Greet and engage your prospect. 

Have a plan.

Find the problem.

Anticipate questions in advance.

Show that you’re the solution.

Set an appropriate closing objective.

Which of the above is the first step in closing a sale? Would you believe that none of them are? Prospecting is the first step to closing a sale. Yet, many salespeople experience Sales Call Reluctance, an emotional hesitation to prospect and self-promote.

In our culture, it is not the hardest-working, the best-prepared or the smartest who sells the most. It is the person who is most willing to prospect and self-promote.

Sales Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about; living with it needlessly is. Sales Call Reluctance is a mental response to a perceived threat. The act of prospecting is not what causes salespeople anxiety; it is their “thoughts” about prospecting that do.

One might suggest to just change your thoughts from fearful ones to positive ones. However, positive thinking on its own is insufficient without its crucial counterpart: positive emotions.

In his book Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., a cellular biologist, explains that the hypothalamus is the chemical factory of the brain. With every thought we think, our hypothalamus secretes a chemical that matches that thought, causing our hormones to flow through our bloodstream.

Take a deep breath and think about your most recent business success. Your thought just sent happy hormones through your blood stream. Now, think about picking up the phone to call someone who has been on your list, but with whom you have not yet initiated contact. What fear or anxiety is attached to the thought of picking up the phone? Guess what? Your hypothalamus just secreted hormones that match that fear and anxiety.

We can train the brain to secrete happier hormones (endorphins) so we feel better. And the better we feel, the more positive we become. Endorphins actually calm the brain.

Beliefs are merely thoughts we think again and again. Our beliefs become our expectations, and our expectations become our experience. This has been scientifically proven by behavioral scientists studying cellular biology. By overcoming Sales Call Reluctance, you literally change your body’s chemistry so that fear and anxiety are no longer your go-to emotions.

Below are three exercises to help you set the “feeling” tone for your prospecting success:

  1. At the end of your workday, before you leave the office, sit down with your journal, iPhone or a piece of paper. Write down three things that went well during your day, and why they went well. Repeat this every day! Notice how much better you start feelingimmediately. Jo Illfeld, Ph.D., claims that this exercise accelerates our hormonal reset. She calls it “happiness intervention.”
  2. Monitor the “stories” you tell yourself (i.e., your inner dialogue). An example might be, “Making phone calls doesn’t work in the age of social media.” Until you become aware of your negative stories and learn how to change those stories, no training, coaching, or self-help books will enable you to achieve your goals. Identifying your stories is at the core of identifying Sales Call Reluctance issues.
  3. The opposite of fear is love. Love and gratitude go hand-in-hand. Back to the hypothalamus: when you focus on what you are grateful for, your hypothalamus pumps out happy hormones. When you feel better, you are more solution-oriented—and you’re no longer the victim of any habitual negative thoughts. Performance psychologists recommend making a list of five things for which you are grateful every morning to set you up for a more successful day.

Take the complimentary Prospecting EKG to find out whether you are experiencing Sales Call Reluctance, and at what level of intensity. Then admit your reluctance. This takes humility. However, what makes more sense—humility now, or real humility when you fall short of your sales goals? Apply the above tips and please share what you discover! 

The better you feel, the richer you’ll be. And the better you feel, the brighter your future will become.