Six months ago I temporarily shut my business down to refocus, rename and rebrand my company. I also needed to create a web site. Finally, after several months of gut-wrenching work, I was ready for prime time - eager to get back to work.
My value proposition was strong; my target market clearly defined.
After identifying companies that met my parameters, I went on-line to research them. I requested annual reports and read them carefully. I wanted to ensure that when I talked to executives, my services were aligned with their business objectives. Then, I developed my Top Ten List.
But my preparation still wasn’t complete. I needed a phone script to make sure I didn’t sound like a blathering idiot when I reached their voicemail. So, I went to work on that.
I wrote a script and then rewrote it. To hear how it sounded, I called my own phone number and left a message on my own voicemail. At first I sounded awkward, stilted. How you talk is really different from how you write. So, I’d make changes and try again - and again.
Finally, I got it down pat and was able to leave a personable message that conveyed exactly what I wanted to say in about 30 seconds. By time I was done, it wasn’t a script anymore; it was just me talking.
It was time to pick up phone! I’ll start tomorrow, I promised myself.
Well, after about a week of doing just about anything to not make calls, I decided I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I stared at phone. My stomach was churning. Thoughts of saying something stupid and stumbling over my own words raced through my mind.
I looked again at my list of targeted companies, thinking it was nicer to have them on my prospect list than to have them say ‘no’ to me. At least there was still possibility that we could do business in future.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” I thought to myself. “Here I am, a seasoned sales professional and I’m suffering a severe case of call reluctance.” There was only one way to put a stop to this. I had to call someone – right away.
Taking a final look at my Top Ten list, my eyes zeroed in on my top prospect. I picked up phone and started dialing. 6...1...2... I paused, wanting to hang up, but I didn’t. I took one last look at highlighted bullet points I wanted to cover in voicemail and forced myself to continue dialing.
The phone rang. I stood up - erect, with good posture to ensure best possible voice quality. It rang again. I smiled, to make sure I sounded approachable... personable. It rang again.
“This is Peter,” voice said in a brisk British accent. I waited for voicemail to continue, ready to deliver my message at sound of beep. There was a pause - a long, silent pause.