On a webinar recently someone asked, “What do you recommend salespeople do to get mentally prepared to make their prospecting calls?”
What a great question.
Yogi Berra once said, “Ninety percent of baseball is mental, the other half is physical.” Similarly, mental preparation is key to prospecting success.
Here are seven steps to getting psyched up to make prospecting calls.
1) Take some quiet time in the morning.
How do you start your day? Do you hit the snooze alarm more than once, listen to the latest gory world news, run out the door, stop at Starbucks for a latte, grab the Wall Street Journal, and then skid into the parking lot just in time to plop down at your desk before the boss gets there? If you lose control of your day before it starts, you become physically tense and mentally distracted. Would your favorite professional athlete start a big game day in that kind of frenzy?
Quiet time is an effective way to clear your mind and focus on what’s important. It helps you relax, refresh your inner resources, and hone your creativity and concentration.
Start slowly with five minutes and then work up incrementally until you are spending about 20 to 30 minutes of quiet time each morning. Here are two things you can do during your quiet time to inspire you:
- Count your blessings. Sit down in a peaceful place with a blank notebook. Take a deep breath and write at the top: “I am grateful for … ” and make a list. How quickly do things pop into your mind?
- Picture positive outcomes. Think about the most important event you have on your calendar for the day. What do you want the outcome to be? Visualize it and play it out in your mind exactly the way you want to experience it.
Something wonderful happens when you quiet your mind and emotions. Perhaps you’ll get a great marketing idea or remember something important. Since you’ve cleared the mental clutter, your mind is open to new ways of viewing things.
Once these refreshing ideas start percolating, act on what comes up! If a particular person’s name pops into your head, call them. Act. Move. Don’t second-guess your brilliant inner guidance.
2) Think about what you want.
If you ask a top sales performer what her ultimate goal for the year is, she will most likely tell you the exact scenario she wants to create. What are your goals?
- Set long-term and short-term goals. What is your long-term goal? What are your short-term goals to get there?
- Ignore what you don't want. Oftentimes people place their attention on what they don’t want more than what they do want. Think about going to a luxurious, extraordinary buffet with lots of great selections. When you go through a buffet line, you choose exactly what you want at that moment. It’s the same with your life -- it’s a very diverse and delicious buffet. You get to choose what you put on your plate for the day.
3) Focus on how your product or service helps people.
This is a big one! When you focus on solving problems for your prospect, you mitigate any materialistic tendencies and make yourself more available to helping others. It shifts your perspective and make fears of rejection seem petty. Concentrate on conveying your unique value from the prospect’s perspective.
4) Prepare your physical environment.
If you had an ideal prospect coming into your office to meet with you, what would you do to prepare? Do the same thing to prepare for your prospecting calls. The most important appointment you have on a daily basis is the prospecting appointment you set with yourself.
- Get plenty of water to sip.
- Go to the bathroom before you start.
- Close your door. Even lock it, if need be.
- Post a "do not disturb" sign that says “Thank you for not interrupting. I’m in an important meeting.”
- Prepare yourself emotionally.
In addition, do a mental check-in. Are you 100% focused on what you are about to do? If not, you have a choice to switch focus. You cannot be thinking of two things at once. Think about the person you absolutely unconditionally love. What feeling does that trigger? Love creates a feeling of abundance. Abundance creates success. Success creates self-confidence, and self-confidence creates courage. You need to put yourself in an emotional state of courage.
Think about how athletes use the pre-shot routine. Golfers do this on the green; basketball players demonstrate this at the foul line; tennis players do this prior to serving. It is very individual. It can be something you think before picking up the phone. You can whisper a statement like “Refocus” or “I love my family” or “Breathe.” Make sure it’s positive. Don’t choose something like “Just pick up the phone, you wimp.” A self-critical routine will be detrimental.
5) Warm yourself up -- literally.
Prospecting rarely involves physical danger, yet some salespeople react to challenging prospecting situations as if they contained life-threatening danger. When you are fearful, you become a different person. Your body abruptly changes, invoking up to 1400 physiological changes. Your heartbeat accelerates, pumping reserved blood supplies into your muscles and brain so you can think better. But supplying the brain with more blood has to come from somewhere --- it's rerouted from your extremities. That’s why your hands tend to turn clammy and cold when you are distressed. They have less blood to warm them.
It has been proven that warm hands trick your brain into being calm. With this in mind, warm yourself up before getting on the phone by rubbing your hands together or turning up the thermostat.
6) Refer to prospecting as “appointment-setting time.”
Concentrate on what you need to do. Don’t allow yourself to play the “what if” game. What star athlete goes into the game thinking “what if I lose"? They simply concentrate on succeeding.
So many salespeople who are call-reluctant call prospecting “cold calling.” That is enough to make anyone frigid. Reframe this negative perception by referring to prospecting activities as "making highly-targeted prospecting calls."
7) Realize that you can manage your thoughts.
You are not at the mercy of the fight-flight-freeze response. While many responses are automatic, the perception that triggers them is not. Guard the portals of your mind. Stay present, focused, and follow the "do no harm" rule.
Practice developing and cultivating your willpower by keeping your word to yourself. Salespeople who talk to 20 prospects a day create momentum that truly launch them into a higher level of propecting performance.