This post will cover some of my best tips for overcoming your fear of the phone.
The first time I heard someone tell me they had a fear of the phone, I laughed. The person walked out of my office and didn’t look back. I told my boss about the interaction and was scolded for my approach.
The thing is, I had never in my time in the telemarketing profession heard someone say they were afraid of the phone. Joe (my boss) explained that he had witnessed people he hired who claimed having a fear of the phone turned out to be some of the top telemarketers in the company.
Without telling you the name of the company (they are no longer in business), I will tell you that we used old fashioned high-pressure techniques.
I was one of the better telemarketers and because of my Associates Degree in business, I soon became a manager.
We cold called people in their homes to set appointments to demonstrate windows, doors, siding, awnings, and other home improvement items. We were one of the top home improvement companies in the nation and at one time, and I was in the top 10 of over 2,000 national telemarketers for the company.
I do have the qualifications to teach you about overcoming your fear of the phone.
Overcoming Your Fear of the Phone: 31 Tips
In today’s post, I am going to share 31 tips for overcoming your fear of the phone. If you have any questions or other tips you have, feel free to share them in the comment section at the end of this post.
These tips are in no certain order, so be sure and read them all and implement the ones you believe will help you the best.
# 1: Determine Why You Fear the Phone
Understanding the reason you fear the phone is the first step in solving the issue.
Are you afraid of rejection?
Did something bad happen why you were on the phone in the past and you are relating that incident with it?
No matter what the reason, you need to recognize that reason before you can overcome it.
# 2: Take Pauses
It is okay to take pauses in your phone conversation to gather your thoughts.
You do not have to roll and roll like a machine.
It is fine to take small pauses.
Actually, taking a moment to pause keeps you in control and gives your prospect time to digest the information you are sharing with them.
# 3: Consider the Benefits
Instead of looking at the fear of the phone, think instead of the benefits from making that phone call and more like it.
What will you attain from making those calls?
# 4: Role Play
Get a friend or family member and role play your phone calling techniques.
It is also a great idea if you actually hold the phone to your ear while role playing.
# 5: A Phone Fear Breaking System
Here is a great system to break your phone fears:
- Start first by calling numbers that you know will have only recorded messages.
- Now call a friend that you know well and talk for at least 3 minutes. Now 5 minutes, and another for longer.
- Call a business and ask questions like hours of operation, who the manager is and are they open on Sunday.
- Now try calling someone you don’t know very well with a simple question.
- Get a person you know to sit with you while you do 1-4 again.
- Get a group of people (friends or family) to sit with you as you do 1-4.
This system should help you kick that phone fear.
# 6: Use Natural Words
While using a script on a sales phone calls can be good, I suggest you find those words within that script that are unnatural to you and fix them to words you would normally use.
Just make sure you are not weakening the script with the words you use.
# 7: Common Ground
No matter who you call, it is great to find common ground.
So you are making a call to tell people about some new product you have.
The person who answers tells you they only have a few minutes because they have to pick up their child from school.
Oh I understand; I had to pick my children up from school every day too until they entered college.
What grade is your child in?
Hear the answer and proceed to tell them you will move quickly and tell them the pitch.
# 8: Use a basic script
I suggest you develop a basic script for your phone plan.
If you just try to “wing it,” you are apt to make you fear worse when you lose the words.
# 9: People you know
Start with calling people you know.
It will make it easier.
# 10: They want you to call
If your primary phone calls are to businesses, you need to know that they want you to call.
They list their number for that reason and they would not have many of their suppliers if nobody called them.
If you are calling people in their homes, they also want to be called or they would have an unlisted number and be on the no call list.
# 11: Make a commitment
Sure you are scared, but the best way to break it is to just commit yourself.
I was scared once of a roller coaster, but I made a commitment to ride the scariest one I could find within the next 3 months after I committed.
I rode the wooden coaster at Adventureland in Des Moines, Iowa after procrastinating for 2 1/2 months.
Now, I will ride any roller coaster you throw at me now.
# 12: Think positive thoughts while in wait
Fear can poke its head out at its worst point while you are waiting for someone to answer or you are on hold.
Don’t allow fear to grab you while you wait.
Think positive thoughts.
# 13: Speak clearly
One of the primary things that can get telemarketers frustrated is when people say “what or huh.”
