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  • Writer's pictureBob Prentice


Many sales people tell me they dislike or even hate making cold calls. My response is, “Oh my, how sad.” I say this because I have learned that proactively reaching out into a cold market to build relationships is perhaps the greatest exercise you can do for your mental muscle as a sales professional. Not only is it vital to make ‘cold’ connections in the real day-to-day world, but also in the multiple social media platforms. I admit, this proactive cold calling attitude and process requires many things of professional sales people, namely what I call a Braveheart type attitude of confidence, along with a total belief in who you are and what you do. Getting back to these basics can be the hardest part of our job. Whether your job is to sell yourself to gain employment, to help people purchase a product or service, or to convince someone to buy in to an idea of yours, you must first believe in yourself. Nearly everyday I encounter someone who is struggling with their self belief and self confidence, which as we all know can be impacted by both external influences and internal influences. Probably the best way to overcome ones lack of confidence is to do whatever it is that you need to do to build confidence. When I was 12 years of age I became involved in raising and showing beef steers in 4-H. We had to give presentations at monthly meetings, which ultimately had a massive impact on me. At first I was very afraid of making presentations in front of others. Then I learned the more knowledge I had on the subject and the more I did it, the more confidence I had to speak, and my confidence started to grow. In my junior year of high school, speech class was pretty tough, and I often felt like I was failing miserably at public speaking. However, by the end of high school I was doing the school radio program at the local radio station each Sunday night. People told me I was fun to listen to and they enjoyed the music that I played. This experience was yet another confidence builder for me. Taking one step after another, I found that over time my confidence and the ability to sell myself and my ideas was increasing. Somewhere along the way, I realized the key to this kind of growth in my confidence level came simply by taking the risks and sticking my neck out–even when it felt uncomfortable. So I kept persevering. Many years of selling radio advertising and marketing and promotional ideas continued to build my confidence. Then came the thousands of motivational talks and leading seminars and workshops has certainly had an impact on my confidence level, allowing me the privilege to speak to hundreds of thousands of people and work with hundreds of companies and organizations throughout my career. Even with all that experience and 35 years of self-employment behind me, I have not ‘arrived’ by any stretch of the imagination. I still struggle with my confidence. But I cannot imagine what my life would be like today, if I had allowed my fear and lack of confidence to hold me back. In this ever-changing world, we must more than ever be consistently working on our personal and professional growth. We can never afford to rest on our laurels; we must always get back to basics if we are to have the confidence we need for the tasks and opportunities at hand. You may have noticed the key to selling yourself and selling your ideas is purely a confidence issue, and if you want more confidence you will learn it by going where you have never gone before, doing what you have lacked the confidence to do in the past. Which brings us back to the topic of making cold calls. If your first reaction is ‘yuck’ or ‘I can’t do that’ then make it a point to move from that attitude as quickly as possible, and just go do it! After all cold-calling is ALL about building relationships with people, and when you experience even the tiniest bit of success, your confidence will grow, and when you become even a little bit more confident, you will find it much easier to do it again. Keep growing, little by little, and you will discover for yourself that it really is possible to get to the point that you aren’t afraid at all to go talk with anyone, anywhere, winning them to your way of thinking with more confidence than you ever thought possible. Not only that, I bet you will say one day you even enjoy cold calling, because in the process of growing your confidence through cold calling, you will have discovered a gold mine of rich relationships with people who love doing business with you.

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