Those of you who know me know that I am not a fan of ‘cold calls’. That said there comes a time in all of our lives when we have to make them and, quite frankly, if I am going to make the call then I might as well do it correctly, so that it is a successful call.

For me, as an introvert, it means that I have to be in the correct frame of mind – I have to get ‘into the mood’ and that takes a whole bunch of preparation.

Like most things in life, it’s a process. Thinking about the call can often be worse than actually make the call. What to say? What if I leave something out? What if in my nervousness I forget what I want to say? What if . . . .?

Once I have made the decision to make the call, I find that that is half the battle won. Then it is just a case of getting myself into gear. I have to make a list of all the things which I need to say. I go through the list several times, making sure that I have them in the right order or sequence. I make sure that I am familiar with what it is that I am going to talk about or ask, and I make sure that I have a smile in my voice.

I usually have soft music playing in the background and I find this also helps to calm and centre me. Taking a couple of deep breaths from my stomach also helps to settle the nerves and if all of this fails there’s always a glug of Rescue Remedy at hand!

Making the call then almost becomes automatic, and once I have managed the first one and realised for the 150th time that it is not such a bad thing, I find that I am able to keep going and my confidence improves with each call and each successful appointment made.

Should I have a problem with booking calls (and sometimes things just are what they are) – people are not in the office, you get their voice mail, the secretary has to check the diary and so on – I stop calling and schedule the calls in my diary for later on the same day or on the following day, depending on my availability. Don’t push yourself too hard or you will do more damage than good.

While you are phoning and waiting for a response, or just after you have made the call, make notes on how you are feeling. The best piece of advice that I ever got was along the lines of: when you act confident (even if your knees are shaking), you will look, sound and even feel confident.

Most of all – never give up! Take a break, schedule the calls for another time, but never give up!

About the author: Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or nikki@viljoenconsulting.co.za or http://www.viljoenconsulting.co.za

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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