This is normally because the caller is not enunciating their words clearly.
Speak clearly and you will have better success.
# 14: Stand up
You will feel like you have more power and control if you stand up when making phone calls.
Plus, it is good exercise.
# 15: Smile
It was a common statement in the phone room – Smile and Dial!
Just putting a smile on your face before calling anyone can alleviate all fears.
# 16: Know that you will not be perfect
One of the common fear factors that I have heard from people about calling others is making a mistake.
You will make mistakes!
Just realize it and call.
Just to tell you an embarrassing mistake I made once:
“Hi, this is Greg from ______; can I speak to Pen-a-lope?”
The woman with a frustrated tone said with a snarly voice, “This is Penelopé.”
After apologizing for making her name sound like the grazing antelope, and telling her my last name and how it gets “butchered” all the time (Boudonck… good luck pronouncing that), she became quite nice and if I recall the final sale came to over $4,000.
As humans, we will make mistakes.
# 17: Start with a question
You can break the fear just by starting every phone conversation with a question.
Some telemarketing managers may disagree with me, but I believe a simple “How are you today?” is a great way to lead.
# 18: Fake it
This is one of the best ways to get through fear.
I think of the soldier who is manning a checkpoint in Afghanistan.
As the family walks near, he may be scared completely since a similar thing happened just days before and they were suicide bombers.
If he shows that fear, he looks foolish, so he fakes it.
So you are scared of calling…Fake it!
I’ve also learned that when you act confident, you will begin to feel confident.
# 19: Reward yourself
Treat yourself like you would a pet.
Every time you successfully complete a call, reward yourself.
Candy seems like a good choice, but there are others too.
# 20: Be polite
You need to realize that you will get jerks from time to time.
Do not allow them to build your fear.
Just be polite and consider the fact that they may had been trying to relieve their constipation right when you called.
How can you be scared thinking of the jerk sitting on a toilet pushing with all his might?
# 21: Deep breathing
Deep breathing techniques work!
In between phone calls, use breathing exercises to relieve the stress and fear.
Here are some great exercises: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/stress-management-breathing-exercises-topic-overview
# 22: Remember the successful calls
Each time that ugly phone fear monster is poking his head up, just focus and think about all the successful calls you have made in the past.
# 23: Look at the big picture
This goes hand-in-hand with looking at the benefits.
Instead of having a tunnel vision on the phone and your fear, focus on the end results.
Focus on making money and supporting your family.
# 24: Use distractions
One of my favorite distractions when I was telemarketing was a handball that I would squeeze.
I know other telemarketers who would doodle.
Having some type of distraction will take your mind off any fear.
# 25: Visualization
I often tell new callers who are showing fear to just picture the caller as someone famous they have always wanted to speak with.
Or, another way is to picture each person you call as being naked or in their underwear.
I ask you, how can you be scared of the phone by using this technique?
# 26: Be specific
When you make your phone calls, you need to be specific.
If you are not, you will frustrate the person on the other end and they will then take it out on you which could build your phone fears.
# 27: Set goals
Setting goals is a perfect way to get through any phone fears.
Tell yourself that you are going to complete X number of calls today and go for it.
When you are focused on the goals and not your fears, success is in your path.
# 28: You will not die from it
In all my years of telemarketing, I cannot recall anyone dying from calling people.
There are essentially no medical issues that come with calling people.
So, if you can’t die or get physically harmed, why be scared?
# 29: Don’t take rejection personal
The fact is, more people will say no to your offer than those who agree to it.
Always know that when they say no it isn’t against you.
There are many reasons a person will say no, and the least of these is they did not like the caller.
# 30: Find a mentor
A mentor who is good at phone calling is an excellent way to beat those fears.
Have your mentor make some calls while you listen and you call and have them listen.
Just having that support can give you confidence and wipe the phone fears away.
# 31: Cognitive behavior therapy
I saved this method for last, because I believe it should be the last resort.
Therapists can be costly, but this type of therapy can get down to the exact reason you fear the phone and methods to defeat it.
Here is an excellent article on this type of therapy: http://psychcentral.com/lib/in-depth-cognitive-behavioral-therapy/
If you fear the phone, tell us about it. I promise that I will not laugh because I now understand that many people have this condition.
But to have a successful business, the phone is important and you do need to defeat that fear. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below. Thank you.