The Fear of Prospecting: “Phone-a-phobia” (1/2)
We often work with executives to define their sales process, train their managers and their salespeople, review their pipelines, or help them with key opportunities. Over the years, we have found that A common disease now infects a huge percent of the salespeople around the world.
The disease is phone-a-phobia, the fear of picking up the telephone and encouraging a new prospect to start looking at your product or service. This disease cripples the careers of many salespeople. Phone-a-phobia not only affects salespeople’s ability to develop new sales opportunities, but it also adversely influences how they interact with current prospects. With their limited pipelines, salespeople that are infected with phone-a-phobia may have lower levels of courage to disengage from unqualified opportunities, because they think they can’t find other more suitable prospects.
We often say to our clients: “There is nothing as pathetic as a desperate salesperson.” A desperate salesperson is one who:
- Conforms to every whim of potential buyers, no matter how unreasonable or unproductive they may be
- Gives away their own personal time and gives away their company’s resources
- Hopes that dropping the price at the end of the evaluation will get the business
- Refuses to ask disqualifying questions
- Always blames their losses on price or lack of product functionality
- Has phone-a-phobia; his or her pipeline is empty and they won’t prospect to get another opportunity started
A phone-a-phobic salesperson fears that if they walk away from the few opportunities that they have in their pipeline, their manager will say, “Well, it’s OK that you exited these bad deals – they weren’t good prospects. Now, who else do you have to work on?” If they don’t have confidence in their ability to pick up the phone and get another prospect, they won’t walk when potential buyers aren’t willing to meet them halfway.
The skill of prospecting is the skill that puts dignity back into the life of the desperate salesperson. Without it, their job is miserable. With it, they treat potential buyers with respect, and they expect potential buyers to treat them with the same level of respect in return. A salesperson’s behavior can be hindered throughout their career, if they are not confident in their ability to create interest and curiosity in a new prospect who is not currently looking for their products or services.