if you believe in yourself and your product or service, the person who doesn’t buy is missing out on something great.

But, most of the time, prospects are missing out on the VALUE of what you are selling. If your sales are uncharacteristically down, perhaps your value (as seen by the customer) is down. How can you
add value or increase it? Can you bundle with something else? Can you change your approach? Most importantly, can you ask better questions to find out what the prospect values most?

What can you do to increase your product’s value to someone who gets frequent calls from others? Answer: Be different!

Handling sarcastic responses:  “I got your many messages and emails!” Either empower the rejector, or take control of your sales. You want to say, “Hey, if you had responded three months ago in some way, I wouldn’t have had to contact you so many times!” Remember, the average sales closing requires over 20 calls. The more money that is on the line, the more calls required!

You are fooling yourself if you think a client will sign or buy from you after just one or two contacts.  It has only happened to me twice in over 20 years.

I actually asked a meeting planner in the audience why he hired me. He laughed and said, “So you would stop calling me!” Everyone (and he) laughed. I loved it! I think that influences people to hire
me. In fact, I know it does.

I get hired more often because I keep calling a person over a long period of time, than if I simply assume they know who I am and how to get in touch with me. Most of the time I hear, “Thank you for getting back with me and being so diligent.” People seem to like that characteristic.

Handling objections: Don’t…EVER! If they don’t see the value, why argue your point? Have you ever bought ANYTHING because you lost an argument with the sales person? Did you say, “Darn, you’re right. I’m stupid! Here, take all of my money!”

Back during my ministry days we taught witness training which included a full chapter on “Handling  Objections.” One day I noticed that nobody had ever joined our church or converted to the faith
because they lost an argument to their objection. I asked the congregation one Sunday morning how many had joined because they were proven wrong. No one raised a hand. I don’t handle objections. When people want an argument, I move on.

On that note, don’t be surprised by people’s rudeness or lack of professionalism. A well-known pastor once said, “People can be jerks and if you start with that knowledge you won’t be shocked when you encounter this.”

Occasionally, I get hung up on. It keeps my perspective in doing something most people wouldn’t dare do. The last time I was hung up on, I laughed. I couldn’t believe a person who called herself a
“professional” was acting so unprofessional, and I cracked up laughing! By the way, that was the last thing she heard as she hung up the receiver. Don’t feel bad, she wasn’t going to buy from me anyway.

People are busy. You don’t know what they are going through when you call, or what pressure they are under personally and professionally. In a prospect’s busy life and workday, it helps to remind them that I am still wanting to work with them. If I call at a bad time, I apologize and call at a better time. Get on with it. A person appreciates that more than if you keep talking at that moment.

My first assistant got better at the calling. She told me a few years after she started working for me, “The clients are our top priority, but we are like number 23 on their priority list of things to do that
day.” It doesn’t hurt to work yourself up the chart with them.

Bottom line… Remember this fact: In sales, you can make A LOT of money!

You are in control of how much you make, not your manager, not your fellow sales executives, not even the prospects. Your attitude and your actions are YOUR choice. You control the attitude you choose and the actions you take more than anyone you will encounter today.

Your perspective on the environment you are in right now will change when you change. No sooner!

Don’t get “hung up” on your last failure…or your last success. Keep calling!

Permission is granted to reprint this article provided the following paragraph is included in full:

Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, MDiv. is The Reinvention PRO™, an International Platform Certified Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional and best-selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. To subscribe to his free professional development newsletter, please send an email to: subscribe@jimmathis.com with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject. An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Jim and his programs can benefit your organization or group, please call 888-688-0220, or visit his web site: www.jimmathis.com. © 2016 J&L Mathis Group, Inc.

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